When I asked Polaris to test a four-passenger RZR UTV, I was given a choice: I could either test out a RZR 800, which has been around for a few years, or go for the “big dog,” the new RZR XP 4 1000. In that moment, I channeled my inner Ricky Bobby to help guide me, and an internal exclamation of “I just wanna go fast!” led me to choose the XP 4 1000.

Polaris Industries turned the industry on its ear when they released the first RZR machines. The original 800 evolved into the XP 900 and entry-level 570. Still, Polaris knows that we’re Americans. Bigger—and faster—is better, right?

Bigger is better

The XP1000 has a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, four-stroke dual overhead cam, 999cc twin-cylinder engine that pushes out 107 horsepower. It’s fast—scary fast. I’ve had my test machine screaming along at 75 mph and there’s more in the tank. It’s not that it’s just fast at the top speed, the machine’s acceleration is amazing. I’ve had my unit go from a dead stop to 50 mph in around five seconds and in less than 100 yards—and that was under less than ideal circumstances. If conditions were perfect, it’d do better. My first serious ride after a break-in reminded me of a time years ago when the late actor and race car driver, Paul Newman, was on the Late Show With David Letterman. He was talking to Dave about building each of them a Volvo station wagon. He kept listing off parts and Dave would just smile like a goofball and say, “Sure, we need that.” When Newman got done listing everything he’d do to the car, Dave asked if it was going to be fast. Newman smiled in the cool way he did and said with a wink, “It’ll chew the ass of anything on the road.” That’s how you can look at the power and delivery of the XP 4 1000.

The suspension on the XP 4 1000 is pretty amazing. It soaks up just about everything you’ll run into. Image by Derrek Sigler.
The suspension on the XP 4 1000 is pretty amazing. It soaks up just about everything you’ll run into. Image by Derrek Sigler.

Suspension is a key element to a machine like this and the XP 4 1000 is loaded for bear. Walker Evans Racing coil-over shocks grace both ends with massive two-inch-diameter needle shocks with 16 inches of travel riding on dual A-Arms grace the front. The rear is handled by 2.5-inch diameter, remote reservoir shocks with a whopping 18 inches of travel! The rear system rides on trailing arms and both ends have compression adjustment to dial in the ride. The XP 4 1000 has 13.5 inches of ground clearance, too.

Suspension action is outstanding. It soaks up everything I have thrown at it so far. As you might expect, the faster you go, the better the suspension acts. I added four clicks to the rear over the stock settings to stiffen up the back end for cornering on hard-pack dirt. It helps keep it from diving when I’m on the gas.

It’s not that the RZR XP 4 1000 has a bigger engine. The whole machine is bigger. The wheelbase is 117 inches, and the machine’s total length is 146 inches. It is 64 inches wide, which makes it way over the width limits imposed by some trail systems, but perfect for sand dunes, deserts, and other areas. It’s pushing 74 inches in height, too. Let’s face it, it’s big. Oh, and did I mention it weighs in at 1,596 pounds?

The guys at the dealership that set up the RZR for me laughed and said the XP 4 1000 is as close as you can get to having a stadium racing truck without spending several hundred thousand dollars. While the RZR XP 4 1000 isn’t cheap at $21,999, it certainly does offer smiles for the dollars. It is also surprisingly quiet for such a big engine. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds cool as heck with a nice throaty growl, but it isn’t as loud as some other machines and you can hear people talking.

Handling the beast

So with all that power, you might ask how it handles. That’s a good question, and that was the first thing I wondered when I got it. The answer is that it handles very well. The machine has electronic power steering, which you’d expect at this level. Steering is light, but still heavy enough to let you retain some feel. This is a key thing and more companies are backing down on the power steering of the machines to keep the feel of control to the driver.

The XP 4 1000 has Polaris’ On-Demand all-wheel drive system that lets you switch from rear-wheel drive to all-wheel drive with a rocker switch on the dash. Unlike the Ranger line, the RZR doesn’t have a low range, and would you really expect it to? I didn’t, and would have been shocked to see it. I’ve used it in sand to keep from having excessive rear-wheel spin when driving slower, and for added control cornering. I haven’t had much mud to drive it through, yet.

The RZR XP 4 1000 is a long, wide machine that is too big for some trails, but just right for others. Image by Brandie Sigler.
The RZR XP 4 1000 is a long, wide machine that is too big for some trails, but just right for others. Image by Brandie Sigler.

The RZR XP 4 1000 has hydraulic dual-bore disc brakes at each wheel fed through stainless-steel brake lines. The feel is great and it does a really good job bringing the beast down from speed. Twenty-nine-inch Maxxis Bighorn tires ride on 14-inch cast aluminum wheels. The Bighorns are an industry standard and eat up terrain with ease.

The turning radius is wide, but this is a big machine. It does hurt the trail capabilities some, but a stab at the throttle and the back end will slide around pretty easily. Not always the lightest way to tread, but if you need to turn and can do it, the machine abides.

The bed area is decent-sized with a 300-pound capacity—it’s more than capable of hauling a cooler and a can of gas. For long rides, this is important. Even with a 9.5-gallon tank, the XP 4 1000 uses a bit of fuel. Part of that is the size of the engine and a bigger part of it is the guy behind the wheel with the big foot on the gas. I don’t care, though—it’s too much fun to drive.

The seats are pretty comfortable, as are the seatbelts. Each passenger has some sort of hand hold. There is a cool blue LED light to light up the floor space for night rides. The LED headlights are very bright and are a welcome addition. Access to the airbox is easy with a panel in the bed and checking or changing the oil is pretty easy, too. I haven’t torn up a belt yet, so I’m not sure how much of a chore that will be.

There’s a ton of accessories available through Polaris and the aftermarket is going nuts with the platform too. There isn’t much I would add. A front bumper would be nice, and maybe some fender flares. Keeping the machine clean is almost impossible, as it is always flinging up dirt at you. Who doesn’t like to get dirty every now and then?

There you have it, the Polaris RZR XP 4 1000—when you absolutely, positively have to have the biggest, baddest UTV in the room, accept no substitutions. It is more fun than you can imagine and you can take three friends with you. It’s big and wide, so know that going in, but it is also comfortable, roomy, and faster than fast. I have a lot of summer fun planned for the RZR XP 4 1000 before Polaris makes me give it back. Stay tuned!

Every person who has ridden with me in the RZR ends up with a huge smile on his or her face. I do, too, every time I drive it. My wife says it blows her hair back every time she goes for a ride, and that’s saying something seeing as how she’s wearing a helmet. If you have the the need for speed and want to share it with friends, the RZR XP 4 1000 is the ticket.

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