Sled: 2008 Arctic Cat Jaguar Z1 Sno Pro
On the snow first as a 2007 model, Arctic Cat’s four-stroke Jaguar Z1 held ground in the company’s product brochures as a performance four stroke. The company took another step up the performance ladder for the machine’s second year, offering it in a more aggressive Sno Pro package. We ordered a 2008 model that looked stealthy in its very, very black Nightfire trim to see long-term how the sled fit its performance position.
The 1056cc twin engine is powerful, rated at 125 hp. It’s a droning, steady grunt that is smooth and linear. The engine doesn’t build rpm quickly or increase its pitch as much as other four strokes, most notably Yamaha engines; in fact we’ve stated before it’s rather quiet — a mismatch to its power character. Those attributes combine to make the sled sneaky fast because the engine sounds easy-going but it builds speed steadily.
When testing this machine we found its fuel mileage to be in the range of 14.8 to 17 mpg. Like any machine, the heavier we were on the throttle the more mileage suffered. But the Z1 engine, as with other four-strokes, seemed less prone to drastic mileage swings from casual trail riding to aggressive trail and ditch riding. The Sno Pro package made the Jaguar Z1 able to handle that full range of terrain, too.
The suspension is a step more aggressive and firm from the base model to tackle larger bumps, but the 128-inch rails of the Slide Action rear remained plush over the small chatter, with minimal compromises to rider comfort. The same comments can be applied to the front end with Fox FLOAT shocks.
Handling on the 2008 Arctic Cat Jaguar Z1 Sno Pro has been better than the two-stroke models in the same Twin Spar chassis. The added weight of the four-stroke engine makes the front end bite, whereas the two-stroke versions of this 2008 chassis had corner push. Steering remains light (a Twin Spar trademark) and it doesn’t dart. Handling is stable, confident and predictable, but the machine isn’t as quick, sporty and responsive as sleds in Cat’s model history.
The 2008 Arctic Cat Jaguar Z1 Sno Pro package included adjustable handlebars and the adjustable seat, part of Cat’s Infinite Rider Position ergonomics package. It’s easy and quick to make riders fit the sled or change it up for different terrain. The seat is wide and plush, but that also gives it a square shape that makes it cumbersome and discomforting for quick side-to-side movements on twisty trails. The seat cover is slippery, too. The windshield, though low-height for an aggressive appearance, was surprisingly effective.
Our demo sled stayed stock because it was pleasing as is — we could just turn the key and ride it. We put an inexperienced driver on board, and she liked that it was a big, comfortable, warm, stable and predictable snowmobile. Being able to adjust the handlebars to her preference was a bonus. She realized what the rest of our staff did, too.
For anyone who wants a turnkey, performance snowmobile with good handling, a powerful, smooth and quiet four-stroke engine for long days on the trail, the 2008 Arctic Cat Jaguar Z1 Sno Pro is a great fit. Those who want a more aggressive suspension package can opt for the Sno Pro calibrations and ergo upgrades.