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
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.
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.
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.
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