ATV TEST: 2015 Polaris Sportsman 1000 4×4

What do you have when you take a smooth-riding utility chassis and stuff it with one of the fastest CVTequipped ATV engines on the planet? A tool that not only helps you get the work chores done in a hurry, but it can take you out on the trails and thrill you as if you were on a sport quad. Sure, the machine is heavy at 822 pounds dry, not including the 5.25 gallons of gas it can hold, and it’s pricey, starting at $11,999. However, if you excel in the company of excess, the Polaris Sportsman 1000 might be right up your alley.

POWER UP
The engine is a 952cc, SOHC, water-cooled, fuel-injected twin. It sits right between the rider’s legs, providing a good balance to the well-suspended chassis. A-arms are found on all four corners, providing 9 inches of travel up front and 10.25 inches out back. Underneath, 11.5 inches of ground clearance can be found at a standstill, but reduces to about 10 inches under acceleration. However, that’s still a lot of rock-clearing real estate. The $11,999 price tag helps pay for a great working set of adjustable Fox shocks that help make riding in rough terrain less than a handful. In fact, whipping this machine around in most situations is like riding a sport quad. Polaris uses a good EPS unit from Globe Motors that not only provides ultra-light, flickable steering, there is a measure feedback elimination as well. So those rocks that might litter a trail or the roots that stick out next to the trees get soaked up in several different ways. In addition, the 26-inch-tall PXT tires mounted on 14-inch wheels give you less body roll and some flash that you are paying for. You can pound this machine over 2-foot whoops without problem. Get any deeper than that and the shocks will start to pack up and buck some. But in the chop, the Sportsman can handle its own with a sport quad. In fact, the factory Polaris 4×4 racers are regularly beating the 200-plus amateur sport quad riders in the GNCC series.

COMFORTABLE CHASSIS
Polaris has always been known for its nice, comfortable chassis. The seat is soft, but not too soft, the engine compartment doesn’t stretch your legs out too far, and the racks are very low profile and never come into contact with the rider. In fact, we love the modular style of the Polaris rack system for its integrated front storage area and multiple tie-down points. On the downside, these racks might make it harder to mount your favorite old gun scabbard or accessory rack, but Polaris does have a full line of Lock & Ride components that will help with the customization process. Overall, this Sportsman is big. It has a width of 47.6 inches and a length of 83.25 inches and measures 50.75 inches tall. So if sneaking in and out of tight woods and between rocks is your pleasure, this might not be the right quad. The Sportsman likes to be buried in deep mud or let loose on a wide-open trial. Furthermore, the 1000cc engine is a great asset if you are carrying big loads or riding up in altitude, like on the Paiute Trail in Utah; in Buena Vista, Colorado; or in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.

COMPETITION
Kawasaki’s Brute Force 750 is the only Japanese brand that even comes close to competing with the Sportsman. It has the same chassis construction, but it’s powered by a slightly smaller V-twin engine only compressing 750cc. The top-of-the-line Kawasaki is a little cheaper at $10,599. Another V-twin, the Can-Am Outlander 1000, is much closer in the power and size department with its 976cc mill and a $9000–$13,000-and-beyond price rage depending on options. Neither machines ride as well as the Sportsman.

DO YOU NEED A 1000?
Skilled riders can handle and use the claimed 88 horsepower and 68 foot-pounds of torque this quad puts out. A novice or occasional rider would be in over his head on this beast. If you ride in the Southeast, gooey trails or up in the tundra above America’s Midwest, that horsepower would be put to good use. You could install a lift kit and much larger tires under the Sportsman and the engine can handle it. For us, we like the speed and handling of the smooth-running twin sitting in an independently suspended chassis. The four-wheel-drive works great, the power steering works even better, so all-day rides are worth taking on this machine. If this sounds like you, head to your Polaris dealer and get right to enjoying the ride.

SPECS
Engine type…… SOHC, liquid-cooled,
4-stroke twin
Transmission……Fully automatic CVT
Fuel system…………………………………..EFI
Fuel capacity………………………. 5.25 gal
Length/width/height.83.25”/47.6”/50.75”
Ground clearance……………………..11.5”
Wheelbase……………………………………53”
Estimated dry weight……………..822 lb.
Suspension/wheel travel:
Front…………………. Dual A-arms w/ 9”
Rear…………….. Dual A-arms w/ 10.2”
Tires:
Front……………………………………. 26×8-14
Rear………………………………….. 26×11-14
Brakes:
Front……………….Dual hydraulic discs
Rear…………………………Hydraulic disc
Rack capacities…………… 120 lb. (front)/
240 lb. (rear)
Colors.. Titanium, black, white, camo,
Price……………………………………….$11,999
Contact………………… www.polaris.com

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