As winter is approaching, are in the look for a trusty snowmobile to have a blast in the cold weather? The market is flooded with different snowmobile models and if you are confused as to which brand or model to look for, we have narrowed your effort to this list. This will indeed help you in arriving at the best choice and finding the most reliable snowmobile for you.
Best Snowmobile Brands
At first let us see the best snowmobile brands on which you can trust ad rely without second thoughts.
Ski-Doo leads the snowmobile industry. In the US, it is common to see the winter streets being flooded with Ski-Doo Snowmobiles. This indeed speaks for the reliability of the brand. The Ski-Doo snowmobiles are produced under Bombardier Recreational Products which is a Canadian company. Headquartered in Valcourt, Quebec, Canada, they have facilities in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia and Finland.
The first-ever Ski-Doo model was released back in the 1950s and this was designed by Joseph Bombardier. From there, there was no looking back and they have earned popularity and trust among the snowmobilers with their snowmobile models. The Ski-Doo snowmobiles are known for their industry leading technology. They excel in delivering ride comfort, fuel efficiency and reliability. They can last for around 20 years. They also offer many snowmobile gears and accessories.
For 2023, Ski-Doo has the following models in their line-up:
- Trail Snowmobiles– Renegade, MXZ, MXZ Neo, Grand Touring
- Deep Snow Snowmobiles– Summit, Summit Neo, Freeride
- Crossover Snowmobiles– Backcountry, Expedition
- Sport Utility Snowmobiles – Skandic, Tundra
Polaris is another famous manufacturer of snowmobiles. They also specialise in ATV, UTVs, snowmobile tracks, etc. These vehicles are manufactured in Roseau, Minnesota, USA. The engines are manufactured in Osceola, Wisconsin. There are also facilities in Huntsville, AL, and Spirit Lake, IA.
Holding about one-third of the market share, they hold one-third of the market share in the snowmobile industry, the models are known for incorporating passion and adventure. The sleds are quality built and can accommodate the rider demands, making them one of the most reliable brands in the industry. They lead the industry for their superior performance and lightweight agility while providing good handling capability for the ultimate ride. The Polaris snowmobiles can last for around a good 20 years. They also offer parts & accessories, clothing and gears. Prices of the snowmobile range from about $7500 to above $ 16000.
For 2023, Polaris comes with a much wider line-up.
- Trail: INDY VR1, INDY XCR, INDY XC, INDY Adventure, INDY Adventure X2, INDY SP, INDY Sport, INDY EVO,
- Mountain: PRO RMK Slash, RMK Khaos Slash, PRO RMK, RMK Khaos, SKS 146, RMK EVO
- Recreational: Voyageur 146, 550 Voyageur, 550 INDY LXT, 550 INDY Adventure
- Crossover: Switchback Assault, Switchback XC, Switchback SP, Switchback Sport
- Wide Track: TITAN Adventure 155
- New Riders: RMK EVO, INDY EVO
- Youth: 120 INDY
One of the best snowmobile brands, Arctic Cat raves this description with just a market share of 15 %. Headquartered in Minnesota, the original Arctic Cat sled was invented by a former Polaris employee and was known as Polaris Manufacturing. However, In the 1990s, they came under Arctco and since then known as Arctic Cat. In 2017, they became a part of Textron. They also offer other off road vehicles, ATVs and side by sides. Arctic Cat has their facilities set up within the US.
They offer Snowmobiles for every type of rider. The 2 stroke engines used in their sleds have been developed by the company itself. For 4 stroke engines, they have used Suzuki engine, which are later replaced by Yamaha engines. The Arctic Cat snowmobiles will last for about 10- 15 years. Prices range from $8500 to above $20000.
For 2023, Arctic Cat offers:
- Mountain: Blast M, M Mountain Cat Alpha One, M Hardcore Alpha One
- Crossover: Riot, Riot X, Blast XR
- Trail and Utility: ZR, ZR R-XC, ZR Thundercat, Norseman X, Blast ZR, Blast LT
- Youth: ZR 120, ZR 200
Yamaha started off their business as a company selling musical instruments. In the 1950s, they started producing motorcycles. Later on, they explored the snowmobile industry. Based in Japan, they manufacture their snowmobiles in Japan and the US headquarters is in California.
It was in the 1980s that Yamaha launched the first lightweight snowmobile, the Phazer. Though they hold only 5% of the market share in case of snowmobiles, the brand is known for its philosophy, where they value action guidelines and management principles, along with corporate mission. Yamaha snowmobiles are known for their powerful engines, safety features as well as durability. As each vehicle is tested individually after assembly and this speaks much about why they have turned as a reliable brand in snowmobile industry. If you driver correctly and maintain it properly, they will last you longer. Since 2010, Yamaha has been working in cooperation with Arctic Cat. The price of the models ranges from $5000 to $20000.
The 2023 Yamaha line-up includes:
- Trail: Sidewinder SRX LE EPS, Sidewinder L-TX LE EPS, Sidewinder L-TX SE, Sidewinder L-TX GT EPS, SRViper L-TX GT, SXVenom
- Crossover: Sidewinder X-TX LE 146, Sidewinder X-TX SE 146
- Mountain: Mountain Max LE 154, Mountain Max LE 154 SL, Mountain Max LE 165, SXVenom Mountain
- 2-up Touring and Utility: Sidewinder X-TX GT EPS, Transporter 800, Transporter Lite-2 Up, Transporter Lite
- Youth: Snoscoot ES, SRX120R
Snowmobile brands and Engines
Engines and the technology incorporated plays a significant role in enhancing the overall performance as well as reliability of the snowmobiles. So we have tried to include some of the features of the engines of the famous snowmobile brands.
Ski-Doo: Ski-Doo uses BRP Rotax Engines in their snowmobiles. Be it two stroke or the four stroke engines, the Rotax engines have created a stir in the snowmobile industry. The BRP Rotax engines are known in for their optimum power delivery along with good fuel and oil utilization. All this accounts to the sleds reliable performance.
Nowadays, customers are demanding propulsion systems giving good riding experience as well as following stringent emission regulations. The New BRP engines for Ski-Doo have taken this into account.
The four stroke engine model uses a multi-port fuel injection system contributing to an impressive, superior cruising range of 29 miles per gallon. With excellent combustion stability, with Lambda values of 1.1 and higher in part load, they offer good fuel efficiency. The engine can be start down to temperatures as low as minus 40 degree Celsius. The presence of maintenance free valve tappets and the optimized cylinder honing process leads to very less oil consumption.
The Ski-Doo engines also feature great geometrical layout, where all the engine components are installed within minimum space. The crankshaft is put as low as possible, providing a low center of gravity for a stable riding. The rear engine contour forming one wall of the tank is something unique which leads to high grade integrated components in the system. At each stage of the process, there is digital mock-up which adds more value to the system design.
Polaris: The Polaris range of engines is built to let you have confident control over the sled. With the advanced Patriot boost engine, the claim is to produce more power even as you climb up the mountain peaks. They are also set to offer good durability and fuel efficiency. The Polaris engines feature the best in class throttle response. The Polaris engines also offer unrivalled acceleration with the best power to weight options.
The Polaris Cleanfire range of engines offers reliable performance with the easy start and instant acceleration. They offer good responsiveness with the best in class weight to power.
Arctic Cat: Known as the world’s fastest snowmobile manufacturer, previously they used Suzuki engines since 1976. Later on, they entered into engine supply agreement with Yamaha and now Arctic Cat 4 stroke snowmobiles are built to Yamaha specifications using Yamaha four stroke engines. Arctic Cat manufactures its own 2 stroke engines.
The latest 2023 Thundercat Series features the 9000- Series C-TEC4 Turbocharged Engine. The biggest and the most powerful turbo three cylinder engine on the trail delivers max horsepower in all conditions. It delivers ultra-quick throttle as well as good turbo response, with minimal weight. Engine braking control is offered via an idle speed circuit. Coming with a press forged crankshaft, they also offer engine mapping.
Yamaha: Known as the manufacturer of the durable models of sleds, Yamaha creates some of the best lightweight snowmobiles since the 1980s with the introduction of Phazer. Their four stroke engines have undergone constant revisions and due consideration is given to weight management. Even to this day, Yamaha’s RX-1 engine remains a staple of its motor sleds. Yamaha has been in partnership with Arctic Cat since 2010.
Yamaha’s four-stroke engines have gained popularity as the most reliable engines for snowmobiles of all time. They display superior features like the counter shaft for greater compactness and performance and the dry sump system engineered to reduce pumping losses. With the low-pressure cast upper case leads, greater engine toughness is offered. The fuel injection system performs well by fine-tuning the feeling of the acceleration.
Reliability of Snowmobiles
Now we have seen some of the best brands in the snowmobile industry and have also seen some details regarding the engines being used in them. Now we are in a better position to answer as to which brand is more reliable. However, there is no definite answer to the question as to which is the most reliable snowmobile brand. All the brands mentioned above have their key highlights that work well with several of their models. However, the major battle is between the brands Ski-Doo and Yamaha.
Many consider Ski-Doo as the most reliable performer. The opinion can also be justified as Ski-Doo holds about 50% of the snowmobile market share. They incorporate the best technologies producing innovative and high quality sled that do perform well. They are also popular for their stylish designs. Also Ski-Doo has facilities widespread cross US and outside.
Though having a low market share, the Yamaha sleds are best known for their powerful engines and reliability. The designs may not be that stylish when compared to Ski-Doo, but their durability and reliability is something worth mentioning. Yamaha 4 stroke snowmobiles are considered the most reliable snowmobiles by many.
Buying a snowmobile is a heavy investment you make. If you are someone looking to buy a snowmobile, start off by thinking the type of sled you want and the riding conditions you prefer. Then go ahead with the different brands, compare their performance merits as well as demerits if any. Later on, you will be in a spot to make the best decision.
Most reliable snowmobiles
Now let us see some of the most reliable snowmobiles in the snowmobile industry. Crossovers are mentioned in the list as they offer a much versatile performance in different terrains and purposes, rather than intended more for singular purposes.
Yamaha Sidewinder X-TX SE 146
The Sidewinder X‑TX SE, the crossover features quick transfer, VersAttak 146 rear suspension and 2.0‑inch deep‑lug Camso ‘Challenger’ track. They feature the wide Yamaha Mountain Skis with the front end sporting a narrower 40‑inch ski stance. They feature SR‑M Mountain chassis based tunnel and steering syystem. Complimentary to that, they also feature a lightweight mountain seat, tapered foot boards and Stealth controls. With the Top‑shelf Fox Zero QS3 shocks found up front, it is viable to be used in a wide range of terrain and riding styles. With the Genesis Turbo 4 stroke 998 CC engine, it comes with a power‑packed and reliable performance for your fun outing.
Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme
The Expedition Xtreme delivers great off-trail as well as trail handling. Two Rotax Engine options are available: 850 E-TEC and 900 Ace Turbo R. The 850 E-TEC is 2 stroke engine with 165 HP and lightweight, while the 900 Ace Turbo R is 4 stroke engine with maximum HP of 180.
Built on the latest REV Gen4 frame, the Expedition Xtreme is extremely durable. They feature KYB† Pro 36 easy-adjust rear shock and HPG Plus front shocks. The Cobra WT track grips deep snow with ease, while keeping you on course. The durability speaks for the reliability of the snowmobile.
Polaris 850 Switchback Assault 146
The Switchback Assault Series is set to offer unrivaled off trail and on trail performance. It is built on the rider first Matryx Platform. It features the high performance 850 Patriot engine (the most powerful engine built by Polaris) which offers class leading durability, responsiveness, acceleration and power to weight ratio. With the ultra premium WER Velocity shocks and IGX 146 rear suspension, you get the best handling crossover sled. All these make them a reliable option to have.
Arctic Cat M Mountain Cat Alpha One
Build for the die hard thrill seekers; they feature bold styling and bolder moves for nest level riding. It features the powerful, next-gen 8000-Series C-TECH 2-Stroke engine delivering 165 class horsepower. This when working in unison with the ALPHA ONE Single-Beam Rear Suspension work to create a ride without any compromise. They also feature the FOX FLOAT 3 QS3 shocks offer maximum deep snow performance. With the aluminum beam placed at its center, it helps track the flex as you ride, thus delivering a smooth riding experience. You can carve your way through the backcountry with ease and style with the M 8000 Mountain Cat ALPHA ONE.