2024 POLARIS SPORTSMAN – XPEDITION – RANGER XD FIRST REVIEWS

2024 POLARIS SPORTSMAN – XPEDITION – RANGER XD FIRST REVIEWS

GREAT SPORTS – NEW SPORTSMAN ATVs

Sportsman ATVs built the empire that the Polaris Off-Road division is today.  The Sportsman ATVs are comfortable and easy to ride, come with great features like independent suspension and plenty of storage, and can be counted on for recreation or work.  They can also venture into many areas a Side x Side cannot.  They’re ideal for picking their way over rough trails or maneuvering through tight woods, and many riders and hunters seek out an ATV for those reasons.  In fact, a Sportsman ATV is our choice when going deep into the back country.  For 2024 Polaris is reintroducing two models purposely built for hunters.  The Sportsman 570 and XP 1000 Hunt Editions are returning with updates making them more capable than ever. 

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The Sportsman 570 is one of our all-time favorites and a legend in the field.  Updates include:

  • SMOOTH POWER DELIVERY – The 44hp ProStar engine has been tuned for strong, steady power and the CVT transmission delivers smooth clutch engagement.  Active Descent Control is standard.
  • NEW BRAKES and ELECTRONIC POWER STEERING – A new rear brake pedal requires less pedal effort and provides better feel.  The EPS steering makes twisty trails easy. 
  • HAPPY BOTTOM – A new seat improves ride quality.
  • NEW SUSPENSION BUSHINGS – Sealed suspension bushing keeps out water and grit, reduces maintenance, delivers smoother travel, and quiets suspension squeaks.
  • HIGHER CVT AIR INTAKE – Enhanced PVT clutch sealing with a higher intake location for better protection in wet conditions.
  • NEW LIGHTS – New LED lights for increased vision
  • BETTER BATTERY LOCATION, MORE AMPS and A CHARGING PORT – The battery is located in the front storage bin, with 78% more cold-cranking amps, and a center pod mounted charging port for long term storage trickle charging.
  • PLENTY OF HAULING, MAXIMUM PROTECTION – Cargo rack extenders come standard and offer increased strength and more tie-down points.  Better hinges ensure cargo box covers will hold up, and front and rear steel bumpers provide protection.  Capable of towing 1,350 lbs.
  • EASIER ACCESSORY INTEGRATION – A pre-wired, plug & play harness makes powered accessory integration easy for winches, plows, hand warmers, etc.
  • 26″ PXT TIRES on 14″ ALUMINUM WHEELS

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The Sportsman 570 already has plenty going for it, but the HUNT EDITION takes it to a whole new level and delivers huge value for the price.  HUNT EDITION features are:

  • KOLPIN Gun Scabbard & Mount
  • Hand & Thumb Warmers
  • High Output LED Pod & Headlights
  • 3,500 Lb. Polaris HD Winch with Synthetic Rope and Auto Stop
  • Front and Rear Trail Bumper
  • Front and Rear Steel Rack Extenders
  • Sealed Arched Dual A-Arms – 11.5” Ground Clearance
  • Polaris Pursuit Camo
  • $11,699 US

SPORTSMAN IN THE FIELD

The best word to describe what it’s like riding the Polaris 570 is “natural”.  Everything feels right.  The 570 engine delivers a noticeable snap off the bottom and it picks up speed quickly thanks to the CVT transmission, but the suspension delivers such a smooth ride it feels extremely stable and easy to control.  Long front and rear A-arms position the spindles deep into the 14” wheels, allowing for precise handling and effectively reducing wheel scrub.  Oil damped shocks are preload adjustable and can be dialed in for your riding preference, trail conditions, and load.  It makes the Sportsman 570 Hunt Edition outstanding in tighter, rougher situations, and everywhere else on the trail.  And with the added-value extras of the Hunt Package, it reminds us of a favorite hunting dog.  It simply can’t wait to get in the field. 

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THE SPORTSMAN XP 1000 HUNT EDITION

The Sportsman XP 1000 Hunt Edition has all the tools to go to the deer or duck blind but it’s also capable of serious trail performance.

The Sportsman XP 1000 Hunt Edition is powered by a twin cylinder, 952cc ProStar engine cranking out a whopping 90hp.  Throttle response is instant, but the remarkable part is the big-bore Sportsman in surprisingly easy to control.  It accelerates steadily all the way to the rev limiter, and the dual A-arm suspension at both the front and rear does an excellent job of controlling the ride.  It had better!  The corners come up awfully quick when you hold the throttle to the stop.

Polaris did an excellent job with the bodywork on the Sportsman XP 1000 and the first thing we noticed is how comfortable it feels.  It’s narrow and sporty feeling!  It’s easy to shift your body on the seat, full floorboards protect your feet and drain water away quickly, and the handlebar bend it very good.  While the Sportsman XP 1000 Hunt Edition shares many features with the 570 Hunt edition, it also gets several that are all its own.  They are:           

  • CUT & SEWN POLARIS PURSUIT CAMO SEAT
  • AGGRESSIVE 27″ PXT TIRES
  • KOLPIN MOUNT, GUN BOOT, & RHINO GRIPS
  • LED REAR WORK LIGHT
  • 90 HP ENGINE
  • 360 LB. FRONT AND REAR RACK CAPACITY
  • INTEGRATED 6 GAL. STORAGE
  • 1500lb TOW RATING
  • $15,999 U.S.

https://www.polaris.com/en-us/off-road/sportsman/models/sportsman-hunt-e…

THE RANGER XD1500

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Joining the ranks of heavy-duty UTVs, the new Polaris XD 1500 is ready for serious work but it’s also bringing a higher level of refinement and comfort to the class.

The new RANGER XD (for Extreme Duty) 1500 is built on a platform very similar to other full-sized Rangers but with 160 more gussets, stiffeners, and weld points to greatly increase chassis strength and long-term durability.  It’s going to need them.  The XD is rated to haul a whopping1500 pounds and tow another 3500!  That puts them at the head of the category.  It also leads in one other segment and that is overall weight.  The XD weight is listed at a portly 2,473 lbs. for the base model.  Highlights of the new Ranger XD 1500 are:

  • HIGH-STRENGTH, ONE-PIECE STEEL CHASSIS – Designed for durability.
  • REDESIGNED ROPS MAIN TUBES – Better fit of doors and windows
  • 1500CC PROSTAR 3-CYLINDER ENGINE – Rated at 110hp.
  • NEW STEELDRIVE CVT TRANSMISSION –100% steel constructed belt for hauling heavy loads and extreme durability, with internal oil cooling.
  • 29″ PRO ARMOR X-TERRAIN TIRES & 14″ WHEELS
  • HEAVY-DUTY A-ARMS – 15″ Ground Clearance & 12″ Suspension Travel
  • THREE SELECTABLE DRIVE MODES – Comfort, Standard, Tow/Haul
  • FEATURE RICH CAB – 2” more leg room, comfy seats, plenty of storage, a tilt wheel, Electronic Power Steering, and Hill Descent control
  • AVAILABLE IN THREE PACKAGES – 2024 RANGER XD 1500 Premium (Starting at US $29,999), RANGER XD 1500 NorthStar Premium (Starting at US $39,999), and RANGER XD 1500 NorthStar Ultimate (Starting at US $44,999)

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FAMILIAR BODY STYLE

You don’t meddle with a legend like the Ranger without carefully considering all the implications, and you can bet the Polaris planning team had some long discussions on just what the new Ranger XD should be.  It had to have the same great features and look of the Ranger family.  Polaris did a great job with the bodywork and cab.  The XD comes with all the same great storage and comforts for the driver and passenger, switches are laid out nicely, and the driver’s seat is adjustable, as is the steering wheel.  Shifting is also improved with less jerky feel when selecting gears.  Somehow engineers found an additional 2” of leg room and it makes a nice difference. Bodywork styling is both aggressive and yet it flows smoothly across different panels.  Although the nose sits slightly elevated, the driver still has good sight lines over the hood.  At the rear a cavernous dump box gets a lift assist from struts on the lower end models and is electronically assisted on the Ultimate trim.  Our advice: spring for the powered assist.  It’s worth it!  Under the cargo box is an all-new motor.

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BIG, NEW MOTOR – NEW TRANSMISSION

The Ranger XD 1500 has an engine that is somewhat familiar to Polaris fans.  The all-new, triple cylinder, 1500cc engine is based on the same engine powering the RZR ProR but with one cylinder lopped off.  Mated to the engine is a new CVT system which Polaris calls their STEELDRIVE automatic transmission featuring a 100 percent steel constructed belt that delivers smooth, precise operation.  NO MORE RUBBER BANDS!  The transmission is fully sealed and features an oil bath for cooling, but also an incredible service life of 6000 miles before it needs attention.  Steel belt CVT systems have been used in the automotive world for some time mostly for improved fuel economy, and with varying degrees of success, but nothing has been overwhelmingly superior.  Automotive CVT systems have been relegated to cars built less to inspire, mostly for higher mileage, and specific markets.  Power output from the new XD 1500 engine is listed as 110hp, which is about half of the ProR RZR.  No doubt reliability and long service intervals was the driving concern for the Ranger XD and Polaris says it’s good for 2000 miles.  That will certainly depend on your terrain, driving style, and use.

Hauling and towing a heavy load meant the suspension needed beefing up, and new, heavy-duty A-arms are used on the XD, with 12 inches of wheel travel.  The wheel hubs are stronger as well and now feature 5-lug wheels, with 29” tires on most models, and 30” tires on the NorthStar model.  What Polaris has created is a heavy-duty UTV that can compete with any other model on the job site or ranch, yet it still retains the features and comfort that made Ranger outstanding for trips to the cabin.

https://www.polaris.com/en-us/off-road/ranger/models/ranger-xd-1500/

THE POLARIS XPEDITION – BUILT FOR THE ADVENTURE

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The hottest trend in off-road adventure for the past few years has been overlanding.  The whole point is the adventure itself, and in many ways that’s what most ATVs and Side x Sides have always been about.  They’re natural explorers supremely suitable for adventure deep in the back country.  Owners simply strapped on whatever gear or accessories they needed, then headed into new territory.  The 2024 POLARIS XPEDITION offers off-road capability, infinite accessory combinations, and comfort for both the driver and passengers in a seamlessly integrated package. 

TWO BASE MODELS – MULTIPLE TRIM PACKAGES

Polaris offers both the XPEDITION XP and the XPEDITION ADV in multiple trim packages, and in both 2-seat and 5-seat versions.  Highlights are:

BASE MODEL XPEDITION XP STANDARD FEATURES

  • 999cc, 114 HP ProStar 1000 Gen 2 Engine
  • FOX® Podium QS3 with Position Sensing
  • Electronic Power Steering
  • High Clearance Dual A-Arms, and 14” Ground Clearance
  • 30″ Pro Armor Crawler XP Tires
  • On-Demand True AWD/2WD/VersaTrac Turf Mode
  • Polaris HD 4500 LB Winch, Front Bull Bumper & Full Coverage Skid Plate
  • Lock & Ride MAX Cargo System and Dumping Cargo Box
  • ProFit Sport Roof & Interior Liner

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LIMITLESS CONFIGURATION

A basic tenant of overlanding is outfitting your ride to what works best for you, surely a concept Polaris has long embraced.  Beyond the “basic” XPEDITION packages in both the two and five seat models you’ve got Premium, Ultimate, and North Star versions of each, and further trim packages tailoring them to hunters, trail riders, dune lovers, mudders, and every other type of off-road recreation or work.  It really is a limitless list of possibilities.

One staple of overlanding is a roof top tent, presumably as a fortress against bears, serpent, or flood.  Clearly the XPedition’s flat roof is advantageous for this, but we couldn’t help but wonder how many Polaris off-road division engineers ever imagined they’d be designing a mattress.  The roof is designed for 150 pounds of dynamic loading, which means the suspension has been designed to be relatively stable when your pizza bloated carcass rolls far off the center axis of the vehicle.

THE WRANGLER PROBLEM

The biggest problem with the Xpedition is, it is far from cheap.  In fact, a fully decked out version will set you back nearly $60K!   Even the base model begins at $30,000, and that’s actually more than a road worthy, crash certified, Jeep Wrangler with a 5-year warranty!  Do you pull your Xpedition to the trail with your comfy Jeep or truck, only to leave it behind and head out in your Polaris?  Polaris is confident that’s not an issue, but we’re not sure the average mountain biker and kayaker cares enough about off-roading to ditch their beloved and trusty Land Cruiser or Wrangler.  Traditionally, that customer has generally been far less enthused about powered off-road regulation, and generally only slightly tolerant of the motorized crowd.  Convincing them they need an Xpedition could prove difficult.   

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THE ULTIMATE OVERLANDING TOOL

Ironically enough, despite all the XPEDITION offers, it’s not really about the machine at all.  At its core, the XPEDITION is really a supremely capable tool allowing the hardcore adventurist to venture far further than they’ve ever explored before.  It’s a feeling of exploration most ATV and Side x Side owners have known for many years.       

https://www.polaris.com/en-us/off-road/polaris-xpedition/models/xpeditio…

https://www.polaris.com/en-us/off-road/

August 24, 2023

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