2019 performance UTV test

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

Polaris’ On-Demand all-wheel-drive system engages the front differential when it senses the rear wheels slipping.


Polaris’ RZR XP Turbo S made advancements in stability and suspension travel that gave the RZR line the weapons needed to do battle with its closest competitors. Before the release of the S in 2018, Polaris had nothing to match the 72-inch, long-travel Can-Am Maverick X3.

The Maverick X3 X rs Turbo R is a fast, smooth, and exceptionally suspended machine. Can-Am sales spiked, and the RZR XP line wasn’t getting the attention that Polaris was accustomed to getting for sport machines on the dealer floor. Polaris engineers put their thinking caps on and met the Canadian company on the battlefield with its own 72-inch-wide contender with Fox Live Valve and electronically controlled shocks.

Polaris was back in the game in states with wide-open terrain and selling RZRs like candy again. Tagging along on the Turbo S coattails, Polaris decided to release a more affordable 72-inch model called the 2019 RZR XP Turbo S Velocity. Let’s give you the rundown!

The wider footprint of the RZR allows it to articulate through rocky terrain and stay more stable. However, compared to a 64-inch-wide RZR, you have to pick your lines more carefully in tight sections.



The XP Turbo is the most powerful UTV in Polaris’ lineup. The engine achieves 168 horsepower with a dual-overhead-cam, parallel-twin cylinder, 925cc engine that is electronically fuel-injected and liquid-cooled. The turbocharger-inducted four-stroke ProStar H.O. powerhouse is mated to a fully automatic continuously variable transmission. It has high and low forward gears, neutral, reverse, and park. All are easily selectable through a hand shifter located on the center console of the RZR.

Once the ponies transfer through the engine to the transmission, they get sent through driveshafts to the front and rear differentials of the On-Demand all-wheel-drive system. The wheels are then shaft-driven out of the differentials. A switch on the dash selects rear- or all-wheel-drive. The On-Demand system automatically locks the front differential when the ECU senses the rear wheels slipping.

The RZR XP Turbo S has a 72-inch track width that makes it quite stable while cornering through deep ruts.



A substantial piece of this budget Turbo S puzzle is the change from Fox Podium Live Valve shocks to Walker Evans Velocity needle shocks. The Fox shocks that the “superior” S are equipped with, are electronically compression controlled instantaneously by the machine’s computer. The downside is that you cannot adjust the Live Valve shock settings to exactly how you want them, depending on the terrain you pilot. There are no manual adjustments except spring preload.

So, to save on the cost to the consumer and provide personal adjustability and ease of customization, Polaris removed the Dynamix Live Valve system, kept the long travel high clearance A-arms and trailing arms, and implemented the WE 2.5-inch fronts and 3.0-inch rear piggyback reservoir coil-over shocks.

Walker’s Velocity shocks are its top-of-the-line model that many pro racers utilize at the most demanding race tracks. However, the shock model that comes on the S only has one compression adjustment, unlike the off-the-shelf Velocity shock that has high and low-speed compression adjustments.

The front and rear shocks are spring preload-adjustable and have a dual-rate spring setup which offers more comfort and bottoming resistance. However, the aftermarket Velocity’s have crossover rings that provide even more tuning options.

The independent rear trailing-arm-style suspension offers 21 inches of wheel travel.


The front end boasts 19-inches of wheel travel, with a sway bar for added stabilization, while the independent rear has 21-inches of wheel travel with a stabilizer bar. Sitting at 72-inches wide, the RZR XP Turbo S Velocity outperforms the 64-inch wide models in high-speed cornering, stability, and comfort.

Polaris claims that this machine has 25-inches of usable travel in the front and rear. They also state that if you were to fully bottom out the machine on flat ground, there would still be an inch of clearance before the undercarriage would touch the ground. Mind you, the ground clearance is 16-inches. 

They achieved their usable travel numbers by installing 32-inch tires on the XPT. The S line comes with the tallest tires that are factory installed on any major manufacturer UTV to date. The ITP Coyote tires allow multiple inches of give, which Polaris calculates into their usable travel to give you 25 inches.

Ground clearance is 16 inches, with front-wheel travel at a healthy 19 inches from dual-A-arm suspension.



When the S first came out, we thoroughly enjoyed the upgrades in the cockpit in comparison to other XP models. The driving ergonomics had changed for more immersion and comfort. The steering wheel position was adjusted to point more directly at the driver, with a D-shaped Sparco wheel. Unfortunately, the Velocity model ditches the Sparco and utilizes the standard Polaris plastic wheel.

Polaris mounted the gauge cluster directly in front of the driver and set the switch bank in the center of the dash. Since the Ride Command system isn’t needed with the Velocity shocks, Polaris ditched the touchscreen and added another storage bin. That makes three storage areas in the cab of the XP-T S—two in the top section of the dash and the standard glove box. There is a rear cargo box that can hold up to 300 pounds with tie-down attachment points built-in.

The seats of the new S are color-matched and are easy to remove. The harness system for driver and passenger is four-point adjustable with a quick-release center buckle and a small chest strap buckle. This style is much safer and keeps you more secure in comparison to the standard automotive-type shoulder belt.

To save even more money for the end consumer, Polaris took away the lower door inserts and left the aluminum roof off of the machine. It is expected that S Velocity buyers will be customizing the machine, so they will install full doors and perhaps an aftermarket cage, so the stock parts would be a waste.

They also removed the front LED “fang” lights from the front fascia and removed the center rear tail light. The front and rear fascia’s are a black plastic that is not painted. A positive note: the deleted parts make the S Velocity over 250 pounds lighter than the Dynamix S.

Four-point seat belts come standard, with a quick-release buckle and a center chest buckle as well.
The Ride Command system is not included with the Velocity, so a nice little storage bin takes its place.



When we step into our 2019 Polaris RZR XP Turbo S Velocity, we just want to go fast! That is exactly what this machine expects us to do. Engine motivation is plenty down low, but the turbo really commits at the mid-range and then keeps building all the way to the top of the power band. The ProStar’s output is quite usable and smooth during slower-speed driving. The ITP Coyote tires hook up well, roll over terrain easily and aid in ground clearance quite nicely.

Slowing down the 1,716-pound mass of sport performance is a set of triple-bore caliper hydraulic disc brakes up front and dual-bore calipers in the rear. The braking feel is linear, yet very firm when you need it. 

The seated position is upright and comfortable, and the four-point harnesses’ kept us securely in place and were easy to adjust. A lot of our pilots would prefer to switch back to the Sparco D-shaped wheel rather than the larger diameter Polaris wheel. Ingress and egress from the cab are a little more difficult with the Polaris wheel, and it takes more effort to work the wheel during spirited driving.

Walker Evans’ Velocity shocks are a nice touch, but they don’t have both high- and low-speed compression adjustments and a crossover ring like the aftermarket versions come with.


The true part of our testing was focused on the Velocity shocks. We are fans of the XP Turbo S with the Live Valve system. The ability to change shock comfort modes on the fly is welcome for the average UTV driver, even though we usually only used the comfort and sport mode reserving firm for slow going when we want more ground clearance.

However, some of our testers wanted to be able to dial in the shocks more specifically to the terrain they were driving on. While the Velocity’s offer 16 points of compression adjustment, we were let down with only one compression adjuster instead of both high and low speed.

We piloted the RZR into terrain where the Velocity’s felt too tight. We went to adjust the harshness out, but the dampening was already as low as it could go. We would suggest modifying the damping of these shocks if they don’t smooth out after a prolonged wear-in period.

After days of testing, we came to the conclusion that the Polaris RZR XP Turbo S Velocity is a worthy machine that still handles pretty great and has the potential to be even better.

The couple thousand dollars you save from not purchasing the top-of-the-line S could be put into extras. Do we feel that you should just spend the extra cash to get the original S? Well, that is solely up to you and your suspension preference.

Are you happy to have the computer choose your settings with the Live Valve system, or do you prefer much more control and ease of modifications with the Walker Evans Velocity needle shocks? The Velocity starts at $25,399. Either way, you may sway, go to www.polaris.com and check out their full lineup of impressive ATVs and UTVs!

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Thirty-two-inch-tall ITP Coyote tires hook up well until you hit silty sand and deep mud, but their taller stature helps provide good ground clearance.



Engine Twin, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke

Displacement 925cc

Bore x stroke N/A

Starter Electric

Fuel system EFI

Fuel Capacity 9.5 gal.

Transmission Automatic CVT

Final drive Shaft

Suspension/wheel travel:

Front Dual A-arms w/ 19.0”

Rear Dual A-arms w/ 21.0”


Front Dual hydraulic discs

Rear Dual hydraulic discs


Front 32×10-15

Rear 32×10-15

Length/width/height 122”/72”/75”

Ground clearance 16.0”

Wheelbase 90”

Curb weight 1,716 lb.

Payload capacity 740 lb.

Cargo bed capacity 300 lb. 

Towing capacity N/A 

Colors Titanium Metallic

Price $25,399

Contact www.polaris.com, (800) 765-2747


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