Heavy, flaky, AI-looking snow had just started to fall around me, already providing a crunchy layer atop the beaten-down precipitation beneath it. West Yellowstone’s expansive public forests rose like a walled fortress, encircling me with towering pines and leafless aspens topped with white skies. And two top-spec Ski-Doo snowmobiles sat idle before me: the new 2025 MXZ X-RS Competition and Renegade X-RS. 

Both were yellow, had turbos and had two-step launch control that snap, crackle, pop with such vigor, my guess is if I could’ve dragged them out that night and filled them with race gas, they’d spit flames and ensure the cops got called. There was such an electricity to them, even when stationary and most definitely off, I felt nervous. 

And as I strode over toward the pair of super sleds, all I could hear was Ken Watanabe reciting his infamous “Godzilla” line, “Let them fight.” 

These machines were built for war and, holy shit, were they built well. There’s just one problem with the Ski-Doos. After riding each all day and back-to-back, railing them along the tree-lined trails, spitting roost and doing multiple launches, I have no clue which I’d actually pick if I were to spend my own money. 

2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade
2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade

Ben Dann

2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade

Ben Dann

Let them fight dot gif


As my cohorts saddled atop the rest of Ski-Doo’s new 2025 lineup, I waxed between the MXZ and Renegade. The specs of the two are nearly identical, with both making 180 horsepower (side eye) and have the same track length. The only difference, aside from weight—542 pounds for the Renegade, 497 for the MXZ—were the cycles of the engines, with the MXZ being a two-stroke and the Renegade being four. 

What finally caused me to pick the Renegade for my initial rip was the sled’s riser. A weird thing to cause me to choose one over the other, I know, but the Renegade was outfitted with the adjustable set I’ve already talked about in a prior article and I was keen on getting to try it. 

Just starting the sled, though, I could tell it was a special thing. The four-stroke turbocharged motor offers up a mountain of torque, so much so that it rumbles to life like some cammed-out V8. It was for sure intimidating, even as someone who’s spent much of his life wielding antisocial powersports machines, but became addictive as I prodded the throttle. I wet my appetite as we aimed toward the forest’s entrance. 

2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade

Ben Dann

Once we found our start line, I mean trail’s head, a few folks in our group lagged somewhat behind as they got their bearings on their respective sleds. But the man from Ski-Doo guiding our cohort looked back at me and the rider on the MXZ and then motioned for the two of us to come up to him. He then shot his hand straight down the path and motioned “Get out of here.” An evil smile plastered across my face. My guess is that my partner-in-crime had one, too. 

Without a second more thinking, the two of us snarled off down the trail, our throttles wide open and hitting speeds that felt properly insane. Trees and snowbanks flew by and became blurs in our periphery. 

2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade
2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade
2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade

Ben Dann

We screamed until we came to a corner, slowed to make said corner, and then hit the gas again and again. The torque of the four-stroke is ludicrous and I don’t believe for one second Ski-Doo’s official horsepower stats. These Canadians may be nice, but they’re sand-baggers. You can almost lift the front skis on flat ground, while any full-throttle shenanigans uphill will absolutely lift them. That’s something usually saved for backcountry sleds with longer tracks and far lighter front ends. Not a full-fairing trail sled.

And then came the MXZ. 

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2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade
2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade

Ben Dann

2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade

Ben Dann

Holy graham crackers, Batman, this thing is bananas. Whereas the Renegade was this torque monster, a weapon designed to break the Earth’s crust with bone-crunching twist, the MXZ is the opposite. It’s a chainsaw. A lithe, buzzy, evil thing that is always on edge. You’d think the white stuff on its nose was of the illegal variety and not just falling from the skies. 

Sure, two-strokes are known for that hyper-edgy feel, but the MXZ takes that to a new level with the turbocharger and water-injection. If you’re not revving the absolute crap out of it, it isn’t happy. And it isn’t truly happy unless your fist is tight around the throttle and handlebar, the engine and you screaming in concert. Manic, hysterical fun is the only descriptor for the MXZ’s two-stroke. 

These sleds also have launch control. To quote the great Ralph Wiggum, *Chuckles, “I’m in danger.”

Nervous, manic laughter echoed through West Yellowstone’s trails, as I did launch, after launch, after launch. The two-step control braps and pops while stationary, demanding to be set free in a cacophonous yowl, only to be satiated with the release of the brake. “What insanity is this?” I said to myself many times. 

2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade

Ben Dann

The MXZ feels quicker off the jump thanks to it being a more high RPM machine, whereas the Renegade just digs and you have to keep the front end from breaking free of its Earthly bonds. But power, torque, and launch personality aren’t the only things that separate the MXZ and Renegade, as the weight differential is felt in almost all respects. 

By no means is the Renegade a lush, but of the 50-ish pounds that separate the two, it sure feels like it. The MXZ is easier to push around corners, get on edge, and scream through tight trails compared to its Renegade sibling. I could carry more speed and lean further and further, just like a motorcycle, practically dragging a knee. Though I’d have advised against such actions given the ground was hard and my Ski-Doo pants, though well insulated and able to take a snowy beating, weren’t armored. 

But nothing could keep up with the Renegade’s launch. The thing ate, no crumbs. And it’s comfortable to do so, especially with how well its suspension and layout is set up. Ski-Doo’s Forward Adjustable Riser is also a revelation. So much so I need to write a separate story about it.

The two are just wholly different experiences.

2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade
2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade

Ben Dann

2025 Ski-Doo MXZ and Renegade

Ben Dann

Who Wins?


Honestly, I don’t know. It’s been more than a week since I rode the two sleds and I’ve gone back and forth on which one I’d have probably two dozen times. And it’s a decision that becomes harder when you start to include other sleds in Ski-Doo’s lineup, like the Summit, though its purpose is wildly different compared to the two here. I’ll be getting into my thoughts on the Summit soon, as well as going off on an adventure with one, so stay tuned.

I love the MXZ’s buzzy insanity. It’s a psychopath that wants an equal controlling it from behind its bars. But the Renegade is equally homicidal, as it has enough torque to repeatedly rip your face off and make all your friends jealous. I think my only issues that would cause some pause on each would be that the MXZ didn’t come with the slick adjustable riser, and I’d like a little more turn-in grip with the Renegade. But those are both things that can be tuned out and/or added in. 

There’s a slight price difference between the two, with the MXZ X-RS Competition I rode coming in at $16,299 compared with the Renegade X-RS’ $18,649. That’s not a lot, but equally not a little. 

I really wanted to have a definitive choice at the end of this story. For two kaiju to beat the ever-living-snot out of one another, and one coming out on top letting out an infamous roar. But that’s not the case, as I just can’t say which I’d rather have. 

Luckily for me, I don’t have to. Ha! I just got to enjoy the two on some properly fun backcountry trails. 

...maybe the MXZ...

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