Tough Choices

But you can’t go wrong

July 2021 Feature

How often do we spend hours agonizing over minor decisions when regardless of the choice we’re going to be perfectly content? Well this is the situation if you’re trying to decide whether to purchase a Ski-Doo MXZ or Ski-Doo Renegade.

Basically, both are great choices … and whichever way you choose to go you will be happy. However, for those who actually enjoy the tedious process of weighing the minutest details in order to justify your perfect selection, we have broken down the two models (both in the Sport trim for apples to apples comparison) so you can see exactly what the difference is. Hint: It’s not much.

Keep in mind, both models come in similar upgraded trims so if money isn’t a big consideration you can equally upgrade each model with better performance and handling features.

The main difference between the MXZ and the Renegade is that the MXZ is made exclusively for the trails while the Renegade recognizes that there are times you don’t want to be limited to trail riding. In other words, the MXZ is all about having fun on the trail while the Renegade is just focused on having fun.

Common Core

The central features of each snowmobile are basically identical. Both sleds in the Sport trim use the Rotax 600 EFI engine that is based on the 600R E-Tec design. They put out the same 85 hp which is an economical way to deliver adequate performance on a budget. You could spend a lot more, but from our riding evaluations last spring at elevation, you really don’t need to. This engine will get you down the trail as fast as you want to go. It may be a little weak for those long open stretches (like across a frozen lake or packed meadow), but delivers the quick response on tight trails and turns to satisfy any rider.

Both sleds also use the pDrive primary and QRS secondary clutches to transfer the power to throughout the drive system.

Both sleds are based on the Rev Gen4 platform. Ski-Doo basically put their trail design team and mountain design team together to find commonalities that would translate for both the western and midwestern markets. They found this lightweight platform that featured mass centralization worked perfectly for aggressive trail riders and upright western riders. Whether on your butt or on your feet, the chassis responded instantly to rider body English.

Also, both sleds use the Pilot 5.7 skis for their Sport trim. These are dual-keel/single-carbide designs for positive bite in the corners while working well in all snow conditions.

Distinguishing Subtleties

When it comes to the suspension, both the MXZ and the Renegade feature the RAS 3 front and SC-5M rear suspensions. The only difference comes in the track length (129 inches for the MXZ and 137 inches for the Renegade) and the rear shock (MXZ has Motion Control and the Renegade has an HPG). The front shocks and front rear shocks on both models are Motion Control. For us, it was hard telling much of a difference in the ride. However, the HPG works just a little better for weight transfer off-trail.

Speaking of tracks, perhaps the most notable difference between these two snowmobiles is the track. The MXZ has the 129x15x1.25-inch Ripsaw while the Renegade comes with the 137-15-1.3.5-inch Cobra. The Cobra will be a little more aggressive off-trail. There’s a five-pound difference in weight (and $200 in price) due to the extra length of the Renegade.

The Sport trims are the most economical buy in the Ski-Doo line. But for more money, you can also get both sleds with high-end packages which include better suspension, clutches and engine performance. There are four trims with the MXZ and six trims with the Renegade.

So the agonizing decision comes down to two things. First, do you want something for only the trails, or something that is mostly for trails but still gives you the freedom to wander off a bit? And second, do you want to treat yourself by upgrading to a trim package that best suits your ego?

Isn’t it great to have choices?

Quick Comparisons

MXZ Sport

Renegade Sport


Rev Gen4

Rev Gen4 


Rotax 600 EFI  

Rotax 600 EFI




Drive Clutch

pDrive w/slider shoes

pDrive w/slider shoes

Driven Clutch




Pilot 5.7

Pilot 5.7

Ski Stance

42.4 inches

42.4 inches

Front Suspension

RAS 3 w/Motion Control shocks

RAS 3 w/Motion Control shocks

Rear Suspension

SC-5M w/Motion Control shocks

SC-5M w/Motion Control front and HPG rear shocks


Ripsaw 129x15x1.25-inch

Cobra 137x15x1.35-inch







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