2017 GENERAL 4 Review- You Can Take a Group Ride
2017 GENERAL 4 Review
Polaris jumped into the recreational side-by-side market with a very competent machine in the General. Released less than a year ago, this machine has sold well for the company and offered Polaris buyers an alternative to the pure sport RZR lineup and the pure utility Ranger lineup. It was no surprise that they were going to release a 4-seat General at some point in the near future, and it just so happens that 2017 was the model year they chose to do it. After garnering a significant amount of time in the 2-seat General, it was on our to-do list to see how the 2- and 4-seat models compare in a host of environments.
Recently, Polaris brought us out to their model year 2017 press intro in Great Falls, Montana where we were able to see the all-new General 4 up close and personal for the first time. Our first impression was all positive because Polaris managed to keep the edgy lines of the 2-seat General present in the 4-seat model. The added length and 2 doors on the 4-seat model give the new vehicle a robust look that we really like.
Looking past the aesthetics of the vehicle, we find that the General 4 keeps mostly the same powertrain components as the 2-seater. A 1000-class machine utilizes a 100 horsepower Prostar engine that also puts out 65 ft. lbs. of torque. Polaris has finely tuned their CVT transmissions these days to lay down the power efficiently and effectively at any RPM. With the abundant power on tap, the General can haul up to 600 lbs in the rear dump bed, or it can tow up to 1500 lbs with the standard 2” receiver hitch. Needless to say, it has the credos to make stuff happen on the farm or out on the trail.
All 4 corners feature independent suspension with FOX shocks. Front travel numbers measure out 12.25” while the rear suspension cycles a full 13.2”. Standard 4 Wheel Drive and front winch make good use of the suspension with terrain-dominating hardware whether you are riding the tree-lined forests or flogging miles around your property. The all-terrain capability is further solidified with the General 4 with the standard 27” GBC Dirt Commander 8-ply tires. Couple those meats with the standard winch and you will be getting places that not many other vehicles can get to.
One of the best features of the General lineup is the interior. Upon first glance, you’ll notice that the General 4 has significantly more interior legroom for the back seat passengers than a RZR. With my 6’3” frame, I was seriously appreciating this increase in space. Even with the front driver’s seat adjusted all the way back, I could still fit my legs comfortably in the wide cabin. Rear seat passengers also get their own center console that can fit an abundance of items in addition to the standard cup holders.
For front seat passengers, the General 4 looks much like the 2-seat model. It is by far regarded as the best interior that Polaris has put together, and we agree with that consensus. Ample storage spaces are present, including a handy glove box that is within easy reach of the passenger. Shifting gears is a cinch with the center-mounted selector, and the gauge cluster adjusts with the steering wheel, which allows the driver to easily check on the machine’s vitals at any moment.
So, how does it drive? Well, the simple answer to that question is: awesome! Compared to the 2-seater, the suspension feels much more refined. The 2-seat General has a tendency to feel like it is over-sprung, meaning the ride is harsher than wanted and the kickback when traversing over rough terrain is stiff. On the other hand, the General 4 has a plush feeling in both the front and the rear, and it also has great bottom control when traversing rough terrain. Part of this has to do with the more balanced spring rates to accommodate the extra weight of the 4-seater. Polaris and Walker Evans Racing engineers nailed this setup. In addition, pushing the General 4 hard on the trail rewards with great turn-in and precise steering at every point in the corner. The machine also exudes confidence when traversing off-camber terrain with a planted, steady feeling. Yes, the 4-seater has more vehicle to get around the corner, but it drives shorter than it looks. You will notice the extra length when going over steep cattle guards – we found that out quickly!
Acceleration is very linear and power is available at almost any part of the RPM range. While we didn’t have a chance to load the General 4 down to full capacity in the dump bed, we did drive the vehicle around with 4 full size men in it and found that the power was more than adequate with everyone in there. As you would assume, the ride is very smooth with 4 full size guys in it, and we were still able to push the car and get it sideways even with the extra weight. Dare we say that it feels nimble? It does, not quite as much as the RZR 4-seat platform, but it is very well mannered and controllable.
Gripes? Not too many with this car. It is by far one of the best 4-seat, recreational vehicles on the market, if not the best. Polaris did their homework on this one and came out with saddles blazing, and we are excited to get more time behind the wheel of this General 4. Until that happens, be sure to check it out at your local Polaris dealer!