Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 Review: Top Speed, Specs, Price & More

Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 Review

If you’re in the market for a high-performance UTV that can tackle tough terrain at exhilarating speeds, the Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 is one ride you don’t want to miss. With its muscular 998cc V-twin engine churning out an impressive 130 horsepower, the Wildcat 1000 delivers precision handling and a smooth, stable ride.

In this in-depth Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 review, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this beastly side-by-side, including top speed, engine specs, features, capabilities, pricing, pros and cons, and how it stacks up against the competition.

Overview Of The Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 UTV

Arctic Cat launched the Wildcat line in 2012 as their most powerful and performance-driven UTV yet. The Wildcat 1000 arrived a year later with a big bore 999cc powerplant providing a significant bump in power and acceleration over the smaller displacement Wildcat models.

Over the years, the Wildcat 1000 has cemented its reputation as one of the fastest and most aggressive sport UTVs thanks to its race-inspired suspension, ultra-rigid chassis, and fearsome powertrain. It’s a true monster of a machine built for dune running, desert racing, trail riding, and everything in between.

While the farmer-friendly Prowlers and youth-oriented Alterra make up Arctic Cat’s bread and butter, the Wildcat models cater to thrill-seeking off-road enthusiasts who crave neck-snapping power. The Wildcat 1000 sits at the top as the Halo ride of the Arctic Cat UTV family.

Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 Top Speed And Engine Specs

So how fast does this angry feline really go? The top speed of the Wildcat 1000 is not officially specified by Arctic Cat. This twin cylinder powerplant delivers an adrenaline-pumping holeshot off the line and a massive wave of mid-range power. Throttle response is instantaneous thanks to electronic fuel injection. Power gets sent to the wheels via a quick-reacting CVT belt-drive transmission.

Here are some key specs on the Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 engine and drivetrain:

  • Engine: 998cc twin cylinder, 8 valve, DOHC, liquid cooled
  • Horsepower: 130 hp
  • Torque: Not specified
  • Transmission: Automatic CVT
  • Drive System: True AWD/2WD selectable
  • Fuel Delivery: Electronic fuel injection

The engine hangs low in the frame for a reduced center of gravity, while the specially tuned exhaust note has an aggressive roar under acceleration. A high-flow intake and intercooler keep engine temperatures in check even while towing and climbing.

Suspension, Transmission And Handling

To handle all that horsepower, Arctic Cat fits the Wildcat 1000 with fully adjustable FOX Racing Shox suspension front and rear. Double A-arm geometry provides a plush 18 inches of suspension travel to soak up rough terrain and big whoops.

The sport-tuned suspension keeps the tires planted for responsive cornering, plowing through woops, and razor sharp handling. Beefy front and rear sway bars reduce body roll for confident high speed maneuvers. The Wildcat 1000 is equally at home railing a desert race course as it is crawling over rocky trails.

The drivetrain utilizes a stout automatic CVT belt transmission that delivers smooth, efficient power transfer to the wheels. A true 4WD system can be switched on the fly to tackle slippery conditions. Plus there’s a VersaTrac limited-slip front differential for increased traction.

Arctic Cat engineers the Wildcat 1000 for low center of gravity stability thanks to its mid-mounted engine placement and low profile. This allows the Wildcat to carve corners and hammer through g-outs without getting unsettled. The chassis and suspension offer a balanced feel between precise handling and a plush ride quality.

Standard Features And Accessories

In the driver’s cockpit, the Wildcat 1000 comes well equipped with several essential features for performance driving:

  • 4-Point Harness: Secure bucket seats with 4-point harnesses for driver and passenger
  • Tilt Steering: Adjustable tilt steering wheel for comfort
  • Analog Gauge Cluster: Easy to read analog gauges display speed, tach, hours, fuel level, gear position
  • Tow Capability: 1,500 lb towing capacity with 2″ hitch receiver
  • Steel Skid Plates: Underbody armor for gear cases and engine
  • LED Headlights: Bright LED headlights and taillights

While the Wildcat 1000 excels in stock form, Arctic Cat offers over 100 accessories to customize and upgrade your machine:

  • Roof Options: ROPS cage, half windshield, full cab enclosure
  • Audio: Bluetooth sound bar and radio head unit upgrades
  • Tires: 28″ and 30″ wheel/tire upgrades
  • Protection: Aluminum skid plates, bumpers, guards
  • Storage: Rear cargo box, gun scabbards, cooler mounts
  • Lighting: LED light bars and cubes for visibility
  • Winches: Winch and synthetic rope upgrades

Between the accessory catalog and aftermarket support, you can outfit your Wildcat 1000 exactly how you want for your needs.

Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 Price

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a new 2023 Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 starts at $27,999. That’s for a base model with steel wheels and no accessories or upgrades.

For comparison, here are the starting prices of some rival high performance 1000 class UTV models:

  • Polaris RZR XP 1000: $22,999
  • Can-Am Maverick X3: $26,099
  • Yamaha YXZ1000R: $23,999

While the Wildcat 1000 is competitively priced, it doesn’t offer the creature comforts and styling appointments found in the Polaris RZR, Can-Am Maverick, or Yamaha YXZ. However, if you want pure power and capability for the dollar, the Wildcat 1000 delivers in spades.

Pros And Cons Of The Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000

Wildcat 1000 Pros:

  • Thrilling power: 998cc engine provides wicked acceleration
  • Dune jumping ability: Smooth suspension for big air with control and stability
  • Rigid chassis: Race-engineered frame offers precise handling and strength
  • Suspension travel: 18 inches of FOX suspension soaks up rough terrain
  • Engine braking: CVT transmission has excellent downhill control
  • Aftermarket support: Huge selection of accessories and upgrades

Wildcat 1000 Cons:

  • No power steering: Steering requires effort at low speeds
  • Tight cockpit: Narrow and cramped seating for larger drivers
  • Basic amenities: Sparse styling and lack of storage compared to rivals
  • MSRP price: Mid $20k range is not cheap for a base model
  • Fuel range: Requires frequent fill ups with 8-10 gallon capacity

While the Wildcat 1000 prioritizes performance over comfort and amenities, it’s an incredibly capable and confidence inspiring machine. The raw speed and rugged suspension make it one of the most fun UTVs for trail rides and open desert.

What Wildcat 1000 Owners Are Saying?

“This machine has unbelievable power! I hit 80 mph blasting through the open desert without even trying.”

“The suspension soaks up jumps and whoops like nothing I’ve ever driven. So plush and controlled.”

“The handling is incredibly sharp and precise, this Wildcat carves up corners with ease.”

“The transmission shifts smoothly and instant throttle response makes this thing absolutely rocket off the line.”

“After upgrading to 30″ tires and a roof, this has become my go-to rig for extreme trail riding.”

“The lack of power steering means managing tight turns takes some muscle, but it’s worth it.”

“I wish the cockpit was roomier, it can feel cramped for my 6’2″ frame after awhile.”

“The Wildcat 1000 never fails to put a huge smile on my face everytime I drive it!”

Is The Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 Right For You?

The Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 earns a cult following for good reason – this wild animal delivers thrilling performance in a race-bred package ready for the harshest terrain.

Here are a few rider profiles that pair well with the Wildcat 1000:

  • Dune Riders and Desert Racers: With its massive power and plush suspension, the Wildcat 1000 is engineered for high speed blasting across open sand dunes and desert landscapes.
  • Rock Crawlers: Ample ground clearance, suspension articulation, low range gearing, and 4WD traction allow the Wildcat 1000 to traverse rocky trails.
  • Weekend Trail Riders: Recreational riders who prefer higher speeds and aggressive riding will appreciate the Wildcat’s performance capabilities for all-around UTV adventuring.
  • Youth Racer Graduates: Young riders transitioning from a YXZ1000R or RZR 900 will feel right at home in the Wildcat 1000’s cockpit and become acclimated to the increased power.

While not ideal for casual cruising or utility use, the Wildcat 1000 excels at high intensity driving applications. Its precise handling and envelope pushing performance make it one of the most entertaining UTVs for off-road fun.

FAQs About the Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000:

Q: How much does the Wildcat 1000 weigh?

A: Curb weight is 1,375 pounds. The steel frame and components add heft but also improve durability.

Q: How long do Arctic Cat Wildcats last?

A: Properly maintained with routine service, a Wildcat 1000 can run strong for 4,000-6,000 miles or 5+ years of recreational use.

Q: Is the Wildcat 1000 fuel injected?

A: Yes, it uses an electronic fuel injection system for optimal efficiency and cold weather starting.

Q: What size tires come stock on Wildcat 1000?

A: 27″ Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires on 14″ wheels are standard. Many upgrade to larger 28-30″ tires.

Q: Does the Wildcat 1000 have 4 wheel disc brakes?

A: Yes, it has hydraulic disc brakes on all four wheels for strong stopping power. ABS is not available though.

Q: Is there a 2 seater Arctic Cat Wildcat?

A: No, all Wildcat models are 2-seat side-by-sides. For 1 seat, check out the Arctic Cat Prowler Pro.

Q: How much is a used Wildcat 1000 worth?

A: On the used market expect to pay $13,000-$18,000 depending on year, miles, and condition.

Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 vs. Competition

The high performance sport UTV segment has stiff competition from several major brands. Here’s how the Wildcat 1000 stacks up against its closest rivals:

  • Polaris RZR XP 1000 – The RZR XP provides plush suspension, crisp handling, and a smooth 999cc twin for dune running. More storage and refinement but less rugged than the Wildcat.
  • Can-Am Maverick X3 – With its 195 hp turbocharged engine, the Maverick X3 is the speed king but lacks the Wildcat’s suspension travel and low end grunt.
  • Yamaha YXZ1000R – The YXZ offers a thrilling 5 speed manual and race-ready chassis. But it has less power than the Wildcat 1000.
  • Honda Talon 1000R – The Talon has striking styling and handling but lags behind the Wildcat in engine performance and suspension travel.

While competitive UTV models have their own strengths, none can quite match the Wildcat 1000’s potent engine and rugged suspension capabilities. It remains a top choice for conquering tough terrain at high speeds.


The 2023 Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 stands in a class of its own as one of the most powerful and capable high performance UTVs money can buy. This American-made side-by-side pumps out an exhilarating rush of speed across wide open spaces thanks to its 998cc twin cylinder engine. Plus it devours bumps and jumps with 18 inches of supple FOX Racing suspension travel front and rear.

While the Wildcat 1000 falls behind some rivals in cabin comfort and storage utility, it outmuscles them where it counts most – wicked fast acceleration, precision handling, and trophies earned on the racetrack. The Wildcat 1000 may not be for Sunday joyrides, but it’s a force to be reckoned with for dune runners, desert racers, rock crawlers and hardcore off-road enthusiasts who crave a thrilling, race-bred adventure.

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