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Comparing Crossover Side-By-Sides
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Comparing Crossover Side-by-Sides

The recent introduction of the Polaris General made me curious about where this new vehicle fits in the universe of crossover side-by-sides designed for both work and play. Given that the price point ($15,999) of the base model Polaris General 1000 EPS is at the higher end of the crossover market, I decided focus on some of the more expensive models, as well as, the next lowest pricing tier for some of the leading brands.

The tables below present some key features and specifications for each vehicle. The vehicles are split into two groups:  those with a MSRP ranging from $15,199 to $16,049 and those in a range of $12,999 to $13,199. An analysis of the features and specifications shows that while all the models can be used for work or recreation, some have feature sets that tilt towards more recreational use while others lean towards work applications. Therefore, how you plan on using the vehicle, more play and less work or vice-versa, should be a consideration when evaluating a model to purchase.

A key difference between the higher and lower priced models is engine size, with the more expensive models with engine displacement of 951cc to 999cc and the less expensive models with displacements from 686cc to 812cc. To further analyze the difference between vehicles I calculated ratios for Dry Weight to Displacement and Dry Weight to Horsepower. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers provide horsepower and some use wet weight (Noted with a*) instead of dry weight. However, the weight to displacement ratios should be close enough to get a general idea how vehicles compare to one another with the caveat that similar sized engines can produce different levels of horsepower.

Not surprisingly the vehicles with higher engine displacement have lower ratios, indicating potentially better acceleration and higher top speed. The Can-Am Commander XT leads in this specification, in large part due to a lower vehicle weight. However the Polaris General and Arctic Cat Prowler are not far off. On the other hand the Honda Pioneer 1000 EPS is has a significantly higher ratio than the others in this price range. Based on all the features and specifications the Pioneer is a crossover that leans towards the work end of the spectrum with seating for three rather than two, a Turf driving mode, the largest towing capacity at 2,000 lbs., and the largest cargo bed capacity at 1,000 lbs.

The higher priced models all feature 27” tires while most of the lower priced models feature 26” or 25” tires with the exception of the Can-Am Commander DPS. The Can-Am Commander XT and Arctic Cat Prowler 1000 XT feature 14” cast aluminum wheels as opposed to steel. These models also feature the shortest wheelbases of the higher priced models, 75 inches rather than 80 or 81 inches.

Ground clearance of these vehicles varies with models clustering around 10, 11 or 12 inches. The Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec EPS has lowest of all the models with 9.7 inches while the Honda Pioneer 1000 EPS is the highest with 12.4”. While the Wolverine R-Spec has the lowest ground clearance, it features the most front and rear suspension travel among the lower priced models with 11.4” and 10.6” respectively. Suspension travel is a significant differentiator between the higher and lower priced models. At the higher price points, all of the vehicles have at least 10 inches of front a rear suspension travel, while at the lower price points, three of the six models have 9 inches or less of suspension travel. Polaris is clearly trying to use ground clearance and suspension travel as a differentiator. The Polaris General has the highest front (12.25”) and rear (13.2”) suspension travel of all the models along with 12 inches of ground clearance. In the lower priced crossovers, the Polaris Ranger 570 EPS has the highest ground clearance (12.0”) and among the highest front and rear suspension travel at 10.0”.

The majority of the models have a cargo bed capacity of 600 lbs., but the Honda Pioneer, the John Deere Gator XUV 825i and the Ranger 570 EPS can carry up to 1,000 lbs. in their cargo bed. The Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec has the lowest cargo bed capacity at 300 lbs. In terms of towing capacity, the Honda Pioneer and the Ranger 570 EPS are the only vehicles that have a 2,000 lb. towing capacity. All the other vehicles feature a 1,500 lb. towing capacity except for the Kawasaki Teryx at 1,300 lbs.

All of the vehicles have power steering and all but the Ranger 570 EPS features some type of engine braking.

Leaning Towards Work or Play

When looking at the higher priced side-by-side models, as noted before, the Honda Pioneer 1000 EPS is probably the choice if you are spending more of your time using the vehicle for heavier duty work rather than recreation. The Can-Am Commander XT, Polaris General 1000 EPS and Arctic Cat Prowler 1000 XT are closely matched, particularly if you are leaning towards more recreational use. The Can-Am Commander XT has a slight edge in terms of weight to engine performance, due to a combination of low vehicle weight and engine output. The Polaris General has the edge in ground clearance and suspension travel, but is the only one of the three that has 12” rather than 14” wheels. The Arctic Cat Prowler 1000 XT has an edge in pricing, with a MSRP that is $700 lower than the Can-Am and Polaris models. However, you might have to spend those savings to match some of the additional features on the other models. For features, the Can-Am model has an edge in work-related features with a heavy-duty front bumper, mudguards, bed rails, 4,500 lb. Warn winch and anti-theft system. The Polaris General has comfort features such as half doors, premium bucket seats, adjustable driver seat, tilt steering and a digital/analog gauge that moves with the steering wheel. The Arctic Cat model comes with side nets, tilt steering and a rear view mirror.

 

Leading Crossover Side-by-Sides:  Higher Price Points

Model

Can-Am Commander XT

Polaris General 1000 EPS

Arctic Cat Prowler 1000 XT

Honda Pioneer

1000 EPS

MSRP

$16,049

$15,999

$15,299

$15,199

Seating

2

2

2

3

Engine

Rotax 976 cc, V-twin

999cc, 4-Stroke Twin Cylinder DOHC

951cc, V-Twin, SOHC, 4-Stroke, 4-Valve

999cc liquid-cooled twin-cylinder Unicam® four-stroke

Dry Weight /Displacement Ratio

1.32

1.43

1.38

1.71*

Horsepower

85

100

-

-

Dry Weight/HP Ratio

15.1

15.4

-

-

4WD

2WD / 4WD with Visco-Lok QE auto-locking front differential

High Performance On-Demand AWD/2WD

2/4 WD + Electronic Front Differential Lock

2WD, 4WD, Turf and Differential lock; 3 Shift Modes

Engine Braking

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Ground Clearance

11.0”

12.0”

10.0”

12.4”

Front Travel

10.0”

12.25”

10.0”

10.55”

Rear Travel

10.0”

13.2”

10.0”

10.0”

Total Clearance & Travel

31.0”

37.45”

30.0”

32.95”

Front Suspension

Double A-arm with dive-control geometry, Motion Control Shocks

Dual A-Arm with Stabilizer Bar

Double a-Arm, Coil-Over Shocks

Independent Double-Wishbone

Rear Suspension

Torsional Trailing Arm IRS, Sway Bar, Motion Control Shocks

Dual A-Arm with Stabilizer Bar, IRS

Double a-Arm, Coil-Over Shocks

Independent Double-Wishbone

Tires

27” Maxxis Bighorn 2.0

27” AT 489 II

27” Maxxis Bighorn 2.0

27”

Wheels

14” Aluminum

12” Steel

14” Aluminum

12”

Width

62.5”

62.5”

61”

62.9”

Wheelbase

75.8”

81”

75”

80.2”

Cargo Bed Capacity

600 lb.

600 lb.

600 lb.

1,000 lb.

Towing Capacity

1,500 lb.

1,500 lb.

1,500 lb.

2,000 lb.

Electronic Power Steering

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Special Standard Features

Heavy-Duty Front Bumper, Mudguards, Bed Rails, 4,500 lb. Warn Winch, Anti-theft system, Four 60-Watt headlights, Dual Level Cargo Box

Half Doors, Adjustable Driver Seat, Tilt Steering, Center Console, Premium Bucket Seats, Digital/Analog Gauge Attached to Steering Wheel

Side Restraint Net, Tilt Steering, Rear View Mirror,  Manual Cargo Box Tilt, Tie-down Hooks, Digital Sport Gauge

Paddle Shifting, Tilt Bed, Half Doors, Tilt Steering, Digital Gauge, Side Nets, Load Leveling suspension

Feature and specification data are from manufacturer websites.

*Wet weight used instead of dry weight for the calculation

Based on the specifications and features for the lower priced crossover side-by-sides, the John Deere XUV 825i Power Steering and Polaris Ranger 570 EPS stand out as more work-oriented. They are the only models with a 1,000 lb. cargo box capacity and the Ranger also has the highest towing capacity of the group at 2,000 lbs. Both vehicles are at the higher end of range when comparing weight to power ratios. The Ranger 570 EPS also features the work-oriented turf mode.

This grouping includes two vehicles from Yamaha, the Viking EPS and the Wolverine R-spec. Of the two the Viking EPS is more appropriate for work applications with a 600 lb. cargo box capacity compared to 300 lb. for the Wolverine. The Wolverine is better equipped for trail riding with greater suspension travel, less width, a shorter wheelbase, KYB shocks and 26” wheels compared to the Viking’s 25” wheels. The Wolverine also features a sun top, doors and bolstered bucket seats. The Viking includes a steel skid plate, doors and cargo bed mat.

The Can-Am Commander DPS is probably the best equipped of the group for recreational riding. It features the best weight to power ratios of the group, offers solid ground clearance and suspension travel and also features Motion Control shocks and 27” Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires mated to 14” aluminum wheels. In addition, the Commander DPS is the narrowest vehicle of the lower priced models and has the shortest wheelbase. The Kawasaki Teryx is similar to Commander DPS but has smaller tires and wheels, a less powerful engine, slightly less towing capacity and lower suspension travel. The Teryx features FOX Podium 2.0 shocks, half doors and tilt steering.

 

Leading Crossover Side-by-Sides:  Lower Price Points

Model

Yamaha

Wolverine R-Spec EPS

John Deere

XUV 825i Power Steering

Can-Am

Commander DPS

Kawasaki

Teryx

Polaris

Ranger 570 EPS

Yamaha

Viking EPS

MSRP

$13,199

$13,159

$13,149

$12,999

$12,999

$12,999

Seating

3

2

2

2

3

3

Engine

708cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC

812cc, 4-cycle

Rotax 799.9 cc, V-twin

783cc, 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, OHV

567cc, 4-Stroke, Single DOHC

686cc liquid-cooled SOHC 4-stroke

Dry Weight /Displacement Ratio

1.83*

2.03

1.61

1.99*

2.33

2.09*

Horsepower

-

50

71

-

47

46.9

Dry Weight/HP Ratio

-

33.0

18.1

-

28.1

30.5*

4WD

On-Command; 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD

On-Demand 4WD, Traction Assist

2WD / 4WD with Visco-Lok QE auto-locking front differential

2WD/4WD with locking front differential

Pro-Lock™ On-Demand AWD/2WD/ VersaTrac Turf Mode

On-Command; 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD

Engine Braking

Yes

Descent Control

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Ground Clearance

9.7”

11.0”

11.0”

11.2”

12.0”

11.8”

Front Travel

11.4”

8.0”

10.0”

8.0”

10.0”

8.1”

Rear Travel

10.6”

9.0”

10.0”

8.3”

10.0”

8.1”

Total & Travel

31.7”

28.0”

31.0”

27.5”

32.0”

28.0”

Front Suspension

Independent Double Wishbone, KYB Shocks

Fully independent dual A-Arm with adjustable coils

Double A-arm with dive-control geometry, Motion Control Shocks

Dual A-Arms with piggyback reservoir coil-over FOX Podium shocks

Dual A-Arm

Independent Double Wishbone

Rear Suspension

Independent Double Wishbone, Anti-sway Bar, KYB Shocks

Fully independent dual A-Arm with adjustable coils and sway bar

Torsional Trailing Arm IRS, Sway Bar, Motion Control Shocks

IRS with piggyback reservoir coil-over FOX Podium shocks

Dual A-Arm, IRS

Independent Double Wishbone

Tires

26” AT

26” Ancia M-T

27” Maxxis Bighorn 2.0

26” Maxxis

26” PXT

25” AT

Wheels

12” Steel

12” Steel

14” Aluminum

12” Steel

12” Aluminum

12” Steel

Width

60.6

62”

58.6”

61.6”

60.0”

61.8”

Wheelbase

81.3

79”

75.8”

85.8”

81”

84.1”

Cargo Bed Capacity

300 lb.

1,000 lb.

600 lb.

600 lb.

1,000 lb.

600 lb.

Towing Capacity

1,500 lb.

1,500 lb.

1,500 lb.

1,300 lb.

2,000 lb.

1,500 lb.

Electronic Power Steering

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Special Standard Features

Suntop, Bolstered Bucket Seats, Digital Gauge, Partial Doors

Digital Gauge, Manual Cargo Box Tilt, Cargo Box Tie-downs

Anti-theft system, Pre-wired for Winch, Four 60-Watt headlights, Dual Level Cargo Box

Digital Gauge, Tilt Steering, Half Doors

Digital Gauge, Tilt Steering

Rubber Cargo Bed Mat, Tilt Cargo Bed w/ Tie-Downs, Partial Doors, Steel Skid Plate, Digital Gauge

   Feature and specification data are from manufacturer websites.

*Wet weight used instead of dry weight for the calculation