Ski-Doo today announced two exciting new snowmobiles – a much-awaited 600-class trail gunner featuring a new engine in the brand’s newest chassis, and a super-capable utility/touring crossover with a super-wide track.
Both models – the MXZ 600R E-TEC and Expedition SWT – will be built in limited quantity and will be available immediately at Ski-Doo dealerships as late 2018 models; they are what one might call 2018.5 models, with an eye on full-build for 2019 (though the combination of features on the MXZ may change). The limited-build machines are being shipped to dealers this week
We’ll take a closer look at the MXZ 600R below; to read about the Expedition SWT, click here.
2018 MXZ 600R E-TEC
The buzz and excitement generated by the REV Gen4 chassis that Ski-Doo launched for model year 2017 was palpable, but for a certain subset of riders there has also been continued anticipation. Specifically, riders who don’t want to spend their time grooving trails with 850cc-class power have been eagerly awaiting the next obvious step – a new, 600ish-class engine that will fit in the narrow and compact Gen4 chassis. When Ski-Doo launched its 2018 lineup last spring without a smaller bore option in the new chassis, some riders were vocally disappointed.
The end to their wait came into sight at the Haydays event in September 2017, when Ski-Doo unveiled its 2018 MXZx 600RS E-TEC race sled in the new chassis. Sure, the narrow, 600-class race engine that was squeezed into the chassis of the snocross-focused machine didn’t even have oil injection, but its existence still cued future models.
The wait is now officially over. With this new MXZ 600R E-TEC, buyers in the 600-class get a spry new engine rated at 125 horsepower and featuring the second generation of E-TEC injection, plus the open ergonomics, Ergo-Step side panels, rack steering system, forward-adjustable handlebars, lightweight feel, pDrive clutch and other features that have made Gen4 850s such incredible machines.
The MXZ being shipped to dealers this week doesn’t have a version designation – it isn’t an X, X-RS, Blizzard, TNT, Sport, etc.; in name, it’s just a plain MXZ. That said, it comes with the highly adjustable KYB clicker shocks like an X-RS but with a more-standard chassis (without extreme reinforcements) and gauge that are found on X models.
The New Engine
The new engine is a 599.4cc design featuring plasma-coated cylinders, a short intake tract, electronically controlled three-stage exhaust valves and W-shaped reed valves, just like the 850 E-TEC on which it is based. The second-generation of E-TEC features more precise voice-coil injectors atop the cylinder heads, while the bottom end features a light but stout crankshaft. It’s all controlled by a stronger ECM.
The cylinders are designed square – the engine has a 72.3mm bore and a 73mm stroke. Compared to the rather long-in-the-tooth 600 H.O. that it replaces, it’s up 5cc in displacement but, more importantly, it’s also up 5 horsepower on the dyno. However, if it shadows the nature of the 850, its primary upgrade will be in quick-hitting responsiveness throughout the powerband.
Also like the 850, the 600R integrates a slimmer magneto and an inboard-mounted electric start system on one side and sends its power through the compact pDrive primary clutch on the PTO side so it will fit between the narrow shoulders of the chassis – which in turn allows for the forward mobility of the rider that is a signature of the Gen4 chassis.
That new powerplant has been squeezed into the REV Gen4 chassis and adorned with high-end features from nose to tail.
For the uninitiated, the Gen4 layout looks and feels narrower overall than the REV-XS platform it replaces. The driver sits on a narrow, tall seat, and the dash panels fall away from him or her, with a two-step layout that lets the driver get a knee farther forward than on any modern sled.
This 2018.5 model comes standard with the forward-adjustment riser which allows the rider to easily choose between four different positions for the handlebar utilizing a lever in front of the driver – from our perspective, it’s a necessity to fully utilize the ergo-step side panels because it allows the rider to get the handlebar farther ahead when in tight and twisting sections.
Also included is a high-end shock package – KYB Pro 36 piggyback shocks with 22 clicks of compression adjustment are found on the RAS 3 dual A-arm front suspension and on the rear arm of the rMotion rear suspension. An HPG Plus shock is used on the front arm of the skid. That rear shock, though, is controlled by the clicker found on the right side running board because this model comes standard with Ski-Doo’s Quick Adjust system that also features easy spring rate adjustability using the dial on the left side running board.
The KYBs are X-RS-style shocks, though with a smaller bore on the rear arm (36 vs. 40). The new model also comes with the rack style steering system that helps reduce bump steer. It’s all propelled by a 15- by 129- by 1.25 Ice Ripper XT track, with Pilot 5.7 skis leading the way.
Overall, we consider this very good news for 600-class trail riders. They get a quicker sled with quicker handling on what’s now become a proven chassis platform – what’s not to like?