2013 Polaris Ranger XP 900 Review

2013 Polaris Ranger XP 900 Review


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The all-new 2013 Polaris Ranger XP 900 is just as significant of an improvement to the Side x Side than the Sportsman XP was to the utility quad. The innovations put forward on this new generation Ranger leave others having to catch up. The resulting feel, brought about by a multitude of refined details, is like nothing I expected. The smoothest riding, hardest working slogan has never been so true.

It is available with or without EPS, in green, red or camo and limited edition models include Sunset Red and Orange Madness, both offered with or without EPS. A Browning EPS model and an Audio Edition in Bronze Mist with an integrated audio system will also be sold. The most obvious changes are the body’s new squared plastics and headlights set further back in the hood, a bit like the Kawasaki Teryx. They use 25% brighter led lights that project more than 30% further. Less frequent stops for gas can be expected with an 11% bigger gas tank and the fuel cap is now more conveniently placed on the driver’s side.

Enabling their clients to work in comfort and efficiency was the main goal for Polaris engineers throughout the three years it took to develop this amazing vehicle. Tow hitch capacity is rated at 2000-pounds and the bed has more hooking points and space to slip in a standard pallet. It can hold up to a thousand pounds of cargo and it’s very easy to tilt. Much more impressive is how they built this Ranger with a never before seen level of integration, to enclose the cab with accessories. A windshield can be dropped in the roll cage’s shapes and rotating two pivoting clamps on the inside and at the top creates a perfect seal. Same goes for the rear glass and the front part of the roof slides in two slots, and with a tap down on each side your Ranger is ready for action, in more challenging weather. The hood that droops down very low in front and lights pulled back as such, aren’t just for good looks; these choices were made to provide perfect vision up-close, which is great for use of attachments up-front like the Pro Glacier snow plow from Pure Polaris.

Great power is provided by the ProStar 900 engine. Yes, you read right, the same engine as the super-fast-accelerating RZR XP 900, reworked and adapted to this vehicle. Even if it is toned down to 60 hp, it is still 20% more strength than the 800, and it provides 30% more electrical output. An all-new engine management system keeps it strong but smooth, up to a top speed a little over 80 km/h. A new, durable drivetrain was built to handle the 60hp. It uses a stronger belt, which is also better cooled along with the clutches. Combined with throttle-by-wire technology, this is by far the smoothest feeling power transfer we’ve ever experienced. You can move the vehicle a mere half-inch at a time without feeling any lag at all in the system. It actually felt similar to the Ranger EV when wiggling it into a tight parking spot in the garage.

This vehicle needs a test drive to fully understand how smooth and precise it feels. I was thoroughly impressed with a great number of improvements in many areas. The wheelbase of this new more rigid chassis is 5 inches longer than the old Ranger’s. More importantly, this extending of the rear wheels towards the rear, significantly improves the vehicle’s handling in rough sections. On top of that, the new independent rear suspension is fantastic on this machine, using angled A-arm pivot points, to minimize camber changes through the length of the suspension travel. As such, the tire contact patch stays efficient all the time. The resulting handling and comfort this new system and the extended wheelbase provide, is simply magical. It doesn’t stop there; the suspension has multiple top-mounting points for the shocks all-around: outer pivots for when heavy loads are handled and the inner points angle the shocks a bit for smoother trail rides.

Lifting the bed reveals almost all the key components of the vehicle, since the entire engine and transmission are now located behind the driver and passenger. This new placement provides new Ranger owners with many improvements over the older generation Ranger vehicle; noise levels in the cab are greatly reduced, there is more room for storage under the seat, and servicing the vehicle is much easier, since almost everything is accessible in that very open area only hidden by the dump box. The CVT housing, air filter, intake, and all the other important things are literally in plain view, when the box is tilted up to its almost totally vertical maximum.

The bed itself, which can carry a full-sized pallet, is quite special when you start paying attention to all the small details Polaris engineers took into consideration. A lot of intelligent moves were done, to increase workability just by forming the plastic in a detailed manner that accommodates some cool extra features, like drink holders molded into the tailgate. Also molded into the bed are slots on its sides for dividers to separate loads. Many hook points were added for securing loads with straps.

Those are not the only traces of intelligently formed plastics on the vehicle, the dash which is much more practical with its a lot bigger glove box and huge deep shelf underneath and stretching the whole width of the cab, as factory added vent locations and vent piping hidden underneath it.

We suspected it was a great choice of vehicle for our tough Canadian winters, with the addition of their new Pro-Fit cab system that effectively protects occupants from the elements, with just a few minutes needed for installation without tools. We wanted to find out if its conquering abilities were also improved and what better way to do that than to take our beautiful Orange Madness Ranger XP to our good friend Ben’s ranch after one of the season’s biggest snow storms. Turns out the vehicle’s impressive ability to grind through deep snow became the focus of our attention for quite some time, as we tried punching through deeper and deeper accumulations, creating magical mists of giggle-inducing white powdered snow. The leftover snow on the hood kind of gives you an idea of how much fun we had trying to get this thing to stay stuck in a big snow bank. Trust us when we say it takes more than that to stop the Ranger XP 900 from getting you where you want or need to be.

In conclusion, we have to admit being just as impressed with this evolution of a Side x Side vehicle that we were already satisfied with, as we had been when the Sportsman quad got the XP added to its name like this one. Awesome vehicle!

For more information on the above mentioned models, please visit the Polaris Website

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