Author: Rick "Wallyworld" Wallace Photos: Courtesy of Polaris
It has been said that to fly you must have wings, so in theory that’s what Polaris has done with their RZR XP 1000. This dune stomper has all the right stuff to fly high and land soft. When we picked our XP 1000 up at the Parker, Arizona, intro we were not sure what was in store for us. Since the last model was a Jagged X RZR with a modified motor package and shock valving, we thought that might be hard to beat. Well, I guess that was not the case for the engineers at Polaris. It seems they have been paying close attention to the Class 1 cars and taking those designs and information back to the drawing board for closer inspection. For those of us who can’t afford the big cars, the new RZR XP 1000 brings the thrill of jumping, sliding, dunes and desert whompin’ to the garages of most people with a regular income. Hoorah for us!
While the XP 1000 has a similar look to the XP 900 and so on, it is a completely brand-new machine. The engine has received a makeover, which included stroking the crankshaft to give the machine a true 999cc displacement. The result is a massive 107 horsepower, making it the leader in its class of high-performance UTVs. With reconfigured heads and dual 48mm throttle bodies, this allowed ProStar to install new longer-tip injectors allowing for much better atomization in the combustion chamber. All this results in having 80 percent of its torque being developed from 3,500 rpm to redline. This serious power comes while running on 87 octane fuel as well. To add to the big power, Polaris has increased the size of the fuel tank to 9.5 gallons so you can ride and have fun longer. To distribute all this power to the ground Polaris stayed with their proven high-performance PVT System that was built with much larger parts to withstand the rigors of the dunes and desert. Polaris also specifically geared the transmission to optimize the power of the ProStar engine.
The chassis is all-new with features like round ROPS tubing being a big change from the square and rectangular tubing of the past. To float over bumps, the RZR XP 1000’s three-link trailing arm rear suspension features upgrades in both geometry and design offering 25 percent more ground clearance at the trailing arm and giving the vehicle a whopping 13.5 inches of ground clearance. The new thee-link geometry allows surface-hugging grip as the vehicle pulls through corners from the use of optimized camber gain, and the increased length of the new trailing arm provides a better ride and additional strength. With all this we noticed that speeds were way up from past models and stability seemed to be the key factor in driving fast. Up front, the XP 1000 features an exclusive front suspension geometry that results in less steering effort for easy maneuverability. Steering was effortless with their EPS system and two turns lock-to-lock. A little more feedback at the wheel might be nice, but that is nitpicking.
Shock dampening is worlds different than the days of old. Polaris enlisted the shock gurus at Walker Evans Racing to build position-sensitive anti-bottoming needle valve shocks on all four corners for a bottomless feel when bombing the whoops or big G-outs. The RZR XP 1000 conquers whoops and also soaks up chatter with the help of its 90-inch long wheelbase and industry-exclusive 29-inch Maxxis Bighorn tires on all new 14-inch cast rims. The larger tires provide both better ride and higher resistance to pinch flats.
With a massive 107 horsepower, the RZR XP 1000 is an absolute blast in the dunes.
The exclusive shocks feature piggyback reservoirs up front and remote reservoirs in the rear that are 16-position compression adjustable with preload adjustability with the help of crossovers. These 2.5-inch diameter rear and 2-inch diameter front needle shocks are extreme performance shocks from one of the best in the business. Capable of handling high speeds and extremely rough terrain, the internal needles interact with specifically positioned chambers, allowing progressively more damping deep into the shock travel to improve ride performance and increase bottoming resistance. The shocks are paired on all four corners with the dual-rate, dual-spring coilovers for 18 inches of rear travel and 16 inches of front travel to provide a comfortable ride in all terrains. In our tests we found we only had to add four clicks of compression to relieve the occasional bottoming.
The RZR XP 1000 features a reworked version of the XP 900’s engine. It was stroked to make it a true 999cc in displacement and the heads were redesigned as well. With 80 percent of its torque available from over 3,500 rpm to redline, there is always plenty of torque on tap as well as horsepower.
Polaris decided to outfit the beast with four-wheel disc brakes. The dual piston calipers, with larger 248mm ventilated discs at all four corners, help harness the power safely. The rear brakes were designed to engage first, giving the RZR XP 1000 outstanding control and, again, safety. More power means more brakes, and thankfully Polaris understands this.
The new cockpit of the XP 1000 is both larger and more comfortable
The interior of the RZR XP 1000 has quite a few creature comforts from the RZR XP 900. To start with, the seating is like riding in a race seat. With substantially enhanced bolstering, this body-hugging seat really does the job of containment in rough terrain. They have also added new seat sliders to accommodate shorter or longer passengers. Also the seats are built with a new material that dries quicker in wet conditions. This year, rather than using nets for safety, Polaris designed a hard shell quarter door with easy one-hand door opening. On the dash they feature instrumentation in blue light that displays in day or night conditions. They even added LED flooring lighting so it’s easier see in the cockpit at night. The glove box is bigger with a new center box for your smartphone to show through. On the floor they added removable floor drains since the floors have sealed seams.
Overall the cockpit is larger, more comfortable and features some unique storage. Polaris reconfigured the rear bed so storage is deeper and can also hold a spare tire on their new Baja-style tire mount. Also found are lots of lock-ride pickups in the bed area for the abundant accessories offered by Polaris. Polaris also included two dedicated whip locations in the bed area.
Polaris has upped the battery size to run all the accessories with ease. The battery has 575 cold-cranking amps and 44 amp-hours of capacity. Why all this power you say? Well the addition of accessories like 33-inch LED lighting, audio systems, subwoofers, winches and whatever you can think of is why Polaris stepped up the power.
In conclusion our test ride was beyond imaginable. In just a few short years the Polaris RZR has evolved from play fun status to serious fun status. The RZR XP 1000 is the choice for the dunes because of its serious horsepower and handling, especially when jumping from dune to dune. Once we got our RZR XP 1000 in the dirt, it really began to shine. The Walker Evans shocks needed a little adjusting and then it was game on. From the first push on the throttle we knew we were going to have to pay serious attention to the oncoming terrain or possibly crash. The brakes were reassuring when we needed to get this beast slowed down, and the seats were roomy and comfortable as they contained you in the rough terrain. One thing we did notice was in all-wheel drive it was a point-and-shoot affair with the confidence that it was going where you were pointing. The Polaris RZR XP 1000 will surely prove out, whether at the racetrack or in play time, to be a formidable opponent.
The RZR XP 1000’s suspension provides a massive 16 inches of wheel travel in the front and 18 inches in the rear, making it bomb through the rough with ease.
2014 RZR XP 1000 SPECS
Engine: 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder Displacement: 999cc Fueling: EFI Transmission: Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H Final Drive: Shaft Front Suspension: Dual A-arm Walker Evans 2-inch needle shocks (comp adjust/res.) 16 inches of travel Rear Suspension: Trailing Arm Walker Evans 2.5-inch needle shocks (comp adjust/ remote res.) 18 inches of travel Front/Rear Brakes: 4-wheel hydraulic disc with dual-bore front and rear calipers Front Tires: 29x9-14 Maxxis Bighorn Rear Tires: 29x11-14 Maxxis Bighorn Wheels: Cast aluminum Wheelbase: 90 inches Dry Weight: 1,379 lbs. (claimed) LxWxH: 119 x 64 x 73.75 inches Ground Clearance: 13.5 inches Fuel Capacity: 9.5 gallons Bed Capacity: 300 lbs. Bed Dimensions: 28 x 22 x 7 inches Lighting: White LED, high/low and red LED tail / brake lights Instrumentation: Digital Gauge: speedometer, odometer, tripmeter, tachometer, coolant temperature, volt meter, hour meter, service indicator, clock, gear indicator, fuel gauge, hi-temp light, seatbelt reminder light, DC outlet, cell phone holder Colors: White Lightning, Titanium Matte Metallic MSRP: USA $19,999