2011 Polaris ATV and Ranger Lineup Preview

Jul. 27, 2010 By Story by Josh Burns, Photos Courtesy of Polaris
Polaris enters 2011 with a host of updates to its ATV and side-by-side models.

Polaris has been a force in powersports market for years, and the Minnesota-based company enters 2011 well aware of its spot atop the off-road segment. Thatís why Polaris isnít resting on its laurels next year, as the company enters the new model year with a number of changes to its ATV and Ranger lineups, which include some new models and a plethora of updates to returning models. Read on for more information on Polarisí 2011 offerings.

2011 Ranger Utility Lineup
The Diesel Ranger is a new model for Polaris in 2011, featuring a 904cc three-cylinder diesel engine.The Ranger line of Polaris ATVs is focused on utility Ė these are the true workhorse vehicles. The company is offering three new models in its lineup in 2011, including the Ranger Diesel, Ranger 500 EFI, and Ranger CREW 500 EFI. Polaris also made a few changes to a few other models, such as increased power on the Ranger XP 800 (and EPS version), as well as added power steering on the Pursuit Camo Ranger Crew 800. Also, all 2011 Ranger models, except for the Ranger EV, have been outfitted with new easy-buckle driver and passenger safety nets.

The new 2011 Ranger Diesel shares the same full-sized chassis as the Ranger XP 800. At the heart of the unit is a 904cc, three-cylinder diesel engine that provides a top speed of about 35 mph. Polaris says the diesel powerplant provides increased fuel economy over gas vehicles and boasts the biggest fuel tank in its class.

Polaris outfitted the Diesel with a fully-sealed, fixed center distance clutch driveline to keep water out of the clutches. The unit also comes with a 55-amp alternator that gives the operator the ability to run many higher electrical load accessories, such as plows, extra lights, cab heaters and fans at the same time. The Ranger Diesel has a towing capacity of up to 2,000 pounds and has a total payload capacity of 1,500 pounds.

The Ranger Crew 500 offers the same features as the Ranger 500 EFI Ö but it seats four. Polaris introduced the Ranger 400 last year, and it proved to be a popular unit after becoming the third-best seller in the Ranger lineup. For 2011, Polaris is now offering a mid-sized version in the Ranger 500 EFI, which is designed to offer a lot more options and creature comforts. It features a 498cc, fuel-injected engine that provides 32 horsepower and a top speed of 44 mph. It is also equipped with features such as On-Demand True All-Wheel Drive with VersaTrac, Independent Rear Suspension, heavy-duty front end protection, high ground clearance and the longest suspension travel in the mid-sized class.  The Ranger 500 EFI has a 500-pound Lock & Ride cargo box with a gas-assist dumping operation to go along with 1,250 pounds of towing capacity. Along with electronic fuel injection, the Ranger 500 EFI differs from the Ranger 400 due to its standard instrument cluster that includes an odometer, fuel level indicator, and speedometer.

With additions to its mid-sized Ranger lineup, Polaris is also entering the value-priced, multi-passenger vehicle segment with the new Ranger Crew 500. With all the same features as the Ranger 500 EFI, the Ranger Crew 500 provides room for four people with plenty of room to spare. According to Polaris, the vehicle features spacious cabin room and easy cab slide-through so four adults can enter and exit easily.

2011 Ranger RZR Lineup
The Polaris Ranger RZR really took the side-by-side world by storm when it was first released in 2008. Since that time, the RZR has established itself as the performance leader in the side-by-side category, as it really was truly the first sport-minded offering in the category in the first place. For the 2011 model year, the lineup includes the Ranger RZR 800, the Ranger RZR S 800, and the Ranger RZR 4 800.

The Ranger RZR 4 800 has a power steering option for 2011, and it will come in a special Robby Gordon edition.

For 2011, the entire Ranger RZR lineup receives new front-end styling that Polaris tells us increases cooling airflow area by 29 percent. The RZR line also receives new side protection, a new in-cab accessible glove box, and new High/Low headlights for increased night visibility. Arguably the most noteworthy change, however, is the new fuel management system paired with a new tank that offers a 30 percent improvement in range. Other improvements include an improved clutch/belt cooling, improved front and rear drive durability and sealed dash switches. Polaris also updated the side nets to make them more user-friendly.

The Ranger RZR 800 engine receives some additional grunt with a bump up to 55 horsepower for 2011. New trail-friendly rear rack extenders are another big upgrade that offers as much as 60 percent more cargo capacity in the bed. Hunters will appreciate the new Polaris Pursuit Camouflage pattern.

To help bring down the price of the RZR S 800, Polaris moved away from the costly Fox Podium X reservoir shocks and replaced them with new Sachs shocks that have a two-inch bore. The Fox shocks will still be available on limited-edition RZR S models. The RZR S also gets some new tread in the form of ITP 900 XCT tires. The new tires were built for high-performance, cross-country trail riding, and feature a knobby, aggressive tread pattern than Polaris claims offers even more impressive cornering ability than the Maxxis Bighorn tires found on the 2010 model.

The Ranger RZR 4 800 was introduced in late 2010 as the first multi-passenger sport side-by-side and the industryís only four-seat, high-performance machine. For 2011, Polaris is now offering the RZR 4 800 with a power steering option. The RZR 4 comes in a black-and-red edition, as it will also be offered in a blue-and-white model featuring Robby Gordon-inspired graphics.

Polaris also will offer the following Limited Editions: Ranger RZR 800 EPS Orange Madness, Ranger RZR 800 Indy Red/White, Ranger RZR 800 Sonic Blue/White, Ranger RZR S 800 Gloss Black Carbon Fiber/Orange Madness and Ranger RZR S 800 Gloss Black Carbon/Indy Red.

2011 Sportsman Lineup
The Sportsman 800 EFI has an updated drivetrain for 2011, and the engine is moved three inches back on the chassis to improve handling.The Sportsman XP family is still the focus of Polarisí utility ATV lineup, but the company hasnít forgotten the other Sportsman models and has made some changes for the new model year. For 2011, the Sportsman 500 H.O., Sportsman 800 EFI, Sportsman Big Boss 6x6 800, and the Sportsman Touring 500 H.O. all feature a new front end style that is much less bulky in appearance, in part, by raising the front radiator. The new front end if also designed to give the rider improved visibility while riding.

The Sportsman 400 H.O., which was previously built around a smaller chassis, will receive an updated chassis. The update results in a 19-percent increase in suspension travel, as well as improved front and rear rack capacity and ground clearance.

The Sportsman 800 EFI, Sportsman 500 H.O., Sportsman Touring 500 H.O. and Sportsman 400 H.O. will also receive an updated drivetrain that Polaris says will provide a quieter and more efficient transmission. The Sportsman 800 EFI gets another minor tweak with its engine getting moved three inches closer to the rear to improve handling and steering. The models also receive  a new Lock & Ride front rack that can be replaced with a Lock & Ride accessory box for additional storage (the box is standard on the Sportsman 500 H.O., Sportsman 500 H.O. Touring and Sportsman 800 6x6). They also receive a new Lock & Ride-ready rear rack, a raised and angled radiator for improved mud protection, new front lights, and a lower winch mount.

The Sportsman 500 H.O., like many of the Sportsman models, has new front-end styling thatís much less bulky.Polaris didnít pass up on making some upgrades to the premium models in the near year, so the Sportsman XP line gets a number of updates as well. The Sportsman XP 850, Sportsman 550, Sportsman Touring 850, Sportsman Touring 550 and Sportsman X2 550 feature improved engagement of the braking gears for smoother braking. Polaris also improved splash protection for the rider and included a new vinyl seat that provides even better grip. Losing weight on an ATV is a good thing, as it can improve the power-to-weight ratio and fuel economy, so itís good to hear that the Sportsman XP 850 and 550 will lose about 12 pounds. The Sportsman XP 850 EPS, 550 EPS and Touring models will also receive an update with an increase of 16-percent more fuel capacity for longer range. 

The Sportsman XP Touring models and the X2 feature increased rear suspension travel (10.25 in.). For 2011, the Sportsman Touring 850 EPS and 550 EPS models get a removable passenger seat, a new rear seat comfort ride system with improved shock and spring control, and removable Lock & Ride passenger hand guards.

The Sportsman X2 550 receives a new passenger seat designed with 21 percent more foam. The X2 includes a rear dump box with a 400-pound capacity that can transform to accommodate a passenger in three easy steps, and it gets improved box latching that now features with a pullstrap for easier dumping.

The Limited Edition models include an Orange Madness Sportsman XP 850 EPS, Browning Edition Pursuit Sportsman XP 850 EPS and Sportsman 550 EPS, Sportsman Touring 850 EPS Super Graphite Metallic, and a Sportsman X2 850 with VersaTrac.

2011 Youth ATVs an Rangers
Polaris will offer a Big Wheel Kit for the Ranger RZR 170 this year with bigger aluminum wheels, larger tires, a different sprocket and chain.For 2011, Polaris is offering five youth models that fit into the Specialty Vehicle Institute of Americaís (SVIA) Youth ATV categories. These units include the Phoenix 200, Ranger RZR 170, Sportsman 90, Outlaw 90 and Outlaw 50.

One of the most noteworthy changes to the youth models is that the Outlaw 50 (Y-6+ age group) is lead compliant for 2011. Y-12+ riders will have three models to choose from in the Ranger RZR 170, Sportsman 90 and Outlaw 90. The Phoenix 200 has been upgraded to a transitional youth model for ages 14 and up. It features speed-limiting abilities to reduce top speed to 20 mph (as delivered), 30 mph for intermediate riders, and 38 mph for unrestricted use.

Also for the T-14+ group, Polaris will offer a Big Wheel Kit for the Ranger RZR 170. The kit provides bigger aluminum wheels, larger tires, different sprocket and chain for increased speed (up to 38 mph), skid plate, T-14 warning decals, and a 25 percent increase in ground clearance to 7.5 in.

For more information about Polarisí vehicles or to check out the companyís Pure Polaris Accessories line, visit PolarisIndustries.com.

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