Love my 600 Etec Renagade BackCountry.
A friend has a 07 Cat 800 and took mine for a test ride and he was impressed with the responsiveness as well.
I've stopped on hills that I would have never been able to stop on (going up) with my old Summit 583. The old Summit would have just trenched. Just pull the trigger on the Gade and it picks right back up where it left off.
As for the starter. I agree. I've heard about people getting the E-start and putting on the pull start to the tune of $300. (rope and pulley?? really BRP?)
I have the electric start. After I've seen how easy it is to start using a rope on the clutch, I'm not worried about the battery going bad. They start on first pull ever single time. A friend cold started his 800R at -20F with the rope around the clutch. Fired first pull.
2015 Renegade Backcountry 600
1999 Jag 340 Deluxe
1999 Z 370
1996 Touring E 380
1995 Summit 583
1994 Indy XTL SKS 600
1986 Tundra 250