2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition Review
Some people live by the old adage “If it’s not broke don’t fix it.” However a lot of people reason if you can make something that’s already good even better, then why not? That’s exactly what Polaris aimed to do with its RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition, and we recently had the opportunity to put it through its paces.
Polaris is without a doubt leading the charge in the high-performance side-by-side category, and our suspicions about a new vehicle were confirmed last December when Polaris announced the limited edition RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition. Since this is a limited-edition machine, that also means there are a limited number of demo units available to the media for testing; however, the generous folks at Polaris granted our wish and we excitedly picked up a brand-spanking-new, black-and-blue RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition from Carter Powersports in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Geographically, there could be no better place to test the new Jagged X RZR than the rugged terrain of the southwestern United States. Polaris certainly didn’t have trail riders in mind when it retained the same wide 64-inch stance of the original RZR XP 900 in addition to the stretched out 107.4-inch wheelbase of the RZR XP 4 900. The longer wheelbase, coupled with the added benefit of the Walker Evans Racing 2.5-inch rear shocks, means this UTV is designed for eating desert terrain alive. It’s somewhat of a hybrid featuring many of the best features from both the two-seater and four-seater XPs, coupled with the increased horsepower from the high-output engine.
Eager to see what this new vehicle could do, we loaded up the trailer and hauled the newest RZR to the Logandale Trail System just outside of Las Vegas. Logandale is the perfect place to put a new machine to the test because of the wide variety of terrain that makes up the 200+ miles of trails. You have everything from small dunes to sandy and hard-packed trails, desert washes and, of course, rock sections that will leave you praying that the roll cage is really up to par. (Fortunately for us we didn’t have to find out, which is nice because it would have been a bummer to scuff up that beautiful blue paint.)
Off The Beaten Path
Our enthusiastic trail guide wasted no time leading us into a rock garden littered with boulders and jagged rocks of varying shapes and sizes. Rock crawling is a unique test for any vehicle because you can find yourself in a jam quickly – tight steering and throttle control are extremely important. It’s very easy for the terrain to rip the steering wheel right out of your hand, but thanks to the electronic power steering (EPS) this was a non-issue for us. We were able to remain in complete control at all times and make even the finest adjustments while navigating some very rough terrain. Although we rubbed the belly few times, the longer wheelbase made creeping over boulders and one particularly narrow obstacle a breeze.
The longer wheelbase really worked to our advantage on one section in particular. Our trail guide was driving a standard RZR XP 900 and as he crossed over a large boulder, found himself teetering with his left front tire two to three feet off the ground. After watching him pull through, we were a little apprehensive, but the RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X edition stretched itself across the obstacle without any difficulty whatsoever. The longer wheelbase kept us planted and allowed us to avoid the teetering effect that the shorter model had experienced.
The throttle was a little touchier at low speeds than we prefer and had about an inch of play in it before it would actually engage. This might be something that can be adjusted and it certainly didn’t ruin our day, but instant throttle response, especially for rock crawling when throttle control is so important, would have made things a little smoother.
Show and Go
Without a doubt, the RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition is arguably the most aggressive and stylish looking side-by-side on the market. The dark color scheme is just plain mean and the Voodoo Blue of the roll cage, factory beadlock rings and Jagged X graphics make the whole package really pop.
Starting Line Products (SLP) provides the exhaust system for this new beast, which gives the machine a more custom look and a beefy race ready sound over the more traditional and restrictive stock exhaust found on most production side by sides. We found the dual outlet exhaust to be the perfect compliment to the high-output 94-horsepower ProStar motor.
The added power of the High Output motor, also available now as a power-up package for the RZR XP 900, was probably the most anticipated aspect of this unit altogether. Because we’re reviewing we have to be honest and say that we were a little disappointed. The additional six horsepower brings the performance of the RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X edition much closer to the original XP 900, but it wasn’t quite what we were hoping for. No doubt Polaris has more magic up their sleeve and we think they might just be saving it for a bigger and badder machine. At least we hope so.
For comparison’s sake we took turns running the same section in both the RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition and a stock RZR XP 900, and the shorter RZR XP 900 was definitely quicker. It wasn’t a “night and day” difference and definitely not a deal killer, especially when you consider all the other goodies included on this machine, but we were hoping for a little more of the “put you back in your seat” type of horsepower. In the sand, it didn’t climb as well as the two-seat version and we rarely took it out of 4WD. The front end tended to push too much in 2WD, but locking the unit in 4WD made carving dunes a blast.
Suspension and Handling
While the original RZR XP 900 may have made it through our little test section quicker, the Jagged X Edition definitely made the ride more enjoyable. The EPS coupled with the longer wheelbase allowed us to power through whooped-out turns while maintaining complete control. We could literally hold the pedal to the floor and continue accelerating through turns. If you wanted to break it loose and steer with the rear end it was possible, but for the most part it remained planted everywhere we pointed it.
The Walker Evans Racing 2.0 front shocks were a little soft up front at first, but with a few clicks to the compression settings they stiffened up to our liking. We were able to hit both hard packed and sandy whoop sections without ever G-ing out. Several times, when a washout would appear out of nowhere we slammed on the brakes expecting that tailbone-jarring feeling when you bottom out the suspension, but the Walker Evans Racing suspension soaked it up every time.
One of the nicest features of the new RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition is the addition of aftermarket seats from PRP. Aftermarket seats are definitely not on a lot of people’s radar, but after spending most of the day in them you’ll never want to go back to a stock seat again. In its initial release, Polaris shared that its goal was to equip this particular model with the most popular modifications straight from the factory, and the PRP seats were a huge win with us.
While doors do little in terms of performance they are often one of the first changes made by racers and weekend warriors alike. These doors in particular feature the best, most functional latching system we’ve ever seen. A lot of doors don’t line up well and require you to slam them to get them to latch, but these doors opened and closed almost seamlessly. It may be a small thing but if you’ve ever been out in the dunes fighting to get your door to latch you know what we’re talking about.
Another area we’re glad Polaris didn’t skimp on are the trick-looking Walker Evans Racing beadlock wheels. Part style, part functionality, we initially thought they might just be imitation beadlocks since the Maxxis Big Horn Tires didn't actually come mounted on the beadlock itself. We wonder if it has to do with a liability issue and seeming too race ready; however, it’s a simple task to dismount them and make use of the beadlock.
In place of the rear passenger seat are two sturdy, weather-sealed storage boxes. The dual 2.5-cubic-foot storage boxes use the stock seat mounting locations and are easily removable in the event you want to carry additional passengers.
As more and more manufacturers are getting into the side-by-side game, it seems there is less of an “industry standard” and more options available to the end user. While it might make their decision process a little more difficult, in the end, more options are better. The high-performance racer might prefer the quick acceleration and weight savings of the original XP 900, while the longer wheelbase and comfort items like PRP seats and EPS might suit another rider very differently. It's what makes Polaris' approach of building a machine for every rider so successful – an approach other manufacturers are starting to emulate.
The RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition ($21,999) is definitely a step up in the UTV world, and we cannot stress enough how mean it looks. Despite being a little disappointed with the overall power output, the aggressive styling, comfortable seats, EPS and High Output engine in the four-seat chassis is a winning combination that will more than satisfy just about anyone who gets behind the wheel.