In January 2016 I bought my first sled - 2016 600 ACE Expedition Sport. I hoped it would be the perfect do-all sled: Family touring, light utility, play sled. Boy did I ever make a good purchase. That being said I do have a variety of comments to make about it, both good and bad.
So I just turned over 3000 miles and to top it off we just had the largest dump of snow in central Manitoba since I bought my expy. I thought after that 2 days of evening-play in waist deep powder now would be a good time to leave a review.
Deep Snow Capability
Lets start with the fun part. While this is no Summit, it will turn your friend's heads who staunchly believe that power, deeper lugs, and/or wider tracks are the key to deep-snow prowess. Make no mistake, it does not do on-par with what Summits and wide-tracks do best, but you can trust this machine. It is a stop-and-go sled. The long-track, moderate lug height, and low clutch engagement help it to not trench in when parked in snow pushing up against the headlights.
Regarding countersteering and sidehilling this sled feels relatively effortless. The width of the XS chassis does cause the side-panels to plow in the snow, but giving a bit more throttle helps with that. In 6 inches of fluff with hardpack underneath it only requires a blip of the throttle, and a bit of countersteer and lean to get it carving. The deeper the snow gets, the easier this gets to the point of simply countersteering and giving a bit of pressure to the foot you want to steer on. It is very responsive to input, which makes the effortlessness of the summit in deep snow slightly freaky.
At home I am lucky to be able to ride off my yard and in every dump of snow I have to go out to the highway near my town due to the deep ditches and steep banks. If you keep the throttle on you can easily sidehill and play around a long way on each slope. I wish I have double the HP, but I knew what I was getting into when I got the ACE. More on that...
I won't spend much time here as many on this forum have paid tribute to the ACE. I will simply say this...it is a 60hp machine with great torque and it will grunt away for you and work its behind off whenever you ask it. So far I have had 2 engine-light events. Both cleared on their own for unknown reasons within days. Derating only occurred for a short duration the first time. I have since bought a CanDoo Pro harness to plug into my father-in-law's system to diagnose as soon as it happens again (if). Mileage varies... On good trail conditions I can achieve advertised mpg, but riding it hard and full-throttle in deep snow cuts down the fuel economy by a large sum. So much so that I'm not sure a 2stroke is worse in the same conditions. What you get with the ACE is mpg when you baby it and smooth low-end power. It is incredibly quiet and allows for conversations with my kids when out riding with them. I'm not worried about their ears and speaking across sleds to others is very doable.
My sleigh carries a little over a third of a cord of split green birch in late winter/early spring. I feel that I could push it harder, but I do not partially due to the fact that the "transportation-breaks" in between felling and splitting are nice. I also pull a truck-tire drag with it from time to time and it works fine. I am also grateful that BRP had the smarts to include an auxiliary fan with a liquid-cooled utility sled. When it's +5C and I'm hauling through sticky snow I think "Man, I wonder if an etec could stand this." The 600 ACE must run fairly cool and/or require little cooling.
2up Touring and Trail Riding
I'm not going to be able to complete with experienced Renegade and MXZ riders in tight and twisty trails, but with the right setup you can sure push this thing. I find with the DS2 ski that it actually corners better in chewed up trail, rather than rock-hard groomed trail. I believe it has to do with the DS2 being a loose/deep snow ski. I recently got 6" carbides put on after the stockers with 4" wore out and there is a large improvement in handling in all conditions. As it was with the stockers I could corner faster than I cared to. At a certain point you endanger yourself and oncoming traffic in twisty bush trails with blind corners. The only time I wish I have more power is long stretches and lakes when everyone sails past me on their 900s or etecs, but at that point I just pull off to the edges and play my way through the snow if possible .
My wife and I have both thoroughly enjoyed the comfort this sled offers. I did add wind-guards and heaters for the passenger, which helps, but overall the stock shock package rides nice and for general 2up touring we agree it is the most comfortable ride we've had. Growing up on 90s and earlier sleds makes ones appreciate any new sled, but the touring quality from this sled really is nice. That being said, if you only plan on 2up trail touring there is no reason not to buy a GT. At all times I ride at the 38" ski stance and find little difference in handling between the wide and narrow stance, whether trail-solo or trail-2up.
Overall Impression and Final Thoughts
This sled really is a swiss-army knife and BRP needs to pay attention to that and improve it. Widetracks are not for everyone, but some of use want more oomph, functionality, and premium features than the Sport has to offer. I want them to offer this basic package along with a slightly "sportier" package that consists of a 2-stroke option, better shocks, removeable Linq snowflap, larger lug option, and adjustable rider to name a few things. They already gave the new G4 sport the 1+1 seating, which is a major step in the right direction and I hope this means BRP will further develop the Sport line over time.
This all being said the Sport does have a few nifty features built in: the auxiliary fan/rad, articulating track, uncoupled suspension (not a special feature, but a good one for this sled), 2-up seat, rack. It all adds up to creating a sled that has more going for it than other "Sport" models. While I do not believe this sled is for everyone I'm seeing more around all the time. I think that says something.
I hope this provides useful information for some. There is a wealth already on Dootalk about the ACE engines and expy sport sled. BRP hit a home run with this one.