Once again this year, thanks to the collaboration of our partner Les Motoneiges Géro, a BRP dealer in Saint-Jean-de-Matha, I have the chance to do a long-term test of a great new Ski-Doo product, the Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC 2023. In addition to being equipped with the 5th iteration of the revolutionary REV chassis, our test snowmobile is equipped with the semi-active Smart-Shox suspension and the all-new digital dial with a 10.25″ touch screen. It is after a few hundred kilometres at the controls of this impressive snowmobile that I am able to give you my first impressions. However, this article is intended to be a statement of our first impressions of specific elements and not a final assessment.
850 E-TEC Engine
Over the past few seasons I have had the chance to test the Rotax 850 E-TEC engine in various long-term trials in 2017, 2018, 2021 and this winter in 2023. I greatly appreciate this engine for many reasons, including its 165 horsepower, acceleration forces and overall performance. One thing to note in 2023 with the Gen5 is that vibrations are reduced with the addition of a 4th engine mount. This is something that is noticeable and something I will be evaluating over the rest of the season.
Under normal driving conditions, I find that the fuel and oil consumption is reasonable considering the very high performance of the vehicle. However, the main thing I like about the 850 E-TEC is the weight reduction, typically +/- 45 lbs versus a similar spec model with a 900 ACE Turbo R engine. This weight reduction generally translates into a better ride on rough trails and less fatigue at the end of the day.
REV Gen5 Platform
The big news at Ski-Doo for 2023 is the introduction of the all-new REV Gen5 platform. From an aesthetic point of view, the rejuvenation and the very clean lines of the snowmobile’s bodywork are quickly apparent. This new design is very successful and combined with the silver and red colors of the Renegade, this makes our test snowmobile really beautiful. But beyond the look, does the new platform make a difference in the riding experience?
As far as the suspension is concerned, typically no, since the attachment points and geometry remain unchanged from the Gen4. In terms of trail vision, I find that the panel configuration allows a better reading of the terrain. In terms of wind protection, the Gen5 is just as good. I did add a low windscreen at the beginning of the season, as the original Renegade X-RS windscreen looks very sporty, but it’s not designed to protect from the cold. The REV Gen5 platform offers the same advanced riding ergonomics, so you can ride this snowmobile very aggressively.
During the 2022 season, I had the chance to test the very sporty MACH Z, which was equipped with the semi-active Smart-Shox suspension. It is with great curiosity that I test it for a second consecutive year but in a lighter snowmobile configuration. The consequence of this reduced weight is, in my opinion, much better vehicle dynamics and exploitation of the Smart-Shox technology capabilities.
Without taking anything away from the MACH Z 2022, the Renegade X-RS with 850 E-TEC engine and Smart-Shox allow for an even more aggressive ride, as well as more comfort for the rider in difficult trail conditions. This system is really impressive when cornering, especially in Sport + mode as the Smart-Shox system significantly reduces the rolling effect and keeps the snowmobile’s attitude extremely straight, allowing it to remain more stable at a good speed in corners. It’s really impressive!
New 10.25″ Touchscreen
Another feature I want to talk about in my first impressions is the all-new 10.25″ touch screen and infotainment center. Up until now, I’ve always enjoyed the capabilities and display of the multi-function dials, but the new touch screen takes us elsewhere. First of all, the display is much larger and easier to read, with a design that meets the best industry standards. Just for the increased visibility of the information it provides, the new screen is worth it. However, it does offer connectivity options with smartphones, music and phones, as well as the BRP Go app. These are features I want to explore by the end of the season.
These are my first impressions of the Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS that I have on long-term tests for the whole season. It is already meeting my expectations in terms of performance and I am looking forward to trying it on bigger rides and in different conditions. This is an invitation to read my final review at the end of the season in which I will have the chance to evaluate all the elements and main features of the snowmobile.
Conclusion of my Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 850 E-TEC 2023 Test
To conclude, I would like to thank again our partner Les Motoneiges Géro for their great collaboration in this long-term test. I invite you to contact them and visit their dealership for all your needs in terms of Ski-Doo and Can-Am off-road products.
I also invite you to watch the video of our first impressions shot on the trail with our test snowmobile.
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