"With a landscape that resembles the moonand terrain that can bring most stock side-by-sides to their knees, Parker, AZ, was the ideal place to put the RZR XP 1000 through its paces.
"With a claimed 107 horsepower, the RZR XP 1000 is king of the dunes and desert when it comes to power in the high performance sport side-by-side segment.
"The RZR XP 1000 doesn’t get bogged down in sand thanks to its beefy 29-inch Maxxis Bighorn tires and plenty of horsepower.
"If you have the mettle to jump, the RZR XP 1000 has the metal to withstand it. Climbing a dune and launching the vehicle into the hot Arizona air was no problem for the XP 1000.
"Adjusting the rear Walker Evans shocksdoesn’tgetanyeasierthanonthe RZR XP 1000, where the clickers are located in the rear cargo bed.
"A newly redesigned seat makes the run that much more enjoyable on the RZR XP 1000.
Was the location Polaris chose for the introduction of its all-new RZR XP 1000 a subliminal message of sorts?
Was Polaris’ choice of the Arizona desert near Parker in mid-August a way of saying, “We’re going to the desert Southwest in the heat of summer to show off the hottest new high performance side-by-side on planet earth?”
Or are we overthinking this or still suffering from heat stroke?
No matter how you look at it, we knew sitting in the seat of the RZR XP 1000 in the Arizona desert under a searing sun and near 120-degree F temps that we were in perhaps the hottest new high performance side-by-side the industry has to offer.
This was no mirage. It was the real deal. Polaris didn’t just choose any ol’ spot to show off the XP 1000; it chose the same area where the Best in The Desert Parker race is held. A rough and tumble desert setting for a vehicle very capable of handling whatever you have the nerve to throw at it.
We came away from that Arizona ride with three distinct impressions.
Power, Power, Power
Those in the real estate market will tell you it’s location, location, location. In the high performance or sport side-byside segment, it’s power, power, power and the RZR XP 1000 may have a corner on the market. The RZR XP 1000 has gobs of power that comes on strong with the slightest press of the gas pedal and stays strong throughout the powerband. What’s fun about this RZR is that you can feel every last ounce of power coming from the claimed 107-horsepower engine, which offers up a double-digit increase of horsepower compared to the XP 900.
No doubt Polaris has raised the bar in the high performance side-by-side horsepower department with the new ProStar engine.
The ProStar four-stroke DOHC 999cc engine features dual 48mm throttle bodies (which deliver the instant giddy up and go power) with new long-tip fuel injectors and four valves per cylinder. Maybe to help ease your fears about the nearly $20,000 price tag, this engine will run efficiently on 87 octane, meaning you won’t have to pony up for the more expensive premium gas.
Along with the claimed 107 hp, Polaris has clocked the XP 1000 as going from 0-50 in 5.33 seconds. We can’t really substantiate that claim—yet. We weren’t looking at our watch when we were flying down the boulder-strewn wash or along the whoops through the desert. It probably had something to do with wanting to keep our eyes on the trail and managing all that power. We’ll take Polaris’ word for it though.
Make no mistake, the RZR XP 1000 is made for high speed desert running—the rougher the better—and dune riding. You might just run out of dune before you run out of horsepower.
The Rougher The Better
Next, it was obvious the RZR XP 1000 likes it rough. If you go slow through the chatter bumps or even the big whoops, you’ll be saying to yourself, “I paid what for this RZR and it rides like this?” You need to stomp on the gas pedal and hit those bumps hard. Trust us, the faster and harder you ride, the more the XP 1000 is in its element and the nicer the ride becomes. We probably don’t need to qualify that statement but maybe a small disclaimer: Hit a big rock or monster hole and you might break something or, at the very least, lose control. As good as the XP 1000 is, it’s not going to cover all your driving mistakes.
Give credit for the ride to the industry-exclusive Walker Evans Position Sensitive Anti-Bottoming Needle Shocks on all four corners. The front WE shocks are 2 inches in diameter and even beefier on the rear at 2.5 inches. As Polaris explained, here’s how these shocks work: the internal needles interact with specifically-positioned chambers allowing progressively more damping deep into shock travel, which improves ride performance and increases the bottoming resistance. The shocks are paired with dual rate/dual spring coil overs, which give 18 inches of rear travel and 16 inches of front travel.
The dual A-arm front suspension is nothing short of amazing. We found the gnarliest, nastiest holes along the wash and desert and the front end just ate them up. Feeling more confident with the ability of the vehicle to handle the rough and tumble terrain, we pressed the gas pedal more and the results were the same—a relatively smooth ride over ground that would leave a lesser vehicle begging for mercy.
Out back is a 3-link trailing arm suspension with new geometry with the new geometry resulting in 25 percent more ground clearance at 13.5 inches at the trailing arm. While the front end was darn near spot on for our ride that day in the Arizona desert, we did adjust the rear shocks two clicks softer, which settled the rear end down a bit. And it was so easy to adjust the rear WE shocks. You don’t even have to bend over and reach under the chassis. The clicker is right there in the rear bed of the vehicle. And there is a fairly big range of adjustment with the 16-position adjustable clickers.
Helping maneuver through the obstacles is electronic power steering. We are definitely a broken record on EPS but we were most appreciative of the feature during our desert ride. Not anything really new in this area except to say that the EPS works well in the XP 1000. In addition to the EPS, there is 10 inches of tilt adjustability with the steering wheel. Those three standouts are just that—standouts. There are, however, other features worth noting.
One would be the big 29-inch tires, a first for any OEM on a stock vehicle. The 29-inch Maxxis Bighorn Tires are 6-ply rated with a hefty sidewall that resists flats and they are mounted on cast aluminum wheels. The 29-inchers are one reason for the 13.5 inches of ground clearance and 25 percent more clearance at the trailing arms. These tires definitely held their ground in the varying surfaces we drove over in Arizona, which included rocks, sand, debris of different kinds and sizes and sunbaked hardpack.
Next is Polaris’ On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive system. For the XP 1000, Polaris revamped the system for an 80 percent improvement in strength, resulting in a more durable front drive system—the most durable every found on a RZR, according to Polaris.
We also like that this Polaris RZR offers an adjustable driver’s seat, although the adjustment lever sticks out a bit too far for our liking. One more: The feel and comfort of the newly designed seats, which have 100 percent more hip cushioning (that you’re going to need for the ride in the monster side-by-side), are a great addition to the XP 1000. The seats, while
not exactly a wrap-around, do provide a nice ride in the RZR
The RZR XP 1000 is the real deal. We lived it and loved it. It might just be the best sport side-by-side package Polaris has ever put together. And that’s saying something because the company’s RZR lineup has dominated the side-by-side segment for years.