Polaris Reveals 2019 Model Year Side-by-Sides

Polaris Industries revealed their 2019 model year side-by-side lineup last week with improvements across a host models. In the Ranger product line Ride Command technology will now be available for select Ranger XP 1000 models as a factory-installed package. The Range XP 1000 and Ranger Crew XP 1000 models now include a 20th anniversary edition and the new High Lifter Edition.

2019 model year RZRs feature aggressive styling and performance upgrades across the product lineup. Ride Command will be available in all RZR XP 1000 colors and the RZR XP 1000 Dynamix vehicles. The trail-ready RZR S4 1000 is now powered by a 100 hp engine.

The General lineup has been updated with performance and technology upgrades, as well as new colors and graphics. The following are more specific features for select models.

2019 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS High Lifter Edition

The 2019 model year Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS High Lifter Edition with redesigned half doors and improved driveline strength.

2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS High Lifter Edition – $19,999 MSRP                                    2019 RANGER CREW XP 1000 EPS High Lifter Edition – 21,499 MSRP

  • Redesigned factory-installed half doors with new one-inch water drains
  • 82 hp engine
  • 11″ of suspension travel
  • 20% increase in overall driveline strength
  • New geared reverse transmission
  • 28″ Outlaw tires
  • 13.5″ of ground clearance
  • Crew version has 6-passenger capacity

2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS RIDE COMMAND – $17,999 MSRP                                    2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS NorthStar Edition RIDE COMMAND – $25,999 MSRP

  • Ride Command technology is now available as a factory-installed package
  • Seven-inch glove-touch display features built-in navigation and front and rear cameras.
  • System provides vehicle diagnostics, allows smartphone connectivity and factory-installed in-dash speakers.
  • Topographical map allows consumers to better navigate trail overlays and drop waypoints to remember key locations
  • Interactive interface gives every type of rider the freedom to stay connected while hunting, working on their ranch, or trail riding.

2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS and Ranger XP 1000 EPS NorthStar Edition models

  • Available in four new color options including Steel Blue, Pearl White, Magnetic Gray and Polaris Pursuit® Camo.
Polaris 2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS 20th anniversary

The 2019 Ranger XP 1000 EPS 20th Anniversary edition with two-tone maroon and tan colors and embroidered seats.

2019 Ranger XP1000 EPS 20th Anniversary Limited Edition – $16,799 MSRP            2019 Ranger CREW XP 1000 EPS 20th Anniversary Limited Edition – $17,799

  • Two-tone maroon and tan color option
  • Custom embroidered seats
  • Limited production quantities
Polaris 2019 RZR S4 1000 EPS

The 2019 model year RZR S4 1000 EPS now features 100 hp.

Polaris 2019 RZR XP 1000

The 2019 RZR XP 1000 has new styling and LED lighting.

2019 RZR Xtreme Performance Lineup – Starting at $17,999 MSRP

  • Styling features a more aggressive cut with a chiseled muscular stance
  • LED accent lights
  • Brand-new LED headlights
  • Premium digital instrumentation
  • More storage
  • DYNAMIX active suspension and Ride Command technology now available on RZR XP 1000 models
  • Horsepower boost to 100 hp for the 2019 RZR S4 1000

2019 General – Starting at $16,299 MSRP

  • New colors and graphics
  • Factory-installed bronze wheels on the Ride Command edition

Learn more:  Polaris.com

Does Future Mobility Include LSVs?

GEM has been the market leader in LSVs for many years.

The falling cost of batteries and rise of autonomous driving technology has launched a new stage in the development of mobility technologies. These advances may be bad news for LSVs. For decades small-task oriented vehicles, and in particular by golf cars, have dominated the EV market in terms of production volume. Long before Tesla, golf car manufacturers produced hundreds of thousands of electric golf cars annually. Primarily for these vehicles were for golf courses, but for personal transportation as well. In addition, the large volume of used electric golf cars coming off of golf courses each year were finding their way into the personal transportation and utility markets. In smaller volumes they produced electric powered burden carriers and general utility vehicles for use in enclosed spaces such as factories and warehouses.

Speed and pricing hurt LSV adoption

Federal regulations in the late nineties lead to the development of Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs), originally referred to as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). The LSV classification created the opportunity to move small EVs out of gated and golf communities and relatively confined driving environments and onto public roads in large numbers. Unfortunately, for LSV manufacturers, the widespread adoption of LSVs for personal transportation has never occurred. In theory, LSVs would be a good choice as a second vehicle. They are relatively inexpensive to purchase and operate and suitable for the short trips typical of many drivers. In practice, they are relatively expensive for their limited functionality, and to many they look like a glorified golf car.

With a 25 mph top speed, LSVs are too slow for real life driving where speeds are often 30-45 mph. Federal authorities, already concerned about LSV safety, are unwilling to compromise on safety requirements for higher speed Medium Speed Vehicles. The additional safety requirements for MSVs would make these vehicles relatively expensive compared to fully highway capable vehicles.

Pricing has always been an issue with LSVs, which typically cost around $10,000 on the low end. They find themselves competing against new, used and refurbished golf cars that can cost thousands of dollars less or comparably priced, but heavily customized golf cars. On the other end of the spectrum, the lowest priced highway capable vehicles available do not cost that much more and offer far greater functionality. As a result, the LSV market has never “taken off”. SVR’s research has shown that LSVs for personal use have only gained traction where local laws restrict the use of golf cars on public roads. The trend has been for local governments to allow more golf cars, modified golf cars and even UTVs on local roads.

Where LSV have found some success is on college and corporate campuses. In these environments the LSV safety features are worth the additional expense in the context of insurance and liability. The slower speed is another plus where administrators do not want employees speeding across pedestrian filled campus grounds. The utility LSV has proven to provide plenty of functionality and mobility in these confined environments at a reduced cost compared to pick-up trucks which they often replace. In addition, electric LSVs fit well into sustainability and green initiatives on these campuses.

Electric bikes and scooters offer an alternative

New battery and autonomous driving technologies are unlikely to change the fate of LSVs, and likely will make it worse. Batteries are becoming small enough, powerful enough and cheap enough to create new competitors to LSVs. Namely, a rash of electric bicycles and electric scooters have been entering the market. While costing thousands of dollars, electric bicycles have the potential to chip away at some of the LSV market. Have a short commute on local roads and don’t need to carry much with you. Why not use an electric bike? Need a quick way around urban areas and don’t want to worry about parking? How about an electric scooter.

There are electric bike and scooter sharing programs either already operating or in pilot programs in major cities. These options aren’t ideal in bad weather or for multiple passengers, but they can potentially reduce LSV usage. In fact, they may even provide competition to golf cars and Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTVs) within gated communities.

Autonomous vehicles take a new direction

May Mobility self-driving GEM

GEM configured by May Mobility for self-driving.

Similarly autonomous driving technology may very well reduce the potential footprint for LSVs. Google has used some LSVs for the testing of their autonomous driving technology.  You could argue from a standpoint of safety that the more controlled environment of gated communities could be a good entry point for the technology. But it appears the major players are starting with highway capable vehicles. There have been some instances of LSVs with the technology being tested for limited use scenarios such as shuttle runs. Currently, the relative expense of the autonomous driving technology compared to the cost of an LSV is likely too high. The economics favor installation on premium vehicles or rental/sharing fleets with the flexibility for high volume usage.

Nuro autonomous vehicle

This Fall Kroger will be using passengerless autonomous vehicles from startup Nuro to deliver groceries to customers.

Starship Technologies Delivery Robot

Starship Technologies is rolling out a robotic delivery service on college and corporate campuses this year.

Even in the commercial use of LSVs or their slightly faster cousins in Europe for tasks like urban delivery, autonomous driving technology may undercut the application of these vehicles. There are a number of startups developing autonomous delivery vehicles for operation on streets. However, they are passenger less or even smaller and slower for use on sidewalks. The last vestige for the LSV may remain the college or corporate campus, but even the autonomous shuttle could cut into some of that usage. We may be witnessing the highpoint for the use of LSVs right now.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

 

 

Textron Launches Prowler Pro UTVs

2019 Textron Off road Prowler Pro

The new 2019 Prowler Pro from Textron Off Road with a 50 hp gas engine.

Textron Off Road recently announced the addition of the Prowler Pro and Prowler Pro XT to their UTV lineup. Targeted at farmers and hunters the Prowler Pro is powered by a 50 hp, 812cc EFI gas engine. Designed to be a “whisper-quiet”, the engine is paired with vibration reducing mounts and a muffler with rubber isolator. The vehicle features a drive-by-wire throttle and CVT drive system that is programmed to compensate for unintended “foot bounce” on rough terrain. Additional key features include:

  • 3 passenger capacity
  • 2/4WD with selectable locking rear differential
  • Double A-arm suspension with gas charged twin tube shocks
  • 10″/9.5″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 10.75″ of ground clearance
  • 26″ Pro terrain tires
  • Dual piston front calipers and single piston rear calipers
  • 1,000 lb. cargo dump box
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • Tilt steering
  • Customizable speed control
  • Removable passenger seats
  • Behind-seat storage
  • Dual high/low beam halogen headlights and LED taillights
  • Digital gauge
  • ROPS

The Prowler Pro comes standard rack-and-pinion steering and 12-inch steel wheels in Marsh Green for $11,399. The Prowler Pro XT comes in Dynamic Charcoal or Fire Red and includes electronic power steering and 14-inch machined aluminum wheels for $12,999. All vehicles are sold with a 12-month warranty and will be available in dealerships in May.

Learn more:  Textronoffroad.com

SVR’s Take:  After purchasing Arctic Cat Textron first consolidated and pared down their lineup of vehicles across a number of brands and product lineups and put them under the Textron Off Road macro brand. Since then they have launched a number of new models and are building out their vehicle offerings across a number of segments including performance, sport, crossover and work utility. Textron looks like it could become a major competitor to the traditional powersports companies in the market. The company has significant financial and manufacturing resources as well as engineering expertise to draw upon from its other high tech businesses. One of the keys to success will be building out a dealer network to have the geographical reach and proper distribution channels to reach all the customer segments they are targeting.  Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR Reviews

Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR

New for 2018 is the Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR shown here in Atomic Silver.

One of the key additions to Kawasaki’s 2018 utility vehicle lineup is the new Mule Pro-FXR. The Pro-FXR builds on their successful Pro-FX and Pro-FXT models with new styling highlights and recreational features. In the styling department the Mule Pro-FXR features a “truck like appearance” with painted bodywork, low-profile LED inner and halogen outer headlights, front and rear bumpers and contoured two-tone seats. For recreational riding the FXR is shorter than the other Pro Mules (about 12″ shorter than the FX) and sports a shorter turning radius (14.0 ft. compared to 16.0 ft. for the FX) and higher ground clearance (about 0.5″). Pricing for the Mule Pro-FXR starts at $14,999. Other key features of the 2018 Mule Pro-FXR include:

  • 812cc, DOHC, 3-cylinder engine with EFI
  • 2WD/4WD/4WD with rear differential lock
  • Engine braking
  • EPS
  • 10.8″ of ground clearance
  • 1,000 lb. steel cargo bed
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity

Below are highlights from reviews of the Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR by trade publications and enthusiasts.

The reviews are generally positive for the Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXR.   This isn’t a high performance trail riding UTV, but a solid performer with a good sized engine, smooth riding suspension, smaller size and tighter turning radius than the Mule Pro-FX and a comfortable cabin. Some of the common comments from across the reviews include:

  • Quiet
  • Smooth ride
  • Handles tougher trail conditions well

ATV.com – Kawasaki sponsored test drive event at Hearst Ranch in California. Rugged and rocky terrain.

  • More of a trail machine without sacrificing too much of the work capabilities
  • Hybrid of the Mule Pro-FX and Teryx
  • Foot shorter than Pro-FX but with same passenger, cargo and towing capacity
  • Wheelbase is more than a foot shorter producing a tighter turning radius
  • Quieter than other Mules. Can hold a conversation on the trail.
  • Shocks smoothed out the bumps on rougher trail sections
  • Not peppy or as responsive as a Teryx but plenty of power delivered smoothly
  • Good stability down hills
  • Good choice for trail riders looking more for comfort and features over performance

Totallandscapecare.com – Kawasaki sponsored test drive event at Hearst Ranch in California.

  • Noticeable truck-like and upscale styling
  • Comfortable cabin and driving experience with contoured seating, padded steering, spacious cabin and speed sensitive power steering
  • Smooth ride
  • Vehicle handles steep drops smoothly thanks to the CVT transmission and engine braking
  • Rubber mounted engine is quiet

NLGhostWolf – Consumer review – Trail riding in Newfoundland, Canada

  • Quiet
  • Very smooth suspension
  • Loves the persimmon red color
  • Very impressed with the vehicle

Consumer Review – Riding on Ozark Mountain logging roads with some snow on the ground

  • Tougher and rides better than a Polaris Ranger
  • No wheel slippage up the hill
  • “Very happy with this Mule”
  • Had a Mule 4010 but a rougher ride

Dealer Walkaround and Review – Mainland Cycle Center of Texas

  • Shorter wheelbase
  • Cargo bed a little shorter
  • Smaller size but many of the same features we like on the Mule Pro-FX
  • 46 mph top speed
  • Fully independent suspension
  • New 27” Duro Power Grip tires
  • Same 812 cc motor that we really like; really smooth
  • Quiet in the cabin
  • New front facia and bumper with aluminum inserts
  • Better feedback from suspension than Mule Pro-FX, less floaty
  • Easy opening doors rather than nets
  • Contoured bench seats are more comfortable
  • Steel bottom 1,000 lb. cargo bed
  • Easy assisted bed dump
  • Stainless steel exhaust
  • Rear differential is overbuilt
  • 3 yr warranty
  • New glove box door is easier to open
  • Plenty of cabin storage
  • Hard top is standard
  • Built-in under driver seat storage
  • Nice tight turning radius
  • Good ground clearance
  • Sporty machine for both work and trail riding

 

2018 Honda Pioneer 500 Reviews

2018 Honda Pioneer 500 utility vehicle

The 2018 Honda Pioneer 500 is Honda’s entry level utility vehicle.

The 2018 Honda Pioneer 500 is the same as the 2017 version which was updated from the previous model. Priced at $8,999, this entry level Honda utility vehicle is powered by a 475cc liquid cooled, single cylinder four-stroke engine with electronic fuel injection. This two-seater is only 50″ wide, making many trails accessible, and fits in a full-sized pickup’s bed. The Pioneer 500 features selectable 2WD/4WD and a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode with paddle shifters and the automatic mode. Switching between modes can be done on the fly. Other key specifications include:

  • Front and rear independent double-wishbone suspensions
  • 5.9″ of front and rear suspension travel
  • 8.5″ of ground clearance
  • 24″ tires
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 1,000 lbs towing capacity
  • 450 lbs rear rack capacity
  • Low doors with safety nets

The Honda Pioneer is available in Red or Olive, or for in Honda Phantom Camo for an additional $600.

The following are highlights from several different reviews of the 2018 Honda Pioneer 500. The reviews are fairly consistent with the general view that the Honda Pioneer 500 is a nicely priced small UTV that is good for the trail and doing smaller size chores around the farm, ranch or work site. The ability to switch between manual and automatic transmission modes and the performance of the transmission are the favorite feature. The engine size is appropriate and peppy enough. The clever door latch system and handling are other well-liked features. The main negative is that the ride can be harsh and the vehicle could use slightly more suspension travel or better shocks.

World-of-ATVs.com Honda Pioneer 500 Review

  • Manual transmission mode gives the vehicle an edge
  • Good for trails and chores around the farm or ranch
  • “Pioneer 500 represents the best bang for the buck…” in its class
  • Requires less maintenance than most machines
  • Sporty feel for recreation and capabilities for utility use
  • Reports by some owners:  Too noisy, harsh ride and lacks a fully locking front differential

Dirtywheelsmag.com – Tested mostly on trails made for quads. Tested 2017 version which is the same as the 2018.

  • Peppy engine
  • Clever door latch system opens doors and folds back safety nets at the same time
  • Nimble handling and crisp steering
  • Increased suspension travel could improve ride
  • “Trail pace that will out-pace the suspension”
  • Comfortable cabin

MrTruck.com

  • Like the door and net latch system
  • Power steering and fulling locking front differential would have been nice
  • Like the paddle shifters and the versatility of the automatic and manual modes
  • Better down hill control with the manual shifting
  • Gas and brake pedals are far enough apart unlike other UTVs
  • Like the lack of center console that can get in the way of your legs
  • 50″ width provides more trail access
  • Not as much wheel travel as my ATVs
  • Great emergency brake
  • Like roll cage for when carrying kids
  • Simple design with crankshafts going directly to drive shafts

 

2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4 Reviews

2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4

The new 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4, a 4-passenger UTV designed to be more compact and nimble for recreational use.

Yamaha introduced the model year 2018 Wolverine X4 last year. The recreational utility vehicle features a new 847cc, twin-cylinder engine and stowaway full-size rear seats for flexible cargo space. To improve efficiency, the engine features a dry-sump design for a more compact layout, and an offset cylinder block to reduce friction loss, while rubber engine-mounts and a geared counterbalancer are designed to greatly reduce vibration at idle and throughout the RPM range, as well as reduce noise. The X4 also includes the new Yamaha Chip Controlled-Throttle (YCC-T®), a drive-by-wire system providing precise throttle control, and a key controlled speed system for restricting the vehicle’s top speed to 25 mph. The dimensions (59.8″ wide and 82.7″ wheelbase) of the new Wolverine X4 are purposely on the compact end of the scale to provide a more nimble vehicle for more technical trail riding. Other key features and specs include:

  • Ultramatic V-belt transmission with all-wheel engine braking
  • Yamaha On-Command 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, full diff-lock 4WD
  • 8.7″/8.9″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 10.7″ of ground clearance
  • Rear self-leveling shocks
  • 26″ Maxxis tires
  • Electronic power steering
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 600 lb. cargo bed capacity
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • Full underbody skid plates
  • Fully enclosed doors
  • Wide fenders
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • Two 12V DC outlets
  • Four pre-wired accessory switches
  • MSRP $15,999 in Graphite

Model variations include the Wolverine X4 in:

  • Yamaha Blue with overfenders and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $16,499)
  • Realtree Xtra camo with overfenders and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $16,899)
  • Matte Silver and Matte Carbon Special Edition (SE) models with overfenders, painted bodywork, color-matched interior and shock springs, and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $17,249)

According to Yamaha managers they are trying to deliver a 4-seat UTV with some of the handling and size characteristics of a two seater and a high degree of versatility. They believe this segment of the market is currently underserved.

Below are highlights from various reviews of the Yamaha Wolverine X4. Similar competitive vehicles would be the Kawasaki Teryx4 and the Honda Pioneer 1000-5. The reviews are mostly positive. Some of the common positive aspects across the reviewers include:

  • Quiet cabin
  • Comfortable seating front and rear with enough legroom for most riders
  • Good and smooth power from the new engine
  • Smooth transmission
  • Handles well
  • Self-leveling suspension works well
  • Light and precise power steering but still provides enough feel
  • Good sight lines for front and rear passengers

Negative comments include:

  • Driver legroom may be insufficient for taller riders
  • Rear leg position is slightly compromised by engine hump
  • Cargo bed can fit small to medium size coolers/boxes but is not designed for loose material and is limited with four passengers
  • Ingress and egress is a little tricky

UTVDriver.com – Yamaha sponsored test drive at the Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park in Taylorsville, NC. Tight trail conditions.

  • Comfortable seats and ergonomic cockpit
  • Open sightlines
  • More comfortable redesigned seat belt and retractor system
  • Quiet cabin
  • “peppy yet smooth” acceleration and predictable takeoff
  • Good CVT system with no belt concerns no matter the obstacle
  • Top speed in low range of 29 and low 50’s in high gear
  • Non-dump cargo bed is not made for loose material like gravel but can carry small to medium size gear
  • X4 handling “really shines”
  • Very precise and predictable in corners
  • Light steering
  • Smooth gated shifter
  • Self-leveling shocks worked “great” and provided greater than expected comfort in the back seats
  • Comfortable back seats with well-placed angled footrests and grab handles

UTVGiude.net – Yamaha sponsored test drive at the Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park in Taylorsville, NC. Tight trail conditions.

  • Comfortable seats for someone 6` 1″
  • Self-leveling suspension handled a range of different load conditions, from one to four passengers, well
  • Ultramatic CVT worked well even on tight trails, hills, low speeds and in High gear
  • “Wolverine X4 is probably the quietest on the market”
  • Performed well in east coast trail conditions for which it is designed

UTVsportsmag.com – Yamaha sponsored test drive at the Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park in Taylorsville, NC. Tight trail conditions.

  • “Quietest UTV on the market in our minds, bar none.”
  • Torquey new engine
  • Smooth transmission with centrifugal clutch that removes belt lag
  • “really great” engine braking
  • Comfortable seats but footwell area cramped for 6` 3″ driver.
  • Good sight lines
  • Back seats are adjustable for more cargo space or legroom and slightly rasied for stadium-style view
  • Impressed with backseat legroom
  • Interior door handles keep them free of mud and debris
  • “…the X4 goes where you want it to go, even with 4 people aboard.”
  • No pushing in corners
  • Great feedback from power steering and nice ‘feel’
  • Ingress and egress for front and back seats is a “challenge”
  • Limited storage area with four passengers
  • Front seats could sit higher for more legroom

ATV.com – Yamaha sponsored test drive at the Brushy Mountain Motorsports Park in Taylorsville, NC. Tight trail conditions.

  • Comfortable seats
  • New engine with more power throughout RPM range
  • Really smooth throughout the throttle pedal range
  • Torquey response
  • Quiet cabin
  • Easy to shift
  • Handling gives confidence in many trail conditions
  • Self-leveling suspension provides a nice ride
  • Comfortable back seats with ample room and raised position gives good sight lines

Enthusiast Video and Review – jay_man81 – Local dealer demo event. Walk around video and separate ride video.

Walk around video

  • Most comfortable front seats in a UTV that I’ve ridden in
  • Door latch piece makes ingress difficult
  • Shoulder bolster and padded grips in back seats are nice but engine hump moves your legs slightly to the side
  • Nice and comfortable adjustable steering wheel and good cockpit ergonomics
  • Like the parking brake and switch blanks
  • Glovebox has no rubber seal to keep water out
  • One lever auto-style tailgate latch is better than previous tailgate latches
  • Easily accessible air filter
  • Better comfort than my Honda Pioneer 1000 but less power

Drive video

  • Quiet even in low and can converse in the cabin
  • Smooth power delivery
  • Soaks up the bumps and stays planted
  • Seat belt cutting into my neck a little bit
  • Power steering “spot on”. Light but gives enough trail feel
  • 0 – 30 in 5.58 seconds
  • Power in between Pioneer 500 and 1000-5.
  • Good enough power to put a grin on your face
  • Cannot feel any engine heat in the cabin
  • “Quite an impressive machine”

Capital Powersports in North Carolina – Video with comments from customers taking demo drives

  • Handles well
  • Adjustable seats
  • Bigger steering wheel is comfortable
  • Rear seats fold-up
  • Good on the trail
  • Comfortable seats
  • Smooth suspension on all sorts of terrain
  • Good engine braking
  • Good power at higher speeds but some hesitation at lower speeds

Polaris RZR XP Turbo S Reviews

Polaris RZR SP Turbo S

The RZR XP Turbo S has 25″ of usable front and rear suspension travel.

Polaris introduced their new, top-of-the-line RZR, the 72-inch RZR XP Turbo S in March. The RZR XP Turbo S was completely “redesigned and reengineered” with a reinforced chassis, stronger axels and other strengthened components. Like other high performance RZRs this model is powered by a 168 hp ProStar turbo H.O. engine. Rather than bump up the horsepower, Polaris beefed up almost every other aspect of the vehicle. The XP Turbo S features 32″ ITP Coyote tires 16″ of ground clearance and 25% more assist in power steering. This model also has the Dynamix Active Suspension system, 19″ or 21″ of wheel travel depending on settings and 25″ of what Polaris refers to as useable travel to the skid plate. The drive system is the new Isolated Xtreme Performance True On-Demand AWD/2WD with greater front drive impact strength, improved throttle control and a redesigned clutch box “..for better air flow and decreased belt temperatures.”

Other key specs and features of the RZR XP Turbo S include:

  • 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Triple-Bore Front and Dual-Bore Rear Calipers
  • EPS
  • 2.5″/3″ FOX Podium Internal Bypass Shocks with Live Valve
  • Premium Sparco Steering Wheel
  • Bolstered Bucket Seats with 4-point Harness
  • Aluminum Roof
  • Bowed 1/4 Doors
  • Front Blacked Out White LED Low/High w/ Accent Lights & Rear Red LED Tail / Brake / Accent Lights
  • Rear Wired Camera
  • RIDE COMMAND™ 7” Glove-Touch Display with DYNAMIX Visualizer
  • Built-In GPS
  • Bluetooth & USB Smartphone Connectivity
  • GoPro® Control
  • In-Vehicle Communications Capable
  • Ride Command App Integration

The RZR XP Turbo S is available in Indy Red or Polaris Blue and has an MSRP of $27,499.

Below are highlights from reviews of the RZR XP Turbo S from a Polaris arranged test drive event in the desert near Las Vegas, NV. Not surprising for a high end vehicle, the reviews in general are predominantly positive. The Dynamix Active suspension with the new FOX shocks is a big hit. Reviewers are amazed at how the vehicle handles rough terrain and can corner. Reviewers noted the difficulty of the trails on which they drove the vehicles and on several occasions the vehicles easily handled terrain where the driver thought they had pushed the envelope too far. The new steering wheel is also widely praised. While the turbo provides the same horsepower as the previous RZR Turbo model, reviewers found the power output to be more than adequate and good throughout the throttle range. On the negative side, seat comfort could be an issue, one reviewer wants full doors and one wants a lower low range for rock crawling. The 4-point harness is welcomed but can take some adjusting.

UTVGuide.net – Las Vegas test drive first ride review

  • Feels sturdy and stout
  • Designed for 32″ tires
  • Can adjust suspension from the cab
  • Good visibility from the cockpit
  • Improved CVT cooling and stronger front differential
  • Liked the LED accent lights
  • Liked the new Sparco steering wheel
  • Not enough legroom
  • “Low range is too high for technical rock crawling.”
  • Too much seat movement in rough terrain
  • Hard to adjust harness
  • Usable travel is the distance from the bottom of the tires while at full droop to the skid plate.

UTVDriver.com – Las Vegas test drive first ride review

  • New Sparco steering wheel much better
  • EPS system works well similar to other RZRs
  • 32″ tires are “hook up well” and are smoother over obstacles than 29″ Bighorns
  • “Tires track and slide predictably” but wear relatively quickly in the rear in 2WD
  • Felt quick despite width and long travel
  • Punchy throughout throttle positions and a top speed of 85 mph
  • CVT belt appears more durable
  • Handles big bumps really well
  • Can drive with confidence with stronger suspension components
  • Would have liked full doors

Forbes.com – Las Vegas test drive  – This reviewer’s perspective is from a rider less experienced with high-end side-by-sides than the typical reviewers.

  • “…no flexing, clanking or rattling on the roughest of trails.”
  • Harness is “fiddly”
  • Soaks up the bumps
  • Provides a controlled and stable ride
  • “Ridiculously fast”

Dirt Trax Video  – Specs Review and some commentary

  • Best Polaris EPS system of any RZR to date
  • Balanced through the corners

SXSBlog.com – Full video review. Includes an informative discussion with Polaris technical about how the Dynamix system works.  This accompanying article provides an in-depth technical review.

  • Like the RIDE Command touchscreen
  • Linear power and well-tuned – more driveable
  • Impressive ride on very difficult terrain
  • Can really take a hit
  • “Dynamix system is real”
  • Longer throttle to control compared to X3
  • “Wow. that is super impressive…70 mph through those whoops”
  • “Tough and works really well”
  • Handles really well through corners

Brandon Pierce – Las Vegas test drive video

  • Love the steering wheel
  • Like the comfort setting on the suspension
  • Feels fast
  • This is a “beast”

Brandon Pierce – Polaris Marketing Spokesman Vehicle Walkaround & Main Points

  • Completely redesigned from old turbo model -not just larger tires and long travel kit
  • 168 hp turbo is the same but top speed increased to 85 mph and throttle mapping more aggressive for 32″ tires
  • Toughest machine – 32″ tires, which requires redesigned chassis and other components – control arms, tire rods, spherical, knuckles, trailing arms, radius rods, axles; larger and stronger front drive; improved clutch box and belt cooling
  • Higher ground clearance but same center of gravity as previous RZR Turbo
  • Most capable suspension – Smart travel with Dynamix Active suspension, usable travel and improved FOX Live Valve internal bypass shocks shocks
  • Most evolved cockpit – new Sparco wheel, new seats, 4-point harness, new driving position in relation to wheel and maintained sight lines; Ride Command with rear view camera;
  • Lower profile ROPS with more welds and generally beefier
  • Aluminum roof

Polaris Tailors UTVs for Police, Fire & Rescue

Ranger Law Enforcement

A Polaris UTV up-fitted for law enforcement use.

Polaris Ranger Fire UTV

A Polaris Ranger up-fitted for fire operations.

Another Polaris UTV with an alternative fire operations kit.

Polaris Ranger

A Polaris UTV up-fitted for rescue operations.

The Government and Defense division of Polaris Industries recently launched a line-up of Ranger UTVs specifically tailored for law enforcement, fire and rescue operations. The vehicles take a Ranger UTV and add a pre-set package of options for each type of operation. Additional customization is available as well. Polaris is using experienced third-party up-fitters Action Fleet, RKO Enterprises and Federal Signal to put the packages together.

The law enforcement UTVs include sirens, horns, PA system and emergency lighting from Federal Signal, the same as a typical squad car. Base vehicles include the Ranger XP 1000 Northstar HVAC Edition, Ranger Crew Diesel, General 1000 EPS, Ranger 570 and RZR S 900.

Firefighting units include a capable pump, hose and reel, a combination tank for water and a compressed air foam suppression system and the ability draft from a water source. There are flexible mounting options and a firefighting and rescue combo kit is available as well. Rescue units include a rear attendant seat and a stokes rescue basket. Rescue personnel can select between the full-length or break-apart basket for shorter overall length when not in use. Base vehicles include the Ranger Crew XP 900, General 4 1000 EPS, Ranger XP 900 and RZR XP 1000 for the most challenging terrain.

Learn more:  Businesswire.com

SVR’s Take – This approach of providing pre-set packages for specific end-use applications while still allowing additional customization is becoming more popular in the commercial UTV market. Club Car has successfully taken this approach to sell their utility vehicles to specific market verticals with their Fit-to Task series.  While Polaris is targeting police and fire and rescue applications the Club Car vehicles are targeting a range of facility management applications. ACE mini-trucks has taken a similar approach.

 

Textron Off Road 2018 Wildcat XX Reviews

Textron Off Road 2018 Wildcat XX

The 2018 Wildcat XX from Textron Off Road

Textron Off Road 2018 Wildcat XX

The Wildcat XX has plenty of horsepower but emphasizes the suspension and handling.

Textron Off Road 2018 Wildcat XX

While not fancy, the Wildcat XX cockpit is ergonomic and roomy and includes a customizable dash.

The 2018 Wildcat XX is Textron Off Road’s first totally new UTV for the high-end sport market since they acquired Arctic Cat. The vehicle was developed with input from Robby Gordon, Todd Romano and Speed Energy and is designed to be able to go from showroom to racing without making major changes. The interesting aspect about the Wildcat XX development is that in the middle of ongoing horsepower wars Textron decided to emphasize the suspension and handling of the vehicle rather than the horsepower. The approach is straight out of their partnership with Robby Gordon and is based on the simple idea that after a certain point the limiting factor for driving fast in challenging terrain is the suspension and handling and not the horsepower. However, the Wildcat XX still packs plenty of horsepower.

The 64″ wide Wildcat XX is powered by a 125 hp, 998cc naturally aspirated EFI engine based on Yamaha’s 3-cylinder engine used in the YXZ, and features 18″ of front and rear suspension travel. The suspension is designed to maintain the same track width throughout the travel to improve handling, cornering and stability through corners and rough terrain. The front suspension has dual A-arms with unequal lengths, a sway bar and FOX 2.5 PODIUM QS3 shocks with compression adjustment. The rear suspension has a rear trailing arm, rear sway bar and FOX 2.5 PODIUM QS3 shocks with compression adjustment and bottom-out control. Wildcat XX has 14″ of ground clearance.

Additional features include:

  • 30″ CST Behemoth tires on 15″ aluminum KMC wheels
  • EPS
  • 2WD/4WD with 4WD lock and front locking differential
  • Team Rapid Response clutches and CVT
  • Full doors
  • Intrusion bars
  • Full skidplate
  • Halogen high/low headlights with LED accents
  • Dual LCD gauge
  • Contoured bucket seats
  • 4 gal. glove box
  • 300 lbs cargo box that can fit a 32″ spare
  • Oversized bearings
  • Forged aluminum front knuckle and double shear suspension components
  • Pre-wired for accessories

The Wildcat XX is available in Lime Green, Satin Charcoal Metallic or Horizon Blue (optional) and has an MSRP of $20,499. Turbocharged and 4-seat versions are being planned.

Most of the following test drives were in the rocky desert environs of Barstow, California. In general the reviews are all very positive. The suspension and handling is the standout feature of the vehicle enabling precise, high speed driving through corners and whoops. The steering is precise and there is no shock fade after a hard day of riding.

The power delivery is considered smooth throughout the range and with plenty of low range performance for rock crawling. The power plant while not turbocharged is viewed as more than adequate for all types of driving conditions, though dune riders may be jealous of their turbocharged buddies. The durability of suspension components, modular frame design and easy access to the innards of the vehicle is expected to make servicing and repairs easier.

Other positives noted include nicely thought out pre-wiring for accessors, good doors, durably built and a roomy and ergonomic cockpit. In terms of drawbacks, vehicle entry can be tricky, and some may find the seatbelt positioning uncomfortable and the seats too firm. The look of the vehicle is likely to receive mixed reviews and some may want more steering feel.

Given the pricing and overall tenor of the vehicle reviews, the Wildcat XX is likely to be a success for Textron Off Road.

UTVGuide.net Test Drive  and  Rock Crawling Video

  • No shock fade after extensive hard driving
  • Kickback free steering
  • Steering may be too light for some
  • “…precise control over the vehicle at insane speeds over rough terrain”
  • Seating provides “…more secure feel than a RZR without the detriment to forward visibility that the X3 creates by placing its seats so low.”
  • Rattle free
  • Smooth operating doors and easy to use
  • Large cab with plenty of leg room and comfortable layout
  • Easy access to clutch, engine and electronics for maintenance and repair
  • “The engine is peppy, there is minimal body roll, and the car is incredibly agile.”
  • “Low-speed maneuverability is great…”
  • Quick and precise steering
  • “The car tracks straight, flies flat, and handles like a dream, never feeling tippy or overworked.”
  • Built for durability
  • Plenty fast for most driving but will likely lag behind turbocharged models on dunes

UTV Planet Test Drive

  • “It is leaps and bounds better than any Wildcat machine before it and its better than several other manufacturers machines available today. It’s really impressive.”
  • Plenty of power despite not being turbo-charged
  • Best suspension system of any Wildcat
  • Comfortable large cab and dead pedal placement
  • Angled center console makes for easier gauge access and visuals
  • The Wildcat XX look produces a love or hate reaction
  • “It is the best Wildcat ever produced. It blows every previous Cat away in terms of comfort, ability and durability.”

ATV.com Test Drive

  • Not completely sold on the look
  • Slightly difficult to enter because of angled bodywork
  • Incredibly easy to service from a racing point of view
  • Smooth power delivery through RPM range
  • “Seems to get up on top of the ridges and dance along with control and little effort.”

ATVillustrated.com Test Drive

  • Built like a racing vehicle
  • Roomy and ergonomic cockpit including flat-bottomed steering wheel, non-rattling hand holds and center console and “huge” glove box
  • Sturdy well-operating doors
  • Modular three-section frame for easy repair and servicing
  • Hanging engine on rubber mounts isolates engine from frame impacts
  • Fan fins cast into CVT pulleys improves airflows and minimized belt issues
  • Top speed of 75 mph
  • Can corner at high speeds easily
  • Quick turning but some might want more feel
  • “Floats like a desert car”
  • Responsive CVT
  • “No need for turbo.  It’s not about horsepower, it’s about handling.”
  • “Suspension and handling on the Wildcat XX is phenomenal.”
  • “On the trail the Wildcat XX is VERY, VERY predictable and confidence inspiring.  More so than any performance Side x Side we’ve ever driven.”

Harrison Power Sports – In-depth Vehicle walkthrough video

  • Larger A-arms
  • Double shear mountings for strength and durability
  • Rack and pinion with EPS rather than old Wildcat slide steering
  • All tires are the same size
  • No-tool access to reach belts and battery and remove bed
  • Lot of heat shields
  • Covered alternator
  • Race approved and race ready roll cage
  • Excellent pre-wiring and electronics

Ruthless Motor Sports – Video walk around and pros and cons after driving in Sand Hollow,, UT and Testing Low Range

Liked

  • Can’t say enough about the suspension. Very impressive.
  • No fading after 100 miles of different types of riding
  • Tracks through whoops (at 74 mph) and corners
  • Low range is impressive for rock crawling and low speed driving
  • Power steering is on point
  • Well over 100 miles from full tank
  • Felt fast and throttle responsive. Does not need to be a turbo

Didn’t like

  • Tie-rods not good enough structurally for rock crawling
  • Many people sat in the vehicle and didn’t like the seatbelts which sat low and irritated up high
  • Seats are a little bit firm

U.S. Marines Testing Nikola Electric UTV

Electric Nikola Reckless UTV

The Nikola Reckless UTV on test by the US Marines.

The US Marines are testing modified versions of the Nikola NZT electric UTV. Named the Nikola Reckless UTV after a decorated Korean War military horse, Sgt. Reckless, the vehicle can be outfitted with a range of weaponry including a 7.62mm machine gun, 12.7 mm gun, 40 mm MK19 automatic grenade launcher or Javelin anti-tank guided missiles. The four-person vehicle includes an “an infra-red beam that can be used with night vision and a remote weapons system machine gun that can be controlled by a joystick anywhere in the vehicle. It’s light enough to go on a MV-22 osprey,” according to Andy Christian, Nikola’s Director of Defense. The company invested $500,000 to build four prototypes and the production military model will cost around $85,000.

The consumer version of the Nikola NZT can be configured several different ways depending on the number of motors and the size of the battery pack, which is available in 75Wh, 100Wh and 125 Wh. The most powerful four motor configuration delivers 555 hp and 4,900 ft-lbs of torque. The base model starts at $28,900.  Learn more:  OCRegister.com

SVR’s Take:  Given the high price of the Nikola NZT, Nikola Motors is smart to target the military market that can afford the cost of such a cutting edge vehicle. Electric vehicles fit into the US military’s ongoing efforts to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Special forces in particular already make widespread use of UTVs and ATVs. An electric UTV offers several advantages that could be critical in a combat zone including reduced noise, greater acceleration and reduced maintenance. I would imagine the biggest concerns would be the range of the vehicle, charging time and what options are available for re-charging the vehicle in a combat zone.

This effort puts Nikola Motors in direct competition with Polaris Industries which has a growing defense business that is largely based on military versions of their gas-powered RZR UTVs and their ATVs. It will be interesting to see if this draws any response from Polaris. They offer an electric Ranger and have a host of non-off-road electric vehicles like GEM, Taylor-Dunn and Goupil, but they have not put much emphasis on electric UTVs based on their consumer facing websites and marketing material.

Marc Cesare, SVR