Polaris RZR XP TURBO Review- Piloting The 144-Horsepower Beast Hot
Two-hundred fifty miles and a set of 4-point seat belt harnesses – what is the significance of these items? It just so happens that these are precisely what I needed in order to fully evaluate the capabilities of our 2016 Polaris RZR XP Turbo. Indeed, a full evaluation of such a capable machine takes longer than just a typical 25 miles and a standard seat belt. Just like the other sport UTV’s that have been released lately, the RZR XP Turbo is a machine that gives new life to the mantra, “go anywhere and do anything”.
Going into the evaluation of this machine, I was curious to see if the Turbo model would be a significant upgrade over the XP1000. Chassis modifications are small for the Turbo model – a front swaybar and upgraded FOX suspension is about it. Consider last year’s Fox-Edition XP1000 as the basis for this Turbo model.
The real upgrades are found internally in the engine and transmission. To handle the extra power of the Turbo (all 144 ponies at peak boost!), the engine was upgraded with forged pistons and upgraded internals to withstand the additional output. Also, the transmission received heat-treated half shafts and more upgraded internals to ensure that the Turbo puts the power to the ground efficiently, effectively, and reliably.
Now, with the basics out of the way, jump into the car with me and go for a ride… Again, I was curious if the drivability of the XP 1000 is still present in the XP Turbo, or would the Turbo make this new model unmanageable when rock crawling and doing slow-speed maneuvers? It turns out that you can’t even feel the Turbo kick in and the driveability is completely retained in this Turbo model.
If you have experience with driving an XP1000 RZR, then you’ll know that this machine makes easy work of ascending and descending the steepest terrain, no matter if it’s filled with rocks or piled high with millions of grains of sand. Well, as we found out, the XP Turbo works the steep terrain in the same exact way – with ease and extreme composure – and it does so with a great amount of sure-footedness too. The funny thing about the Turbo is that you really don’t notice the Turbo while you’re driving it. Power delivery is ultra smooth, and the only time you really feel the Turbo kick in is from half to three-quarter throttle and up. When it starts really spooling up at high RPM’s, you get an instant thrust that pushes you way back into your seat and propels you forward at an alarming rate. Yes, this Turbo model IS that fast! And, we have to say, that power is super addicting… We could lay into the throttle all day long with ease, and the XP Turbo begs you to do just that!
The only downside to having all of this power is that you’ll rarely be able to find roads that are smooth enough and long enough to really see the true potential of this machine.
Enough about the power, you know we like it by now.. What do we think about the suspension? To be honest, the stock setup is good, but it leaves us wanting a more customized setup out of the box. For most people out there, this FOX suspension will be plenty capable and eclipses many suspension systems on the market. However, to really go fast and get the true potential out of this machine, the owner will want to spend a little money on the suspension and set it up to suit their specific driving style. Other manufacturers offer fully adjustable shocks on their vehicles, and we would like to see Polaris make this upgrade, especially on the Turbo models, so that drivers can fine tune their suspension right from the factory without spending hundreds of dollars on new springs.
Also, the front sway bar is not for everyone, but it does do a great job at keeping the body roll to a minimum coming into a corner, especially if the corner happens to be off-camber. Personally, I prefer no front sway bar because these cars and the associated corner body roll can easily be modulated with enough seat time and finesse as you learn how to roll through the corner on the gas, but most people will appreciate it and leave it on. The beauty of the front sway bar is you can take it off if you want to do so.
So, yes, we really like this machine and where Polaris is going with their high-performance Side-X-Sides. Is it enough power? Absolutely. Too much, actually, for most people. A stock XP1000 is no slouch and is almost as capable, all for less money. However, for the buyer who has to have it all (we see you out there!), the XP Turbo will not disappoint! The only thing that we would like to see change on this RZR model is a little more of a “homey” interior as the model years progress – same for all of the RZR vehicles. All of the instruments are well placed and everything is easy to see, but other manufacturers have taken the lead away from Polaris when it comes to interior amenities and fit and finish. We look forward to seeing some new interior designs for the RZR lineup in the future (Hey Polaris – nice job on the General! We like that interior layout! Hint Hint…).
Until next time, be safe in the off-road jungle and live it up!
RZR XP Turbo EPS Velocity Blue $24,999
RZR XP Turbo EPS Graphite Crystal $24,999
RZR XP Turbo EPS Spectra Orange $24,999