ATV FIRST TEST: 2021 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 570 ULTIMATE TRAIL

FIRST TEST: 2021 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 570 LE.

As good as it gets By the staff of Dirt Wheels

We rode the Sportsman 570 Ultimate Trail in Minnesota near the Polaris headquarters. On wooded trails, the 570 is a nimble pleasure. The new 6-ply tires help.

 

2021 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 570

Don’t forget your base. Polaris Industries may be actively engaged in expanding the UTV market, but it hasn’t forgotten the 4×4 quads that helped grow the company. Polaris has sold 1.6 million Sportsman quads, but they admit that sales of 4×4 quads are roughly half of what they were before the UTV boom. That is still a large number of quads leaving showrooms. One of the other statistics that Polaris dropped is that 4×4 quad owners pick up a new one roughly every seven years. The time span makes the redo of the 2021 Polaris Sportsman 570 quite timely.

Our 2018 Sportsman 570 featured changes to engine braking and the addition of stronger axles. The 570 SP’s starting price was $8699. A 2021 Sportsman 570 Premium is $8399, and the winch-equipped, loaded Sportsman 570 Ultimate Trail LE starts at $9499.

We were fortunate that we were riding on private property, so we were able to play in the woods. The 570 Ultimate Trail is actually an amazing trail machine.

WHAT’S NEW ON THE SPORTSMAN?

For 2021, Polaris has all-new Sportsman 450 H.O. and Sportsman 570 models. Polaris claims, “This new generation of Sportsman is the smoothest, strongest and most versatile value ATV.” The Sportsman 450 H.O. and Sportsman 570 get a new platform with significant upgrades. Sorting all the models and equipment levels is a little confusing. Not counting color variations, there are two 33-horsepower 450 H.O.—one with EPS and one without. There are seven 44-horsepower 570 Sportsman models, including the Trail and Hunting Limited Editions (LE).

We had the opportunity to have brief outings on the non-EPS 450 H.O. and the 570 Ultimate Trail LE. Models that are less expensive, feature McPherson-strut front suspension, with 8.2 inches of front-wheel travel, 25-inch tires (6-ply on all models for 2021), and steel wheels.

No matter how fancy or exclusive the model, all have double-A-arm rear suspension with 9.5 inches of wheel travel. Higher-trim-level 570s get cast-aluminum wheels, and the most exclusive editions get double-A-arm front suspension with 8.9 inches of travel, 14-inch cast-aluminum wheels, and 26-inch 6-ply Duro tires.

While actual suspension geometry is not changed, as much as 30 percent of the chassis is new and stronger. Automotive-style sealed rubber suspension pivot bushings are said to aid bottoming and be more water- and mud-resistant. The body parts that cover the drivetrain look the same, but the front fascia, racks, and front rack extender (standard on all 450/570 models and trim levels) are new. The fenders have a double angle to the wheel arches that look more streamlined and modern. The front rack no longer covers the headlights.

This headlight instrument pod is new for 2021. It is larger and has more functions. Note that there are three extra positions to add more switches for accessories.

2021 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 570

The top part of the bodywork, between the seat, and the handlebar stem, were painted or molded in body-color smooth plastic, for ’21. It is a molded part with patterned textures on the surface. At the rear of the machine, is another molded part that holds the taillight(s). The lights are no longer part of the fenders.

While the radiator was previously angled forward in the chassis, it is now vertical, and the overflow bottle is moved from the lower left side to the right, behind the radiator. Some of the biggest news concerns the battery. It is moved from low behind the right front wheel, to beside the 5-gallon front storage compartment. It is easier to reach, and it has 78-percent more cranking amps! The battery capacity allows all three lights to run at once. Even better, a charging port is part of the handlebar-mounted headlight pod. When you park your machine, simply plug your float charger right into the pod.

That all-new headlight pod is found on all models. It is larger, has a bigger screen, is pre-wired for electric grips and clothes, and has a 12-volt accessory socket. Three accessory switches to control other electric equipment fits in the pod. The digital display features a speedometer, odometer, tachometer, two trip meters, hour meter, gear indicator, fuel gauge, AWD indicator, voltmeter, coolant temperature, high-temp light, and a clock!

We love the idea of this battery charger port in the instrument panel. Just plug your float charger in and be sure your machine will start for the next ride.

THE 570 ULTIMATE TRAIL LE

Aside from the Hunting LE, the Ultimate Trail is as loaded as a 570 comes, with an LED pod and bumper lights with accent lights. The pod-light high beam is 1100 lumens, bumper lights are 700 lumens, on low beam and 1000 lumens on high beam, It has dual LED brake lights and taillights. The 570 LE  features A-arm front and rear suspension, with arched high-clearance arms, Pearl White paint, a winch, cast-aluminum 14-inch wheels, and the aggressive new 6-ply 26-inch Duro tires.

Some changes, like the 2500-pound Polaris HD winch, are visible, but much of the technology is not. Only the Ultimate Trail and the Utility HD models have Ride Control Technology. The most useful aspect is the three-mode throttle. You can select between standard, work, and performance.

Work offers less immediate throttle control at small throttle openings. You don’t have to think about thumb control as much. Standard has smooth and easy delivery, and performance is full boost. There is also an electronic speed limiter and geo-fencing. You can use GPS to set limits that will not allow the machine to cross, or you can set speed-limited areas. If you limit the speed, the thumb throttle acts normal until you hit the selected speed, then it does nothing. So, if you set a speed for plowing or spraying, you don’t have to keep your thumb in one position to maintain the speed. Winch and plow mounts are included.

For the first time, the all-new 570 Limited Editions are available exclusively through pre-order. Even though they have a high level of standard equipment, LE model owners will be able to have the machine built to spec on the production line. At press time, you needed to sign up to be notified when you could order.

Both the front and rear racks are new for 2021. The rear is plastic and steel. Note that the surface has molded indentations to hold three 5-gallon plastic buckets.

HOME ON THE RANGE

The Sportsman has Polaris’ On-Demand all-wheel drive. In four-wheel drive, the computer will put power to the front wheels when there is a 20-percent rear-wheel slip. It will pull you out of any sticky situation you get in. We rarely felt the need for a locking front differential.

The last position on the 4×4 selector switch engages the Active Descent Control (ADC). This works in concert with the engine braking, ADC utilizes all four wheels to slow the Sportsman down. The system really works, and you can feel the front wheels engage and slow you down.

The Engine Braking System does exactly what Polaris says it does—smoother deceleration. No matter how long you coast, the CVT doesn’t release and freewheel.

Polaris moved the Sportsman battery into this front storage area. The battery has 78-percent more cranking amps. It will run all three lights and more with ease.

A SMOOTH RIDE

The Sportsman 570 has one of the best suspension setups in its class. That is especially true of the Ultimate Trail LE, with the dual-A-arm suspension front and rear. The travel numbers aren’t huge, but the ride is plush and the shocks all have spring preload adjustment.

The 570 has a smooth ride in chop, while also being able to soak up hard hits, tackle deep ruts, crawl over boulders and avoid getting hung up on trail junk. The undercarriage is protected by a full-belly steel skid plate.

Polaris’ variable-assist electronic power steering system is smooth and precise. Hits to the wheels don’t wrench the bar, and the EPS works better when it senses that you are riding faster, slower, or steering input has increased.

The rider position of the Sportsman 570 is upright, with a comfortable and spacious cockpit. Like most CVT-equipped machines, the 570 is wide between your boots. The handlebar is swept rearward, which makes turning the machine more comfortable while sitting. The throttle lever is wide and easy to modulate for hours of riding.

Polaris employs dual-hydraulic disc brakes, front, and rear. All four brakes are actuated by a single handlebar-mounted lever. There is no front brake lever; however, there is a foot-operated brake pedal that engages the rear brakes. While the handlebar-mounted lever is comfortable for your fingers and easy to use, we would like to use less hand effort. You have to lift your foot to depress the rear brake pedal, but it does offer plenty of stopping power.

All 570 Sportsman models get 6-ply tires for 2021. Basic models have steel wheels and 25-inch tires. Premium models have 26-inch tires on 14-inch wheels.

2021 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 570: IS IT THE RIGHT TOOL?

The Sportsman 570 is a very fun machine to ride, but fun isn’t the only thing it does well. We didn’t have time to use it for work or load the storage bins, but this quad has many worthy work-type features.

We did have time to have fun with it though. The power is plentiful and energetic. It accelerates with authority and generates plenty of top speed. It feels much lighter than it is since it is nimble and easy to change direction. There are no claimed changes in engine specifications, but there is a larger, oval (instead of round) muffler with better mounting brackets and a larger outlet pipe.

The new Sportsman 570 (and the 450 H.O.) towing capacity jumped to 1,350 pounds from 1,225 pounds, and the ground clearance is now 11.5 inches instead of 10.5 inches on the 450 H.O. and 11 inches on the 570. Maintenance intervals for all common tasks are increased.

Polaris integrated a winch and plow mounting system that makes installing those parts much easier.

Covering ground for fun or heading off for chores is easy on the 570. You can see that the machine is a bit wide between the rider’s boots, but it is otherwise comfortable.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Sportsman 570 has every reason to continue as a best seller. It is comfortable, sporty, and well-equipped. The EPS is smooth and helpful in the steering department. The power of the 44-horsepower engine is effective for its size. The unique engine size and Sportsman line’s jump from a 570 single to an 850 twin mean that the 570 is typically compared to 750cc-class 4×4 quads. The 750s typically have more low-rpm torque, but the 570 is totally competitive with those big-bore machines. The new fenders do a great job of keeping mud off the rider. Cargo space is abundant, and the towing capacity exceeds what we would generally use the Polaris for. We approve of the handling on all types of terrain. All that and the pricing has barely changed from 2018!

Check out Polaris’ lineup of ATVs and UTVs at www.polaris.com or go to your local Polaris dealer.

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All of the Sportsman 570 models look great with the new bodywork, but we like the Pearl White Ultimate Trail the best of all. The new fenders keep mud off the rider

2021 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 570 ULTIMATE TRAIL SPECS

Engine Single-cylinder, DOHC, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke

Displacement 567cc

Starter Electric 

Fuel system EFI

Fuel Capacity 4.5 gal.

Transmission Automatic CVT

Final drive Shaft

Suspension/wheel travel:

Front Dual A-arms w/ 8.9”

Rear Dual A-arms w/ 9.5”

Brakes:

Front Dual hydraulic discs

Rear Dual hydraulic discs

Tires:

Front 26×8-14

Rear 26×10-14

Length/width/height 83”/48”/47”

Ground clearance 11.5”

Wheelbase 50.5”

Curb weight 821 lb.

Rack capacity:

Front 90 lb.

Rear 180 lb.

Towing capacity 1350 lb.

Colors Pearl White

Price $9,499

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