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Overall I was very impressed.

To start with, the seating position is low (that is a good thing) and the steering wheel is right where it needs to be. This is specifically noted because when sitting in most Side x Sides, the steering wheel is too far away and your arms are stretched out completely. I like the shifter mechanism. My Polaris XP is very notchy and sometimes difficult to find the right gear. The Wildcat was easy to shift but had enough detent to feel each gear position. The seats are very comfortable and natural feeling. The seats also have an insert below the headrest that facilitate adding 5 point harnesses which is cool. I really like the doors! I like their looks, fit, etc. I also like the visibility over the front of the car and through the door cutouts. The button that releases the latch mechanism seemed to hang up with sand occasionally. I would imagine they'll have a countermeasure for that coming.

All of the new Wildcats are going to have electric power steering. Like most other OEM EPS systems, the steering assist is variable based on speed. More assistance at low speed and less at higher speed. That said, the steer effort is very light. Maybe too light for my preference. A longer time behind the wheel might change my opinion on that.

The radiator and oil cooler seem larger than an OEM would normally use, I like that. The radiator also has twin electric SPAL fans which are GREAT fans.
The wheels are 14" and I like the look of larger wheels on these machines that have more wheel travel. It seems to fit the vehicle aesthetically. The tires are made by Vision and have a flat profile. These had already been abused at Barstow and aren't exactly sand tires but they worked ok given the conditions.

The suspension is quite impressive for a showroom stock vehicle! After a short driving period to get a feel for the handling, I promptly flat footed the throttle through the sand highway whoops near the entrance to Oldsmobile hill and past the tree area heading West. These whoops are NOT small if you know the area. The longer wheelbase helped reduce the front to rear pitching and there was little tendency to kick up in the rear. I also drove it through the whoops while moderating the throttle, timing the acceleration relative to the whoops. Even when "under speed" to get on top of the rough terrain, it never got out of shape or did anything to alarm me. At the same time, it also did NOT bottom out excessively or feel harsh.
After running up the whoops for a distance, I turned left and ran the small dunes just on the South side of sand highway back towards the vendor area. Overall it was pleasing to drive but I felt that it would need to be stiffened up for hard charging in the dunes. This was mostly on g-outs and transitions. In this case, I could feel the rear suspension bottom out but not excessively so. It also had a bit more body roll that i'd like when throwing it sideways into an aggressive turn. However, for a duner that doesn't drive aggressively it will be just fine as is.

The engine was responsive and deceptively smooth. The power seems to be very linear and lacks excitement. I think that linear character combined with the above average suspension make the engine feel weaker than it actually is. Being an engine tinkerer, I also think it will be relatively easy to turn this engine into a screamer if desired. We will be working on this asap!

All in all, it is an exciting time to be involved with Side x Sides! Despite the weak global economy, MFRs are coming out with phenominal new vehicles like the Wildcat and giving enthusiasts what they are asking for. I know Benchmark will be picking up a Wildcat and we're genuinely excited about it!

So who else drove one?
 
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I only wish that I got to drive one at the dunes! The track was ok, but I would have loved to open it up a bit at the dunes. I don't drive on dirt tracks very often, so trying to compare it was difficult without a baseline of some kind. At least at the dunes I have plenty of seat time to compare it to. Thanks for the nice write-up...................
 

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I did at the Little Sahara Oklahoma event, pretty much said what you said. That has been every review. I also felt the ignition timing was very retarded giving it that boggy no pull low end and mid range. Can't wait to see what you guys can do with an ECU flash on the demo.
 

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Very nice write up, s2k1.....thanks for your time and observations!
 

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nice write up,I drove it at glamis as well it has enough power for me I just love the smooth ride.Now I wont mind going to the drags from the flats if I take sand highway(9 miles of woops) I'm sure I could cruise at 50mph
 
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