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Wild West Showoff: The Polaris 2017 Models Revealed

Posted in Features on October 18, 2016
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Photographers: Polaris Industries

Polaris recently introduced their 2017 lineup to the off-road press, and they did so in style. Held at the Bull Run Guest Ranch near Great Falls, Montana, the reveal of the new vehicles was nearly overshadowed by the beautiful surroundings.

As is their custom, Polaris is offering a specialized version of their RZR XP 1000 EPS Gold Matte Metallic for the rock racing/crawling crowd. Decked out in a gold, black and white look, what we’re calling their Rock Crawler edition features things that make the RZR better at slow speed up and over.

The main differences are that the RC comes with a lower gear ratio and modified ignition mapping that improves torque, along with Pro Armor Crawler XG tires. Clearance is improved thanks to the high clearance A-arms while skid plates and rock sliders along the lower edges keep damage to a minimum. And for when there’s trouble, a winch is standard.

New for the RZR XP 1000 EPS is inside the cab as Polaris has launched their “Ride Command” that has a lot of good info, including two variations of gauge packages, a GPS unit, an internal communications system, a phone and Bluetooth interface, a radio/audio interface, and it shows views shot from either the front and rear mounted cameras AND the 7-inch touch screen works with gloves on! You can even control your Go Pro’s mounted on the vehicle through the Ride Control. The Ride Control is a well-thought-out and easy to use system that we’d like to have in our truck, let alone in a SxS. A new “Crossover” model from Polaris is the General. Positioned between the racier RZR XP’s and the much more utilitarian Ranger, the General is an all around vehicle that comes in either 4-seat or 2-seat configurations, though we suspect that the 4 will be the much better seller. This ride is perfect for anyone who is interested in a comfortable, go-everywhere vehicle and would rather have fun than all out speed. It too is available with the new Polaris “Ride Command” system.

It has the Polaris EPS (electric steering) so handling is easy and with the 1000cc engine, there’s plenty of power to carry 4 and still add stuff to the bed. Polaris offers a huge number of accessories for the General, so there’s nearly unlimited ways for it to be configured for hunting and fishing, off-road exploring or as a team vehicle that’s capable of towing a race truck back to the pits.

Other new vehicles are the ACE 900 XC and the RZR S 570 EPS. The Ace is a single-seater that, thanks to the 900cc EFI ProStar engine and 4 or 2wd available, is a ton of fun to drive. It comes with the Walker Evans adjustable, reservoir equipped shocks and dual A-arm suspension that features 12.3-inches of travel in front and 12.6 in the rear. Tires are 27-inch GBC Dirt Commander tires. It too can be had with Ride Command.

An entry-level sport vehicle, the RZR S 570 EPS is an improvement of the older 570 in that it now has electric steering now, making driving easier for smaller drivers. It also uses a ProStar twin-cylinder engine, an AWD system and boast’s 60-inches of width to add stability. Wheel travel is good as 12.5-inches is had out back with nearly that up front.

We’re already in line to get one of the new rock crawling RZR’s, so stay tuned for an upcoming test where hopefully we can get a King of Hammer winning driver to put it through its paces. We also want to thank Polaris for a great time.

Montana is a rider’s paradise, and Polaris wisely chose it to hold the debut of their 2017 models for the dirt-related press,
Polaris had many variations of their SxS lineup on hand. They also have a lot of accessories for their SxS’s. Some are the usual boxes, coolers and tire carriers, and some of them are actually quite ingenious. If you need to string fences on the ranch, Polaris has you covered. No, we’re not kidding.
The RZR’s were put into a group of their own. Included were the RZR S 570 EPS, RZR XP 1000EPS LE with Ride Command and the new RZR XP 1000 EPS LE “Rock Crawler.”
Polaris has done it again with their specialized RZR XP 1000 EPS LE Gold Matte Metallic “Rock Crawler” (our itals). Equipped with high clearance A-arms, Pro Armor Crawler XG tires, a winch, skid plates and rock sliders along the lower edges and a lower gearing ratio and engine mapping designed for max torque, the XP 1000 LE is designed for the more hardcore crawlers among us.
The crawler comes with a 6-point harness, which is an interesting idea to work within the government mandate. We never sat in it to try them out, but when we get a test vehicle, we’ll let you how well they work.
Thanks to the Walker Evans shocks and Maxxis Bighorn tires, the 2017 RZR XP 1000 EPS worked well on the trails, was plenty fast but with good brakes and could be driven hard in either 2 or 4wd with confidence. They can be had in 2 or 4-seat versions.
The RZR XP 1000 EPS is as you’d expect from Polaris’ top of the line, non-turbocharged RZR, but the big news for the new RZR XP 1000 EPS LE (and other RZR and General models) is the addition of “Ride Command.”
Dubbed Ride Command, the Polaris system has a lot of good stuff in it, including two variations of gauge packages, a GPS unit, a radio/audio interface, and shows views shot from either the front and rear mounted cameras. All new, and all good.
The RXR XP 1000’s seats are comfortable, and have enough bolsters to keep you in place, but…Where’s the harnesses like in the “Rock Crawler”? This is a fun but very fast vehicle and being securely strapped in place makes it easier to go fast, not to mention safer. We don’t know about you but we’ve crashed big once, and it was harnesses and helmets that saved our bacon.
The Walker Evans coil-overs are adjustable and have an external reservoir. Wheel travel is 18-inches in the rear with 16 up front.
“Den Mother” Donna Beadle is the Sr. External Relations Specialist for Polaris. That job description must include “journalist wrangler,” as she did a great job of herding us cats and ensuring that everyone got time in whatever model they wanted to drive.
We were able to take the new Polaris models onto a variety of terrain surrounding the Bull Run Guest Ranch. Some of it was tight and technical, and some was open two-track. There was a beautifully groomed Trophy Truck course there too, but they didn’t let anyone on it. Damn…
The General 4100 (The 4100 designates the 4-seater, though there is a 2-seater too) is what Polaris has dubbed their “Crossover” SxS. It has the 1000cc engine, Walker Evans shocks and was fine during our time with it out on the trails.
The General also comes in a two-seat version. Yes, it looks like a de-tuned RZR.
One vehicle everyone wanted seat time in was the new ACE 900 XC. We liked the center driving position and the EPS, and with EFI and 78hp, it was plenty fast enough. Shocks are Walker Evans adjustable/remote reservoir units and has 12.3-inches of wheel travel up front with 12.6 in the rear. Tires are 27-inch GBC Dirt Commanders.
You can add plenty of Polaris accessory pieces to the ACE too. This one had a nice stereo with MTX speakers.
It has 13-inches of ground clearance, and is 6-inches longer than any other ACE model, but we’d love to see another 6 added to that. All in all though, the ACE 900 XC was a fun vehicle to drive in either 4 or 2wd.
And now for something completely different, we present the Ranger. As a utility unit, the Ranger has few equals and it fit in on the ranch location very well. Just don’t try to go too fast in it; it’s a work vehicle, period.
The interior seating position is very upright.
Polaris offers a ton of accessories for the Ranger that includes tough plastic boxes for just about everything. There’s tall bedsides, winches and much more.
Just when we thought we’d seen it all comes the first air-conditioned Ranger. The 4 seat Northstar’s cab is sealed, and the a/c unit works very well.
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