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    The Best 2018 Sleds to Buy this Spring

    Posted by Emily Hare
    on Thursday, March 09, 2017

    Why should you plunk down your hard-earned coin on a down payment for a spring-buy snowmobile? Here we will examine each manufacturer’s spring specials, and reveal our top spring-buy snowmobiles from each manufacturer. AmSnow has ridden them all! If our paychecks actually allowed us to, these are the three sleds we’d take a long, hard look at this spring. Of course, you’ll find the full report on these snowmachines in the upcoming issues of American Snowmobiler magazine, so don’t forget to subscribe today!

     Arctic Cat
    What are you gaining with an early buy from Cat? Mainly, peace of mind – either on the financing side or the warranty side. When purchasing a new 2018 during Cat’s Spring Guarantee Sales Event (runs through April 18, 2017), qualified buyers can choose between 0% financing for up to 60 months, a 4-year limited warranty, or a 2-year limited warranty with $700 in Arcticwear and accessories. If you buy the new ZR 200 ¾-size sled, you earn yourself an extra $200 in Arcticwear and accessories.

    There are no “spring-only” models from Arctic Cat; the full lineup is available for the full season. Cat has gone back and forth on that for a number of recent years, but that doesn’t mean you should wait around until the fall to make your purchase. With that in mind, here’s what we would be spring-buying from Cat:

    1. ZR 6000 R XC 129 – This is Cat’s cross-country race sled (see photo, left). If you’re an XC racer and you want one of these, don’t wait for some big “reveal” at Hay Days this year. This is the sled you want. Make sure you get it. We rode the 8000 engine version a bunch now, and that was fantastic too!
    2. XF 9000 Crosstour – This was one of our favorite Cats in the bunch during our recent pre-production test rides. It’s a high-speed cruiser with tons of comfort, but it does have a hefty price tag at more than $16K US. That’s why we’d recommend taking advantage of five years of 0% financing to get into this ride.
    3. ZR 200 – On the other end of the price spectrum, this is a must-have sled for any growing snowmobile family. We have a feeling these ZR 200s (shown in the photo with the Yamaha SnoScoot, below) won’t last very long on showroom floors. Make sure you’re not in a bidding war with your neighbor at your local dealership come the week before Christmas! Plus, you get the extra goodies in spring.

     Polaris
    While all of Polaris’ SnowCheck offerings can be found in some form throughout its regular-season lineup, there are certain colorways, track options and accessories that are only available with a spring buy (through April 15, 2017). SnowCheck buyers also get a 3-year warranty AND Polaris Interactive Digital Display (PIDD), or a 4-year warranty AND a $1,000 “Golden Ticket” (basically $1,000 towards any future SnowCheck sled for the 2019 model year). Here’s our top three 2018 Polaris spring buys:

    1. Titan XC – Don’t underestimate the fun that can be had on this sled (pictured, right). We know it looks like a utility sled, and it fully delivers on that appearance. BUT it is a ton of fun in almost any snow terrain, and adding the PIDD to this sled at no cost is a no-brainer this spring.
    2. 800 Switchback XCR – Three big reasons to buy: free color customization, free higher windshield, free PIDD gauge. It’s tough, it’s durable, and you can make it your own with some really nice upgrades at no additional charge.
    3. 800 Pro-RMK 155/163/174 – The Rocky Mountain King only comes with 3-inch track lugs if you SnowCheck it. Plus, you get all kinds of colorway combo options, choice of windshield and choice of handlebars at no additional charge.

     Ski-Doo
    The Yellow Team (after seeing their new model lineup, I’m not sure that still applies) offers the only truly limited-availability spring buy program. There are certain models you just can’t get if you don’t pony up the dough during the Ski-Doo Spring Fever promotion (ends April 12, 2017). When you reserve your early buy, you get a choice of either a 4-year warranty or 0% financing for 36 months for qualified buyers. That might not seem as generous as other OEMs, but the real win when you buy a Ski-Doo in the spring is guaranteeing yourself a sled that will not be available in the fall. Here are our top three spring buys from Ski-Doo:

    1. Renegade Backcountry X 850 E-TEC – Awesome colors to pick from, three available track options (including a 16x146x2-in. offering), and upgrades like clear handguards and windshield flares. This proved to be one of the most capable all-around snowmobiles of 2018 in our early-season rides. (See photo, left.)
    2. MXZ X-RS 850 E-TEC – Although the MXZ X 850 from 2017 had an X-RS shock package upgrade available, those sold out lightening-quick. We even had trouble getting our hands on one! That makes spring ordering a 2018 X-RS essential in our book.
    3. Freeride 137 850 E-TEC – It’s really the only truly trail-oriented sled you can get with the new SHOT starting system. We say trail-oriented because of the rMotion rear suspension in the 137. We loved the combination of adjustable ski stance, track and power plant on this one. It’s a fantastic on-/off-trail option that is different from the Backcountry in several ways (Quick Disconnect, shocks, etc.). And the only way you can get it is via an early spring buy.

     Yamaha
    Yamaha is offering consumers everything and then some for its Power Surge spring-buy program (runs through April 15, 2017), including a 3-year warranty, up to $600 in accessories credit, special financing rates, a free FXR backpack, and a free 50th anniversary hat! Oh, and don’t forget about the limited availability of their spring-buy models! Here’s what we’d put a down payment on:

    1. SnoScoot – One of these probably isn’t good enough. Two will be way more fun for your youngsters. Once the kids are finally tired, it’s mom and dad’s turn to rally around the yard! (See photo, right.)
    2. Sidewinder S-TX DX 146 – There’s one main reason we’re ordering this in the spring, and it’s not what you think. We love free backpacks and special financing, but that $600 credit towards accessories will go a long ways toward that heated 2-up seat we’re going to slap on the back of this thing! Can you say rocket sled built for two?
    3. Apex LE – This might be the nostalgia talking, but owning the final edition of something is pretty cool, especially when it comes in a limited package with 50th anniversary graphics. Don’t forget – it’s also the only way you’ll get to try the new YRSS front suspension this season!

    -Ross Halvorson, Senior Editor

    Rob Budrow photos

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