New Model Preview – The 100 Club

New Model Preview – The 100 Club to guess which manufacturer builds the most models of ATVs and Side x Sides? Most people would pick Polaris as we did, but it got us thinking – just how many models do they make? The answer surprised even us, and when the company that has recorded so many firsts in the industry released their 2015 lineup, they crossed another huge threshold. With different models and configuration packages, Polaris now has over 100 models to choose from. For 2015 Polaris really put the throttle down and released a huge number of new ATVs and the Side x Sides, hitting practically every type of user. If you can’t find something to like in this lineup, you’re just not looking.

Rangers on the March

The Ranger line is the backbone of the Polaris Side x Side division. There are full-sized Rangers, mid-sized Rangers, Rangers built for two and Rangers for the whole crew, but the trait they all share is they’re built for the hard working and hard playing crowd. For 2015, fully 75 percent of the Ranger lineup gets updates in performance, styling, or rider comfort, all based on the traits of their flagship model, the Ranger XP 900. Now there are four new members of the Ranger family as well. The new Ranger models are:2015.polaris.ranger570.silver.front_.riding.on-dirt.jpg





When Polaris released their ProStar 570 engine in the mid-sized Ranger chassis, it was a match made in heaven. The engine provided excellent power at all ranges, and the chassis was capable, comfortable, and it handled very well. Above all else though, it was quiet. So quiet in fact you hear more tire noise on the trail than anything else. From our first ride on the mid-sized Ranger 570, we were highly impressed! For 2015 Polaris is dropping that same 570 engine into a full-sized chassis in both the standard Ranger configuration, and in the multi-seat CREW configuration. Both versions of the Ranger 570 Full-Sized come with impressive stats:

  • 1000 lb. box capacity

  • One ton towing capability

  • 44hp liquid cooled, EFI equipped, single cylinder 4-Stroke engine & CVT transmission

  • On-Demand, 4WD with Turf Mode

  • 12 in Ground Clearance, 10 in. of wheel travel front and rear

The advantage of the new Ranger 570 Full-Size is primarily due to its chassis. It simply has more capacity to tow, carry, and haul both people and cargo than the mid-sized units. Fuel economy is likely to be slightly less than mid-sized models, but better than the powerful 900cc engine in top-of-the-line Rangers. On the trail, the new 570 Full-Sized models handled very much like the 900 Rangers as well, although there was a noticeable decrease in power output and it was definitely louder than the mid-sized chassis.2015.polaris.ranger570.silver.front-right.riding.on-trail.jpg

The Ranger ETX can be considered the homeowner model Ranger. It’s built on the mid-sized platform with the same chassis, cargo box, seating, and styling as other mid-sized Rangers, but the ETX features a 31 horsepower, Electronic Fuel Injected (EFI), counterbalanced ProStar engine. This engine is very similar to the new engine Polaris debuted in the ACE vehicle earlier this year, and is definitely part of Polaris’ new family of engines designed for performance, ease of maintenance, and adaptability. The ETX will be equally adept at hauling lawn and landscape supplies on the weekend, and casual trail rides when the yard chores are done. A suggested retail price of $8,699 will make it an attractive option as well.

For any farmer, rancher, contractor, or anyone else who already operates a fleet of diesel equipment and who doesn’t want to mess with the hassle of keeping a secondary fuel supply, the RANGER Diesel will make life a lot simpler. The chassis for the Ranger Diesel is identical in many ways to other full-sized Rangers. There is seating for three, a huge, tilting cargo box with a 1000 lb. capacity, and one ton of towing capability, but underneath the box is a 3 cylinder, Tier 4 compliant KOHLER® Diesel engine. The new engine is built for all the hard work you can throw at it. To run plenty of accessories, Polaris also gave it an alternator with twice the standard output. You’re not going to run out of any type of power with the Ranger Diesel.2015.polaris.sportsman-xp1000.silver.front-right.riding.over-rock.jpg

NEW ATVs for 2015

More than any other vehicle in their history, Sportsman ATVs have built Polaris into the manufacturing powerhouse it is today. While Side x Sides have flourished in recent years as new categories and uses were defined, the ATV models still are hugely important to Polaris and to the industry as a whole. For 2015 Polaris is bringing six new ATVs along for the ride.







At the top of the class is a new Sportsman 1000. Not that anybody really needed more power, but a 1000cc engine is something to brag about. Surprisingly though, on the trail the 1-liter Sportsman is fairly easy to control, with a smooth but steady power delivery from the bottom of the RPM range right up until it hits the rev limiter. Based on the XP chassis, the Sportsman 1000 features power Electronic Power Steering, Active Descent Control and engine braking for smooth descents of any steep grade, and a new high-performance, close-ratio, on-demand, 4wd system. If you’ve spent much time on any other Sportsman in the last few years, you’ll be right at home on the Sportsman 1000, and we guarantee you’ll never run out of power. The Sportsman Touring XP 1000 offers a two seat version for hauling your honey along for the ride, and in either the single seat version or the two seat XP model, it’s comfortable and ferociously quick.2015.polaris.sportsman-xp1000.silver.front.riding.on-dirt.jpg

Polaris continues to make the most of their 570 engine, arguably the best engine in their lineup, and for 2015 the new Sportsman 570 SP is what Polaris calls one of their Premium models. What it means is you get the best of everything they’ve ever learned and built in an extremely comfortable, easy to ride package with all the bells and whistles. Essentially an identical chassis and ergonomic package to the new Sportsman 1000, the Sportsman 570 has slightly less power but still has everything you’ll ever need on the trail. It’s one of our favorite rides and one feature we really like is the center mounted headlight pod that turns with the bars. You can’t go wrong with this Sportsman, or with its two seat version, the Sportsman Touring 570 SP.

We were in Texas many years ago when Polaris introduced the original X2 chassis, and in some ways that model hinted at what the current fleet of Side x Sides could become. The Sportsman X2 570 EPS is basically a slightly longer Sportsman chassis with a small, highly durable, and transformable dump box in the back. It’ a very versatile machine that can be ridden as a single seat machine ready for work, or it can be transformed into a two-up machine with a second seat that folds out of the bed. Powering the Sportsman X2 is the 570 engine and from either seat the X2 is an impressive, smooth riding, easy to operate machine.

One machine that really gets our attention in the Polaris 2015 lineup is the new Sportsman ETX. We are very happy to see several manufacturers have addressed the ever increasing cost of many machines by offering less pricey versions, and in the case of Polaris, they are starting what they call their VALUE line. The Sportsman ETX is part of that family, and with a price of less than $6000, it’s the first machine in that price range with EFI and a modern, liquid cooled, high-performance motor. Essentially the same motor and transmission as the Polaris ACE, the ETX is powered by a 30hp, 4-valve, DOHC engine. It’s light, but powerful for its size. The new ETX is also unique in the Sportsman lineup in that it is slightly smaller than other models. The bodywork features a lower profile for improved handling and more comfort, especially for slightly smaller riders, but the ETX is still big on features such as integrated winch and accessory mounts, huge storage areas, and integrated racks at both ends. We really like it and believe the ETX is a winner!2015.polaris.rzr900.silver.front-left.riding.on-rocks.jpg

RZR Lineup

More than any other machine, the Polaris RZR has defined the Side x Side sport category and one visit to any major ride area will make that point clear as day. There are RZRs everywhere! For 2015 the RZR family has expanded once again, but the two most important models in the RZR lineup bring us back to why we like riding them in the first place. Consider the 2015 RZR 900 and RZR S 900 “back to basics” machines that just happen to incorporate all Polaris has learned about hi-performance Side x Sides. By “back to basics” we mean they’re designed purely for sporty performance just as the original RZR was, but the all-new versions are far better. Highlights of the 2015 RZR 900 and RZR S 900 are:

  • 75 Horsepower ProStar 900 EFI engine

  • New tubular steel chassis design for strength and handling

  • High performance, close-ratio, On-Demand 4WD for instant power to all four wheels

  • Improved ground clearance and suspension travel

  • Factory installed doors

  • Upgraded cab, seat, and instrument design from RZR 10002015.polaris.rzr900.close-up.air-filter.jpg

  • LED lights front and rear

  • Integrated accessory attachment mounts

The difference between the RZR 900 and the “S” model really comes down to width. If your primary riding area requires you to be trail legal, then the standard version is for you. For those in more wide open spaces, the 60” wide “S” will be the better choice. Either way, you can’t go wrong and we spent a couple days playing with the new RZR’s and learning their features.

We really like how Polaris approached the redesign of both models. Yes, they are all-new machines, but the engineering crew didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The great traits of the machines they replaced still remain in this design, but they have been enhanced. The 900 class ProStar engine really performs in this chassis, yet it doesn’t outpower the suspension, and the two are well matched. Handling is also very predictable yet precise, and it stays wherever you put it on the trail. A big part of that comes from the Electronic Power Steering which is standard on both machines, and we believe Polaris tweaked the calibration for better steering feel. Suspension travel is slightly longer on the “S” version, thanks to the longer A-arms and we really appreciated the extra travel in knee-deep sand whoops. With a little time to tweak the adjustment, we could make it even better. One of our favorite features of both machines, though, is the styling of the doors. We like the aggressive look presented by machines, but the factory doors are so much nicer than nets in every way. You just feel more protected with a door, and it took test pilot Pete Bengel all of 15 minutes to give them a try. In his impromptu roll-over test, the doors kept everything inside the cab and well protected, with no injuries or damage to anything other than Bengel’s pride. The RZR came through perfectly as well, with not a bit of damage. It showed us the limits, but it was ready for more! Polaris also gave both machines plenty of little features to make life easier like two removable drain plugs for easy cleanup. About the only thing we would change would be the flexy seats, but overall we consider it to be an excellent design. In our opinion, they are the best value in the RZR lineup.

Polaris made plenty of changes throughout the RZR lineup with more horsepower, better suspension, and increased comfort, and we especially like a new GPS & Bluetooth capable LED display that even features diagnostics and trail mapping, and integrated existing trail maps. Two machines that really caught our eye though –that we’ll never own for 28 thousand reasons – are the RZR XP 1000 HIGH LIFTER EDITION and the RZR XP 1000 DESERT EDITION. Both machines are highly specialized units designed to be excellent at conquering either the mud pit, or the roughest desert terrain you can find between here and the surface of Mars. Both are really factory outfitted show machines that give those with deep checkbooks, but not a lot of time, the full race setup right from the dealer. Cost for the High Lifter model is $23,499, while the Desert Edition goes for just under $28K. It’s a very cool concept if you’re that guy.

The 100 Club

With over 100 different ATVs and Side x Sides to choose from, Polaris has really gone all-out for 2015 and the hard part may be deciding which one works best for you. With a little research and some advice from your dealer, we’re confident you can find one that fits you perfectly, but if you’re like us, you’ll want to try them all!
2015.polaris.sportsman570.close-up.instrument-cluster.jpg 2015.polaris.rzr900.close-up.removable-floor-drain.jpg

Guess we should have read the directions first! Even though we had a little spill with a new RZR 900, both it and our test driver Pete came through with no damage. The side doors definitely helped, and Pete shows the most important thing to do in a crash; KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL OR THE HANDHOLD and INSIDE the VEHICLE!  2015.polaris.rzr-s900.red_.front-top.crash_.on-dirt.jpg?itok=Qt6nYcE_

February 27, 2015

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