Denis Lavoie's Polaris best picks – I felt for to the Patriot's power
In this second article of the series presenting my best picks, I will tell you about the Polaris snowmobile that caught my attention during our tests at the Snowshoot in early March.
For 2019, Polaris presented several novelties, including a new engine the 850 Patriot, a new suspension the Pro-CC, an entry-level model for the uninitiated the Indy EVO and a new trail model the Indy XC 129 which is built on the AXYS chassis.
So we had a lot of work to do in four days with all these new things. We wanted to appreciate all their potential and find out the points to improve.
Of course, the highlight of 2019 is undoubtedly the arrival of the 850 Patriot engine (A new engine for Polaris in 2019). It had a major impact on the selection of models that our team decided to try during the SnowShoot. Indeed, more than 50% of the models we chose were equipped with this new engine.
So we had the opportunity to test the engine in different types of snowmobiles. According to the first things circulating on Internet, it would develop between 170 and 174 HP which would make it the most powerful two-stroke engine in the industry. I was greatly impressed with the power delivered of the 850 Patriot. The engine responds quickly when the accelerator is pressed for lightning starts. It doesn't stop there… When you drive and press more the accelerator, the 850 responds strongly, it is like that on the entire power range. At the exit of curves, the revivals are vigorous. We must remember that we were at higher altitudes and that we can expect about 20% more power at sea level, as is the case in Quebec. Wow! Can’t wait to try it next winter!!
Love at first sight
The first afternoon of testing, I sat behind the handlebars of the 850 Switchback Assault and really fell in love with this model. Although I am primarily a trail snowmobiler, I prefer snowmobiles that provide the flexibility to go off the trail where it is permitted. I really enjoyed my test drive of the 800 Switchback Assault 144 2017 (2017 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault – Final report ) and this configuration was very well suited to my driving style and preferences. No wonder the 2019 version of the 850 Patriot engine won me over. The 850 Switchback Assault is very precise which I greatly appreciate on winding trails. The suspension does the job well and provides good comfort. I must admit however that it was the engine's performance and power combined with the model's flexibility that definitely made me fall for it.
Models that also caught my attention
Of course, the 2019 Polaris snowmobiles doesn't stop at the 850 Switchback Assault some other models have attracted my attention.
I can't miss the 850 Indy XC… This snowmobile will be a big hit on the trails next year. Built on the AXYS platform and combining the new 129" Storm track, the PRO-CC rear suspension and the 850 Patriot engine, this model has it all to please the hardcore trail snowmobiler. Of course, I would love to see the Indy XC with a 137" track… This might change my choice for my Polaris crush. Who knows, maybe next year?
The other model I greatly enjoyed is in a new snowmobile category, snowmobiles for teens and uninitiated adults. You guessed it, it's the Indy EVO (Read about the Indy EVO…). Indeed, Polaris is the first manufacturer to offer a snowmobile that has the potential to evolve with the abilities of its driver. The members of the SledMagazine.com team had a lot of fun driving this model. It literally takes us back to the base. We are pleased to see that Polaris is taking the lead to introduce a new generation of snowmobilers as teenagers or adults. Although the Indy EVO is a basic model, I would like to see an engine option to have the same snowmobile, but equipped with a 600cc engine.
In conclusion, for 2019 the Switchback Assault 144 2019 is my favorite.