Polaris Ranger HD 1000 ATV
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
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
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