All in the industry have to agree that this American company has become the worldwide leader in off-road innovation. This is solidly backed up by the fact that the U.S. military is taking full advantage of what was discovered by Polaris owners to be incredible off-road abilities. Both the RZR and Sportsman platforms have had extensive success, which led to the official founding of Polaris Defense in 2005, as a way for the company to better serve the needs of their nation’s government and armed forces. In our book if they are tough enough for those tough gals and guys, they are worth taking a good long look at by our beloved readers.
Polaris has the broadest line of off-road vehicles including ATVs and Side x Sides for work, hunting, trail, high performance and numerous multiple seat offerings, so we will break things down in an orderly fashion so you can get right to your good stuff.
RZR (Sport Side-by-Side)
In 2008 we saw the introduction of the Ranger RZR 800, the first Sport Side-by-Side that offered surprising performance from a patented design that put the engine behind the seat for the lowest center of gravity and agile handling. With its 50-inch trail-capable width, fast acceleration and incredible conquering capabilities, the Ranger RZR 800 changed the entire Side-by-Side category. Soon many other versions came along making it grow into an important part of this company and greatly helping it become a leader in the industry.
Since that joyous introduction, more power and performance has come to be expected at every single model year change for the Polaris RZR line but 2016 will be remembered for its pretty impressive leap forward on that end, with the introduction of their first turbo equipped off-road vehicle: the new RZR XP Turbo EPS.
Turbochargers are widely used in car and commercial vehicles because they help smaller-capacity engines provide improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, and higher power, especially torque. The objective of a turbocharger is to improve an engine’s volumetric efficiency by increasing density of the intake gas (usually air) allowing more power per engine cycle. The turbocharger’s compressor draws in ambient air and compresses it before it enters into the intake manifold at increased pressure. Turbos, which are powered by exhaust energy that is otherwise wasted, increase engine output by forcing extra air into the cylinders, prompting the fuel injectors to provide more fuel for combustion. More combustion, alas, means more heat.
The amount of extra power provided by their new turbocharged ProStar engine is quite impressive and the result of many changes done to the engine itself, not just the addition of a turbo. It is actually more than 80% new and includes a huge number of improvements like a totally redesigned oil system, forged pistons, high strength connecting rods, closed deck cylinder, sodium filled exhaust valves and an upgraded 270 degree firing order crankshaft. All of this not having any negative impact on the RZR experience as a whole and requiring the same service intervals and maintenance protocols.
We know a lot of you are wondering if this turbo thing is just too much power for you and we surely would suggest you try other RZR models to get a true feel of how fast these things go. If you’ve never driven one before, you might be surprised with how satisfying the power and acceleration is even with their smallest offering: the RZR 570. From now on when you hear the name ProStar, think high efficiency for whichever engine size. For those who know they need or want the 144 HP, the doubt might be more in how the entire vehicle will handle this taxing power in the long term, but we are reassured by how the creation of this new RZR was approached.
Absolutely nothing was left to chance and we are glad to learn that efficient cooling was on the menu among a whole bunch of other things. For consistent engine temperature control a new liquid charge air cooler with high-flow electric pump is used. The front placement of the dual radiators backed by a high-flow fan truly ensure that owners get the peace of mind of a completely upgraded cooling system for consistent performance at all temperatures and in any challenging situation. To reduce clutch and belt temperature and to enhance and extend belt life, a new high-flow, targeted clutch air cooling system was designed.
Polaris engineers didn’t just add power to an existing model; they’ve basically started from scratch and left no stones unturned. Whether you’re looking at the engine, the suspension, the brakes, or almost anything else, you find significant improvements and technological innovation. It has a brand-new, fully-engineered and stronger driveline with every component specifically designed to fully-harness all of the 144hp provided without worry, the most power ever put in a production Side x Side. If you want the ultimate combination of power, suspension, agility, comfort and customization, the new RZR XP Turbo EPS truly brings this type of vehicle to a whole new level.
The RZR platform is by far the one that has made a biggest impact on the off-road industry as a whole, enjoying incredible popularity and growth, resulting in a community of owners who share the RZR lifestyle due to the numerous amazing experiences these vehicles can provide. For 2016 Polaris introduces yet again more new models and comfort enhancements to a majority of the others in this now extensive RZR line. We’ve been invited to a media intro to test the new RZR S 1000 EPS with a trail-friendly low gear and 60-inch width and high-flow clutch intake system; among other things. Of course, we’re excited at the thought of trying the Turbo and even surprised that it wasn’t even mentioned in the invitation, but from what we can remember experiencing aboard a 900 S in and around Pink Dunes, this might very well be the true ultimate Side-by-Side. Trust us when we say this one is extremely well-balanced and much easier to fully enjoy since you can very simply ride it in a lot more places.
Enhancements to the 2016 RZR line include an optimized driver position on most EPS models. Non-EPS vehicles also feature a new seat angle that brings the driver’s elbows closer to the body for a more natural driving position and less arm fatigue.
As far as what the drive actually feels like with 144 HP at our foot’s mercy, we can’t say just yet before we get a chance to try one but from what we can see in promotional videos, the RZR XP Turbo is extremely stable in turns and driver control seems unaffected by the largest of obstacles. Its highly tuned FOX PODIUM Internal Bypass Shocks feature a large 3″ body in the rear and 2.5″ body in the front. The internal bypass technology uses 5 progressive zones to stiffen as the shock absorbs small to large hits. Combine that with 3 zones of rebound damping to minimize pitching and harsh top out to give you an ultra plush ride and better handling over a wider range of terrain at any speed. It features a front sway-ar and retuned rear sway-ar that dramatically decrease body roll and improve vehicle handling. In other words, built for us to enjoy this great power gain safely. I’ve got goose bumps just thinking about my first try.
The new RZR XP Turbo EPS is available in Velocity Blue, Spectra Orange or Graphite Crystal (black, white and red) at a Canadian MSRP of $29,399 (plus freight & set-up)
RANGER (Utility Side-by-Side)
We, at ATV rail Rider magazine have always found that Ranger Side-by-Side vehicles have been a step ahead of the rest.Whether you need one for hunting, work on the farm, simple trail riding and now even for conquering huge mud lakes, the versatile Ranger lineup consists of two-seat, full-size and CREW vehicles, so you can truly pinpoint one which is a perfect match for your specific needs. A grand total of fifteen Ranger vehicles are offered, so you can bet that your local Polaris dealer can get you ready for anything. Huge strong points that we’ve liked on the latest Ranger units include an un-matched level of smoothness at the pedal and through the entire driveline during super slow tight manoeuvering, an almost too high level of ease and comfort that gives a sensation that the vehicle is driving itself, ease to get in and out in one swift move and the amazing possibilities opened up by the very versatile and practical Pro-Fit cab accessories.
For the customer looking for the ultimate value, Polaris offers the RANGER 570 Full-Size, retailing at just $11,499 Can. With its 60 in/152.4 cm wide three-seat chassis, tubular ROPS, proven 44 horsepower ProStar 570 engine that is rear-mounted for easier access, 1,500 lbs./680 kg of towing capacity and payload, 800 lbs./362 kg bed capacity, and premium comfort features, the RANGER 570 Full-Size is a hardworking, reliable partner. It features the legendary adjustable Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) found on all RANGER vehicles. Whether carrying heavier loads or unwinding with family and friends when the job is done, the versatility of the adjustable rear suspension and shock positions deliver. Even at a value price, the Ranger 570 doesn’t compromise on comfort with Tilt steering, a roomy bench seat for three occupants and lots of storage solutions. Like all gas-powered Rangers, the optional Speed Key allows the operator to limit the vehicle’s speed to 25 mph / 40 kph when desired. Both the 570 and 900 ProStar Ranger engines have a bit more power in 2016.
Taking mud and utility to the next level, the new RANGER XP 900 EPS High Lifter Edition Stealth Black is the industry’s first three-seat mud riding machine. It features reduced gearing for more mud-specific torque with an added heavy-duty reverse chain, high engine air and clutch intakes and outlet, arched lower A-Arms, 28 in/71.12 cm High Lifter Outlaw II tires and an improved drainage skid plate. Also new and improving traction on in this vehicle, the Ranger XP 570 EPS, Ranger XP 900 EPS and Ranger Crew 900 EPS, is a Pro-Lock On-Demand All-Wheel Drive for quicker four-wheel drive engagement to muscle through the mud more efficiently.
The electric Ranger is also a great vehicle to consider and is now available in two forms: the Single 48-Volt, High-Efficiency, AC-Induction powered Ranger EV that we’ve come to love and a new version which marks history as the industry’s first Lithium-Ion technology equipped off-road vehicle which delivers unmatched pure electric performance. The new Ranger EV LI-ION is over 400 lb. (181 kg) lighter for quicker acceleration and its Lithium-Ion batteries offer up to 4x more charge cycles than lead-acid batteries. These also offer more than three times the total battery lifespan.
With its revolutionary sit-in chassis that combines the nimble handling of an ATV with the security of a Side-by-Side, the Polaris Ace brings a totally new and amazing off-road experience. Trust us when we say that trying one gets you hooked. Due to the widespread appeal of the platform from both the industry and consumers, Polaris introduced the Polaris ACE 570 as part of their 2015 product offering and also introduced the Polaris ACE 570 SP a few months later that included a full package of premium features like automotive style paint, customer graphics, aluminum wheels, Electronic Power Steering (EPS) and an Engine Braking System (EBS). For model year 2016, Polaris is introducing the 60 HP Polaris ACE 900 SP with a ProStar 900 engine featuring both Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) and Electronic Throttle Control (ETC). For optimum control, the front and rear stabilizer bar improves handling and provides a confidence-inspiring ride. These features found standard on the ACE 900 SP work in tandem to provide even more comfort, capability and confidence. Premium SP Performance Package goodies like nice aluminum wheels, new high-performance close ratio on-demand all wheel drive, dual rate rear springs, sport tuned exhaust, factory installed doors with custom graphics, variable assist electronic power steering, high performance steering wheel, automotive style paint with custom graphics package, and a custom cut and sew high back bucket seat, make it a great deal at just $13.499. The Ace platform is extremely friendly with people with mobility challenges and its sit in, step out design makes it easier to get into and out of than any other off-road vehicle.
For Model Year 2016, the Sportsman line adds three new models, including two for the mud lifestyle, in addition to several improvements and new color choices. Polaris has partnered with High Lifter to offer two ATVs made for the mud, the Sportsman XP 1000 Stealth Black High Lifter Edition and Sportsman 850 Orange High Lifter Edition, with 85 horsepower and 78 horsepower respectively. The units feature shielded high engine air and clutch intake/outlets as well as high-mounted vent lines and both are equipped with a High and Low transmission with lower gearing. Both come with the standard 29.5 in/74.9 cm High Lifter Outlaw II tires and a redesigned suspension featuring stiffer springs for higher ground clearance, exclusive front and rear high-arched, constant radius dual A-arms, and new articulating rear suspension designed to maximize traction in very deep mud. The 1000 has more than just the extra power over the 850 and adds an industry’s first handlebar-mounted mud bar to maximize control in the mud, high-mounted front and rear bumpers, factory-installed Polaris 3,500 lb./1587 kg winch with sealed handlebar switch and front tow hooks. Both rides offer great cooling with a relocated, rack-mounted radiator with inverted dual fans, an industry-exclusive design that pulls clean air through the bottom of the radiator for improved cooling and reduced clogging.
Other particularly interesting things to know is that all 850s and 1000s feature 50 percent stronger front half shafts, improved driveline, and a new, high capacity, high-flow air filter for improved air flow and dust filtration to the engine.
For the entry-level consumer, Polaris also added the new Sportsman 450 H.O., which delivers more power and performance at a 400cc class price. The Sportsman 450 H.O.is smooth, reliable and proven ProStar engine delivers 31 horsepower for full-size capability. Along with the Sportsman
450 H.O., the Sportsman 570, Sportsman 570 EPS and Sportsman 570 SP all receive a new seat with more comfortable foam, durable seat base and added exhaust pipe shielding.
There are loads of more new stuff from Polaris for 2016 with numerous awesome-looking color schemes, comfort improving changes and power gains for many models. We strongly suggest a long visit on their very well-presented revamped website.
For more information on the above mentioned models, please visit the Polaris Website