Review- Taming The 2017 Polaris RZR XP Turbo- The King Of Horsepower...Again
Taming The 2017 Polaris RZR XP Turbo- The King Of Horsepower...Again
It's no secret that big horsepower equals big fun, but how much horsepower is too much horsepower? Is there such a thing as too much horsepower? The UTV industry is clearly under the impression that there is no limit to the horsepower that a vehicle can have, and this has never been more present than now with the horsepower wars continuing between Can-Am and Polaris.
This year, the battle continued when Can-Am released the Maverick X3, which came stock with a healthy 154 horsepower via a forced-induction engine. That number topped Polaris' 144 horsepower Turbo 2016 model. However, in typical Polaris fashion, they couldn't let Can-Am claim the top horsepower number. So, just about 2 months later, Polaris released the all-new 2017 RZR Turbo models that, once again, claimed the top horsepower number with a grand 168!
The chassis of the Polaris RZR is essentially unchanged for 2017, save for some key upgrades to critical components on the Turbo model. For example, the size of the radiator has been increased for 2017, and you'll find that the front portion of the frame rails had to be widened to accept this modification. Other modifications were made to the transmission internals, where stronger components were utilized to handle the increase in horsepower. The brakes were also beefed up to provide extra stopping power, and the clutch covers were modified to reduce belt temps by an additional 30 degrees over the previous model. This modification was coupled with larger air intakes on the top of the rear fenders, and these intakes provide substantially more surface area for air intake.
One of the most noticeable changes to the XP Turbo for 2017 is the quicker steering rack. It takes 1.5 turns from click to click now, and this is a substantial difference when you are out driving (more on that later…).
"The power difference between 144 and 168 horsepower is noticeable, very noticeable."
If you were familiar with how the 2016 Turbo drove, the 2017 will feel right at home for you. Both machines are very similar, but the 2017 model does feel a little tighter and better put together. You’ll even notice this in the clutching, where the slight modifications gave the vehicle a more precise feel when rolling onto the throttle or mashing it – whichever is your cup of roost.
The power difference between 144 and 168 horsepower is noticeable, very noticeable. Couple the increase in power with the advancements and finely tuned clutch, and you have a combination that is hard to beat. Power is instantaneous, whenever you want it. When we were testing this vehicle out in the Glamis Sand Dunes, we tried very hard to give it a challenge. Every challenge that we threw at it was met with a “can do” attitude from this machine – there was no hill that it didn’t want to climb. And, that was even with the stock Maxxis Bighorn tires on the vehicle – even if they were aired down to about 8psi for sand riding.
The suspension on the RZR Turbo is standard for this model, and it has been relatively the same for the life of this Turbo machine. FOX provides the well suspended shocks, but after driving some of the other machines on the market, it seems to us like the shocks could be better tuned from the factory. The compliance over the rough stuff is definitely present with this setup, and the stock shocks offer plenty of bottom resistance and also plenty of adjustment from the compression clickers. However, a dual-rate spring setup would greatly enhance the Turbo’s ability to tackle whoops.
With that being said, the RZR chassis is still one of the best jumpers on the market – you can sail for days and have an absolutely blast doing it! Once you’re done sailing, the RZR’s sublime driving dynamics reward with a balanced and predictable chassis that is made for cruising or pushing your driving limits.
As we mentioned earlier, the steering rack is now just 1.5 turns from click to click. The faster steering will almost catch you off guard at first, especially when backing the machine up or just tootling around camp. When the drive starts to get faster, it’s almost like you could drive this machine with one finger. Between the precisely tuned power steering (Polaris has this part figured out for the RZR!) and the faster rack, you feel like you’re driving a slot car with 4 seats in it! Turn-in to corners is precise, very precise, and making quick counter adjustments when you slide the back wheels is easier than ever. All-in-all, this change makes the machine more predictable for those who are learning the limits of the chassis, and we applaud Polaris for the change.
For those of you who are used to the RZR chassis and interior, nothing much has changed this year, save for a revised instrument cluster than now features one more slot for an auxiliary switch, and the key now has an accessory position – a handy feature for those who like to run their rock lights, stereo, or other accessories while stopped on the ride. As we have said for a while, the RZR needs some kind of interior upgrade down the road to compete with the other options on the market, but Polaris still has a highly functional and clean inside area on their hands. One note though, we still wish this model and all RZR models came with 4-point harnesses from the factory. Now more than ever, the power is too much to not justify something more than a regular seat belt. So, Polaris, you already have these seat belts as an accessory, please put them on the vehicle in stock fashion to keep people safer!
So, with all of this being said, is the 2017 Turbo substantially better than the 2016 model? Is it worth the money to get the 2017? Yes, you’ll absolutely notice the power difference with this model. It is substantial, and we love having the extra go-juice under our feet to tackle some of the most extreme obstacles that the off-road world provides. When you couple the quicker steering with the upgrades to the chassis, cooling, brakes, and air ducts, you have a machine that is substantially better suited to provide you with many thrills for many years. Yes, that means the 2017 is worth the extra money, mainly because Polaris has taken the time to dial-in this machine.
Until next time, be safe in the off-road jungle, and we’ll see you out there!