Polaris RZR XP 1000- First Ride Test Hot
Not too long ago, Polaris extended an invitation to ATVESCAPE.com to head out to Big Rock Park in Pennsylvania, to spend some quality time with several of the 2014 models including the RZR XP 1000. Why in the world would we say "no" to that opportunity? So off we went. We spent the day investigating and riding the new Sportsman 570, Ranger Crew 900 XP, Scrambler 850, Ranger 570, and of course, the RZR XP 1000. To say we have drooled over time aboard that machine would be an understatement. This is not because we are power junkies (though we might be), but also to see if this beast is worth the hype. Ready for our conclusion? The RZR XP 1000 is not only worthy of the hype it has received, but twice as much. Getting behind that machine is like nothing else we have experienced in the side-by-side market….ever. There are a couple of thoughts though, going into the ride, we wanted to explore, and here they are. Is this too much power, and who is this thing really built for? These two questions have rolled around in our heads since we saw the press release announcing the birth of this animal called the RZR XP 1000. The thought of 107 horsepower is both terrifying and totally and absolutely awesome at the same time.
From the moment the RZR XP 1000 comes into view, it is nothing like any other RZR you have seen. At a glance and a stare, the XP 1000 is a more substantial-looking side-by-side. The way it sits makes it look big and stocky. When you look at it, the XP 1000 makes you want to keep looking, and, as a friend of mine so eloquently put it, "this machine looks angry." It looks like something to be reckoned with, and from the moment you examine it you want to drive it. The XP 1000 has the longest wheelbase of any RZR, and the machine with the cab included, has been stretched to offer a better ride. The front-end is also different from its RZR brothers and sisters, and for the record, everything about this RZR is different from the rest of the family. Oh, and at the time, the RZR XP 4 1000 hadn’t been made public yet, so that RZR doesn’t count!
We looked over the XP 1000 for quite a while, taking photos along with a little video, and just examining it in general. We only had it for a mere thirty minutes, because of the number of media wanting some one-on-one time with the newest member of the RZR family. The key was placed into my hand, and I walked up to this beast, opened the quarter door, climbed into the seat, and…paused. There is no doubt at all when you get into this side-by-side that it is a wild animal. The seat, machine height, and machine size scream a much more substantial side-by-side. With a turn of the key, a sweet, sweet exhaust note comes to life, and in that moment you know the XP 1000 is special.
So with a gear-lever shift, and a touch of the throttle, off we went! Just a little throttle makes the RZR jump, and as we exited the staging area onto the open trail, at that point there remained only one thing to do: hit the gas. In that small moment of time, everything known to me personally about power from a stock side-by-side changed……no, it shattered. To say the ProStar 999cc, 107-horsepower engine shot me back into my seat would be an understatement. The engine is absolutely scary powerful, and it pushes you back into your seat in such an amazing way. It was everything I expected and so much more. You can look at all the specs, and study all the things designed into the ProStar 1000 engine to produce so much power, but all that really matters is that the power is staggering!
My curiosity about the suspension on the XP 1000 was one of the things I was most wanting to experience based upon what I had heard from other writers and riders. This is another area where the XP 1000 differs from any other side-by-side I personally have ever experienced. The 3-link trailing arm rear suspension has improvements in both geometry and design for 25 percent more ground clearance at the trailing arm, and giving the RZR 13.5 inches of ground clearance. Travel up front is 16 inches and 18 inches in the rear, but you already know all the stats. The suspension on the RZR XP 1000 “floats” over the terrain, soaking up literally whatever is in front of the machine. You can adjust the industry-exclusive Walker Evans Position Sensitive Anit-Bottoming Needle Shocks, but the factory settings allowed me to float over whatever was on the trail. No matter the angle or depth of the whoops, holes, and rocks, the cab just glided over it. Frankly, it was surprising how the XP 1000 smoothed out everything, and that gives a sense of confidence, making an inexperienced driver an expert. The XP 1000 is without a doubt the smoothest riding SxS I have ever ridden.
The cab of the XP 1000 is, as advertised, extremely comfortable. The seats are not the typical RZR seat style, looking more like aftermarket seats offering more bolstering and comfort than the standard seats. The seats are adjustable with the sliding motion found in automobiles, which is helpful for a short persona like me. The cab is more roomy in general with more storage than ever, including a glove box offering 50 percent more storage than other RZRs, and a smartphone compartment protecting your smartphone from the elements, but allowing it to be seen. Add all these things up, and you have the most comfortable RZR yet, and certainly the most comfortable RZR I have driven.
After spending a short amount of time (around 30 minutes) to become one with the RZR XP 1000, I can say without a doubt the new RZR lives up to the hype and then some…..period. The ride was over as quickly as it began: in a blaze of dusty glory! And running down the open trails was an absolute blast. It is like nothing I have ever driven before, and until you drive it, you will not understand what I am talking about. The power is incredible, which follows up with the ride itself being incredible as well. ATVESCAPE.com will get a demo in the coming months, so we can put it through the “paces” on our familiar turf, and we will bring you many more thoughts. This machine is not for everybody, and it can get out ahead of you very quickly if you are not careful. That is the kind of power we are talking about, and the suspension gives you a feeling you can do anything with the XP 1000. Is it too much power? The answer is "That depends." For desert racing, riding the dunes, and deep mud holes, it is not too much power. For trail riding there are few opportunities to even begin to tap the power the XP 1000 possesses, but we will find out in the near future in the name of riding science. Though it offers the best ride of any side-by-side I have driven, it no doubt was built with the desert racer in mind. It doesn’t have engine braking, so it is designed for flatlanders, but that doesn’t mean the ride isn’t welcome everywhere else. One thing is for sure, if you pull up to the line in a RZR XP 1000 alongside your buddies in anything else, you will be the one with bragging rights at the end of the day.
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