Aiming to set a new benchmark in the utility/touring crossover market, Ski-Doo on January 10 unveiled a late-release 2018 snowmobile with a mega-wide track and impressive capabilities mated with a list of comfort features.
The 2018 Ski-Doo Expedition SWT borrows the super-wide, 24- by 156- by 1.25-inch track from its ultimate workhouse brother – the Skandic SWT – but unlike the Skandic it features a dual A-arm front suspension and an adjustable ski stance to make it handle better when zooming down a more beaten path.
It’s not logical to think that this machine is a direct response to Polaris’ impressive Titan line – the development cycle of new machines is measured in years, not months – but it is eyebrow-raising that Ski-Doo upped its game in the utility crossover market that it has long dominated a mere 10 months after Polaris fired the Titan salvo.
A Closer Look
The Expedition SWT is the combination of two known quantities for those in the utility/touring crossover market. It starts with the REV-XU chassis that is the basis of most Expedition and Skandic models. It features a high-mounted steel handlebar with a hoop in the center, tall windshield with mirrors on its outer edge and a 2-up seat, with the passenger seat and its backrest mounted lower than what’s found on a Grand Touring model, for example. A rear storage rack and hitch come as standard equipment.
What truly separates this new machine from other Expeditions is the monstrous track that provides superior traction plus a lot of floatation, as the weight of the sled is spread throughout a lot more surface area where the track touches the ground. Oddly, that monstrous rear footprint is mated with rather narrow Pilot DS-2 skis. The center-to-center stance can be set between 38.2 and 40.2 inches.
The super-wide track wraps around the SC-5U rear suspension, which features an articulating section at the rear – standard fare for modern utility machines. It’s got a KYB high-pressure gas shock on the rear arm; Motion Control gas cell should are found on the front arm and above the skis.
Motivation comes from the Rotax 900 ACE four-stroke twin, which produces about 90 hp in a smooth and efficient manner. Plus, like other ACE-equipped machines, it comes with iTC engine mapping (letting the drive select between the standard, sport or ECO modes) and a light pull on the reversible throttle. In this setting, the 900 ACE gets extra cooling capacity so the machine can be worked and/or used in low-snow conditions.
With that engine package combined with the high/low/neutral/reverse Synchromesh transmission and the stout chassis, the Expedition SWT has a rated towing capacity of 1,124 pounds – that’s a lot of tools, fire wood, equipment, fuel and other supplies that can be moved to the work site, remote cabin or other destination in a pull-behind sled.
Expedition SWT models are on trucks headed for select dealerships as this story is being written.