2024 Arctic Cat ZR 600 Catalyst – Test Drive



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If you’re looking for a thrill with the most sporty, precise handling, the ZR 600 Catalyst is for you. With its 125 hp C-Tec2 Class 600 engine combined with the new Catalyst platform, you’ll have the perfect match. This new chassis will give you an incredible feel for sporty trail riding. 

What a pleasant surprise when I found out that Arctic-Cat would be sending me a testing ZR 600 2024 for the winter! Considering I live in Saint-Honoré in the Saguenay, a strategic location for snowmobiling in Quebec. Monts Valin is barely ten minutes from my home. The trail is right at the end of my property, so I have everything I need for a successful test ride.

Arctic Cat’s innovative Catalyst chassis

For 2024, Arctic Cat is bringing us an all-new, highly-promoting Catalyst chassis, and here’s why.

Engineers have worked hard to design this clever new chassis. It’s been designed from the ground up to optimize every aspect of your ride. The engine has been lowered to a prone position, exclusive to Arctic Cat. This allows the engine to be positioned closer to the ground. This lowers the snowmobile’s center of gravity for optimum stability on every outing. 

By placing the heaviest components in the center of the Catalyst platform, Arctic Cat has designed a more responsive machine requiring less effort from the rider. This platform is maximized to keep weight centralized and balanced, from the lowered engine design to the innovative, narrow ADAPT CVT system. 

The shape of the 39.4-liter fuel tank contributes to this unprecedented design for aggressive ergonomics. All while maintaining a constant fuel supply. The optimized tank shape gives you even greater handling, agility and comfort when driving the Catalyst platform. Thanks to body panels, a tapered tunnel and much more, this snowmobile offers the most exceptional riding experience. The redesigned running boards and composite foot caps have been optimized to reduce vibration in your feet. This centralized design and ergonomic update will minimize rider fatigue.

Optimizing weight and ergonomics

With this chassis reform for the Catalyst, engineers have also helped to reduce the snowmobile’s assembly components.

An ultra-high-strength one-piece steel frame with an aluminum-based tunnel ensures ultra-solid support. For state-of-the-art durability, for a compact design, amended for improved shape and ergonomics. New lightweight, high-strength monoblock tunnels complete the chassis. The result is a robust, efficient assembly for easy maintenance. Featuring fewer parts, a lighter seat and a completely redesigned intake configuration. A drastic 10% weight reduction on the trails.


The Catalyst platform’s calibrated suspension features a centralized design to suit all riding styles.

In the crossover and trail range, the driveshaft and front and rear suspension have been positioned further back. This maximizes the snowmobile’s balance and increases ground clearance. Up front is the AWS 42, the culmination of 40 years of Arctic Cat suspension experience. By lowering the upper A-arms and shortening the ski legs, this action gives you a responsive vehicle that also refines its cornering ability. Thanks to a steering ratio combined with progressive steering, this maneuver has the effect of reproducing power steering.

C-TEC2 600 engine

The new design of the C-TEC2 600-class engine will give you excellent trail acceleration when you ask for it. (photos 8-9-10)

It features an electronic oil pump controlled by an engine management module, with electronic fuel injection and no battery. There’s also an exhaust pipe temperature sensor and a detonation sensor. The crankshaft and fuel management system combined with the exhaust servo increase torque by creating back pressure at low revs. At 599 cm3, the 125 hp C-TEC2 with dual-expansion injection meets your needs without hesitation. This engine delivers plenty of power.

ADAPT CVT clutch system:

Its lightweight, narrow design increases performance and belt life. ADAPT is the industry’s only self-adjusting clutch, giving you better throttle response for smoother power.    


On the instrumentation panel, everything is clear and easy to read while riding. Control of the standard heated grips and thumb is on the left-hand side, easily accessible via two large buttons. The intensity of your choice can be seen at the bottom of the instrument panel. The button to activate the electronic reverse gear is also located on the left-hand side. All this is easily controlled for the different modes we prefer to see on the speedometer, RPM, speed and others.

Trail riding

Now that we’ve given you all the technical details on the Arctic Cat 600 2024 and its new Catalyst platform, let’s move on to the things that interest us most: its handling on the trail.

Needless to say, it’s been a long wait to finally get the snowmobile out the door, given the lack of snow in December. As I take my place on the seat, I notice how close the driver’s position is to the front, for a good seat. I also noticed that the width of the seat was minimized for maximum control on the trail. After the first few kilometers, I feel in full control and like I’m riding a motocross bike, as it’s so easy to maneuver. I can negotiate numerous detours and tight curves one after the other, with little or no effort on my own.

Trail stability is remarkable and precise. Under acceleration in turns, the skis remain anchored to the ground for absolute control with perfect precision. The suspension works well and is remarkably smooth, although my tester was fitted with a basic suspension. As a result, versions equipped with adjustable gas suspension should perform best in any trail situation. Acceleration is lively and powerful, with the 600 C-TEC2 engine reacting to the slightest throttle demand.  You can feel the power of the 125 horsepower without fearing a lack of it when you need it.

For long rides, Arctic Cat’s ZR 600 is really interesting to drive, and provides excellent comfort without feeling tired after several kilometers between stints. This is a very interesting trait for those who enjoy long days on federated trails.

In conclusion:

The ZR 600 2024 with the new Catalyst chassis is really an interesting snowmobile to ride for several reasons. Its great maneuverability on the trail, precise and agile handling, and lively acceleration at the slightest throttle demand. Arctic Cat has succeeded with this chassis redesign for the Catalyst. With the new 858 engine announced for 2025, the future is bright. Designed with all the know-how of Arctic Cat engineers, this snowmobile will be appreciated by snowmobilers. 

The Snowmobile Passion team would like to thank Arctic Cat for making this test ride possible. For more details on this model, please visit the Arctic Cat website

Enjoy the ride!

Louis Gagnon, columnist