Early Side x Sides were built strictly for utility use, with all the handling characteristics of a tractor. That caught the attention of Polaris which quietly went into action. With an engineering staff loaded full of Northern Minnesota hunters, it’s no wonder the Rangers are at home in the woods; they should practically be issued a hunting license. Imagine your best dog, best shotgun, best pickup, and best hunting camp all rolled into one, and you’ve got the Polaris Ranger XP 800.
The Ranger XP 800 is powered by a liquid cooled, 760cc High Output, EFI equipped, twin cylinder engine capable of towing and stopping 2000 pounds. This makes it capable of hard work all week, but plenty of recreation on the weekend. All full sized Rangers share a common platform featuring IRS, adjustable front A-arms, a tough dump box, and even a central tow hook and tie down points. Ergonomics inside the cab are particularly well suited to workers and weekend sportsman with a comfy bench seat for three, good leg room and splash protection, massive storage, both on the dash and under the seat, and tilt steering. The new XP models are simply a joy to drive and even at high RPMs, it’s possible to have a normal conversation. Our only complaint is it can be a little difficult to change the oil filter which is tucked down near the bottom of the engine. When it comes time to refill the oil, the only way is to dump it down the dip stick hole. Thankfully, air filter access is immediately under the tough, rear dump box which is rated for 1500 pounds of gear. We also like the tires that clean out well in heavy mud, and the adjustable Ranger suspension is extremely smooth. To make handling even better, the Ranger XP 800 can be had with Electronic Power Steering. The Ranger was one of the first Side x Sides to bridge the gap between work and weekend recreation, and it has only become better with time. With a year of testing and hauling everything from Whitetails to wood, the Ranger has never let us down. The Polaris Ranger XP 800 is our pick for the best Work and Recreation Class Side x Side of 2010.