The utility snowmobile is a heavy-duty sled specifically designed for work purposes. Utility snowmobiles feature a solid and durable chassis and suspensions, racks or other cargo solutions, and many work-related accessories. They are powered by a 550-850cc 2-stroke or a 600-1050cc 4-stroke engine, which propels an extra-wide, 20-inch track. Utility sleds are commonly used for farming, logging, ice fishing, and grooming small trails.
If you want to find out more about utility snowmobiles, you’ve come to the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know into this post!
What Is a Utility Snowmobile?
As the name suggests, utility snowmobiles are designed for work hauling heavy loads, carrying a lot of gear, towing broken down snowmobiles, and grooming smaller trails with ease. Thanks to their durable chassis and features, they can cover long distances while tolerating harsh conditions.
Utility snowmobiles are commonly used by farmers or other people who own large snow-covered land. However, these versatile machines are also used for many other purposes such as search and rescue missions, logging, ice fishing, and even touring.
Surprisingly, the first snowmobiles were intended to be utility sleds. But over the years, these machines have become more and more popular, as their recreational use became more widespread.
Today, it’s safe to say most snowmobiles are built for recreational purposes, but utility sleds are still part of each manufacturer’s fleet.
If you need a sled for working purposes, these purpose-built workhorses will do a much better job than any recreational sled out there.
Their chassis, suspensions, and other features are engineered for heavy-duty workloads, resulting in excellent durability and reliability.
Compared to other types of snowmobiles, utility sleds are propelled with much wider, typically 20-inch tracks for the best floatation and traction. Most of them are equipped with 2-up seats, a hitch, winch, rear rack, and many other essential work-related accessories.
What Can a Utility Snowmobile Be Used for?
In a nutshell, the main uses of utility snowmobiles are as follows:
- Carrying cargo
- Pulling a heavy load on a sleigh (e.g., logs)
- Tow a broken-down snowmobile
- Reaching remote spots
- Ice fishing
- Touring, adventures
- Search and rescue missions
- Grooming smaller trails
Which are the Best Utility Snowmobiles?
Some of the best utility snowmobiles are as follows:
- Ski-Doo Skandic
- Ski-Doo Tundra
- Yamaha VK Professional II
- Yamaha VK 540
- Arctic Cat Norseman X 8000
- Polaris Titan XC
Besides these regular models, other lesser-known utility sleds are the Alpina snowmobiles. These unique machines are built on an extremely wide chassis and propelled by two separate tracks.
What is a Sport Utility Snowmobile?
It’s safe to say that utility snowmobiles have always been used for recreational purposes like touring and ice fishing. But Ski-Doo completely changed the game in 2016 when it revealed the world’s first sport utility snowmobile, the Expedition Xtreme.
A year later, Polaris came out with the Titan, while Arctic Cat dropped the Bearcat series and introduced the sport utility Norseman X 8000.
What is a sport utility snowmobile? Simply put, it’s a hybrid snowmobile that blurs the line between regular utility and sport snowmobiles. They come with more sporty engines and suspensions, while their large track offers excellent floatation in powder. Therefore, they offer the best of both worlds! This means that these sleds offer a lot of fun while still being used for work purposes.
Unlike their ‘boring’ predecessors, modern sport utility sleds are often built on the same chassis as trail performance models. As an example, the Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme has the innovative REV Gen4 chassis.
Thanks to their advanced features, sport utility snowmobiles can hit a whopping 70-75 mph on hard-packed snow. Besides their excellent performance, they have a sportier look as well.
According to Snowmobile Television, the main drawback of today’s sport utility sleds is their poor braking system, not to mention their hefty price tags!
Which are the Best Sport Utility Snowmobiles?
You can only find a few utility sport snowmobiles on the market, but the best ones are arguable as follows:
- Ski-Doo Expedition Xtreme
- Polaris Titan
- Arctic Cat Norseman 8000x
Utility Snowmobile Features
Let’s drill into the details and see what makes a utility snowmobile a utility snowmobile!
Utility Snowmobile Engines
Utility snowmobiles are typically powered by 600-1050cc 4-stroke or 550-850cc 2-stroke engines that produce about 120-170 HP.
The 4-stroke units offer more torque, and they often outperform 2-strokes when it comes to towing heavy loads. They also use less fuel, don’t burn oil with gas, and last longer than their 2-stroke counterparts.
On the other hand, 4-stroke engines produce less peak HP and make the sled significantly heavier, which is a definite disadvantage in powder.
When it comes to cooling systems, the majority of utility sleds are liquid-cooled, but you can still find a few fan-cooled models on the market, like the Yamaha VK 540.
At first glance, fan-cooled engines may look outdated, but using them in utility sleds makes sense. The biggest pro of fan-cooled utility sleds is that they don’t overheat in low snow conditions or if you leave them idling. Other advantages of these engines:
- Easier and cheaper to maintain
- Much easier to start
- Lack of heat exchangers (which can get damaged)
- You can dry your mask/gloves/goggles on the blowing warm air
But let’s face it, fanner utility sleds are not perfect. Their major drawbacks are:
- Higher fuel consumption
- Lower performance
- More engine noise
- They are prone to overheating without warning
Utility Snowmobile Chassis and Suspensions
Utility snowmobiles usually utilize a larger, “heavy-duty” chassis and suspensions to tolerate their workloads. The front suspension typically delivers 6-7 inches of travel, while the rear suspension has about 9-11-inch travel.
The tunnel of a utility snowmobile frame is usually longer to accommodate the larger track. In addition, the extended tunnel offers space for rear racks or cargo boxes.
Utility Snowmobile Tracks
It’s safe to say that the key feature of these machines is their significantly wider track. The majority of utility snowmobile tracks are 20 inches wide and 135-154 inches long. The large footprint provides excellent floatation and traction even in powdery snow.
Despite their extended dimensions, they are designed to be lightweight and to not greatly increase fuel consumption.
These tracks are game-changers when it comes to towing a sleigh loaded with logs or heavy gear. But it’s also good to know that due to their heavyweight, unique gearing, and large tracks, utility snowmobiles are significantly slower than trail-specific models.
Utility Snowmobile Features
Besides the components mentioned above, utility sleds are engineered with many special features, such as:
- Hydraulic disk brakes
- Electric start
- Heavy-duty suspensions
- 2-speed gearbox (on certain models)
- High-performance battery
- 12-Volt outlet
- Heavy-duty bumpers
- Passenger seat with backrest handgrips
- Larger, 12-15-gallon fuel tank
- Multifunction gauges/display
- Large windshield
- Grab handles
- Rearview mirrors
- Auxiliary lights and working lights
- Larger and more durable chassis
- Tunnel protector
Utility Snowmobile Accessories
Just like factory-installed features, other optional accessories are no less important. In a nutshell, the most common utility snowmobile accessories are as follows:
- Saws, chainsaw, axes
- Ropes, cables, straps
- Cargo boxes, bags, and other storage units
- Rear cargo rack
- Fishing gear holder
- Tool holders
- Extra gas and oil
Ski-Doo utility snowmobiles are equipped with a special multi-LinQ plate to which many accessories can be connected.
Utility Snowmobile Specification Chart
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the average specifications of utility snowmobiles into one chart:
|Engine type||540-850cc 2-stroke, or 600-1050cc 4-stroke|
|Top speed (mph)||50-70|
|Ski stance (in.)||35-38|
|Track length (in.)||135-154|
|Track width (in.)||20|
|Lug height (in.)||1.25-2.25|
|Front suspension travel (in.)||6-7|
|Rear suspension travel (in.)||9-11|
|Fuel cap. (gal)||11-15|
|Dry Weight (lbs.)||500-700|
Utility Snowmobile Comparison Chart
Let’s compare utility snowmobiles to other types of sleds by the numbers!
|Category||Youth (120)||Youth (200)||Mid-Sized||Trail||Performance||Crossover||Mountain||Touring||Utility|
|Engine type||120cc, 4-stroke single||200cc, 4-stroke single||300 -550cc 2-stroke||550 – 850cc 2-stroke or 600-1050cc 4-stroke||600 – 850cc 2-stroke or 900-1000cc 4-stroke||600 – 850cc 2-stroke or 900 -1000cc 4-stroke||650 – 850cc 2 stroke||400 -600cc 2 – stroke or 600 -1050cc 4 -stroke||540 – 850cc 2-stroke, or 600 -1050cc 4 -stroke|
|Top speed (mph)||8 (limited)||30 (limited)||50-65||65-110||100-120||90-110||80-90||60-110||50-70|
|Ski stance (in.)||27-31||31||32-39||38-43||42-44||40-44||36-38||39-43||35-38|
|Track length (in.)||67-69||93||121-146||121-137||129-137||141-153||153-175||137-155||135-154|
|Track width (in.)||10||10||15||14-15||15||15||15-16||15||20|
|Lug height (in.)||0.60-0.80||1.0||1.0-2.0||1-1.25||1.25-1.75||1.25-2.6||2.5-3||1.25-1.75||1.25-2.25|
|Front suspension travel (in.)||3-5||4-5||6-8||4-10||9-10||9-10||7-9||6-9||6-7|
|Rear suspension travel (in.)||5-7||8-9||11-15||9-16||13-16||13-14||9-15||10-15||9-11|
|Fuel cap. (gal)||0.45-0.5||2||9-12||10-12||9-12||9-16||9-12||9-13||11-15|
|Dry Weight (lbs.)||150-170||200||370-430||450-550||450-650||450-600||450-500||470-650||500-700|
Takeaways – FAQs About Utility Snowmobiles
As a takeaway, we’ve listed the most common questions about utility snowmobiles.
How fast can a utility snowmobile go?
The top speed of utility snowmobiles is about 50-70 mph on hard-packed snow, while sport utility sleds top out at 70-75 mph.
How much does a utility snowmobile weigh?
The weight of utility snowmobiles ranges from 500 pounds up to the eye-popping 700+ pounds. This means that these sleds are the heaviest snowmobiles out there!
What size is a utility snowmobile?
Utility snowmobiles are typically 130-140 inches long, 43-46 inches wide, and 52-60 inches high.
What is the track size of a utility snowmobile?
For the best traction, utility snowmobile tracks are 20 inches wide and 135-154 inches long, and feature 1.25-2.25-inch lugs.
What kind of engine is in a utility snowmobile?
Utility snowmobiles are powered by 550-850cc 2-stroke or 600-1050cc 4-stroke engines.
How much horsepower does a utility snowmobile have?
The majority of utility sleds have 120-170 horsepower.
Which snowmobile has the widest track?
There’s no question that utility snowmobiles have the widest track in the industry, this is why these machines are often referred to as “widetrack snowmobiles.”
Did Arctic Cat discontinue the Bearcat?
To the regret of many fans, Arctic Cat discontinued the Bearcat after the 2019 model year.