Big Time Touring

Luxury yachts for the snow ... bring a friend!
2019 Polaris Titan Adventure 800
Touring is making a comeback! That’s right, there are just as many folks out there who want to take in their rides leisurely and comfortably than there are those who simply crave performance, or want to tackle mountains, or want to carve the backcountry. The touring segment has not been forgotten by any means by the OEMs and in many places, especially in places like northern Minnesota, many places out West and especially the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, the touring rider is more prominent than anyone else.

There are plenty of great options for touring sleds out there, but this year three of them top our list. At the very top, and our Best of The Best Touring Sled for model year 2019 is the Ski-Doo Grand Touring Limited. Runner up in our Best of The Best Touring category was the Polaris 800 Titan Adventure. That’s not to say that the Pantera hasn’t garnered its fair share of awards either, it was our Best Touring sled in model year 2017 and runner up last year. Here’s what we like and don’t like about these top tourers.

■ Pantera holds true
To be honest, we should really be comparing the Pantera XT 7000 if we were looking at just the very top of what each OEM dubs as their ‘touring’ lineup. However, we did not have an XT available for us to evaluate and test on the same days as these other sleds. So in order to be unbiased, honest, and fair, we did not include that sled. In addition, the Pantera XT is in the ProUte platform which is more utility focused, whereas the 7000 Limited is in the Next Gen body style which is more trail oriented.
There was not a ton of new improvements on the Pantera this year, but the biggest congrats that we continue to give Arctic Cat is that their sleds now come with a magnetic tether as standard equipment. All snowmobiles should have them, and all riders should attach them correctly. The Pantera also got the new control block on the left hand side with push-button reverse. Again, we believe this push-button reverse is something at least all trail sleds should have and kudos to Cat to listening to their consumers.

This 4-stroke still has a key to start it though. Where that key is placed (up and to the right in between the gauge and the windshield) is hard to reach and turn with large gloves on or with frozen hands. Same goes for accessing the 12V outlet, but that isn’t used nearly as much as the key. Other new upgrades include the new Hayes Stealth lightweight master cylinder brake system, with new brake lever that is composite and has much better ergonomics for hands of all sizes.

One thing Pantera has is an incredible range. With an auxiliary fuel tank of 4.3 gallons, on top of the 10.7 gallon stock fuel capacity, there is 15 gallons of 87 octane. Yes, that is 87, NOT 91 octane, so it costs you less at the pump, you can ride longer between fillups, and this is a naturally aspirated 4-stroke so fuel efficiency is high. It is possible to get 14-15 mpg out of this motor no problem at average speeds which means 200+ miles before your next fill-up… give or take a few miles. That’s farther than even the big tank on the extra-wide Polaris Titan can take that machine between gas stops. (More on that coming up)
2019 Arctic Cat Pantera 7000 Limited
At 146 inches long, this 2-up is in the middle, as far as length, between the Ski-Doo Grand Touring and the Polaris Titan Adventure. Our collective opinion as test riders is this length is the correct length for a touring sled. It allows trail riders to use a standard size 2-place trailer, is not so long that cornering is adversely affected, and it bridges bumps and smooths out chattering trails with ease.

As far as shocks go, the Cat IFP 1.5 shocks on the Pantera are not top of the line. We would like to see better shocks, at least adjustable sets, on all the top of the line touring sleds. If you are already paying close to $15k for a super luxury sled, I think at least a couple hundred bucks in upgraded shocks is not out of line.

As far as luxury items, this one compares well to the Grand Touring with heated seats for both driver and passenger, heated hand grips for both, and passenger and accessory outlets for heated shields for both riders. There are also wind deflectors and footrests for the passenger. A big locking detachable storage case is on both sides as well as the upgraded deluxe digital gauge. The Pantera has all this for $1100 less than the Grand Touring … but the Grand Touring Turbo (key word) has 30+ more ponies.

■ Titan is tough
Big, strong, capable, easily decked out … that’s how we would describe the 800 Titan Adventure 155. The most glaring difference between this sled and the others is its size. It’s a beast, but we love it! All 2-up sleds are big, but the Titan lives up to its name. The length and width are the first things many folks notice when they first see the Titan. The track is 155 inches, the longest in this group, and it is 20 inches wide while the other two sleds have 15-inch tracks. In order to accommodate such a girthy rear skid and track the tunnel is obviously wider than a normal sled as well so your legs straddle down to the running boards differently. But this sled has many things that the other two in our comparo do not.
2019 Polaris Titan Adventure 800
First, it has a snappy and fun 155.7hp 800cc Liberty Cleanfire twin 2-stroke motor. The Titan has something else no other sled in this segment has – a power-boosting regulator. It allows maximum electrical power at idle and low RPM. Which is often where a lot of 2-up touring riders spend time. When you stop at a sightseeing area or need to go slow for long periods of time through bumpy tight trails, this makes sure that the seat heaters, battery charging and other accessories work optimally. Plus the Alpha transmission is meant for carrying and towing people and gear. With high, low, neutral and reverse, this transmission is tough, just like everything else on the sled.

Titan also has an articulating rear suspension (the rear section of the skid tips up), which comes in super handy on touring rides when you need to back up in fresh snow or over banks without making your passenger get off. This skid is also made to tow things and comes standard with a hitch. There is 16.5 inches of travel in the rear too so obstacles and big bumps are no issue.

In addition, there is the Integrated Lock & Ride® Versa Storage Platform on the back of the tunnel with a big rear rack and massive 4,140 cubic inch storage box standard. Carrying capacity is 85 lbs., more than any other 2-up. But there are all kinds of other options to put different storage, fuel cans, ice augers or other myriad of accessories on it. Yes, Ski-Doo has their LinQ rear accessory system as well, but there is simply not as much room on the back of the 137-inch Grand Touring as there is on the 155-inch Titan. Plus the Titan has a hitch that comes standard and has a 1200lb. tow rating!

Titan Adventure has the second largest range in this group too with a monstrous single 14 gallon fuel tank. That’s more miles to conquer without having to worry about anything but enjoying the trails. With all these beefed up attributes like a bigger track, skid, tunnel and added features, the Titan is heavy. Even having a lightweight twin 2-stroke 800 motor in it to offset some of the added weight, the Titan is almost 30 pounds heavier (dry weight) than the Pantera and almost 40 pounds heavier than the Grand Touring.

One of the things that adds weight is the addition of a large radiator and fan. This allows the sled to be ridden in low snow and rugged conditions that many other sleds would overheat in. There is also an additional accessory wheel kit for those who spend time in low snow conditions. These things complement a larger 1.55-inch stiff lug on the big long track. The others in this comparo have smaller 1.25-inch lugs on them.

Finally, folks can’t help but notice Titan’s huge Pro Float skis. These snowboards help greatly in off-trail floatation. We would recommend the standard gripper Pro Floats on the Titan XC for trail riding though.
2019 Ski-Doo Grand Touring
■ Grand, Grand, Grand Touring
There is no other 2-up touring sled with this power. The new Grand Touring Limited was given a steroid injection for 2019 with the new 899cc ACE Turbo motor. It is a punchier version of the industry’s best selling 4-stroke. The high-tech 3-cylinder fuel injected liquid motor has a new Rotax designed turbo on it that makes it the king of HP when it comes to new 2-ups on the market. Last month we showed Dynotech’s independent dyno saw 162.8 ponies. That’s more than the 2-stroke Titan at 155.7hp and Pantera at 130hp. Stopping comes from Brembo brakes with stainless steel braided line.

Like all ACE models this has the drive-by-wire intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) with three driving modes (Sport, Standard, ECO). The driving modes are a fantastic option in a touring sled. They don’t really make much sense in a super performance sled like the X-RS, but here in the 2-up touring market, it is a feature that can really be enjoyed. If you are on a tour that has a long distance between gas stops you can put it in ECO mode, or maybe you just want to cruise along with super easy throttle control in Standard mode, or perhaps you are late for your double dinner date and have to make up time in Sport mode. Having the options is what a purely luxury sled is all about. But that’s not all the Grandest touring sled got for this model year.

New for Ski-Doo 4-strokes was the the wider-body Gen4 chassis. This new body looks bolder with a new louvered hood and the Ras3 front suspension with HPG shocks. This 2-up is shorter than others, which means it gives up some bump bridging capabilities, but the 137-inch rMotion rear suspension is known for its trail manners and the airshock or ACS (air controlled suspension) rear shock easily adjusts from setting 1-5 on the dash to quickly dial in your ride for any conditions. Plus there’s the easy-adjust coupler block in back as well.

This is a touring sled though and it’s “touring features” that make our lives cozy. There’s a big 26.5-inch ultra-high shield with side wind deflectors keeps the pilot and passenger protected from the wind. There are heated visor outlets standard too, which honestly, we think every trail and crossover sled should have standard on them. Heated seats for both riders plus heated passenger handholds with air deflectors make long trips totally warm. There’s even a warm glove box.

Additional standard luxury items include a forward adjustable riser, which is great for getting on and off the sled when you have a passenger. There are mirrors to check behind you for quickly approaching sleds, a heavy duty rear bumper that you can use for towing or other options, and PLENTY of storage with a hard-cover 16+ gallon storage bin in back.

Unfortunately, with the 4-stroke sleds you get the electro-mechanical reverse which some don’t like as much as the RER. However, you still get electric start standard and the upgraded Multifunction gauge cluster. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the 900 ACE Turbo version of the Grand Touring is 621 pounds dry, which is 146 pounds heavier than the same sled with the 2-stroke direct-injected 600R E-TEC motor (which was also new this year, and rated just less than 130 hp).
■ Conclusion
The Ski-Doo is the Cadillac Escalade, the Cat is the Lincoln Navigator, and Titan is the GMC Denali 2500 crew cab. One is a little faster (Ski-Doo), one is arguably warmer (Cat), and one is arguably more versatile (Polaris). For me, I’ll take the more versatile sled every time to satisfy my family, but these are all incredible 2-up sleds. You can’t go wrong!
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Sign up for our free newsletter
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.