Switchback Assault 2023: First Impressions

This winter, thanks to Polaris, I have the pleasure of riding the 2023 Patriot Boost Switchback Assault 146. It belongs to the 50/50 hybrid snowmobile category. According to the manufacturer, it’s the ultimate hybrid snowmobile for dominating both on and off the trail. Personally, I’ll be putting it to the test mostly on trails. This snowmobile borrows some features from two Polaris models, the RMK designed for mountain terrain and the Indy crafted for the trail.

Switchback Assault 2023 Engine

Let’s first look at the three engines available for the Switchback Assault 2023: the 650 Patriot, the 850 Patriot, and the Patriot Boost. I’ll be trying out the latter this winter on my snowmobile. This engine is essentially an 850 Patriot equipped with a Turbo (a novelty for 2023). The Patriot Boost is said to provide an additional power equivalent to 10% compared to its non-turbo version.

So, under the hood I have nearly 180 HP according to my calculations. I truly felt these 180 HP during my initial rides, and I found it very impressive. Its turbo ensures a responsive performance regardless of atmospheric conditions.

Chassis—the Matryx Platform

The Switchback Assault 2023 is built on the Matryx platform. It’s a chassis known to be rider oriented. Its narrower cabin allows me to shift my weight from side to side by sliding my knees on the edges during turns. I find the driving position pleasant and comfortable. Additionally, the medium windshield provides enhanced protection, keeping me well shielded from the wind.

Suspension on the Switchback Assault 2023

Now let’s look at the suspension of the Switchback Assault 2023. It features an Independent Front Suspension (IFS) and a rear IGX146 suspension. All of this is paired with Walker Evans Racing Velocity shocks. The design of the inclined rails facilitates turns and acceleration.

During my first ride, I must say it wasn’t extraordinary with the factory standard adjustments. This is normal because each rider has their preferences, and body size varies. This led me to readjust everything, using the limited knowledge I have.

Suspension Adjustments

Initially, the weight of the machine was too much towards the front. So, I centralized this weight by adjusting the front, central, and rear shocks. I also adjusted a hole on the limiter strap located in front of the central shock. Now, I can confidently say that it performs well when trail conditions worsen. It is also much more maneuverable than before. I succeeded in my adjustments on the first try this time. Normally, I would say that it takes a lot of trial and error to find what works.

The 15 × 146 × 1.35 Cobra Track

Now, let me tell you about the R Cobra 15 × 146 × 1.35 track equipped on the Switchback Assault 2023. Designed to adhere to the trail, its flexible and silent profiles contribute to greater comfort. I have indeed observed that it is very quiet.

Polaris also provides another track option, the 15 × 146 × 2.0 Crossover. Its straight studs (2 in) at the rigid base offer good performance on the trail. On the other hand, its flexible and pliable stud tips provide excellent traction in deep snow.

7S Display With Ride Command Technology

With the 7S display equipped with Ride Command Technology, we can plan, track, and share our rides on our Switchback Assault 2023. The seven-inch touchscreen can be used with gloves, which is convenient.

Everything is accessible in this system. First, the vehicle diagnostics, then trail maps and points of interest. Additionally, the group riding technology allows us to track our riding partners, with or without cellular coverage. What makes this system even more interesting is the ability to adjust the thumb or hand warmth settings according to our preferences.

polaris patriot boost switchback assault 146

Dimensions and Features of the Switchback Assault 2023

  • Electric Start (optional)
  • Pro-Steer skis
  • Reverse gear
  • Medium smoked windshield
  • Estimated weight: 508 lb
  • Length: 125 inches
  • Ski stance: 42.5 inches
  • 5-liter fuel tank

Brakes

I observed that its disc brake system is really high performing. I still need to test it in conditions other than the early-season ones I’ve experienced.

Conclusion

At first glance, for a hybrid snowmobile, the Switchback Assault 2023 is surprising. Its Patriot Boost engine is powerful, it is well equipped, and both the suspension and track seem to provide good performance. The cockpit is well designed, and the riding position is comfortable. It performs well on the trail. Are there other strengths than these? Are there weaknesses and areas for improvement? You’ll find out in my next final review article!

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