Game Time – The Polaris 2014 Team

Game Time – The Polaris 2014 Team

2014.polaris.sportsman570.silver.front.riding.over-rocks.jpgIn many ways Polaris reminds us of an elite level, professional sports team. Every year they field a championship caliber lineup, and every off-season they continually evolve, sometimes with minor changes, and sometimes by bringing in new players altogether. Our first look at the 2014 Polaris lineup previewed a couple new prospects, but also showed their commitment to the basics that has made them a fan favorite and a perennial contender.

MEET THE RANGERS

The Ranger lineup has a reputation for versatility. Consider them utility fielders with the hands to play any position, but at the plate they’ll deliver solid hits when you need it most.

The Ranger XP 900 is clearly the all-star in the Ranger lineup but for 2014 Polaris has expanded the team with another power hitter. The new Ranger Crew 900 has a longer chassis and an extra row of seats but also the same 60hp, 875cc ProStar engine and all the chassis features as the standard 900. Highlights of the new Ranger Crew 900 are:

  • Seating for Five

  • ROPS certified Roll Over Structure

  • Tons of on-board storage in dash and under seats2014.polaris.ranger-xp570.grey.front-left.riding.on-dirt.jpg

  • New, easier to use seat belts

  • Excellent ergonomics for driver and passengers

  • 1000lb capacity box, 2000lb towing

  • 2” receiver hitch

  • 12”ground clearance

  • 875cc, liquid cooled, fuel injected engine

  • On-Demand All Wheel Drive system with Turf Mode

The longer wheelbase meant much more torsion on the frame and to carry the increased load but maintain ride quality the new chassis is significantly stiffer. Up front, the dash and cab area is much like the standard Ranger 900 but with one nifty new feature; a center console between the driver and passenger. The new arm rest / center console is very much like the one in your truck and just as handy for storing gloves, your wallet, a phone, maps, etc. We like it! Two rows of seats mean huge storage bins underneath that could double as a kiddie pool or bait live well and we’re always glad to have plenty of storage. The engine is mounted just ahead of the rear suspension and general maintenance tasks should be no problem with one minor inconvenience. The air box is easily found but it takes a little twisting to get the cover off thanks to a frame rail. Still, that is about the only inconvenience on the Crew 900 and for the all-star capabilities it brings to the lineup we can live with it.2014.polaris.prostar570-engine.cutaway.jpg

RANGER ROOKIE – A MID-SIZED PRO-STAR

Sometimes great players are overshadowed by the team superstars and we’ve always thought the mid-sized Rangers didn’t get the recognition they deserved. We really like the mid-size Rangers; they’re extremely capable, reliable, and they come with most of the features of the top-of-the line Rangers at a significantly lower price. For 2014 Polaris made improvements to the mid-sized Rangers but they’ve introduced one we consider a superstar in the making.

Polaris continues to get the most out of their 570 ProStar engine and one of the best uses for it yet is in the new Ranger 570 EFI. It didn’t take us long on our first ride to realize this model is something special. The new Ranger 570 EFI is quiet. So quiet in fact it rivals electric vehicles and when cruising down a rocky trail at 25 mph it was possible to carry on a normal conversation, even with our helmets on. You hear more tire noise than engine sound. The Ranger 570 EFI is also extremely capable. The liquid cooled, fuel injection engine runs extremely smooth with plenty of power – 25% more than the previous 500 engine. Climbing hills was no problem and there was never any hesitation when we hit the throttle. The Ranger 570 EFI is comfortable for two, but Polaris backed it up by introducing a four seat Ranger Crew 570 EFI as well.

The Ranger Crew 570 EFI features the same engine, independent suspension, towing and hauling capabilities, and great ride as the standard 570 EFI but with a longer chassis to accommodate the extra row of seats. Since Ranger owners often add powered accessories, Polaris gives both 570 models a larger stator putting out almost 30% more power. The new Ranger 570 EFI and Ranger Crew 570 EFI offer the following features:2014.polaris.ranger-xp570.silver.front-right.riding.on-dirt.jpg

  • 567cc, 4-Stroke DOHC Single Cylinder ProStar engine
  • ROPS Certified Cab
  • 500 lb. dumping cargo box
  • 1250 lb. towing
  • 8” front wheel travel, 9” rear wheel travel
  • 10” ground clearance
  • MacPherson front suspension with Independent Rear Suspension
  • On Demand True All-Wheel Drive with Turf Mode
  • New, smoother shifting transmission
  • Excellent access to oil filter, dip stick, and air filter
  • Full electronic instrumentation on dash.
  • 2” receiver hitch

Consider the mid-sized Ranger 570 EFI and Ranger Crew 570 first round draft picks. They’ve got the skills of a veteran already and they’re ready to play today!

SPORTSMAN CHANGES – A LEGEND RETIRES

The problem with having a living legend in the lineup is sooner or later they retire. Ask the Chicago Bulls about Michael Jordan or the Rangers about Wayne Gretzky. The Sportsman 500 was definitely the living legend of the Polaris team, and as the all-time best selling ATV a case can be made that it’s the player that built the franchise. With the decision to retire the Sportsman 500 came a major challenge to fill its spot on the team. After all, how do you replace a legend? The answer was another very promising rookie.2014.polaris.sportsman570.white.front-right.riding.over-rocks.jpg

There have been huge improvements in handling, suspension, and ergonomics since the Sportsman 500 was introduced way back in 1996. The new Sportsman 570 EFI incorporates all Polaris has learned, and todays riders expect. It can do everything the legendary Sportsman 500 did but in an updated chassis. The seat and area between your knees and feet is narrow, the seat is soft enough for all day rides, yet firm enough to allow movement, and the controls are easy to reach. In the center of the steering column is a handy digital display and just like every Sportsman the shift lever is ahead of your right knee. Thankfully, the new 570 EFI comes with the signature enormous front storage box, but underneath the front cargo box is the battery, an electronics tray, and even a terminal block for attaching powered accessories. At the rear is a sturdy composite cargo rack with plenty of tie-down points.

The chassis on the new Sportsman 570 EFI is a combination of old-school MacPherson struts on the front, with independent suspension at the rear, and the ride is smooth. We had no problem climbing through bowling ball or larger boulders on the Sportsman 570, and when on a smooth trail it was like any other model in the lineup; plush and predictable. It’s the engine though that really makes the 570 EFI something special. Polaris found another excellent use for their new ProStar 570 engine and it delivers almost 25% more power than the previous 500 engine. Claimed output is 44 horsepower from the electronic fuel injected motor but they also increased the electrical capacity as well for running accessories, or the electronic power steering system on the Sportsman 570 EPS. Fuel capacity has been increased to 4.5 gallons giving the 570 EFI longer legs as well. On the trail the Sportsman 570 EFI felt completely familiar and even a bit sporty thanks to the new motor. It’s as if Polaris replaced a .300 hitting, aging veteran with a .325 power hitting rookie with speed on the bases. There is also one other great feature the new Polaris comes with though.2014.polaris.sportsman570.white.rear.riding.over-rocks.jpg

The great thing about rookies is they’re often much cheaper than veteran all-stars. The new Sportsman 500 EFI costs only $50 more than the Sportsman 500 did way back in 1996! You read that right – fifty bucks after 18 years! Considering you get updated, comfortable ergonomics, a modern, EFI powered engine, and independent rear suspension, the new rookie Sportsman 570 EFI is an enormous value at $6,499. Too bad trucks aren’t priced accordingly! Highlights of the Sportsman 570 EFI are:

  • 4-Stroke, DOHC, Single Cylinder, 44 hp engine with EFI
  • 40% more power from electrical system
  • Wet sump engine
  • Polaris On-Demand True All-Wheel Drive
  • 90 lb front rack capacity, 180 lb rear rack
  • 1225 lb towing
  • New rear rack design with exposed tubular frame for easier tie-down attachment.
  • Analog/digital gauge instrumentation on steering column
  • Independent Rear Suspension with 9.5 in rear travel
  • MacPherson strut front suspension with 8.2 travel
  • 11.25 in ground clearance
  • Relocated battery and electronics for easier access
  • Electronic Power Steering on Sportsman 570 EPS

Polaris backed up the new Sportsman 570 EFI with a second new model designed for two. The Sportsman 570 touring has all the excellent features as the standard 570 EFI, but it comes in a slightly longer chassis with a second seat. The passenger gets their own foot pegs, a comfy raised seat for a great view of the trail, vibration absorbing hand holds, and even cup holders. It will be a great way to enjoy the ride with a trail buddy.

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NEW TEAMMATES

The new Sportsman 570 EFI and Ranger 570 EFI join a Polaris team already chock full of great players. Back for 2014 is the Sportsman XP850 H.O. and Sportsman 550, both of which get an updated rear suspension designed for more consistent geometry through the compression stroke. Electronic Power Steering and fuel injection come standard on both machines. The new Scrambler 850, Sportsman 800 EFI, the Big Boss 6×6 800 EFI and 400 H.O. models remain on the Polaris team as well, but Polaris didn’t forget the junior league players. There are four youth ATVs ranging from the Predator 50 up to the Phoenix 200 for new riders to learn on, and the RZR 170 gives budding Side x Side pilots a machine to tool around the yard in as well.

A NEW TEAM –A NEW SEASON

Any coach will tell you winning takes skilled players, but also attention to the basics. It’s all about making plays, not missing opportunities, and staying on offense by being aggressive. The Polaris staff has been excellent about making the moves to build a powerhouse team, they know the game, and they play to win.

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March 19, 2014

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