2018 Polaris RZR XP Turbo EPS DYNAMIX Edition Review

Smart suspension = brilliant machine

Aug. 03, 2017 By Rick Sosebee. Photos by Harlen Foley and Polaris.

If you look at the recent record of improvements to high speed and superior suspension travel SxS machines currently offered, the overwhelming trend might stand out as horsepower upgrades. There is a time and place for power and although we all usually long for more, one company has begun a fight on harnessing handling for high-power side-by-sides.

They want to make sure all that power is controllable for the driver, helping to build confidence the entire time. Polaris has had a team of engineers working for over two years to make shock adjustment and control less of an inconvenience and more of a direct, simple function controlled by the way you the owner, drive your ride.

This new 2018 Polaris RZR XP Turbo Eps Dynamix model comes with an intelligent computer and specific built shocks by FOX that will not only create a better ride but a better overall handling vehicle. We had our opportunity to get a little more familiar with this system in the Mojave Desert just outside Primm, Nevada on a hot and dry day. Luckily, with the wind flowing through the cab, we could focus on the newest engineering marvel and nothing was getting between the rough terrain and us.

Smart shocks

Just to be clear, this Polaris RZR is an XP 1000 (925cc) fuel injected turbo charged power plant just like any other RZR and the running gear is all the same except for a slight gain in weight of roughly 21lbs or so. This unit does have the full Ride Command dash as well and a little dash or two of silver in the graphics. The new Dynamix Active Suspension is the key technology here, and it is a big divider from the rest of the RZR pack.

This was a true collaboration, as FOX built the shock and Polaris designed and developed the operating control software. It operates via seven key inputs transfer information like steering angle and throttle application to the onboard computer. This computer will then decipher this information at a rate of approximately 200 times per second. The information is culminated in brief form on the Ride Command Dynamix Visualizer screen so the driver can see how this system is affecting the ride. On the Ride Command Dynamix screen you will notice information like steering wheel position as well as shock firmness on each wheel shown on the screen. As for any real-time rider input, there are only (at least for now) three selections that allow the driver to switch the machine’s suspension to adapt to riding style and conditions.

This doesn't allow total control for the driver but it does give you a preset shock positioning that adjusts to the trails or your style a bit more. When you think about this system it is simply this; Polaris has essentially designed this new valving device and software to regulate fluid control through the shock. 

The three settings that are controlled by the driver are Comfort, Sport and Firm. As we left the home base we had the car set in comfort mode on the dash-mounted switch. This gives the casual rider a little more comfort, softening up the suspension for general trail riding speeds or terrain. Continually monitoring the ride is the onboard computer and it will interact with the shocks as needed even in these first of three modes.

Set it and forget it

Just a few miles into our trip we felt this setting was pretty comfortable but as the group's speed increased it became a bit too soft. And on the fly, we simply flipped the switch to Sport mode. The Sport mode or the Sport setting on the switch is a middle ground or maybe an average ride setting that still gives a plush feel but is set up to adjust the shocks a little firmer and control the body roll even more. This would become our favorite setting for the day and it seemed to fit the speeds we had driven during our ride. The larger unexpected washouts or ditches in our trail seemed to get soaked up surprisingly well by the suspension making our confidence level higher with every encounter. That's when we think found a limit of sorts to the Sport setting compression stroke.

I am not sure if the suspension actually bottomed but it was a pretty good bump on a higher speed section, possibly a rock or raised center in the trail. It was not very far up the trail that we thought we would try the firm setting because the trails were getting a bit rougher and the pace had increased a bit as well. Keep in mind we are making these changes from the driver's seat via a switch on the dash without stopping on the trail at all.

This setting is really noticeable as it gets stiff into corners effectively controlling body roll as well. The benefit of this setting was discovered in one particular event when we came over a rise in the trail at speed only to find out that the trail has gone to crap in front of us. At 50mph in slight dust with your foot on the floor it was a “stand on it and pray” moment. As quick as we could form a thought of “man this should hurt pretty good,” we could tell the shocks took the hit for us and we're still thankful. It was not pleasant but it could have been much worse without the controller adjusting the shocks in split seconds for us.

After taking the days ride in, I found that for our somewhat limited ride speed during the guided adventure as well as the comfort I desired, the Sport setting worked well for me.

The words escape me for how I feel about this system entirely so far. I can say that this single advancement will begin to forever change the way we look at suspension in the SXS industry. I am also not sure how consumers will be able to relate to this, as most never touch their suspension period, much less with a system that controls almost every aspect of it.

And of course, this technology won't come cheap. The new DYNAMIX edition, in the United States, will retail at $25,999, while in Canada it sells for $32,499.

The Verdict

I hope this will begin to help the riding public realize that you can have a more fine-tuned ride in varying terrain if you simply take the time to understand your suspension. This will revolutionize our industry and bring that extra wow factor to a machine already packed with loyal buyers. It's something of pure intrigue because it is just the start to a whole new finely tuned ride experience.

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