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Trail Tested: 2020 Polaris Rzr XP 4 1000

The Polaris Rzr XP4 1000 is the UTV industry’s top-selling four-seater, and for good reason. No, it doesn’t come with smart suspension, Ride Command or a 7-inch touch screen display, but its price point places it right in the thick of things amid a growing sea of competitors and its 110hp ProStar engine doesn’t overpower the chassis—one of the more proven chassis’ in the segment. In our first 20 hours aboard the Rzr we’ve spent time in the mud, navigating tight, wooded trails, blasting 70-mph out in the open and clawing up our fair share hills. If you’re looking for the scoop behind the machine that is currently the benchmark of the SxS world, keep scrolling.

It’s Big, But Not A Problem On Most Trails

2020 Polaris Rzr XP 4 1000

While a machine that encompasses more than 12 feet of overall length (146-inches tire to tire, in this case), is 64 inches wide and measures nearly 74 inches tall may seem large to dirt bike and ATV riders, the majority of the trails at public and private off-road parks accommodate it just fine. As UTV’s emerged and became more and more popular, the trails have naturally become wider at most venues. To date, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with the lack of belly scraping the Rzr XP4 1000 has seen, too. Thanks to its 14-inches of ground clearance and 117-inch wheel base, hang-ups are a rarity.

The “4” In XP 4

Four Seat Polaris Rzr UTV

Polaris recently redesigned the cockpit to foster more driver confidence and vastly improved ergonomics, but the kids in the back of the bus will be happy, too. There is ample room for youthful legs and feet—although adults upward of 6-feet may try to bribe you for a spot up front or at least a front seat adjustment. Yes, that’s a pool noodle. And no, it didn’t come from Polaris.

Highly Visible Vitals

Digital Gauge Cluster Rzr 1000

Dual-sweep analog dials for mph and rpm, and a 4-inch LCD rider information center makes it easy to view all the Rzr’s key parameters. Everything from the machine’s odometer, trip meter and hour meter to coolant temp, voltmeter and gear indicator is highly visible. There is even a seat belt reminder, which won’t allow you to top 15 mph until you buckle up. The screen’s blue/red backlighting and brightness can be configured to your liking and you can even program your own service intervals. To the right of the gauge cluster, you’ll find the switch for the LED headlights and On-Demand AWD system, along with a DC outlet.

20 Inches of Suspension Travel

Walker Evans Racing Needle Shocks Polaris Rzr

Much of the XP 4 1000’s acclaimed off-road prowess stems from its suspension system. Up front, a dual A-arm arrangement (complete with a stabilizer bar) incorporates 2-inch diameter Walker Evans Racing needle shocks and provides up to 20-inches of usable travel. Trailing arms with a stabilizer bar are employed in the rear, along with 2.5-inch diameter Walker Evans Racing needle shocks. Each shock features 16-position adjustability but leaves the factory dead in the middle. We haven’t made any adjustments yet.

A Well-Refined 110 HP

ProStar HO Polaris DOHC UTV Engine

We would describe the naturally-aspirated ProStar HO engine as being very responsive while at the same time not being overly “touchy.” It’s right there when you need it, but it’s not so eager to melt the tires that you’re constantly breaking traction. The liquid-cooled, 999cc, DOHC twin-cylinder 4-stroke features electronic fuel injection and cranks out 110 hp. It’s backed by an automatic belt-driven PVT transmission. We’re big fans of the engine’s throaty factory exhaust note, too, as it almost makes it feel like you’re driving the muscle car of UTV’s.

A Jeep-Like Aftermarket

SxS Rzr XP 4 1000

What you won’t find on an XP 4 1000 that just left the factory is lower door inserts, nerf bars, rear and sideview mirrors, a roof or a windshield. But hey, that’s what the aftermarket is for, right? The plastic lower door inserts shown here are Tusk units from Rocky Mountain ATV, were a breeze to install and had zero alignment issues. The nerf bars are made from 1.25-inch OD steel tubing and came from UTV Giant. Now to find a winch, bumpers, radio, back glass, CV boot savers, door pads, a cooler and about a million other things…

We’d Give It A 9 Out Of 10

Aftermarket Accessories Polaris Rzr XP 1000

In our first 152 miles behind the wheel of Polaris’ latest Rzr XP 4 1000, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with its suspension, power and agility. The one time we got into trouble entailed a tipsy moment in an off-camber section we should’ve avoided in a creek bed. If you’re new to the UTV game, there are a couple things to remember: 1. Always ride with someone else (or at the very least, get a winch) and 2. Make the widest machine in your party go first. If your buddy can make it in his 72-inch wide Can-Am, your 64-inch wide XP will definitely fit.

In The Hills and On The Trails

Hill Climb Rzr XP 4 1000 Polaris

We’ve yet to encounter an incline the Rzr XP 4 1000 doesn’t like, but if things get sketchy midway up, all-wheel drive is on-demand at the flip of a switch. Thus far, most hills have been negotiable in two-wheel drive and a heavy right foot. As far as woods riding is concerned, the one thing that pays big dividends on this four-seater is to always keep your options open when negotiating a trail. For example, on tighter, technical paths we’re constantly surveilling a place to turn around should things go south further down the line (i.e. a wide, potentially bottomless mud hole you can’t avoid, a hill you don’t like the looks of or a blockage in the path).

Looking for a place to 'wheel? Badlands Off Road Park should be on your list!

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