2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX Review

2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX


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The all-new 2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX should spark an interest among many types of ATV users. First and foremost its price can fit into just about any budget and list of features surprisingly generous in state of the art ATV technology. Fuel Injection is a big one that can significantly reduce the amount of time needed to maintain such a ride in perfect running order. Even bigger news is the fact that this affordable, yet still highly capable quad, profits from the high quality and efficiency of ProStar engine technology.

Your first task in choosing the right ATV to meet your very specific needs should be to make a list of must haves so to narrow things down as much as possible. Start with the most important on top. For example if cargo capacity is your deciding factor, you start by looking at how much each model in that class or price bracket offers because it is of no use and a waste of time to be comparing all sorts of other things when the vehicle isn’t able to serve this one main purpose you’ve got lined up for it.

Usually we would agree with someone wanting to hold out until any first year model proves itself worthy of our hard-earned money but this quad shouldn’t be considered one, since it combines all of the best features Polaris has to offer on their higher-priced offerings and elements that have all proven themselves solid and efficient on other models. The new 30HP ProStar is a perfect example; that engine was introduced with the launch of the wonderfully fun Sportsman ACE. Creeping into almost every Polaris model class over just a few years, the ProStar motors have proven to be reliable so far. Thanks to its electronic fuel injection system, the 2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX starts flawlessly and runs smoothly no matter where you ride. It will adjust itself to different temperatures and altitudes. No choke to pull, no proper jetting to worry about and better fuel economy thanks to a more efficient burn, are amazing to discover on such a low-priced priced entry level ATV.

Comparisons with the Sportsman 400 H.O. are inevitable since the 2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX replaces it as the lowest- priced Sportsman in the Polaris line. It has10% more fuel capacity than its predecessor which ran a reliable 29hp carburetor fed engine that was far cry from the new ProStar engine. Designed, engineered, and manufactured from the ground-up by the experts at Polaris who share the same passion for off-roading as we do, ProStar engines feature an internal counter-balance shaft for smooth, vibration-free operation and the Nikasil® plated cylinder and many roller bearing elements, lower friction to create a highly fuel efficient and very smooth little engine. You will also like the extended times between regular maintenance intervals and easy check points (Oil fill, drain, dipstick, coolant bleed etc…). Design Simplicity is obvious if you pay close attention to the cut views. These engines are designed to be easy to work on, with key access points planned with vehicle development, and as such, perfectly placed. Cutting-edge technologies from automotive influences make possible this great power density all ProStar engines offer. They provide industry-leading output by displacement. Polaris doesn’t even mention the fact that it is a 325cc engine anywhere, from fear of misinterpretation in power output by this number.

The 2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX can carry 47 lb. more of payload at the rear and 24 lb. more than a Honda Foreman 420, but that model is capable of towing 377 lb. more. If pulling a trailer on a regular basis is a must, that Honda is certainly also worth taking a second look at with its automotive transmission without a drive belt to worry about, but you will need to pay a little bit more. The 2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX has a 560-watt stator for more charging power and the capability to operate more accessories. The Honda puts out 400. The 2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX also features integrated winch and plow mounts, making it easier to add these accessories when needed. The integrated front storage with 6.5-gal/24.6 liter capacity is another big plus you won’t find on any other quad in this class. Yes the Honda has one extremely solid reputation for reliability but Polaris has improved a lot on that end and there could be other facts that could play a big role in your final decision process; like the 1.8 inches less in ground clearance. It all depends on what you need or want.

The 2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX offers the same 90 pounds front and 180 pounds of rear rack capacity as the old 400 H.O. or the new Sportsman 570, plus the same practical 1,225 pounds of towing capacity. Dimensions remain basically the same but Polaris engineers wanted this to be a full-size rec-utility ATV that is easier to handle and use, so there are some small but key differences here and there. The ETX’s overall length and width remain the same but instead of the usual full size 25″ tires, the ETX has smaller 24″ tires. Its front suspension travel measures in at 6.7 inches, versus 8.2 on the 570 which both still use a good-old MacPherson Strut system. Rear suspension travel is identical to the 570 with 9.5 inches. Ground clearance was reduced a bit to 9 inches from 11 on the 570. All of these changes add up to a seat height that is 2 ¼ inches lower than the 570, at 31.5 inches, and a machine that is two inches lower overall at 48 inches. What I liked the most about these differences is that it made the 2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX feel extra stable in turns and very safe to use by beginners. The power delivery seems set in perfect balance with this trait, which makes it almost impossible to get in trouble, even when going a little crazy with your right hand’s thumb. The smaller and lower profile also improves ease of mount and dismount.

My time on the 2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX was short but very telling. Even if this ride might be intended for people a little shorter and lighter than me, I felt very much at home with it right away and didn’t waste much time before pushing it to its maximum power output. I was already very familiar with these ergonomics which are still very close to those of the late Sportsman 400 and 500 H.O.’s and newer 570, so the shorter stance and a little tighter feeling suspension, simply made every extreme situation feel safer. Fact is; only slipping in the new 30 HP ProStar without making any other changes would have sufficed to make this a proper entry-level machine but I love the fact that they went beyond that and made it even easier and safer to ride. Throttle response is just about good enough that you can negotiate a tight turn in sporty fashion on dry flat grounds, with a shot on the rear brake pedal and quick release going right into full throttle to slide the back. On grounds to grip a bit more, that sort of move could get tricky but even if the ride props up on two tires from too much grip, it remains predictable and truly wants to get back to the ground quick. I actually love everything about this ride; its top speed of about 80 km/h is sufficient and it accelerates well enough to be fun to ride for anyone. I’m the type of rider who likes to pay very close attention to what rocks or other small things lay ahead in front so to minimize shocks to the ride and risks of damaging my tires and this quad offers great sight lines considering the fact that you’re able to carry so many practical things to have out on the trail, in the huge front storage box. Other things I liked a lot are the thumb throttle design and its great feel on long rides, the no-fuss All-Wheel-Drive system, the very comfortable seat and the three headlights. I would only suggest that they add some meat to their footrests and position the brake pedal so it can be operated without having to lose contact with them.

Polaris is definitely leading with new products constantly. They don’t rest on their accomplishments and thanks mostly to them, we the media have never experienced so much change in the industry in such a short number of years. Polaris has truly done a great job at listening to what the people want and need and have even broadened possibilities for outdoor lifestyle enjoyment to a level few of us ever imagined possible.

The 2015 Polaris Sportsman ETX is available in Sage Green and Blue Fire and part of the Sportsman Value Line that also features the Sportsman 570 and 570 EPS offered in Sage Green, Indy Red and Polaris Pursuit Camo, with EPS models available in Bright White, Sage Green and Polaris Pursuit Camo. Also part of the Value Line is the Sportsman 850, featuring the new headlight pod, which is available in Sage Green, White Lightning and Polaris Pursuit Camo, and the Scrambler 850 in Indy Red.

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

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