Last year Polaris pulled out all stops and launched a vast and all-new 2009 product line across a number of segments within the UTV and ATV markets. With such a huge launch in 2009, and with current market conditions, we figured the 2010 line-up would receive only some mild updates, but we were wrong.
On the UTV side, the biggest news is an new Mid-Sized Ranger platform that is smaller and more compact than the Full-Size Ranger. The Mid-Sized Ranger is available with either a 400cc engine or the EV with an electric motor. Along with the new Ranger, Polaris also spruced up the Ranger Crew and Ranger 6x6 by redesigning them into the popular Ranger body style. The Full-Size Ranger line also got some tweaks, especially in the engine department. The 700 model has been replaced by an 800 and the 500 model has more power.
The RZR line of sport UTV’s remains virtually unchanged, aside from a few mild updates and a new claimed top speed of 60 mph. Also new this year is the ROPS-certified cabs on all Polaris UTV’s.
We Had To See It For Ourselves
For the introduction of the 2010 line-up, Polaris invited members of the media to their Wyoming MN Research and Development Facility. Getting inside a facility like this is pretty rare, as behind these closed doors is where many of future projects are born. Obviously there were a few closed doors on the tour but we were able to see around the facility and see some of the different laboratories the Engineering teams use.
One of the most interesting things we saw was the suspension testing lab. This lab has several robotic machines that replicate real world off-road conditions to test suspension systems. These large machines have arms that bolt to the hubs of the ATV or UTV that bounce and shake the vehicle from the ground-end of the suspension. This allows the engineers to measure the shock inside the vehicle and test different operating conditions quicker and more accurately than in real off-road conditions.
While the suspension test facility provides critical data to the engineering teams real world testing also is important, the Minnesota facility has hundreds miles of different trails for testing. The following day these trails were opened up for us to get some seat time in the 2010 units.
Polaris Launches Mid-Size Ranger
The new mid-sized Ranger is a great sized machine that fits nicely between the RZR and the larger Ranger. For owners looking for a utility UTV that is a bit more compact and will fit in the bed of a standard pick-up, the Ranger 400 or "EV" is ideal. While the new chassis was impressive, it was the available electric engine that generated most of the conversation between editors at the press introduction. The Electric Ranger is so cool in many different ways; it offers excellent performance, has good range and above all is environmentally friendly. The EV could have the ability to draw in a whole new sociographic group of consumers. Hunters and other noise-conscious buyers will also love the EV, as it operates almost silently.
From the outside the Mid-Size Ranger looks very similar to the Full-Size Ranger. The styling is very similar with the angled chisel look on the front hood, grille and fenders. The look is so similar that they are hard to tell apart unless the Full-Size and Mid-Size units are sitting next to each other. On closer inspection the Mid-Size has a few key differences from its big brother. The Mid-Size features a McPherson Strut front suspension with 8” of travel, unlike the dual a-arm suspension on the front of the Full-Size. Struts were likely used to help the cost of the machine lower and while they may not be as cool as a-arms, it is important to note that the old Sportsman ATV’s used struts for years and were some of the best-riding utility machines available. On our test rides in the Mid-Size, we found that the suspension worked just fine.
The only drawback we can see to the struts is that it will be harder for the aftermarket to build lift and long travel kits. But as a smaller UTV with a relatively small engine, there would probably be a limited market for those types of kits anyway. The rear suspension on the Mid-Size is independent offering 9” of travel and 10” of ground clearance.
While the Mid-Size Ranger is a value priced UTV, Polaris didn’t skimp on the features. Both models come standard with the All -Wheel Drive with Versatrac and the towing and capacity ratings are both high. The AWD system selects 4WD when the vehicle needs more traction and then goes back into 2WD again automatically. And there is also an option to put the vehicle into single-wheel drive for tight turns for use on sensitive terrain like a golf course or your neighbor’s lawn.
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PLUG and PLAY – EV Electric Powered Ranger!
In my mind the most impressive vehicle in the 2010 Polaris UTV line-up was the EV Electric Powered Ranger. It shares the same chassis and many of the same features as the 400 but is powered by a 30 hp Electric Motor. The motor gives the vehicle a 25 mph top speed and according to Polaris, has a 35-45 mile range on a single charge. There are three different modes that can be selected on the dash for different characteristics; there is a High for speed, Low for towing and hauling, and Max for maximum range.
As with most electric vehicles, one of the drawbacks is the weight of the batteries, and the EV weighs in at a whopping 1,700 lbs (650 lbs heavier than the 400). But to help the vehicle still stop well, Polaris upgraded the front brakes to a dual-bore hydraulic caliper.
Driving the EV was a blast and a totally different experience as there is almost no noise from the engine, so you can talk to the passenger easily. It actually feels fast in a way, because you can clearly hear the wind whistle by your head. It was a refreshing experience to explore the woods in almost silence and the EV still had decent performance. Sure it’s not going to win races but that’s not really the point.
EV Technical Shots
Testing the Ranger 400 was a pleasure, with a 40 mph top speed, good handling and a compact size the Ranger is a fantastic UTV for light Utility and Recreation use. And priced at $7,999 I think a lot of buyers will be asking themselves if they really need that Full-Sized Ranger.
Ranger 6x6 and Crew
It is nice to see the 6x6 and Crew in the new body style. At last year's press introduction, they looked remarkably dated in the old Ranger body compare to the sleek and angled look of the new 2009 Ranger. But the 6x6 and Crew feature much more than just a new look, they are basically all-new machines that offer a number of improvements over the old models. Both models have the same standard features of the Full-Size Ranger like dual A-Arm front suspension, Independent Rear Suspension, All-Wheel Drive and being bigger models, they both come standard with the larger 40 hp 800 EFI engine.
With two rows of seats, the Crew has seating for six full-sized adults and more storage capacity than you should ever need. The engine is located under the second row of seats so underneath the front row is a huge storage compartment. There is also a hydraulic tilt bed and four color options; Sage Green, Solar Red, Mossy Oak Break-Up Camouflage and Sandstone Metallic on Limited Edition models.
|The 6x6 is also in the new Ranger body style and shares all the same great features as the other Full Size Rangers.||The extra length in the 6x6 chassis needed for the extra 2 wheels is taken up with a really neat Job Box that further increase the storage capacity of the machine.|
RZR – A slightly higher top-speed and BOLD NEW GRAPHICS
The updates on the RZR line are small for 2010 but since the RZR is essentially in a class of its own in the Aggressive Sport segment, it should continue to be popular. After all, the RZR still offers stock UTV performance that is not available from any other manufacturer.
Thankfully the RZR S is back again for 2010 and is available in a sharp-looking white color scheme; or Orange Madness on Limited Edition Models. The standard RZR returns in Sage Green or Red and will be available in Tequila Gold or Turbo Silver on Limited Edition models. Other changes include the now ROPS-certified cab and the top claimed speed has been increased slightly to 60 mph.
The Pure Polaris accessory department has been busy as well, and is launching a whole slew of new products for the RZR and Ranger platforms for 2010 to help current owners customize to their heart's content. There are several new cab systems available and a long-travel suspension kit to transform a standard RZR into a RZR S.
Overall Polaris has once again stamped their stamp of authority on the UTV market with a vast offering of products that are all-new, redesigned or noticably improved. Polaris has increased their value-focussed UTV offerings with the addition of the Mid-Sized Ranger and in our economy, this is a smart move. The Full-Size models also get more value as most are improved and include more features than before.
“With the introduction of two new products, more power for the utility line, the redesigned RANGER CREW and 6x6, and a new top speed for RANGER RZR, the 2010 line up picks up where the 2009 line up left off,” said Matt Homan, vice president and general manager of Polaris’ Off-Road division. “We continue to innovate our RANGER line to offer the most extensive Side-by-Side offering in the industry.”
Strong words but with two years in a row of Press Introductions packed with several new UTV’s I can’t disagree. And I look forward to 2011.
-Stephen W Clark
SxS 2010 MODEL YEAR U.S. RETAIL PRICE LIST
MODEL # MODEL NAME MSRP*
RGR 800 EFI HD, Green $12,399
RGR 800 EFI XP, Green $10,999
RGR 800 EFI XP, Red $10,999
RGR 800 EFI XP, Mossy Oak NBU $11,599
RGR 800 EFI XP, Browning Edition LE $12,699
RGR 800 EFI XP, Pearl White LE $11,599
RGR 800 EFI XP, Navy/Sand LE $11,599
RGR 800 EFI XP EPS, Sunset Red LE $12,399
RGR 800 EFI 6X6, Green $12,299
RGR 800 EFI 6X6, Red $12,299
RGR 500 EFI HO, Green $9,799
RGR 500 EFI HO, Red $9,799
RGR 400, Red $7,999
RGR 400, Green $7,999
RGR 400, Mossy Oak Camo $8,299
RGR EV, Blue $10,699
RGR EV, Mossy Oak Camo $10,999
RGR 800 EFI Crew, Green $11,799
RGR 800 EFI Crew, Red $11,799
RGR 800 EFI Crew, Mossy Oak Camo $12,599
RGR 800 EFI Crew, Sandstone Metallic $12,599
RGR RZR, Red $10,999
RGR RZR, Green $10,999
RGR RZR, Turbo Silver LE $11,599
RGR RZR, Tequila Gold LE $11,599
RGR RZR S, White $13,999
RGR RZR S, Orange Madness LE $13,999
Prices F.O.B. Roseau – Payable in U.S. Funds
* Price does not include freight and set-up
Polaris reserves the right to change specifications, models, or pricing at any time without incurring