Arctic Cat, soon to become Textron Off-Road, is famous for their snowmobiles, but they also have a well-respected lineup of ATVs and side-by-sides topped by their HDX line. How do these UTVs stack up compared to Argo’s XTVs? Sure, they don’t have the same all terrain and water capability, but the HDX also falls short of Argo’s lineup in some other ways that may surprise you.
Arctic Cat HDX
The HDX series uses the same basic structure built around two engines and two configurations. The 500 XT and 700 XT accommodate three passengers, while the Crew XT uses a lengthened chassis with an extra seat, providing room for 6 people. However, putting three adults in a bench seat can be cramped, and most owners will find it more pleasant to limit passengers to two or four at a time. Both the 500 and 700 measure 129 x 60 x 79 inches, while the Crew has a length of 160 inches.
A CVT provides smooth power delivery, while hydraulic disc brakes and automatically adjusting electric power steering are standard across the line. The drive system can be used in 2×4 and 4×4 modes and both the front and rear differentials can be locked for tough terrain. A fully independent suspension system with 10 inches of ground clearance helps the UTV roll over uneven paths.
The HDX’s central feature is its cargo box which has fold down sides for conversion into a flatbed. The 500 XT’s box can hold up to 600 lbs, while the 700 XT and Crew can handle up to 1,000 lbs. With the engine mounted back from the center axle, these UTVs can carry an additional 25 lbs. of gear under the hood. Using the 2-inch hitch receiver, these vehicles can tow up to 1,500 lbs.
Headlights and aluminum wheels are included, but that’s about it: even items that normally come standard on UTVs like skid plates are only available as accessories, and these can get pricey. Want to switch from tires to tracks? There’s a kit available, but the tracks, mounting brackets and clutch kit needed for the conversion can easily add 50% or more to the final price of the vehicle.
There’s no convertible bed available with an Argo, but the Conquest can switch between a removable dump bed, flat bed or extra row of seats as needed. If you just need cargo space, the Avenger and Frontier come with a large cargo and seating area, letting you fold the seats up and down as needed. These models can carry 6 people across three rows of seats instead of squeezing three passengers onto a single bench, yet they’re a whopping 41 inches shorter than the Crew. Argo also uses the same hitch system, but at a maximum capacity of 1,800 lbs for the Avenger and 2,000 lbs. for the Conquest, they easily out-tow the HDX.
At 9.5 inches, ground clearance falls just short of an HDX, but the included full-length skid plate and a design that puts all the mechanical components inboard where they can’t get stuck on obstacles makes this a trivial difference. Add some tracks, and this height clearance goes up to 10.5 inches. Argo’s tracks are available in several designs to work with any surface, and they slip over the tires instead of requiring a complete suspension rebuild. Even without the tracks, the high flotation, always engaged 8×8 powertrain provides superior traction while still being easy to handle.
With 24 models to choose from, it’s possible to get most of the equipment you want straight from the factory, while available accessories go well beyond what’s offered for the HDX including everything from gun racks to hooks for helicopter transport. Argo’s own Warn winches can’t match the maximum capacity offered by Arctic Cat, but they’re also included in many of their models instead of being another added expense.
At first glance, Arctic Cat’s HDX looks like a great deal. They’re reasonably low cost, have decent cargo and passenger capacity, and have features like a CVT and automatically adjusting power steering that makes them easy to use. The unique convertible bed adds some flexibility, and there’s something to be said for having a UTV that can carry a load and up to six passengers, even if it’s a bit of a squeeze.
If you don’t need the Crew’s seating and cargo capacity at the same time or you want anything other than what is included in the base models, then the HDX makes a lot less sense. Argo includes equipment that is extra on the HDX including skid plates, full lighting, winches, and even cabs, letting you get what you need without spending a fortune on accessories.
Want to see how you could use an Argo 8×8? Visit Shank’s Argo. We have over 30 years of experience selling and maintaining outdoor power equipment. Visit our website, www.shanksargo.com to schedule a demo, or stop by our shop, located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s just off Rt. 11, one mile east of I-81.