Arctic Cat XC 450 Review and Specs

2011 saw the release of the dual-purpose Arctic Cat XC 450. Intended to replace the DVX 400, this mid-size machine targeted recreational riders and in-training aggro-drivers. Maintenance-free suspension bushings, large fuel capacity, and a sealed driveshaft are only some of the premium features that make the XC a primary choice for practicing on those big jumps and cornering angles.

The Arctic Cat XC 450 is Arctic Cat’s first-ever crossover 4×4 that speaks speed and dependability. Its low center of gravity, impressive towing capabilities, Electronic Fuel Injection, and FIS suspension system make this sporty quad the ultimate ride for beginner racers and adventurers.

Capable, fast, and promising, many enthusiasts wished that a bigger engine came with the Arctic Cat XC 450. They believed that the XC had the makings of a quad that could compete head-to-head with big-bore giants. While this remained many an off-roader’s wishful thinking, the XC 450 still delivered satisfactory performance in its standard form – as you will soon discover in this article.

White 2016 Arctic Cat XC 450 ATV

Innovation Through Adversity

This statement holds so much truth in the case of the Arctic Cat XC 450, as the sport quad launched when the economy was struggling. Back then, consumers were looking for smart deals and ways to save with their purchases. Because it seemed next to impossible for people to afford $10,000-worth big-bore behemoths, Arctic Cat ended up designing and releasing its 1st crossover 4×4.

Consumers loved the cheaper-priced quad with just the right features of a work-oriented-race-friendly wheeler. However, some off-roaders were concerned about purchasing the XC 450, given it had a Kymco-built powerplant. Several Mongoose 300 owners have identified reliability issues with their Kymco engines and were wary about getting any off-road vehicle with the same power mill.

This was undeniably a tough impression to break, but Arctic Cat and Kymco successfully did so. Firstly, the ATV’s prototype – the Kymco’s Maxxer 375 – had such a good reputation in terms of engine performance. Secondly, the powerplant improved from an air-cooled 366-class to a liquid-cooled 450-cc. Lastly, the XC 450 demonstrated capabilities that were as straightforward as they were bulletproof – and these were enough to appease the skeptics that doubted the durability of the quad.

Arctic Cat 450 XC Specs & Features

Orange and Black 2015 Arctic Cat XC 450 ATV

Engine

Instead of Kymco Maxxer 375’s power mill, the rebranded Arctic Cat XC 450 was fitted with the company’s water-cooled 450 H1 engine. Mated to a 72-pound lighter chassis (compared to its 425-cc sibling) and EFI, the XC’s powerplant provided drivers an impressive amount of usable power. As for engine lubrication, the manufacturer-recommended oil viscosity later changed from 5W-50 to 0W-40.

2011 – 2012 Arctic Cat XC 450i 2016 – 2017 Arctic Cat XC 450
Platform 4-Stroke SOHC, four-valve
Cylinder Arrangement Single-cylinder
Engine Cooling Liquid w/ fan
Bore x Stroke 89 x 71.2 mm (3.5 x 2.8 in)
Displacement 443 cm³ / 27 in³
Carburetion System Electronic Fuel Injection
Air Filtration Cyclonic air filter technology
Valve Clearance – Cold Engine (Intake/Exhaust) 0.10 mm (0.0039 in) / 0.17 mm (0.0067 in)
Cam Lobe Height (Intake/Exhaust) 34.71 mm (1.37 in) / 34.48 mm (1.36 in)
Maximum Power (20.1 PS/14.8 kW – L7e) / (34 PS/25 kW – off-road)
Recommended Fuel Unleaded gasoline of at least PON 87/RON 91 rating (oxygenated), containing < 10% ethanol, < 5% methanol, or < 5% MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether)
Fuel Tank Capacity 16.3 L (4.3 US gal)

Lubrication

2011 – 2012 Arctic Cat XC 450i 2016 – 2017 Arctic Cat XC 450
Engine Oil Capacity 3.3 L (3.5 US quarts) – overhaul
2.8 L (3.0 US quarts) – change
Engine Oil Arctic Cat ACX All Weather (Synthetic), API-certified SM SAE 5W-50 oil or higher – applies to variants
Oil Pressure, 60°C (140°F) @ 3,000 RPM 58.6 kPa (0.6 kg/cm², 8.5 psi) – above
68.9 kPa (0.7 kg/cm², 10 psi) – below
**threshold is 117 kPa (1.20 kg/cm², 17 psi)
Rear Drive Fluid Capacity 250 ml (8.5 fl oz) of SAE 80W-90 Hypoid
**one inch below plug threads
Front Differential Capacity 9.3 fl oz of SAE 80W-90 Hypoid
**at the plug threads
Coolant Capacity 1.8 L (1.9 US quarts)

Drivetrain

As with most Arctic Cat quads, the vehicle offers selectable driveline modes actuated through the flick of a switch. Power gets delivered to the wheels via a centrifugal clutch with primary and belt-driven clutches and Duramatic™ CVT transmission (EBS, Hi/Lo range, neutral and reverse included). With this driveline, the primary clutch engages with the CVT belt at all times, helping reduce wear and extend belt life.

2011 – 2012 Arctic Cat XC 450i 2016 – 2017 Arctic Cat XC 450
Clutch One-way centrifugal type
Transfer Type, Shift Sequence Duramatic™ CVT w/ EBS, Hi-Lo range, Neutral & Reverse (L / H / N / R)
Primary Drive / Drive System Shaft drive / 28.5-mm (1.12 in) Belt

Ignition

The 450 uses an electronic CDI ignition with an auxiliary pull-start system and an NGK CR7E spark plug. A flywheel-Magneto alternator with a rated output of 60 AC volts serves as its charging system and powers up electronic accessories. The wheeler requires a 12V 18Ah YTX20HL-BS battery like a Yuasa YUAM620BH YTX20HL-BS Battery (view on Amazon) and, ideally, a NOCO Genius G7200 12V/24V Battery Charger and Maintainer (view on Amazon) to help keep it in excellent working condition.

2011 – 2012 Arctic Cat XC 450i 2016 – 2017 Arctic Cat XC 450
Starting System Electric/Pull
Ignition Timing 10° BTDC @ 1,500 RPM
Alternator Type, Rated Output Magneto, 60 AC volts @ 5,000 RPM (black to black, no load)
Battery / Amp Hr 12V 18Ah/(10 Hr) YTX20HL-BS battery format
Battery Dimensions (L x W x H) 175 87 155 mm (6.88 x 3.44 x 6.12 in)
Spark Plug, Gap NGK CR7E, 0.7-0.8 mm (0.028-0.032 in) gap
Torque specs: 1/2 turn (new) or 1/8 – 1/4 turn (used) once the washer contacts the cylinder head
Main Fuse 30 Amp (main); 15 Amp (ACC, fan); 10 Amp (Ignition, hi-lo beam, lights)
Instrumentation LCD gauge assembly, Speedometer, Odometer/Tripmeter, Tachometer, Coolant Temperature, Gear position, Clock/Hour meter, Differential lock, Drive select, Warning indicators, Gas gauge, Hi-Temp Light, DC Outlet

Tires & Brakes

25-inch Maxxis radials replaced stock rubber on the 2nd year release of the quad, although some trims retained the 23-inch Maxxis® MS10K knobbies. Also, 25-inch tires and other later-year Arctic Cat 450 models used a different 4/115 bolt pattern. As for brakes, a front-to-rear linked brake system with dual hand levers, EBS, and an auxiliary mechanical parking brake provide the XC stopping power and performs excellently on steep grades.

2011 – 2012 Arctic Cat XC 450i 2016 – 2017 Arctic Cat XC 450
Wheel Composition Cast aluminum Powder-coated steel
Front Tire Maxxis® 23 x 8-12, 40 kPa (0.40 kgf-cm2, 5.7 psi) Maxxis® 23 x 8-12 OR Maxxis/Kenda Pathfinder 25 x 8-12
40 kPa (0.40 kgf-cm2, 5.7 psi)
Rear Tire Maxxis® 23 x 10-12, 40 kPa (0.40 kgf-cm2, 5.7 psi) Maxxis® 23 x 10-12 OR Maxxis/Kenda Pathfinder 25 x 10-12
40 kPa (0.40 kgf-cm2, 5.7 psi)
Rim Size, Offset, Bolt Pattern (F) 12×7 / 5+2 – 4/110
Rim Size, Offset, Bolt Pattern (R) 12×8.5 / 5+2 – 4/110
Front Brake, Operation Hydraulic w/ brake lever lock (hand-operated)
Rear Brake, Operation Hydraulic w/ brake lever lock (hand-and-foot-operated)

Suspension

2016 Arctic Cat XC 450 ATV

The Arctic Cat 450 XC Ride-In suspension consists of a robust yet featherweight chassis fitted with double A-arms that feature preload-adjustable shocks and 7-inch suspension travel (front and rear). A rear-mounted full-width anti-sway bar keeps the four-wheeler planted on off-camber sections and gnarly riding conditions – a must for aggressive riders requiring better handling and cornering. A lowered profile and seat design further complement the suspension system’s functionality, resulting in impressive steering responsiveness.

2011 – 2012 Arctic Cat XC 450i 2016 – 2017 Arctic Cat XC 450
Frame Type Steel, tubular
Toe-Out 0 – 3 mm (0 – 1/8 in)
**the front measurement should be 1/8-1/4 in more than the rear
Ground Clearance 254 mm (10 in)
Wheelbase 1,219 mm (48 in)
Front Suspension, Travel Independent double A-arms w/ adjustable fork preload, 178 mm (7 in)
Rear Suspension, Travel Independent double A-arms w/ adjustable spring preload, 178 mm (7 in)

Dimensions

The XC’s overall dimensions remained unchanged through the course of its production. Dry weight is at 272.2 Kg (600 lbs), although other resources indicate it increased to 278 Kg (613 lbs) later on. The vehicle had no utility racks. But like other Arctic Cat utility-oriented quads, it had the same 2-inch receiver hitch and 1,050-lb towing capacity.

2011 – 2012 Arctic Cat XC 450i 2016 – 2017 Arctic Cat XC 450
Length 1,862 mm (73.3 in)
Width 1,207 mm (47.5 in)
Height 1,189 mm (46.8 in)
Dry Weight 272.2 Kg (600 lbs)
Towing Capacity 476 Kg (1,050 lbs)

Exterior

The 450 has a tubular steel frame and plastic body material. Each model features a sport-inspired bodywork, with most of the trims painted in metallic colors, providing the 4×4 ample mud protection. However, the four-wheeler’s pointy fenders still leave a lot to be desired if you are into serious mudding. The 450 XC also comes standard with integrated footrests, handlebars, a front bumper, and a bash plate. Body panels are made available in Black Metallic, Orange/Black Metallic, White Metallic, and Lime Green. 35-watt Halogen headlights, a 5-watt taillight, and a 21-watt brake light provide the quad superior light distribution.

SPEEDPoint™ Attachments

This unique accessory system (a.k.a. MultiRack Platform, MRP, or SpeedRacks) conveniently accepts several exclusive Arctic Cat XC 450 accessories by bolting them onto the front and rear fenders of the quad. It allows XC owners to have add-ons that can securely hold and haul gear.

This video by Dirt Trax TV highlights some of the fine points of the 2011 Arctic Cat XC 450i Crossover 4×4:

Arctic Cat 450 XC Price

The list price of an Arctic Cat XC 450 falls between $6,699 and $7,699, depending on the year, trim, and driveline modes offered. Unlike most Arctic Cat off-road vehicles, the XC series did not have different versions. So, expect to see only standard models available in multiple color options when you do your research. Note that the pricing below (source: Nada Guides) does not factor in package inclusions.

Year – Trim
(**EFI – Electronic Fuel Injection)
List PriceRetail/Trade-In Values
2011 XC 450i 2×4 (EFI)$6,699$2,100 – $2,765
2012 XC 450i 2×4 (EFI)$6,699$2,295 – $3,020
2013 XC 450 4×4 (EFI)$7,199$2,430 – $3,200
2014 XC 450$7,299$2,910 – $3,830
2015 XC 450$7,499$3,410 – $4,485
2016 XC 450$7,699$3,775 – $4,965
2017 XC 450$7,699$4,170 – $5,490

Pros and Cons of Owning an XC 450

As a crossover 4×4, some may find the Arctic Cat 450 XC isn’t particularly a standout. Nonetheless, it is highly dependable when traversing sticky mud, paved roads, dunes, or snow. Depending on riding conditions (and rider skill level), it can become just as fun as its sportier competitors. Not entirely convinced? Here’s a list of the four-wheeler’s highlights and pitfalls that will let you be the judge of its competencies:

Pros:

  • Selectable driveline modes, Duramatic™ CVT with EBS, and Start-In-Gear capability make the 4×4 easy to operate and give it the feel of a trail-and-racing machine hybrid. They also lend to the Arctic Cat XC 450 top speed of 52 mph (83.7 km/h) and predictable handling.
  • Spring-preload-adjustable shocks enable operators to tailor the ride to their riding style, road conditions, and specific loads.
  • Aside from reducing body roll, the rear anti-sway bar also offsets the oversteering of the vehicle, allowing the XC to perform like a solid axle quad through high-speed turns.
  • Instrumentation includes a digital speedometer that provides insight on every aspect of your ATV’s performance, along with 13 other critical operation indicators.
  • Aggressive bodywork, chrome accents, deep-dish aluminum wheels, and low-profile Maxxis tires make the Arctic Cat XC 450 truly look the part of a crossover 4×4.
  • Unlike most sport quads, the XC can turn from It can turn from a speedster to a work-oriented quad – thanks to its 2-inch hitch receiver and 1,050-lb towing capacity.

Cons:

  • Out the gate, the front-end has a strong feel of oversteering at high speeds. While this overly-responsive steer is great for tight cornering and rocky terrain, it may leave newer riders feeling uneasy on the handlebars.
  • The Arctic Cat XC 450 does not have a differential lock.
  • Suspension is very rigid out of the box and requires tweaking before riding the vehicle, even for the first time.
  • Front shocks are specifically harsher than rear ones when riding on square-edged bumps.
  • The sharp edges and plastic surrounding the gear selector make the legroom a bit cramped, even for medium-height riders and, more so, for taller ones.

While the Arctic Cat XC 450/450i will not rip through the trails like a pure-breed racing ATV, it can still provide thrills should racing cross your mind. Best of all, its power delivery, speed, and usable torque make every ride a rewarding (if not productive) experience. Its share of drawbacks is far from negligible. But luckily for this quad, its strengths just shine too brightly to be outdone.

Arctic Cat XC 450 Problems

White 2016 Arctic Cat XC 450 Quad

The absence of a carburetor dramatically reduced the count of engine-related problems for the XC 450. However, there are still issues to be expected from other components of the vehicle. Here are some things you need to look out for, especially with pre-loved units:

2011 and 2012 Recall

On November 10, 2011, about 1,384 Arctic Cat XC 450 units were recalled by the American firm due to the steering tierod’s propensity to bend, leading to loss of control and potential rider hazard. At the time of the recall, Arctic Cat has received only three reports of bent tie-rod incidents, with no injury reports. Consequently, the tie-rod issue has been addressed and was no longer existent on 2013 models onward.

Defective Actuator

Like other mid-size Arctic Cat models, this issue is also prevalent on the XC 450. While nouveau Cat owners may be left puzzled, mechanically-inclined riders will find ruling out actuator versus electrical and resolving the issue manageable. Page 91 of your service manual will instruct you on how to remove the front-drive actuator for inspection. Inspecting the part should be done on top of running tests for the fuse, power, ignition, and switch. If all of these individual components check out, you will need to replace the actuator, as it is not serviceable.

Chronic Stalling

There are only one of four things to blame if you notice that your four-wheeler easily stalls:

  • Fouled spark plug
  • Crank angle sensor failure
  • Faulty ECU
  • Out-of-adjustment valve clearance

Out of all these causes, the first and last are the easiest (and least expensive) items to fix – all you have to do is clean the plug and adjust the valve clearance according to spec. The faulty ECU/ECM is pretty pricey and would cost you anywhere between $150 and $700, depending on whether you need to have it tested and inspected, repaired, or entirely reprogrammed. The crank angle sensor becoming defective is probably the trickiest to resolve, as you will need to narrow down what has caused it to fail.

In most cases, either an overheating engine or circuitry problems can cause your crank position sensor to fail. Additionally, this probable cause may occur alongside other symptoms such as CEL coming on, uneven acceleration, misfiring or engine vibrations, rough idling, or reduced gas mileage. Having a professional technician inspect your quad the moment you suspect this problem is crucial to keeping the proper functionality of your EFI and, ultimately, your engine.

About Textron

Textron Inc. is a Fortune-500 US-based industrial corporation renowned for its Cessna aircraft, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles. Its product offerings include gas/electric/hybrid-powered off-road vehicles such as the Prowler, Stampede™, Havoc™, Wildcat™, and Alterra™ side x side and ATV series. Apart from being the parent company of Arctic Cat Inc. and the maker of the Arctic Cat XC 450 Crossover 4×4, Textron also has Avco, Bell helicopters, Lycoming Engines, TUG, McDonald Douglas, Bad Boy Buggies, and Greenlee tools, and 10 other subsidiaries under its wing. Today, the American firm has over $14B in total assets and 37,000 employees worldwide.

Conclusion – Arctic Cat XC 450 Review

The Arctic Cat XC 450 is a great crossover quad to have. You get a recreational wheeler, a little hauler, and a racing ATV all in one vehicle – without the premium price. Yes, it does have areas for improvement, with several owners finding its 600-lb dry weight and absence of a differential lock a bit of a drawback. But all things considered – if you want 4WD capability that comes in a sporty chassis, then the Arctic Cat XC 450 is for you!

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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