When given the opportunity to test-ride the 2023 Lynx Xterrain Brutal, I knew I was stepping into some uncharted territory. My work as a guide consistently has me on the latest “mountain style” snowmobile during the powder tours or the most luxurious 2 passengers “touring snowmobile” for the days I’m guiding trail tours in Yellowstone. So, stepping onto the Lynx Brutal, which seems to fall between a mountain, utility and even a sports performance category of snowmobile, I was interested to see how this blend would fit together and if it does any one thing better than the other.
I would like to give special thanks to Yellowstone Adventures Ski-doo and Lynx in West Yellowstone Montana for allowing me to put 400 miles on the Xterrain Brutal.
I would like to start by talking about the most noticeable features of this snowmobile. As soon as you investigate the Brutal body panels, suspension components and chassis, it’s clear that the Finland-based company is serious about building a sturdy, well-refined snowmobile. The body styling is very sleek and attractive, and the bright red color scheme for 23’ is so awesome on the snow.
The red powder-coated tunnel, suspension rails, and deep red powder skis finish off an extremely beautiful package. When you throw a leg over the seat it’s a noticeably wider girth to accommodate the 20-inch-wide track, but remember the 154-inch length and the 2.4-inch-tall lugs are not as noticeable due to the slightly tipped-up suspension rails. It handled flat in the turns; however, the steering took a bit more input, versus a snowmobile with a less aggressive track. But it handled great on the groomed trails for which I rode about 200 miles.
When the deep bumps formed throughout my days of riding, I was truly impressed by how the shocks on the Brutal soaked up the deepest of whoops. It really seemed to float over them better than anything I’ve previously ridden. I was told Finland doesn’t groom any trails and the suspension is designed for that style of terrain. It really showed the harder you pushed the better the suspension worked. And let’s face it, even groomed trails don’t last long. So why not have a machine capable of being Brutal to the bumps and not Brutal because of the bumps?
Let me tell you about the control features. I really like having my hand and thumb warmer switches on the handlebars, very easy to access and easy to see on the display. The mountain-style handlebars are ergonomic and comfortable. The throttle pull is light and the 850 E-Tec engine is a beast! Torque for pulling and high revs make for incredible power on the Brutal. The 850 is known to be reliable and it’s no secret that our local rental fleets here in Montana see well over 10 thousand miles a season on these engines. I really feel that these 850 engines are a perfect companion with the Brutal chassis.
A couple of quick mentions on the Brutal.
Besides the battery-powered electric start, it does have a hidden pull start which is accessible beneath the side panel for emergencies. The large dash storage is very handy along with the 2 USB ports inside. The Brutal I rode was equipped with the glove box extension and cellphone holder accessory. It was very handy to see my satellite map on my phone while exploring hidden pockets of powder. Did I mention it heats and charges your phone while you ride? I would only hope that they start putting weather sealing around the door compartment on this accessory to help keep moisture out. I really liked the adjustable ski stance to fine-tune the feel of this snowmobile, depending on the terrain and your riding style. Personally, I set the skis to the narrowest of settings for the time I spent in the deep snow with the Brutal.
I know many of you are wondering “how does it handle the deep snow?”
To answer your question, it goes places most riders don’t think possible. I was riding with a group who were all mounted on the newest mountain snowmobiles and a reoccurring comment was “I can’t believe where you’re going on that sled Joe!” It is very capable of traversing in deep bottomless snow. I had a blast side hilling and climbing steep slopes on the Brutal. Counter steering and maneuvering in deep snow takes more input than a narrower lighter mountain sled. But that is to be expected.
The BRP LINQ system allows you to put tons of accessory items on this machine. Also, it has pre-drilled holes ready to mount a hitch. Right behind the seat is a huge storage box for all your essentials as well. It comes ready with a battery tender plug so you can charge your battery during extremely cold temps.
This is a machine I would truly enjoy owning. The possibilities seem endless with the 2023 Lynx Xterrain Brutal. Long trail rides felt great, deep powder riding on this machine will open up a whole new world of exploring! When I stated in the beginning that “I want to know how a snowmobile that seems to have the features of a mountain, utility and sports performance machine would blend?” Well, I didn’t expect to be so impressed by the fact it really holds all those features in a well-balanced platform called the Brutal.
Lynx puts the Brutal in the “crossover” category. I really believe the 2023 Lynx Xterrain Brutal is setting a new standard for the definition of what that really means! It’s by far the most capable machine I’ve ever enjoyed riding.