Winterizing Your UTV for Work or Play

A Polaris Ranger with Glacier Pro plow system.

A Polaris Ranger with Glacier Pro plow system.

With the winter months approaching some UTV owners may have thoughts of winterizing their vehicle for either winter work, such as plowing or traversing farm or ranch land, or for recreational use such as trail riding or traveling to and around winter camps. To discuss some of the options and accessories you might consider, as well as winter maintenance and other tips, I spoke with Rolly who works in the Mies Outland service department.  Mies Outland is a Polaris dealer located in Watkins, MN, so the personnel there have some experience with cold and snowy winters. I also priced out some of the typical winter options and accessories for models from Polaris and a few other brands. Full article


Polaris General: A New UTV Product Line is Launched


The base model General 1000 EPS is Indy Red with an MSRP of $15,999.

The base model General 1000 EPS in Indy Red with an MSRP of $15,999.

The premium model General 1000 EPS Velocity Blue with an MSRP of $17,499.

The premium model General 1000 EPS Velocity Blue with an MSRP of $17,499.

The Polaris General 1000 EPS Deluxe Orange Burst with an MSRP of $19,999.

The Polaris General 1000 EPS Deluxe Orange Burst with an MSRP of $19,999.

Polaris Industries is launching the Polaris General, a new product line positioned between the Ranger and RZR product lines, that is designed for work and recreational use. “Today is a great day at Polaris! Once again, we are launching a game-changing new product,” said Tim Blinkhorn, GM, RANGER & Polaris GENERAL. “This vehicle is the most versatile sideby-side ever built, made for those who want to battle it all. Whether it’s dominating any trail, or conquering any job, The Polaris GENERAL delivers.”

The General product line initially features three models, a base model in Indy Red with an MSRP of $15,999, a model in Velocity Blue at $17,499 and a Deluxe model in Orange Burst priced at $19,999. The price points and features such as one of the more powerful Polaris ProStar engines indicate a higher-end crossover UTV. Some of the key figures across all models include:

  • 100 hp ProStar 1000 engine
  • Electronic Power Steering
  • High Performance Close Ratio On-Demand AWD/2WD
  • Engine Braking System
  • 12.25″ of front suspension travel and 13.2″ in the rear
  • Front and rear sway bars
  • 12″ of ground clearance unloaded and 7.4″ when cargo box is loaded
  • 600 lb. cargo box capacity
  • 1,500 lb. towing capacity
  • Full-body skid plate
  • Factory installed doors with armrests
  • Dual bolstered bucket seats with adjustable driver seat
  • Space-optimized foot rests
  • All-new customizable digital/analog instrumentation cluster that tilts with the steering wheel
  • 23 liters of integrated storage
  • 27″ tires
  • 30 brand new Polaris Engineered Accessories™ and 90-plus common fit items

The Velocity Blue model features:

  • Automotive-style paint
  • Sport low profile front bumper
  • Polaris HD 4,500 lb. winch
  • 14″ Matte Black cast aluminum wheels
  • Eiight-ply, 27″ GBC Dirt Commander Tires

The DeluxeOrange Burst Model has all the features of the Velocity Blue model plus:

  • Adjustable Fox Podium X 2.0 QS3 shocks
  • Pro-Fit Lock & Ride Sport Roof
  • Rear-view mirror
  • MTX Premium Soundbar with eight speakers and blue-tooth connectivity

The Velocity Blue and Deluxe Orange Burst models will be available at Polaris dealerships starting in December. The Indy Red will be available in March 2016. Learn more:

Comment:  While Polaris Ranger and RZRs are certainly used as crossover UTVs, the product lines are delineated with the Ranger for work applications and the RZRs for recreation. The General provides Polaris with a more targeted line of crossover UTVs. The launch is another indicator of the continued high level of competition in the UTV market. The General provides Polaris with more models to directly compete with John Deere’s XUV line, the Honda Pioneer line, the Yamaha Viking line and Can Am’s Commander line. The Polaris General, given the model price points and features, appears to be targeting a higher priced end of the crossover market. As these product launches continue in the market, most of the major brands are building out specific product lines for work, recreation and crossover applications.

GEM Director John Stockman Talks About the New Model Year

The new GEMs for model year 2016.

The new GEMs for model year 2016.

I recently interviewed GEM Director John Stockman about the changes to the GEM lineup for model year 2016, the vision for the brand and how it fits within the overall small vehicle portfolio of Polaris. Here is an excerpt from the larger article posted in our Buying Guide section:

Polaris has made extensive changes to the GEM lineup for the 2016 e2, e4, e6 and eL XD models. Stylistically the iconic “bubble” design is still noticeable from a side view, but a frontal view reveals significant changes. The new design was in large part based on customer research. According to Stockman, in the neighborhood of 10 different designs were vetted by customers and consumers before a final design was chosen.

Even more important than stylistic changes, were the engineering changes made under the skin in direct response to several phases of customer research, including multiple ride clinics with dozens of customers and consumers, feature and finish related research, as well as feedback from dealers. The research focused the product development process on a number of key areas. One was the comfort of users as they ingress and egress from the vehicles all throughout their day. Towards that end, more legroom and headroom has been created. A past complaint about hot seats was also addressed as well as items as minor as having self-canceling turn signals.

A second issue highlighted by the research was vehicle safety. Stockman states that, “We are hearing more and more from corporate campuses, colleges and universities, hotel and resorts, that they are moving away from the traditional golf carts towards LSVs because of their safety features.” With that in mind the safety features the GEM is known for were kept but also improved. This included better brakes, vehicle handling in evasive situations and seatbelts. “We really focused on making sure that this was the safest LSV you could get”, remarked Stockman.

Another focus… View Full Article

I will be following up this article with some impressions from GEM dealers on the changes for the 2016 model lineup. For detailed vehicle specifications for the 2016 and past GEMs, search the SVR vehicle database.


Bureau of Reclamation Goes Green with e-Ride Industries

The e-ride Industries EXV4 for people transport.

The e-ride Industries EXV4 for people transport.

An e-Ride Industries EXV2 Patriot configured with a sliding cargo tray and roof rack.

An e-Ride Industries EXV2 Patriot at Grand Coulee Dam configured with a sliding cargo tray and roof rack.

The Bureau of Reclamation has purchased a fleet of 27 electric vehicles from e-Ride Industries of Princeton, MN for the Grand Coulee Dam Project in Washington state. With the addition of 130 new employees over the last two years, the management required more vehicles but also need to meet the federal government’s greenhouse gas emission goals. The electric powered, zero-emission LSVs from e-Ride Industries fit their needs.

e-Ride Industries has already supplied 16 of the 27 vehicles under a total contract for $900,000. The vehicles will be a mixture of the EXV2 Patriot designed for maintenance and utility duties and the EXV4 which can transport up to four people.  Both vehicles are ruggedly built for industrial applications, have a top speed of 25 mph and are powered by 72-volt lithium-ion battery packs. The utility version features an enclosed cargo area, 1,000 lb. cargo capacity, built-in toolbox on the outside of the cargo area and a roof rack.

Management expects the fleet of vehicles which will be powered by renewable energy produced by the dam to save 10%-15% in fossil fuel costs, which currently run $111,000 annually. They also expect to save money on vehicle maintenance, and reduce pollution as well. Maintenance on the vehicles requires no disposal of hazardous materials such as used oil, antifreeze, or other liquids associated with gas-powered vehicles. The vehicles are made in America. Learn more:

Comment:  Federal and state vehicle fleet mandates continue to be a factor in the electric vehicle market, and the LSV market in particular. While the growing array of options of highway speed electric vehicles may cut into LSV sales moving forward, LSVs will continue to be a viable option for government agencies that need to meet greenhouse gas and emission standards. In particular, applications where utility vehicle versatility and functionality is needed and/or where vehicle travel is in a limited area and at lower speeds, LSVs will remain a cost-effective choice.