TEST: 2017 POLARIS SPORTSMAN XP 1000
90 horsepower—too much is just enough — By the staff of Dirt Wheels
The Polaris Sportsman line is arguably one of the best-selling ATV lines in history, thanks in part to many years spent refining the capabilities of their sport utility quads. With focus on the suspension, power, four-wheel drive and new technology, they continue to get better with time. Polaris pooled all of their great minds together to recreate their flagship sport utility Sportsman XP 1000!
NEW SUSPENSION AND MORE POWER
The 2017 Polaris Sportsman XP 1000 is completely new, including the suspension. Seeing that Polaris already has some of the best suspension found on a utility ATV, how could they make it better? Well, they did. The front dual-A-arm setup creates a very plush ride and has 9 inches of travel. The new gull-wing-style lower A-arms offer an immense amount of ground clearance that will conquer obstacles easily. The rear suspension has taken cues from the Scrambler XP 1000 with a dual-A-arm, rolled IRS design that offers 10.25 inches of travel. It also has angled front and rear lower frame rails that are angled up for maximum ground clearance. With its single-overhead-cam, twin-cylinder, 952cc, ProStar electronic fuel-injected engine, it produces 90 horsepower. That makes it one of the most powerful factory-built ATVs ever! It’s paired with Polaris’ automatic PVT (Polaris Variable Transmission) that has park, reverse, neutral, low and high. It also has an engine braking system for traversing downhill. Polaris also introduced a new stainless steel exhaust system that rings out a nice throaty tone from the twin-cylinder engine.
The new Sportsman XP 1000 is packed with new features for 2017. A true close-ratio, on-demand, all-wheel-drive system with active descent control helps with the engine braking to slow this 800-pound machine in a downhill situation. For you techies out there, Polaris introduced a new digital gauge that has Bluetooth connectivity, and it’s pretty cool! It pops up a notification on the gauge when you receive a missed call, missed text, cell-signal strength and battery strength. Along with that, it has standard gauge instrumentation: speedometer, tachometer, two trip meters, hour meter, gear indicator, fuel gauge, all-wheel-drive indicator, volt meter, coolant temp, high-temp light, clock and a DC outlet to charge accessories. The Sportsman XP 1000 also has a new Lock & Ride integrated 6-gallon front and rear storage rack system that has steel-reinforced racks and offer a total of 360 pounds of load capacity. There is also a new integrated cup holder for a frosty beverage or a warm coffee cup, new dual-zone sculpted seat, redesigned front lighting and rear LED taillights. All of the Sportsman XP 1000 versions come with 14-inch black cast-aluminum Polaris wheels. However, the Stealth Black model has CST 26-inch tires, the Matte Copper limited-edition model has Maxxis Vipr 26-inch tires and the Hunter Edition has 26-inch PXT tires.
One awesome feature that we love on this Sportsman and other Polaris models is the three-mode throttle control. With the flip of the selector switch, you can go from performance, standard or work mode. The performance mode is exactly as it states—all 90 horsepower at your discretion. Standard mode gives the Sportsman a well-rounded powerband and gives the rider a more rideable delivery. Work mode is for the go-getter, the farmer or the hunter who needs a tamed-down mode that helps them get into tight spaces without all of the ponies tightening up the reins.
We had the chance to test this beast in multiple terrains, and it’s a blast to ride! When we rode in the performance mode, we noticed how powerful this sport utility quad really is. It’s nothing compared to the old Sportsmen of yesteryear. In fact, it felt like we were riding a very comfortable high-horsepower sport quad. Once you stab the throttle, it’s trying to pick the front end off of the ground even in four-wheel drive! We then switched it to standard mode. This was a nice treat, because it still had plenty of power but was much easier to ride. Sure, the quad didn’t have that 90-horsepower thrill factor, but for everyday riding this was a great setting. Finally, we tested the work mode. This restricted the throttle close to 50 percent, and it was very tame and felt more like a 400cc quad than a 1000cc monster. However, this mode is great if you’re working around your property. It helps with backing up, getting into tight spots and so you don’t tear up the tires as much. We used the work mode when going into slippery, rocky creek crossings, and though it was slow, it crawled its way out using four-wheel drive without any issues and amazing traction. Since we’re gluttons for performance, we prefer the performance mode, but with these options, you basically have three utility quads in one!
The suspension was the best we’ve ridden on a Polaris utility quad. The suspension was very plush, but we didn’t bottom out once. It was smooth over rocks, and we felt in complete control the entire time. We were impressed with how much ground clearance the Sportsman had with the arched lower A-arms. There wasn’t one obstacle that we hit even though we were wincing when straddling them. The electronic power steering makes turning this rig effortless and creates less fatigue for the rider over the course of a long day. The seat was very comfortable, but we felt like the rider position was too low and the handlebars felt too high as a result. Also, when we rode it aggressively, the rear rack was hitting us in the behind, but less body language fixed that in a hurry! The CST tires (Stealth Black version) and the Maxxis Vipr (Matte Copper LE version) made ample traction and provided great comfort during the test.
Polaris really made an all-around killer machine with the redesigned Sportsman XP 1000. Yeah, 90 horsepower might sound intimidating, but with the three-mode throttle control, you can take it from mild to wild with the flip of a switch. The ride, styling and features are impeccable. It can literally handle any riding situation you can dream of, and it will put a smile on your face the entire day. It has cool tech features; the phone connectivity is actually pretty cool when you can see your texts or missed calls show up on the digital gauge. Suspension is always a key item when talking about a great quad, and the Sportsman rides like a ’55 Cadillac over the roughest terrain. We looked under the quad after riding it all day, and the A-arms had zero marks from the rocks and logs we took it on. If you’re looking for a great sport utility quad, we suggest taking one of the 2017 Polaris Sportsman XP 1000 models for a spin; you won’t be disappointed.
2017 POLARIS SPORTSMAN XP 1000
Engine 4-stroke, SOHC twin cylinder
Fuel system Electronic fuel injection
Fuel capacity 5.25 gal.
Starting system Electric
Final drive Shaft
Front High-clearance, arched dual A-arm/9”
Rear High-clearance, arched dual A-arm, rolled IRS/10.25”
Front CST 26×8-14 (Stealth Black); Maxxis Vipr 26×9-14 (Matte Copper)
Rear CST 26×10-14 (Stealth Black); Maxxis Vipr 26×11-14 (Matte Copper)
Wheels Black cast aluminum
Brakes Single-lever, 4-wheel hydraulic disc w/ hydraulic rear foot brake
Ground clearance 11.5”
Payload capacity 575 lb.
Towing capacity 1500 lb.
Dry weight 822 lb.
Colors Stealth Black, Matte Copper LE
MSRP $11,999 (Stealth Black); $12,299 (Matte Copper LE)