First Look: Polaris Ranger Diesel HST, HST Deluxe
Polaris has earned the tremendous success that it has enjoyed in the powersports industry, more recently through its line of ATV and UTC offerings, by reading the market and not only developing products that fit the NOW but also investing in where the market might be headed in the future. We think that Polaris’ new Ranger Diesel HST and HST Deluxe are definite examples of that ideology.
The two latest vehicles to join the company’s comprehensive line of Ranger utility UTVs, the three-passenger Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe, possess all of the features and solid build quality that have made the Minnesota-based powersports giant a strong player in the utility segment, but they offer an added twist in the form of new diesel-fueled engines. Their alternative power plants certainly give them the potential to be even more attractive in the global marketplace; diesel is anticipated to become the most popular global fuel by the year 2020.
The Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe were designed to create products with the intention of providing solutions to a wide variety of customer needs, according to David Longren, vice president of Polaris’ Off-Road Division.
“In developing the Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe, we wanted to create vehicles that offered maximum comfort and ease-of-use to cater to the needs of the agricultural or rural lifestyle customer,” Longren says.
The heartbeat of the new Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe is supplied by a Yanmar diesel engine. With its American headquarters based in Georgia, Yanmar has been producing diesel engines since 1933 and has manufactured over 15 million diesel engines, ranging from 4.5 to 5,000 horsepower. The company says that currently over one-million Yanmar diesel engines are powering North America's leading-edge mobile and stationary off-highway equipment, everything from construction equipment, generator sets, pressure washers and turf equipment, to military applications and agricultural equipment. The engine in the Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe produces 24 horsepower and an unspecified—through undoubtedly substantially higher—torque figure through a hydrostatic transmission. The transmission features an engine braking system that, says Polaris, delivers smooth and even deceleration while carrying a load for increased operator confidence.
Traversing virtually any terrain, loaded or unloaded, is facilitated on the Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe by Polaris’ exclusive On-Demand True All-Wheel Drive, which automatically engages all four wheels when more forward traction is needed and reverts back to two-wheel drive when the extra traction is no longer needed.
The Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe also feature multi-link, coilover De Dion rear suspension systems. While the De Dion technology has been around since 1894, it is still extremely sophisticated, utilizing universal joints at both the wheel hubs and at the differential with a solid tubular beam used to locate the rear wheels. Unlike more common independent rear suspension systems, the De Dion keeps the rear wheels from changing camber throughout the suspension stroke. More tire contact patch on the ground results in better traction in uneven terrain for excellent ride quality without compromising cargo or towing capacity; Polaris claims a 1250-pound cargo capacity and a 2000-pound towing capacity for the Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe. Both models feature an extended length, pallet-sized rear dump box, with gas-assist lift on Ranger Diesel HST and electric lift on the Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe, providing ample space for hauling. Both models also feature Polaris’ exclusive Lock & Ride cargo system for easy installation and removal of accessories.
Another key feature that should make the Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe attractive to agricultural- and rural-lifestyle customers is an industry-exclusive treadle pedal that allows the driver travel in forward or reverse without shifting gears or taking hands off the wheel.
The Ranger Diesel HST and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe also come standard with Hydraulic Power Steering to minimize driver fatigue. Comfy cab ergonomics are important during a long day’s work, and Polaris addressed driver comfort by incorporating tilt steering with 10 inches of motion, extra legroom, foot rests, larger seat widths and easy cab ingress and egress to deliver optimal operator and passenger comfort. Cold-climate customers will certainly appreciate the Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe’s fully-enclosed, factory-installed cab with climate control, including heat, defrost and air conditioning. The Deluxe features 180-degree opening doors for easy entry and exit. A full line of cab, storage and vehicle protection accessories is also available for both vehicles to meet each customer’s unique needs.
The Ranger Diesel HST ($15,199) and Ranger Diesel HST Deluxe ($20,999) will be offered in Sage Green and will be available at Polaris dealerships in April 2014.