Ride Tested – The 2014 Polaris RZR XP 4 1000 EPS

Ride Tested – The 2014 Polaris RZR XP 4 1000 EPS

2014.polaris.rzr4-1000.black.left.jumping.in-air.JPGIt was never a matter of if Polaris would build this model, but when, and when turned out to be a lot sooner than we imagined. Polaris has a pattern of releasing a new model, then following up with other versions within a year. As it turned out with their newest, baddest, hi-performance four seat machine, the RZR XP 4 1000 EPS, it was only a matter of months.

Glamis Base Camp

When Polaris called asking if we would like to come to Glamis and check out the new XP 4 1000 EPS for ourselves in the world’s biggest power sports sandbox, you can bet we were all over it. Polaris has developed a great marketing tool with their extremely popular Camp RZR events. Customers of all brands can browse through displays from Polaris and many vendors, and even GoPro had a video truck on hand. In addition to the new machines, there were displays showcasing technological innovations and one of the most interesting to us was an air filter analysis study complete with samples. It was truly scary what enters your motor with a poor quality filter. Nighttime events included a movie and fireworks, but the centerpiece of the event was the new XP 4 1000. It was the first time the public could get up and close with the new RZR, and it was our first chance for a test ride on the new machine.

Consider the new RZR XP 4 1000 EPS a stretched version of the two-seat XP 1000. Browse through the specifications and you will find the two are identical in nearly every category except overall length and weight. The new XP 4 1000 is designed to provide all the thrills and performance as its two seat brother, but with two more terrified and/or thrilled passengers. We’ve got quite a bit of time in four seat machines. By our count, around 10,000 miles or so, but we’re always willing to rack up the score a little higher. After a quick technical briefing and a talk about dune safety, we were handed the keys to our own XP 4 1000 and told to have it back sometime before we went home at the end of the weekend. Perfect!2014.polaris.rzr4-1000.black_.right_.jumping.in-air.JPG

Time to Sling Sand! 

Consider dune riding to be like a roller coaster where you get to drive. It’s ridiculously fun to blast up and down the huge hills, carve through bowls, and generally sling sand in every direction. Unlike some dunes located near water, however, the Imperial Dunes – aka Glamis –are located about as far from water as you can get. The dunes extend right up to and beyond the Mexican border fence which you can actually ride to. Riding the dunes just outside of Hell could be no hotter, and that means no moisture in the sand, and no moisture means it takes enormous power. Glamis would be a good first test!

From the outside the XP 4 1000 EPS looks like its two seat brother. Styling is identical, and we like the safety factor from the Polaris doors. It just feels more secure. Inside everything is identical as well, but in a departure from previous 4 seat Polaris models, the rear passengers do not have a raised seat. This was to keep the center of gravity as low as possible for better handling. We settled into the seats, strapped ourselves in with the seat belt, closed the door which shuts securely every time, and fired up the engine.

With the engine farther back thanks to the longer chassis, the cab area of the RZR XP 4 1000 was even quieter than the two seater. Polaris is the king of quiet ride due to their rear engine placement and it’s possible to have a normal conversation even when on the trail. Behind everything, though, there is a menacing, throaty rumble from the 999cc, liquid cooled, twin cylinder engine. Electronic fuel injection insures it starts and runs perfectly at all elevations and temperatures, but we believe there is more power to be had from the motor. Because of emissions standards, most manufacturers have their stock motors running slightly lean. Changing the fuel injection mapping often results in more power, but it will require a little more fuel as well, and let’s face it, big-bore engines are hardly known for stretching fuel mileage.2014.polaris.rzr4-1000.white_.front-right.parked.on-sand.JPG

Slipping the CVT style transmission (which Polaris calls PVT) into high, we headed out into the sand and throttle input was immediately rewarded with a burst of power. Power delivery was strong on the bottom, through the mid-range, and all the way through maximum RPMs. The engine doesn’t seem to care what you’re doing or where you’re headed; it’s ready to respond with all the power you’ll ever need. Thankfully, the high performance roller clutch does a good job of keeping you in the power band, with very quick backshifts that allow you to get right back on the throttle with almost unperceivable lag time. In flat areas, the XP 4 1000 EPS loves to run, and if you care to glance at the center mounted digital display, it’s possible to scare yourself as it tops out around 75 mph. That’s awfully quick through the sand whoops, and it wouldn’t be possible without long travel suspension.

The longer chassis of the XP 4 1000 EPS plays a huge factor in its stability through the whoops and any twitchy feeling from the shorter two-seat XP 1000 is a distant memory. Body roll seems to be reduced, and carving through bowls the XP 4 1000 also feels surprisingly nimble despite the longer chassis, although on a wooded trail that may be a different story. Electronic power steering makes steering wheel input light at any speed. At the base of many hills and bowls, you’ll often find G-outs which can be brutal, but thankfully the dual A-arm front end and three-link rear suspension soaked it up very well. The position-sensitive needle shocks are highly adjustable and very resistant to bottoming. It was a blast to play in the sand on the RZR XP 4 1000, but it was not without a few glitches.2014.polaris.rzr4-1000.black_.front-left.jumping.in-air.JPG

We feel the seats need a stiffer structure. Polaris removed a cross member from the 900 seats, then tried to mold the plastic base to provide rigidity -that was a mistake. In corners, the passengers roll to the outside and it’s annoying to have the seat twisting beneath you. Nowhere near as annoying as having the entire contents of the glove box continually dumping itself into your lap due to a door that would only stay in place with a screw gun. Polaris needs to replace the glove box door and center mounted ipod/gps door immediately. These two parts should have never made it into production. They do not match the quality of the rest of the vehicle. We’re not trying to be hard on Polaris, but with a starting price of over 21K, we can’t have this. The only mechanical fault we found with the RZR XP 4 1000 is with the belt. Admittedly, we had very little break-in on this belt (Polaris recommends two tanks of fuel or 25 hours) and pulling a heavy machine through sand on a hot afternoon is the hardest test a belt will face. Our first belt didn’t make it long and we were trying to take it easy. Thankfully, changing a belt is fairly simple due to the cover placement inside the left rear tire, and we believe Polaris will get the belt problem solved. After all, they don’t want the grief that comes with belt problems either.

A New Four Seat Thrill Machine

With their new RZR XP 4 1000 EPS, Polaris has followed the pattern they’ve set for delivering a great first model, then backing it up with different versions that continually raise the bar. The new XP 4 1000 is sure to be a hit with dune and desert lovers, or for anybody who needs excellent power, long travel suspension capable of skipping across whoops like they weren’t even there, and doing it at incredible speed. It’s a four seat thrill machine.

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August 24, 2014

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