2018 Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE Review

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
Fast Facts

MSRP: $12,699

Engine: 997cc V-Twin
Seating Capacity: 2
Towing Capacity: 1,300 lbs
Ground Clearance: 11.6 in.
Wheelbase: 56.9 in.
Amphibious off-road vehicle manufacturer Argo has entered the traditional ATV marketplace. The 2018 Argo Xplorer line of ATVs includes seven models, including the Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE, which we are reviewing here.

The Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE is the flagship of Argo’s new ATV lineup and we had a chance to get behind the bars of a few models at a recent press event in Elk River, Minn.

The ride location was actually a private parcel of land featuring some hill climbs, a few ponds, several sand bars and some challenging terrain that seemed to be suited for our day’s adventure. With some tight sections of trail as well as wide open road bed, it was easy to get the Xplorer XRT 1000 LE opened up for speed runs as well as to feel the torque of the V-Twin in the trees as it would lunge forward with little effort.

This ATV comes in a two-up configuration with plenty of room for the passenger that dares to trust your driving. However, we did not have any brave participants at the time so we simply rode off into the trails on our own. The Orange plastics hide a massive fuel injected 997cc V-Twin single overhead cam engine. This powerplant delivers plenty of grunt and the throttle simply needs forward motion to get the mill to come alive. Our experience with the motor is that it is pretty smooth running and gets the 930-pound machine moving very well.

2018 Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE Trail

Power delivery is responsive and seems to come on stronger in the upper low to mid-range. Twisting those heavy lugged 26-inch Innova tires seemed to be no problem for this mill even at 10 inches wide in the rear. Speaking of tires, this Xplorer was never lacking grip on the trail. The heavy, tall and wide spread lugs provided lots of grip while cleaning out well in the muddy sections on the trails. Mounted on 14-inch custom wheels, the traction component was pretty good.

The drive system or transmission is a standard CVT component and has several different selections once the power gets to the wheels; these include 2WD/4WD and a differential lock as well. In 2WD the 2018 Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE grabs at the ground mercilessly and this was fun while cruising through the wider trails. As we stepped into the tight stuff it was time for 4WD and the added grip from the front wheels gave us a bit more cornering ability. The rear differential is also an unlocking diff, giving the owner a turf mode for those sensitive areas of the landscape. This comes standard on this model. The full locking differential mode is also included on this machine and although we hadn’t mentioned it just yet, the XRT 1000 LE comes with a form of electronic power steering as well.

2018 Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE Profile

Typically, when you slip an ATV into a diff-lock scenario the steering gets a bit tougher to handle without EPS, but with the Tri-Mode EPS on our XRT the steering was actually not too bad. It did seem to tighten up a bit, but the EPS helped and was welcomed over not having it. We choose the highest amount of assist for our testing as it seemed to give us the comfort and help needed to steer the big boy. The one other slight issue we experienced in full differential lock when climbing a steep rutted, rock filled hill was the fact that even with EPS, the front wheels wanted to do most of the steering for us. When on the throttle hard the front end tends to grab in a rather unpredictable fashion. It did not feel unsafe, but different from other machines we have experienced in the marketplace where you would not have to control your bars to this extent.

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The seating of the 2018 Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE is comfortable, but you can notice the width between your legs feels wider than other models. There is also a little radiant heat that will get your attention as well. This is not a deal breaker and possibly something that could be remedied with heat tape, but it’s noticeable.

The layout of rider controls are placed well within reach and seem to encompass the needed items for any quick terrain changes. With a comprehensive digital screen looking you in the eye between the bars, there is no shortage of information. This dash is where you also adjust the Tri-Mode EPS.

2018 Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE Front

This electronic power steering does make a significant difference in the way the trail feels at speed when compared to other XRT models without the technology. We did notice turning at slow speed was effortless and very controllable in varying terrain in either of the three modes. As the speed picks up it does seem that the EPS is a little less regressive than we had liked in the highest and even the second highest settings as the bars were maybe too free. Feeling the trail in the handlebars is essential to comfortable driving and in the bottom setting the Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE felt most predictable. Overall, power steering is a gift that should never be taken for granted as we are not sure how we ever lived without it in the past!

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One of the final thoughts we had about our ride time on the XRT 1000 LE was suspension. The shocks are preload adjustable springs on gas charged shock bodies and can be tightened up to get a stiffer ride. We did not have time to adjust the preload setting on this model and with ample ground clearance as well as sufficient travel for off camber trails or debris-littered terrain, the suspension seemed to provide a good ride. We would have preferred to twist the preload collars up a few turns if nothing more than to get a little less body roll when cornering at speed. This might have also kept the front tires from scrubbing the fenders as the frontend dove in under hard breaking. Simply adjustments we know, but worth noting that this is an “out of the box” setting from the factory.

So looking at the fleet of new Argo Xplorer ATVs for model year 2018 we wouldn’t be surprised to see updates and improvements being made as the years progress and we feel they have a great run started in an already saturated market.

As for pricing, the Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE carries a retail price of $12,699. That is just $300 less than a Polaris Sportsman Touring XP 1000 ($12,999), so Argo does not appear to be trying to undercut the industry’s big players on price.

2018 Argo Xplorer XRT 1000 LE Specs

Engine997cc, EFI, Liquid Cooled, Twin Cylinder, 4-Stroke
Fuel SystemEFI
CoolingLiquid Cooled
Bore x Stroke92 x 75.6 mm
TransmissionV belt C.V.T Automatic
Differential LockStandard
Gear SelectionL/H/N/R
Engine BrakingStandard
Front Brake200 mm Hydraulic Discs
Rear Brake180 mm Hydraulic Discs
Hand BrakeAll 4 Wheels
Foot BrakeAll 4 Wheels
Front SuspensionIndependent Double A-arm
Rear SuspensionIndependent Double A-arm
Front Travel8.7 in (22.1 cm)
Rear Travel9.3 in (23.6 cm)
Front TiresInnova AT26 X 8-14
Rear TiresAT26 X 10-14
Lengtd91.7 in (2,330 mm)
Widtd47.2 in (1,200 mm)
Height50.8 in (1,290 mm)
Wheelbase56.9 in (1,450 mm)
Seat Height36.8 in (935 mm)
Ground Clearance11.6 in (295 mm)
Towing Capacity1,300 lb. (590 kg)
Fuel Capacity4.2 gal (16 ltr)
Front Rack / Rear Rack99 lb. (45 kg) / 165 lb. (75 kg)
Passenger BackrestYes
Power SteeringYes
Front BrushguardNo
Front BumperNo
Rear HitchStandard / 2” Receiver
Hand GuardsYes
Accessory OutletYes
Handlebar HeadlightNo
Lower HeadlightYes
Warranty1 Year
Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.

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