Test drive of the Ski-Doo Renegade XR-S 850 E-TEC 2022

Last winter, I had the chance to test the Ski-Doo Renegade XR-S 850 E-TEC 2022. This snowmobile is designed for performance enthusiasts who prefer a sporty ride. The unit I was able to test was equipped with the Smart-Shox suspension as well as the 7.8-inch digital gauges. Following this test, I present to you today my assessment of this snowmobile.

Ski-Doo Renegade XR-S 850 E-TEC 2022

Ski-Doo Renegade XR-S 850 E-TEC 2022 Look

The Renegade XR-S 850 E -TEC has a very successful look. Indeed, its fluid lines and its raised front demonstrate its sporty style. The choice of materials and the care given to the finish are remarkable. In other words, when you see this snowmobile, it seems to tell you that it is ready to devour miles of trails.

Ski-Doo Renegade XR-S 850 E-TEC 2022 Engine

Although the Renegade X-RS is offered with the 180 HP 900 ACE Turbo R engine, I preferred the 165 HP 850 E-TEC. Indeed, this 2-stroke engine is lighter which makes the machine more flexible in my opinion. For my personal use, I prefer this flexibility to the additional 15 HP of the turbocharged 4-stroke version.

Of course, having ridden the Rotax 850 E -TEC for the past few years, I knew that the performance of this engine was impressive. Therefore, I was expecting a similar behaviour in terms of propulsion. However, what I could not yet guess was the impact that the Smart-Shox semi-active suspension would have on the overall driving experience…

Smart-Shox suspension

First of all, I must mention that at the beginning of the season, the Smart-Shox system was not activated. Indeed, we were also affected by the shortage of electronic components. What’s great about this situation is that I was able to test the sled extensively without Smart-Shox, giving me a baseline to build on for the rest of my test.

The purpose of a semi-active suspension like Smart-Shox is to adjust the compression and rebound rate of the shocks in real-time. This allows the rider to enjoy a fully functioning suspension at all times when riding on the trail.

Of course, the vast majority of bumps and holes you encounter while riding are fully absorbed by the suspension. You have to try it to understand the impact it can have on the driving experience. It feels like you’re riding on a cloud while maintaining the traction of the track and skis.

Positive points of the Smart-Shox

However, the place where the Smart-Shox shines is in the corners. The more you ride in sport mode and the tighter the corners, the more surprising this suspension becomes. Indeed, when you enter a corner, the system will “harden” the shock absorber on the outside of the curve and “soften” the one on the inside. The snowmobile will no longer have a tendency to drift outward since the snowmobile’s attitude will remain horizontal. As a result, it will be easier and faster to take curves.

Another noticeable impact of the Smart-Shox suspension is during hard starts. The system will harden the rear shock absorber to eliminate the rearward camber effect. The skis will stay on the ground and the contact surface of the track will remain optimal. This makes for more effective and impressive acceleration.

Needless to say, I greatly appreciated the Smart-Shox semi-active suspension. Is this option useful for all future Renegade X-RS owners? I don’t think so. Drivers with a wiser or more conservative attitude will not be able to take full advantage of a semi-active suspension. For these drivers, I would advise them to carefully evaluate their needs and weigh the pros and cons at the time of purchase.

Driving

Of course, the Smart-Shox system improves the driving experience. However, it also relies on other factors. For example, the unit I rode last year was equipped with Pilot X skis. These provide very good handling in most situations. There is a little bit of sway in some trail conditions. This does not have a major impact on the overall experience.

Riding position

The riding position is remarkable. The seat is comfortable even after riding a few hundred miles. You have a good view which allows you to evaluate the trail in front of you. I really appreciate the adjustable handlebars that allow me to modify my riding position according to my pace or the type of trail.

The 7.8-inch LCD display is very well designed. The information is easy to read and it offers many features. What I don’t like is the position of the controls on it, which are located on the left side of the console. It is difficult to change the display while driving. We must therefore stop. A return of the control buttons to the handlebars would be desirable in my opinion.

Ski-Doo Renegade XR-S 850 E-TEC 2022

Conclusion

As you can imagine, I greatly appreciated this snowmobile. I recommend it to snowmobilers who adopt a sportier riding style. I would like to thank the manufacturer Ski-Doo for making this test possible.

Have a great season!

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