I like to sing. Phew... it's finally out in the open. I've been caught numerous times by friends and family, but I've never admitted it to the outside world. I suppose, while I'm getting things off of my chest, I'll admit one more thing. I'm a terrible singer. Awful. So bad, American Idol
would have an embarrassing 30-second clip showcasing my glass-breaking vocals. Some are blessed to sing on stage or over the radio, and other, less fortunate talents sing in the car or driving to work. I sing at work. Not in the office but blasting down the trails. I'll fire up that ATV or side-by-side, give it a little throttle, and no later than that wheelie down the trail, I'll be reciting the first thing that pops in my head.
Recently, Polaris invited ATV Rider
magazine to Parker, Arizona, to get some seat time in the new RZR XP1K. A machine built not so much for the masses but to say, "Hey, look at me!" A $20,000 beauty showcasing the best Polaris has to offer and ever so tightening the stranglehold the company has on the world of UTVs. Sure enough, as soon as I turned the key and heard the ferocious rumble of the 107-hp ProStar powerplant, the XP1K cockpit was transformed into my personal music hall. It's possible that deep down I was comparing the Polaris engineers to the Italian physicist, Galileo, or maybe it was the RZR XP1's "White Lightning" paint scheme, but I couldn't get Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" out of my head.
Let's start with power, and there's plenty of it: The XP1's 999cc V-twin offers a ridiculous amount of torque and horsepower. Its Dual Over Head Cam (DOHC) design uses four valves per cylinder, runs parallel with the chassis, and uses a 180-degree crankshaft to bring 20 more hp than the RZR XP 900 to the rear wheels. Its electronic fuel-injection system pumps 87 octane through dual 48mm throttle bodies. Throttle response is smooth and improved from the RZR 900. Power is amazing. You'll hit zero to 50 in just over five seconds, and it won't stop pulling until you pee your pants.
The Polaris On-Demand all-wheel-drive system does an excellent job of getting power to the ground. It engages faster than the XP 900, and cornering is incredibly precise. Two-wheel drive is not as controllable. It's fun to slide around, with all that power, but it had the tendency to come around on you. Luckily, the XP1 is equipped with Electronic Power Steering (EPS), and you can keep it in AWD at all times. The Polaris EPS works really well.
Power is useless without a good-handling chassis. What good is 80-plus mph if you're not equipped to control it? Luckily, Polaris has worked with many of today's top racers and aftermarket suspension brands to develop a capable chassis. The dual A-arms up front are matched with 2-inch Walker Evans Anti-Bottoming Needle Shocks that provide 16 inches of wheel travel. Out back you'll find larger, 20.5-inch Walker Evans shocks that have remote reservoirs, are mounted on the rear of the roll cage for easy adjustment, and ride on a three-link trailing arm. All four dual rate/dual spring shocks have 16-position adjustable clickers for compression.
At first, the XP 1000 feels worse in the corners than the XP 900, but once you get past the extreme body roll, caused by the long travel, it's much faster around corners, straightaways, and jumps. Also, the XP1's 90-inch wheelbase and 13.5 inches of ground clearance help soak up even the gnarliest of washboards and whoops.
Polaris is the first OEM to offer 29-inch treads straight from the factory. Maxxis Bighorn tires are mounted on cast-aluminum wheels. They're brought to a halt via hydraulic discs with dual-bore front and rear calipers found on all four corners. The Bighorns are tough and predictable, and the braking is smooth, powerful, and rarely fades from heat.
The roll cage is well designed, and you can race the XP1 without modifications. Side doors are a nice touch for safety, but the driver and rider get roosted through the bottom opening. It would be a lot better if the designers had filled that gap for roost and protection. Polaris must know this already because it offers a lower door panel accessory. Speaking of protection, a front skid plate should also come standard on a high-performance off-road chassis. The skid plate would cover the A-arm mounts that were beat down after only the first test session.
The cockpit is spacious and ergonomically friendly. The glove box is huge and great for on-the-trail accessories like a tire repair kit and a sandwich (I was hungry when I wrote this). Polaris installed a cool cell phone compartment in the center dash as well. The seats are large, comfortable, and have very good lateral support for a stock SxS. However, a three-point seatbelt in a high-performance machine is dumb. For $20,000, Polaris should equip its top model with five-point harnesses and a rearview mirror.
Night driving is great thanks to bright white LED headlights, with high/low beams, which are powered by a large, 750-watt charging system. The lights are bright, but since the body rolls so much side to side, and up and down from getting on the power and brakes, it becomes hard to see when the lights are constantly shooting at the ground directly in front of you or in the sky. Our first aftermarket install will be a light bar.
I'm just a poor boy. I need no sympathy because I'm easy come, easy go, a little high, little low... There I go singing again. It's ironic that the "Bohemian Rhapsody" had "poor boy" lyrics because the RZR XP 1000 is not the most affordable UTV on the market. They're rad and will be all over the desert and dunes in no time, but for the majority of us, we'll just be singing about them.
- 107-hp ProStar is amazingly fast
- 16" of front- and 18" of rear-wheel travel
- Comfortable and spacious cockpit
- Needs five-point harnesses
- Underbody protection is lacking
- Airbags? Just kidding, but really...
High-Performance UTV Comparison Chart
|Arctic Cat Wildcat X||$18,499||Five-link rear suspension and 23-position Fox Podium shocks|
|Can-Am Maverick X rs||$18,799||101-hp Rotax engine, Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering|
2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS
Type: 4-stroke, DOHC, twin-cylinder
Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection w/ dual 48mm throttle bodies
Starting system: Electric
Drive system: On-Demand AWD/2WD
Transmission: Automatic PVT w/ high/low range, reverse
Front: Double A-arms w/ Walker Evans 2-in. Needle Shocks/16 in.
Rear: Double Trailing Arms w/ Walker Evans 2.5-in. Needle Shocks/18 in.
Front: 29x9-14; Maxxis Bighorn/Cast aluminum
Rear: 29x11-14; Maxxis Bighorn/Cast aluminum
Front: Dual hydraulic discs w/ dual-bore front and rear calipers
Rear: Dual hydraulic discs w/ dual-bore front and rear calipers
Wheelbase: 90 in.
Claimed dry weight: 1,379 lbs.
Ground clearance: 13.5 in.
Length/width/height: 119/64/73.75 in.
Fuel capacity: 9.5 gal.
Cargo bed dimensions: 28 x 22 x 7 in.
Cargo bed capacity: 300 lbs.
Lighting: White LED, high/low & red LED tail/brake lights
Instrumentation: Digital gauge includes speedometer, odometer, tripmeter, tachometer, coolant temperature, volt meter, hourmeter, service indicator, clock, gear indicator, fuel gauge, high-temp light, seatbelt reminder light; DC outlet
Colors: White Lightning, Titanium Matte Metallic