My job as a snowmobile columnist allows me to test many models throughout the winter. Among these vehicles, there are some that are more adapted to our driving style, our types of rides and our preferences. This is what makes my job so exciting and unique!
Occasionally, a snowmobile stands out from the crowd because of its characteristics, its behavior and of course its performance. When you have the chance to get behind the handlebars and ride many miles of snow, it is clear that these moments are deeply imprinted in your memory.
So, when the folks at Ski-Doo contacted us to offer us a spring test ride of the 2022 Mach Z, I was ecstatic. Indeed, since I could not participate in the SnowShoot because of the Covid-19 crisis, my hopes of being able to try the new Mach Z were gone. Having the chance to ride it, in Quebec no less, was for me an opportunity not to be missed.
First of all, the Mach Z has a distinctive look. Since it is a model produced only for 2022 and available for spring sale only, these snowmobiles had to stand out from the other models in the Ski-Doo line-up. For all these reasons, the 2022 Mach Z will be very popular on the trade-in market for the next few years.
To learn more about the features of the 2022 Mach Z, I invite you to read Jean-François’ article by clicking here.
Mach Z versus Renegade X-RS
Apart from its look, the Mach Z is very similar to the Renagade X-RS with the Smart-Shox system. The main differences are a lowered center of gravity and the famous launch control. For the center of gravity, Ski-Doo lowered the rMotion X/RAS X suspension to achieve a 1.5 inch lower riding position. You can see the difference immediately when you sit on the machine. When you combine the lower center of gravity with the Smart-Shox and the rMotion X/RAS X suspension geometry, you’re looking at a snowmobile that offers an incredible ride.
We also see a big difference in tight turns. The front end of the snowmobile stays perfectly in line, which maximizes the grip of the two skis. The level of effort (input) of the driver in the turns is minimal and consists mainly of counterbalancing the centrifugal force that is applied to his body. This is done unconsciously as it is done in a car on a twisty road.
The new 180 hp 900 ACE Turbo R engine impressed me. As soon as you start it, you hear the beautiful, racy sound that is characteristic of the sporty character that Ski-Doo has implanted in it. It’s pure music to my ears and I consider it the best sounding 4-stroke engine in the industry.
From the very first kilometers, the 180 hp are very present and in sport mode, the performance makes me smile. Wow! The new iTC cable system makes driving in sport mode much more pleasant and predictable in bumpy terrain. Even over large bumps, you don’t feel the jolt caused by slight changes in the position of your thumb on the throttle.
The engine response time is very slight and barely noticeable. You really have to concentrate to feel it. Coming back to the iTC system with cable, I still prefer the normal position for sporty driving in very twisty areas. If you accelerate a little too much or at the wrong moment in a curve, the front end lifts and you lose traction. Of course, with more time behind the handlebars, I’m sure I would eventually find the “sweet spot” and maximize the performance in this kind of situation.
I’m going to make a little parenthesis to talk about the “Launch control”. I have to say that at first glance, this feature is a gadget that won’t be useful unless you want to do drag racing or just to impress your friends. Other users will probably try it out a few times, but it won’t become one of the major elements that will make them appreciate their Mach Z. That being said, I gave it a try and all I can say is wow!!! I really enjoyed those few seconds of arm stretching. That’s something… However, would this feature make me choose one model over another? I would have to say no!
The last aspect I want to talk about is the suspension and the comfort it offers. The rMotion X is already very comfortable, but when combined with the Smart Shox system, it takes it to a whole new level. Of course, it has something to do with the fact that the Smart Shox system allows you to optimize the compression and rebound adjustments of the shocks in real time.
This means that you have the optimal settings for each shock absorber, regardless of the type of terrain, the speed of the snowmobile, the position of the shocks and a host of other factors. I tried all three modes and most of the time, I used the comfort mode.
Although I expected a smoother ride over small bumps, the suspension work is still remarkable. In my opinion, this type of system is destined to become the standard for high-end models in the next few years, even in the competition. To learn more about the Smart Shox system, I invite you to read the text: Smart-Shox – First semi-active suspension in the world of snowmobiles.
In the end, I was able to ride a little less than 1000 km in very spring-like conditions. Fortunately, a few small storms helped the Club Les Amoureux de la Motoneige of Matane and the Club l’Étoile des Monts of Murdochville to maintain their trails a little longer. Thanks to them. This allowed me to ride the Mach Z on freshly groomed trails and appreciate all the aspects of this unique model.
I am still very impressed with this snowmobile and this test will remain one of the most memorable of all those I have had the chance to ride over the past 15 years.
If you ordered a Mach Z this spring, I am sure this sled will meet your expectations. I for one would not hesitate to recommend it!