Four-wheel-drive fortitude By the staff of Dirt Wheels
For Polaris, it has always been about producing great machines. From the RZR to their Sportsman ATV line, Polaris knows how to build successful lineups. In the ‘90s Polaris brought out the much-loved Scrambler 400 two-stroke sport quad, and that was followed by the Scrambler 500 four-stroke. Polaris did well with these popular quads for many years before they shut down production in the mid-2000s due to a declining economy. However, Polaris didn’t stop. With leaps in technology, they quickly jumped to the top in the UTV market with the RZR. That UTV tech made it time for Polaris to reintroduce a great sport-utility quad once again, and what better way to do that than with the Scrambler line.We ordered the big daddy of them all, the Scrambler XP 1000. This is what we experienced.
With the Scrambler’s 49-inch width, it’s trail-ready and is still wide enough to stay planted in the corners at high speed. It also has a plastic skid-plate protection on the frame and each lower the front and rear A-arm.
The Scrambler XP 1000 packs a huge punch in the engine category. It offers a 952cc, liquid-cooled, single-overhead-cam, twin-cylinder, dual-electronic fuel-injected engine that produces 89 horsepower and 69 foot-pounds of torque. It’s mated with Polaris’ automatic PVT transmission, which has a gear selection of park, reverse, neutral, low and high. It offers a high-performance, close-ratio, on-demand, true AWD/2WD configuration that is easy to use by a switch that is mounted on the throttle housing.
HANDLING & FEATURES
At an estimated 745 pounds (dry weight), Polaris needed this bad boy to handle that poundage and nearly 90 horsepower efficiently. That’s where Fox shocks come into play with its specifically designed Podium X 2.0 shocks. The Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks offer 24-position compression and preload adjustment to dial in your Scrambler’s ride quality for any trail. The front suspension offers 9 inches of travel from a dual-A-arm design, while the rear has 10.25 inches from a rolled dual-A-arm design that angles the rear shocks rearward. Also, mounted in the front and rear of the machine are sway bars that make sure you’re not going to get out of shape on a rough trail. For comparison, the Can-Am Renegade X xc 1000 offers 9 inches of front travel and 9.3 inches of rear travel. We do wish the Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks that come on the Scrambler had a rebound adjustment, but for most riders, these shocks do work very well at soaking up some of the roughest terrain out there.
The Polaris EPS (electronic power steering) system works so well that it takes some ride time on the machine to get used to it. We preferred to ride it in all-wheel drive to give the power steering a stiffer feel. Even in all-wheel drive it was still a breeze to turn this big quad, which made for a less fatigued ride. Four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes and factory steel-braided brake lines help bring this monster to a halt. All four brakes are controlled with a left-side hand brake, while the rears are controlled from the right-side foot pedal. Polaris installed black, 14-inch, cast-aluminum wheels wrapped with Carlisle 489 II tires. After some ride time we noted that the Carlisle 489 IIs started to wear down quickly with the Scrambler 1000, which is due to all of the power. Hopefully, we can see a tire change for this model in the future.
The Lock & Ride front rack holds 25 pounds, while the Lock & Ride rear rack holds 50 pounds. This isn’t a lot, but this machine isn’t made for hauling heavy items—just enough to haul some butt! With the standard tow hitch it can pull 1500 pounds, which could come in handy if your buddy with a sport quad needs a tow. White LED headlights that feature high/low beam and the LED taillight are incredibly bright. We loved riding the Scrambler at night . A brightly lit digital gauge offers a speedometer, odometer, tachometer, two trip meters, hour meter, clock, service time, diagnostic indicator, gear indicator, fuel gauge, hi temp/low-battery lights, and a DC outlet for plugging in accessories. On the handlebar sits OEM Polaris handguards that offer great protection and look great. Protection up front comes from a red bumper that is pretty stout and can handle some abuse. The rear grab bar is in a lowered position that will help you have more leverage when you and your buddy lift the rear of the quad out of a sticky situation.
TIME TO TEST
Right away, it becomes apparent that this machine is no child’s toy. It easily picks the front up, and the torque keeps it upright for as long as you can control it. However, even with all of that power, it’s easy to contain with good thumb throttle use. There is also no hesitation in the throttle with the fuel injection when stabbing the throttle. The dual exhaust has a deep tone that derives from the twin-cylinder engine that sounds great, even with the removable factory spark arrestors installed. The EPS (Electronic Power Steering) really makes this quad easy to turn, especially with the AWD engaged, and makes for a pleasant ride. Also, it won’t rip the handlebars out of your hands when hitting an obstacle like a rock section.
The ergonomics are very comfortable. The stock steel handlebars are swept back enough to have a comfortable sit-down experience and is comfortable standing up, even with our taller test rider. The Scrambler’s seat is to die for; you can kiss monkey butt goodbye! It has a hump in the rear of the seat to keep you planted, and it feels like a La-Z-Boy when sitting down; it’s that comfortable. The Fox Podium shocks worked extremely well on the high-speed terrain, which includes smaller rocks, small bumps and humps. The quad handled pretty well in the bigger whoops, but we ended up adjusting the compression to make them stiffer to smooth out the ride and keep the quad going straight. Being that it is a heavier quad with IRS, it tends to have some good body roll, especially if you get a little out of control, but the big power would straighten us back out in the nick of time. The suspension really shines in the lower-speed or rockier sections where we felt the Fox shocks were soaking everything up well.
The all-wheel-drive system worked flawlessly in the desert and, like we mentioned, helped out with making the steering feel a little stiffer. Polaris has a great four-wheel hydraulic disk-braking system on the Scrambler that felt smooth and helped it stop quickly in the front and rear of the machine. When we were riding the Scrambler aggressively, we did notice that the rear rack would hit us in the behind, but after some time we figured out how to steer clear of this issue. Polaris did make it simple to remove with six bolts if that’s what you wish to do.
Polaris has been making an exciting lineup for years. With their exit of the sport quad, the Outlaw, they needed something to fill that void. With the Scrambler XP 1000 you get the best of both worlds. The Scrambler can be a full-race machine, a trail-dominating monster, a duner or a mud runner. It can do it all and do them all very well! If any or all of these terrains are on your short list for your next ATV, we would suggest you hop on over to your local Polaris dealership and take one for a test ride. You won’t be disappointed. The Polaris Scrambler XP 1000 retails for $13,299. It is offered in Titanium Matte Red and Titanium Matte Lime. To get more information on this and other models, you can visit www.polaris.com.
Polaris Scrambler XP 1000
Engine SOHC twin-cylinder 4-stroke Displacement 952cc
Fuel system EFI
Fuel capacity 5.25 gal.
Starting system Electric
Final drive CVT to shaft
Front Dual-A-arm Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks/9″
Rear Dual-A-arm, rolled Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks/10.25″
Front 26×8-14 Carlisle 489 II
Rear 26×10-14 Carlisle 489 II
Brakes Four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
Wheelbase 53 in.
Ground clearance 11.5″
Payload capacity 290 lb.
Towing capacity 1500 lb.
Curb weight 745 lb.
Colors Titanium Matte Red & Lime