It’s no doubt that Polaris is a leader in the UTV market. UTV machines are becoming more and more popular every year while aftermarket parts and accessories are being produced faster than anyone could imagine.
Off-road shredding grounds like the Glamis sand dunes and Ocotillo Wells are heavily populated with the four-wheeled machines, so what do we do about it? We get our hands on Polaris’ 2013 RZR XP 4 900 EPS Edition to find out what the fuss is all about.
As some may recall, a few weeks back we released our test on the 2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 H.O. Jagged X Edition and when we set out to test the flagship ripper, Polaris also outfitted us with its four-seater XP equipped with power steering. The LE model is derived from the standard RZR XP 4, but is furnished with some added performance and appearance enhancing upgrades.
The most noticeable performance upgrade is the electronic power steering. This eliminates unwanted steering-wheel jerk when landing sideways off jumps or hitting debris on a trail. At slow speeds as well as in tight quarters, the power steering makes turning the tilt steering wheel effortless. Trying to navigate without EPS can be a nightmare in particular situations, but the system kept us smiling as it made turning much easier than some of the RZR’s competitors. Although spinning the wheels is easy, it doesn’t happen without some effort and there was plenty of response provided to let us know what was going on.
Another upgrade compared to the base model is the RZR’s shoes. The UTV is outfitted with a set of stylish 12-inch Black Crusher aluminum rims laced up with extra-grippy Maxxis Bighorn tires, whereas the base models come equipped with silver cast aluminum wheels and ITP 900 XCT tires. We found that the wheel and tire package on the LE model not only enhanced performance, but also contributed to the visual appeal of the LE model, aiding in bringing out the light and bright body colors.
Upgraded from the base model, the EPS model gets some black wheels laced up with Maxxis Big Horn tires.
The RZR is outfitted with Walker Evans Racing shocks to handle the suspension duties.
The rear suspension didn’t work how we would have liked with backseat passengers as it constantly bottomed out the rear shocks.
But, it sure worked like a dream with no one in the back no matter how big we went.
The appearance of the RZR is breathtaking. The flashy black/white/red paint scheme is complimented by the indy red painted front and rear suspension springs as well as by the custom two-tone black and red seats. To cap it all off a custom graphics package finishes off the RZR giving it an edgy and modern look compared to the all-red bare looking base model.
Unbuckle the door nets and hop in the RZR and you’ll notice the adjustable tilt steering allows for a personalized driving position. Unfortunately the driver’s seat is non-adjustable. Although the seating position is perfect for my 5’8” stature, it’s possible that shorter or taller drivers could face some discomfort. Inside you’ll find a three-gallon glove compartment located in front of the passenger seat, while at the rear of the machine a flat-bed style platform provides space for hauling gear or luggage. An easy-to-open door on the flat bed can be flipped up for access to the engine compartment and airbox for filter changes.
When it was time to buckle the nets back up, we realized the first thing we didn’t like about the RZR. The buckles are cheap and prove difficult to buckle when you’re all strapped in. This annoyed us every time we needed to get in and out. Later we realized the nets, rather than doors, came in handy for vision because while rock crawling at Ocotillo Wells they enabled us to easily see what was on either side of the machine.
The RZR LE comes with a standard three-point seat belt, identical to that in an automobile. Just like your everyday vehicle, the seatbelt automatically locks at abrupt pulls. The belt also includes a mechanism that manually sets the waist part of the strap to the users preferred tightness, a great feature in our opinion.
The second we took off, we noticed the muscle of the powerplant. The ProStar 900 engine offers up some extreme performance and raw power. At a claimed 88 horsepower, the engine proved itself to be the best in its class. Quick throttle response and huge acceleration are the two distinct features that caught our attention every time we matted the gas pedal to the floorboard. But despite its high power output, the sound of the engine is exceptionally quiet.
We loaded up the RZR with four full-grown men and hit the dunes at Glamis and the 900 had absolutely no problem getting us up the steepest of climbs, defying the power-raiding sand. Although power is exceptional when loaded up, the rear suspension didn’t impress us as much as the engine did when loaded up with rear passengers. Even with only one rear seat rider, the suspension frequently bottomed out in G-out portions of the dunes. We even stiffened up the compression to full-stiff on the 2.5-inch body Walker Evans rear shocks, but it hardly made a difference. We came to terms with the unfortunate fact that if you were going to ride in the back seat, you’d better be prepared for a back ache.
Not only did we take tear up Glamis sand dunes, we also took the RZR out for some rock climbing at Ocotillo Wells.
We really put the XP 4 through its paces and found out there wasn’t much it couldn’t handle.
The Maxxis Big Horn tires proved themselves down the slippery, loose down-hills.
With an empty backseat, the suspension operated like a dream. The front Dual A-arm Walker Evans 2-inch body shocks took everything we threw at them. While the rear isn’t the greatest with four people aboard, with only two in the front seat, we felt like we could take on Dakar. The biggest challenge we put to the suspension the sand highway in Glamis. Fingers crossed, we hammered down the gas pedal and reached speeds of 55-60 mph through sand whoops dug out by full-sized buggies. To our surprise, the RZR handled incredibly with minimal rear-end bucking and almost no side-to-side swapping.
Overall, we are VERY impressed with the 2013 RZR XP 4. We salute the longer wheelbase as we find this to be the key to the RZR’s handling aspects. We find the four-seat machine to be much more valuable as it seats four adults comfortably. If we had one, some modifications would include an aftermarket shorter cage, performance exhaust and probably some doors for added safety. The RZR XP 4 retails for $19,599.