- Look and Innovations
- First Impressions of the 2023 Renegade 850 X-RS
- The 850 Engine: Always Appreciated
- Suspension and Shocks
- The 10.25-inch Screen
- Other Ski-Doo reviews here:
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the REV platform, Ski-Doo offers an update on its Rev Gen5 platform. Last year, I had the opportunity to test the 2023 Renegade 850 X-RS over a little more than 1000 km. Here are my impressions.
Look and Innovations
Firstly, a new look. Despite online criticisms, I appreciate the changes with this fifth generation, bringing a refreshing update to Ski-Doo. The redesigned side panels are now thinner, featuring heat evacuation “traps” at the top of the cabin. These panels are easy to handle and reinstall.
After years, finally, four sleek LED lights are standard. They perform well at night, and the platinum silver colour accented with red on the XRS test version is simply stunning!
On the test snowmobile, you immediately notice the new 10.25-inch screen. This moment also reveals the absence of a dial, with buttons relocated to the left side of the handlebar.
New Engine Support
Also, I noticed the addition of a fourth motor mount on the new platform. The main effect of this is to reduce vibrations but also to improve the life of the drive belt. The new chassis also promises improved noise insulation.
Finally, Ski-Doo has improved the drive belt cooling system.
For 2023, only the 2023 Renegade 850 X-RS with the 850 E-TEC engine benefits from the Rev Gen5 platform. No other significant changes compared to the previous year, except for those mentioned above. The 165 hp 850 E-TEC engine remains unchanged, as do suspension choices, tracks, and other accessories.
No Changes at This Level For 2023
For the 900-ACE Turbo R version of the Renegade X-RS, the chassis remains on the Rev Gen 4 platforms. Therefore, everything stays the same for 2023. This 899 cc, 180 hp 4-stroke engine comes equipped with Smart Shox, a 10.25-inch screen, and the Ice Ripper XT or 137 X15 X 1.5 in track.
Here are the main features of the XR-S package for 2023:
850 E-TEC only:
- REV® Gen5 platform (850 E-TEC® only)
- 10.25-inch color touchscreen with available BRP Connect
- Premium LED headlights
- Advanced steering column position (850 E-TEC®)
900 Ace Turbo R:
- 7.8-inch-wide color LCD display with BRP Connect
850 E-TEC or 900 Ace Turbo R:
- Standard KYB† PRO high-performance shocks or available Smart-Shox semi-active suspension with Pilot X or TX skis
- 7.2-inch digital display
- RAS X front suspension
- rMotion X rear suspension
- Electric start
- RS running boards
- pDrive pulley
- Dual pivot steering system
- Adjustable forward-tilt block
- Transparent handguards
- Open toehold
- Choice of skis: Pilot X or Pilot TX (available with QAS)
- Backlit handlebar-mounted multifunction control module
- Optional Adjustments Package: rMotion X Quick Adjust system and Pilot TX skis
- Choice of RipSaw 137 X15 X1.25in tracks or Ice Ripper XT 137 X15 X1.25in or 137 X15 X 1.5 in.
First Impressions of the 2023 Renegade 850 X-RS
Before getting on the snowmobile, I notice that my gloves also stay in place on the seat without falling off. Which is a positive point for me. The addition of the fourth engine mount has something to do with it. This change could possibly be beneficial. And not just for the life of the drive belt, but possibly for other parts under the hood as well, by reducing vibration.
As soon as I start the snowmobile, I immediately notice that it vibrates less than in the past. And that’s just by looking at the handlebars and the little mirrors. I immediately notice that the riding position remains unchanged with the Gen 5, which is a good thing because the riding position is good. Controlling the snowmobile is a breeze.
The 850 Engine: Always Appreciated
The 850 engine is always pleasant to drive, and also appreciated for its overall performance. It’s a well-calibrated engine that performs well. The power of this engine is linear, providing almost instantaneous response under acceleration. In addition to good performance and efficiency, this engine has always been very reasonable in terms of oil and fuel consumption.
I should mention at the outset that, to my recollection, this engine has never been excessively noisy in the Rev Gen 4 chassis, so it’s exceedingly difficult for me to tell you whether there’s really a significant reduction in noise with this new chassis. All the same, you can see that there’s a lot of insulation in the panel. All this gives me confidence in future improvements by BRP engineers.
Agility for Trails
Regarding the behavior of the test snowmobile, the X-RS version with the 850 engine is simply agile. For optimal trail performance, the Ice Ripper track is essential, given its grip.
Suspension and Shocks
This is the second year I’ve had the opportunity to test Smart Shox technology on a Renegade X-RS 850. After covering many kilometers and swapping snowmobiles during the season, I’ve witnessed the effectiveness of this technology.
During my tests, the suspension calibration of the test snowmobile was locked in Sport mode. Even without the other modes, I confirm that this semi-active suspension is very effective in absorbing bumps on uneven terrain, including curves.
Sport mode strikes a good balance between comfort and trail performance. However, personally, I prefer Sport +. I seek a firmer shock calibration to maintain my trajectory on bumps. I would have liked to try the other modes again, including Comfort.
Nevertheless, my memory of Comfort mode is that the calibration is too soft for my taste for a performance snowmobile. I must also mention that the rMotion X rear suspension is very effective and one of my favourites. Regarding the RAS X front suspension and Pilot X skis, they generally do a great job of keeping the snowmobile stable in curves.
The 10.25-inch Screen
Firstly, it’s a significant improvement over previous screens offered by Ski-Doo. It’s a large screen with various views, whether on a white or black background.
One of my favorite views is split in two, indicating the RPM and speed on the left, and the navigation display on the right. This large screen separate information well while remaining easily readable. There are numerous functions, such as receiving calls, playing music, changing suspension mode, displaying driving statistics, and more.
The screen is entirely touchscreen, and its navigation is intuitive. Although you can wear gloves to access certain menus, you’ll find that the buttons are small, and it’s easier not to wear them. To address this, buttons have been added to the left side of the handlebar. There are three main buttons, which are very intuitive, and I adapted quickly to them without consulting the manual.
One particularly interesting aspect of this system is the ability to connect it to our home WiFi. This way, you can connect the snowmobile and apply system updates without needing a USB key. Well thought out.
The BRP GO! system allows for planning rides, sharing them with friends, and seeing their locations on the route.
One of the biggest disappointments for me is the accessibility of the navigation system. The BRP GO! app must be active, and our phone must be connected to the snowmobile at all times with a USB cable. I would have liked to use the navigation system offline without connecting a phone. Additionally, even though the phone was connected and charging, I noticed that my battery was not charging.
Another personal point is that the changes made to the Gen 5 are quite subtle for trail snowmobiles. I would have liked the same effort dedicated to refining the Renegade as was done for mountain snowmobiles, especially the MXZ. After all, it’s the MXZ snowmobile that propelled the popularity of the REV platform.
In conclusion, I still appreciate the ride of the 2023 Renegade 850 X-RS, especially with its two-stroke engine. This new version is not quite a revolution but still a nice touch to a formula that works very well. It’s a pleasure to ride on trails, offering performance that allows the rider to push boundaries and seek thrills.
A big thank you to Ski-Doo and SledMagazine.com for this test.
Other Ski-Doo reviews here:
- End-of-Season Review of the Ski-Doo Summit X 154 2023
- The Ski-Doo Renegade X-RS 2024: A Test That Fulfilled My Riding Experience!
- Test drive of my dream Snowmobile: Ski-Doo Freeride