Com­mute brute

Po­laris Ranger HD 1000 ATV

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Po­laris has rein­vig­o­rated the diesel Ranger with a new pow­er­plant in a rear-en­gined lay­out. Barry Ashen­hurst goes to work in the new HD 1000 to see if the changes make a dif­fer­ence

P olaris’s Ranger line-up has done well in Aus­tralia be­cause peo­ple trust the brand, and be­cause there are few diesel mod­els to choose from among hard-work­ing side-by-sides. Rangers work on farms and in light com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tions as pay­load and peo­ple movers, with seat­ing con­fig­u­ra­tions from three to six. Yep, it’s a ver­sa­tile ve­hi­cle.

But like ev­ery other man-made de­vice, it’s a prod­uct of evo­lu­tion – in this case, Po­laris says, be­cause Aus­tralian op­er­a­tors are tougher on equip­ment than their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts. For Aussie farm­ers, TLC is not part of sched­uled main­te­nance. We don’t like to ‘over-main­tain’ our trac­tors, ap­par­ently, for fear they might ex­pect ten­der treat­ment in the fu­ture.

The good bit is that Po­laris ac­knowl­edges Aus­tralian farm­ers’ miserly at­ti­tude to ma­chine main­te­nance and equipped the Ranger HD 1000 ac­cord­ingly. What Po­laris calls a “spe­cial model vari­ant” gets grease nip­ples where it needs them, and a more ro­bust rear drive­shaft. It also has sealed A-arm bush­ings. A-arm pro­tec­tion isn’t bad, and ra­di­a­tor pro­tec­tion is pretty good as well. One thing that did look a bit funky, though, was the long breather emerg­ing from a hastily cut hole in the body­work on the left-hand side of the cab. Ob­vi­ously the breather was a Po­laris part, but the way it’d been fit­ted looked a bit or­di­nary. And we’re un­sure how long those stick-on pre-fil­ters will last.

WHAT ELSE HAVE THEY DONE?

The big­gest change is to the driv­e­train. The pre­vi­ous Ranger diesel had a mid-en­gine lay­out with the en­gine more or less un­der the seat. The new Ranger has a 1028cc, three-cylin­der

Kohler diesel, and it’s un­der the cargo bed, so you’d be cor­rect in call­ing this a rear-en­gine lay­out – just like a Porsche or Fer­rari, but a dif­fer­ent colour.

The en­gine is quiet and hard-work­ing. Top speed, flat knacker down­hill, is 60km/h. Not that lack of speed is a dis­ad­van­tage. This ve­hi­cle was meant to trun­dle, not ter­rify, and most farm­ers will drive it that way as they man­age a prop­erty and carry out daily tasks that in­volve the move­ment of small loads.

The only ref­er­ence we can find for horse­power and torque for the Kohler is the brief men­tion of 24hp (17Kw) in an on­line spec sheet. In truth, 24hp is not a lot – most side-by-sides lob some­where be­tween 25 and 30hp.

Con­ser­va­tive power isn’t a prob­lem when mov­ing small loads around on flat ground, but we did find it a con­cern when try­ing to climb long, steep hills. The Kohler can ac­tu­ally run out of

4

1: With sup­ple sus­pen­sion and the in­dus­try’s best drive sys­tem, the Ranger diesel is happy off road. We ex­pe­ri­enced no CVT slip­page ei­ther, even af­ter re­peated river cross­ings (for re­search pur­poses)

2: Here it is again, Po­laris’ ol’ me­tre-long stick shift, which looks an­cient but finds the right gear ev­ery time 1

2

3: Push-switches re­place rocker switches for trans­mis­sion con­trol

4: The 1028cc, three-cylin­der Kohler diesel de­vel­ops an un­whop­ping 24hp. There’s enough grunt for day-to-day work, but the en­gine struggles for breath on long climbs 3

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