The 2015 Wildcat 1000 has
new shocks for a more sure-footed ride, and the long-travel,
long-wheelbase machine wants
an aggressive driver for faster
cornering speeds. Shane Trittler
it maintain higher trail speeds in open
desert and rough dunes. The new
EFI, ECU and ceramic-coated exhaust
provides excellent throttle response and
a smoother-running engine, and the
exhaust note is sweet.
HOW IS THE CVT/4WD DELIVERY?
As good as it gets. The Team Rapid-Response CVT clutch lives up to its
name and spools up quickly, but not
so fast that it feels twitchy in nasty,
rock-crawling situations. It’s tuned well
with the new EFI mapping too. Servos
quickly engage the front diff in 4WD
and mechanically lock the front diff so
the Wildcat has all-wheel traction, and
the Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 radials (on our
1000) give such good traction, it’s like
the 1000 has retractable claws.
WHAT ABOUT HANDLING?
It goes straight really well but wants
an aggressive driving style to corner
effectively. Between the long 95-inch
wheelbase, 40/60 rearward weight
bias and long-travel suspension, the
1000 pushes into corners, especially
in 4WD, unless you drive it in hard and
drift out the rear end for faster cornering
HOW’S THE WILDCAT SUSPENSION?
It’s got the most travel and best ride
IS IT A ROCK HAMMER?
in the 1000 class. Our 1000 and the X
have JRi shocks, while the Limited has
Elka Stage 5s, and they were tuned
well to deliver a super-plush ride on
trail junk, articulate for rocks and deep
rain ruts, and give a Trophy Truck-like
ride on desert whoops. Between the
long travel and 40/60 weight bias, the
Wildcat flies well in the dunes and lands
on all four feet. The ECX-1 shocks have
70-position compression adjusters and
ring preload, while the LTD’s Elka Stage
5s have high/low compression and
As long as the rock obstacles don’t
include a tight turn. The long wheelbase
and 17/18 inches of travel make it
incredibly agile, plus it has 13 inches
The Wildcat digital/analog instrument panel can be toggled to show
mph, kph or rpm on the analog needle, and the digital fuel gauge is
easy to read. The three-position toggle under the speedometer selects
2WD/4WD/diff-lock; leave it in 2WD for best steering and cornering.
The high-back bucket seats have holes for harnesses, and the metal
base is designed to be removed and used as chairs around camp.
The doors swing out of the way for entering and exiting the cabin and
have upper and lower nets on the 1000 and X.