The number one selling UTV in any category and in every market is the Polaris Ranger. It is the benchmark vehicle that just about every company looks to as the leader of the pack. These capable machines are offered in many configurations and are hard-working, capable utility machines that are also a lot of fun to hit the trails with. The flagship model, the Ranger XP 1000, got a complete overhaul last year and for 2019, those changes were adapted to the popular Crew version. Polaris took over 100 ideas from current owners of Rangers and worked them into innovations for the new models. When Polaris offered us the chance to put the all-new 2019 Ranger XP 1000 Crew to the test, we jumped at the chance.
New from the ground up
Polaris built the new XP Crew by starting with an all-new frame design that is constructed from a single frame spar. What you get is a more rigid chassis that has expanded capacity and capability. It can now tow up to 2,500 pounds and haul 1,000 pounds in the cargo bed, and 1,750 pounds in total payload. When driving it, you can feel just how solid the machine is. It feel sturdier that before.
The engine is a 999cc ProStar twin four-stroke that produces 82 horsepower and yet is the benchmark of quiet motors. Power delivery is extremely smooth and controlled, but the XP can get up and move very quickly. It’s kind of deceptive in that the engine has a lot of torque and power behind it, but at the same time, it’s just so smooth and quiet. Power delivery is most comparable to an electric motor. Lots of power and torque without the noise. Very cool stuff, Polaris!
For suspension, people asked for more travel and the Ranger comes in with 11-inches of wheel travel on all four corners. The shocks ride on dual A-arms with an anti-sway bar to keep the machine steady. The Ranger rides on beefier tires too that are a little taller and more aggressive. The new 27-inch Maxxis MU511 tires up front and MU521 Tires on the back are very meaty and grab traction extremely well. These are one of the more aggressive stock tires we’ve seen outside of mud-specific ones. The taller tires help boost ground clearance up to 13 inches, too.
Polaris pre-wired the new Ranger for common accessories and made the installation much easier, too. Adding things like light bars or a winch are basically plug and play now. You can now install the accessory, run the wires to the fuse box and route them to the dash for the switch. You plug in the right stuff and you’re all set. A winch install, which used to take several hours, can now be done in 30 minutes with moderate skill levels.
This Ranger has a lot of recreational ability, so hitting the trail in the XP 1000 Crew was a blast. Even with the 113-inch wheelbase, handling was smooth and predictable. The suspension on the trail worked very well. The revised hood of the Ranger gives excellent sight-lines for the driver and the overall feel on the trail is really good. We’ve found that the longer crew machines, while they don’t have the turning radius of the shorter machines, the added length makes them float over trail obstacles better. As long as you don’t high-center the machine, you can hammer rough terrain a little harder than you could in a 3-passenger Ranger XP 1000.
Polaris completely overhauled every aspect of the Ranger XP 1000 Crew. The dashboard and the controls have been redesigned with everything centered around the driver. The shifter has been moved to a more natural location, making it easier to shift from forward to reverse, and the knob on the end of the shifter is bigger and more ergonomic. There is 13.5 gallons of storage space inside the cab, with a dual-level glove box and lots of slotted storage on the underside of the dash. There are also lots of pre-cut slots for adding accessories.
Polaris did address one of our complaints about the previous model – the steering feel. Last year’s Ranger Crew had steering lag that really made the machine a handful at times, especially when you were going fast. You’d have to really crank the wheel to get the thing to turn. Polaris addressed this by making the steering feel much tighter and more precise. While the previous Ranger felt like the steering wheel was big and slow, the newer machine feels much tighter, and the wheel feels smaller, even though it is actually the same steering wheel.
The seats are more sculpted and the padding is thicker, so your butt and back don’t take a beating when you’re driving over rough terrain. The seats are cut and sewn, so they not only look great, they’re going to be extremely durable. The seatbelts may very well be the most comfortable in the category. They come across at the perfect angle and move well with you. Some seat belts cut into your neck, but these are awesome. It’s a small detail, but you have to wear one if you want the machine to go over a few miles an hour, and you should anyway for safety. With a lot of farmers, ranchers, and outdoors men and women using the Ranger, you’d want to make the seatbelts as comfortable as possible so there’d be little reason not to wear one, as opposed to just clicking it in and sitting on it, which we’ve seen some people do with other machines on the trail.
The new seating makes the ride more comfortable, even for the back-seat passengers. The overall ride quality makes this a machine capable of having a lot of fun off-roading for a larger family, or when you have friends to bring along. We plan on inviting up some friends and piling into it this spring for some bear hunting fun, and we’re confident that everyone will have plenty of room for themselves and their gear.
Down on the farm
We took our test Ranger XP 1000 Crew to a working horse ranch to put it through some real-world type paces. Farmers are great people for honest opinions of machinery because they don’t have time for things that don’t work and get the job done right.
One major aspect of the new frame design is that towing capacity on the XP increased to 2,500-pounds with a 2-inch receiver hitch standard. Finding that limit on a farm is pretty easy to do, and we found that this new Ranger Crew didn’t flinch one bit at being put to the test. The longer wheelbase of the Crew helps spread the load on the machine, while the new frame doesn’t not give a hint of flex. We did find it helpful to bump up the compression adjustment on the rear shocks when we really taxed the load on the machine. We even overloaded it by throwing a bunch of guys into it, a bunch of cargo in the bed and a heavy trailer. The machine just quietly chugged along. This machine has serious potential as a working utility UTV.
The farmer was slightly concerned about us driving the machine around his animals, as he didn’t want to deal with overly stressed horses. That wasn’t an issue at all, as the new Ranger Crew is exceptionally quiet. The farmer said that often, when he rides his quad out into the pasture, the horses will move away and be stand-offish, but we were able to get very close to them in the Ranger XP 1000 Crew and they seemed very docile.
The bottom line
The 2019 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 Crew is proof that companies can take a good product and make it much better. And it is proof that Polaris is listening to the consumers and giving us the products we’re asking for. This new machine is a great unit for those looking for a hard-working machine that can carry up to six people, all their gear and more. It is fun on the trail, and works hard around home.
We were highly impressed with the new Crew model, Far more than we expected to be, and that is saying something. One thing that really got us to thinking too. If Polaris can take suggestions from consumers and make the Ranger this much better, imagine what lies in store for the future with their other machines? The new 2019 Ranger XP 1000 Crew is a sign of things to come, and we’re pretty excited about that.