Pala­tial Po­laris

The new Po­laris Ranger XP 1000 HD is flash enough with­out a new cab but Po­laris gave it one any­way. It also has more power, tow­ing ca­pac­ity, and blind­ing bling, Barry Ashen­hurst writes

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Po­laris Ranger XP 1000 HD

There’s a lot of one-up­man­ship in the side-by-side mar­ket right now and I hope you en­joy it as much as I do.

The ma­jor play­ers are tram­pling each other to get your at­ten­tion and that’s al­ways en­ter­tain­ing. Deals are be­ing done. All bets are off as they fight for supremacy in the range of stan­dard fea­tures they can of­fer, the horse­power, the num­ber of ac­ces­sories, and the num­ber of acronyms they can in­vent to con­vince you that your new SXS is only mi­crons short of be­ing an in­ter­ga­lac­tic space­craft.

When fully op­tioned, the best mod­ern side-by-sides ri­val pas­sen­ger cars in their ac­ces­sories – if not their am­bi­ence.

For the 2019 model year, Po­laris has up­graded ev­ery ve­hi­cle in the SXS range, from mere styling and colour changes to real me­chan­i­cal im­prove­ments, many of which Po­laris says are “owner in­spired”. Since these im­prove­ments ar­rive in mul­ti­ples of 10, Po­laris own­ers must pos­sess the in­spi­ra­tion of a zealot.

TEST VE­HI­CLE

Our red test ve­hi­cle was, I must ad­mit, very pretty, with a new cab, new wheels and fight-club rub­ber, 27-inch, Maxxis MU511s front and rear. The face of the ma­chine is pro­tected by a huge wrap­around bumper with in­te­grated tie-down points. There’s more pro­tec­tion for the new one-piece chas­sis too.

Cab doors are huge but swing through 180 de­grees so big peo­ple won’t have dif­fi­culty get­ting in and out. Win­dows raise and lower via crank winders, and the huge wind­screen swings up. A Per­spex rear win­dow pre­vents cold air creep­ing up from be­hind, and Po­laris has added what it calls ‘close-off pan­els’ be­hind the cab, to lessen mud build-up and make the ma­chine eas­ier to clean.

Once you’ve planned the po­si­tion of im­por­tant items in a two-seater cab there isn’t much room left for any­thing else, like cuphold­ers, trays, switches and con­trols, vents, and a glove­box large enough to be of any use, but Po­laris made the most of lim­ited real es­tate. Be­lieve it or not there are six cuphold­ers and still more room for water-bot­tle hold­ers.

Lift­ing the seats ex­poses more large-stuff stor­age space. The seats are built on steel rather than plas­tic frames, so they won’t crack when a big man plonks his bum on one of ‘em; a prob­lem that Po­laris ev­i­dently has prob­lems tak­ing se­ri­ously in the diesel

Reg Grant and I have re­viewed ATVs and side-by-sides for about 10 years and we were im­pressed with the Ranger, not least be­cause the cranky hand­brake was the only thing we didn’t like about it.

Ranger be­cause the plas­tic seat base in that model con­tin­ues to crack un­der pres­sure.

PER­FOR­MANCE

Reg Grant and I have been re­view­ing ATVs and side-by-sides for about 10 years and were im­pressed with the Ranger, not least be­cause the cranky hand­brake was the only thing we didn’t like about it. We’d like to dis­like more but couldn’t find it. And speed wasn’t a prob­lem.

En­gine out­put from the 999cc Pro Star mo­tor is now 82hp – also in­dus­try lead­ing – and this co­pi­ous grunt is elec­tron­i­cally grad­u­ated in three stages: Work, Stan­dard, or Per­for­mance. We drove around all day in the Stan­dard set­ting and it was more than fast enough for farm work. The Per­for­mance set­ting is for those who like a ‘recre­ational’ as­pect to a side-by-side, but we’d cau­tion them about try­ing to drift this ve­hi­cle, which feels a lit­tle top-heavy with the big cab, and whose height al­most matches its wheel­base. Get too ag­gres­sive with your cor­ner­ing tech­nique and, what with those go­rilla grip tyres and all, the whole thing could turn funky.

The en­gine is re­spon­sive and a plea­sure to drive. It tops out (in the Stan­dard set­ting) at around 100km/h, has no flat-spots, and is quiet. It’s matched to an auto trans­mis­sion that, of all those avail­able to­day, asks the least of an op­er­a­tor. You stick it in all­wheel drive and that’s what you get. In day-to-day terms it’s the sim­plest, most use­ful trans­mis­sion on the mar­ket. All it re­quires is the an­swer to a ba­sic ques­tion any farmer can an­swer: do you need four-wheel drive or don’t you? And if you don’t, you’ll be amazed where this damn thing will go in two-wheel drive.

En­gine brak­ing is con­trolled by an Ac­tive De­scent Con­trol but­ton on the dash. Reg and I have his­tory with Po­laris en­gine brak­ing. On ear­lier mod­els with Ac­tive De­scent Con­trol it was In­ac­tive De­scent Con­trol. It didn’t work and we said so. This cre­ated a cer­tain amount of ten­sion in the cor­po­rate box, but in the in­ter­ven­ing aeons, things calmed down. Po­laris cured the prob­lem and its 1,000cc donk now has some of the strong­est en­gine brak­ing in a petrol-pow­ered SXS. (Re­cently, though you’re prob­a­bly un­aware of it, the Aus­tralian Bor­der Force [ABF] im­pounded a num­ber of on- and off-road ve­hi­cles sus­pected of con­tain­ing small amounts of as­bestos. The ABF would have served ATV users more faith­fully had it quar­an­tined ve­hi­cles sus­pected of hav­ing small amounts of en­gine brak­ing).

The Ranger has a Park slot in the gear­box, along with a me­chan­i­cal hand­brake, which proved to be as de­fi­ant as a free­dom fighter through its last five cen­time­tres of travel.

Not even Farmer Pow­ell could push it all the way in, thus dis­en­gag­ing it, and he has big­ger hands than an Au­to­bot.

PRIC­ING

The Ranger XP 1000 HD is about $38,000. That’s not es­pe­cially im­por­tant, since those with the abil­ity to di­rectly trans­fer such funds can buy what­ever they want if they per­ceive it as value for money.

And don’t be re­sent­ful that some peo­ple can af­ford one of these things and you can’t. I’d like a three-week hol­i­day in Patag­o­nia, but I have more chance of fly­ing in space or dis­cov­er­ing why as­ter­oids al­ways land in craters, nei­ther of which will make me rich enough to af­ford a Po­laris Ranger XP.

All it re­quires is the an­swer to a ba­sic ques­tion any farmer can an­swer: do you need four-wheel drive or don’t you? And if you don’t, you’ll be amazed where this damn thing will go in two-wheel drive.

1. Every­thing that opens and shuts. The Pro Shield cab has all you need for com­fort­able op­er­a­tion in all cli­mates. The new seats are well padded. Cab sound lev­els at speed are low. Bump ab­sorp­tion is ter­rific, as you’d ex­pect from Po­laris. It’s a Ranger though, not an RXR, so don’t go throw­ing it around 2. The tail­gate is new and so are thelatches3. In-cab stor­age is ter­rific 2 3 1

4. Speak­ers the size of Volk­swa­gens andplenty of power in the heat­ing/cool­ing fans 5. Lift the seats and there’s heaps more stor­agespace for larger items6. Price with­out the Pro Shield cab is $23,000 5

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