FIRST RIDE: 2023 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 570 TRAIL EDITION
A middleweight 4×4 accessorized for all-day trail adventures
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
It’s no big secret that the Polaris Sportsman 570 has been the best-selling 4×4 ATV for some time. The Sportsman 570 has a plush ride that suits the leisurely trail rider. The controls are simple to use, such as the inline gear shifter and single-lever braking. Power output isn’t extreme, but it’s enough to keep advanced riders happy and novices on their toes. Finally, the Sportsman 570 is an excellent value with the base-model price starting at $7,999.
For 2023, there are six different trim levels available for the Sportsman 570, as well as a Touring model designed for two riders, which comes in its own three distinct trim levels. We were in search of a single-rider ATV that had the capability to navigate through narrow and technical trails and handle occasional tough obstacles. The Polaris Sportsman 570 Trail edition appeared to fit the bill.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE TRAIL PACKAGE?
The Trail package includes several features and accessories that heighten the ride experience, some of which you can’t just add to the base model later on. These include Multi-Select Electronic Power Steering (EPS), Active Descent Control (ADC) and Polaris’ Engine Braking System (EBS). We will cover the details of all three of these components in a bit.
Other upgrades from the base model include arched dual front A-arms with shocks (MacPherson struts on the base model) that increase suspension travel, a front trail bumper/brush guard (side Body Armor protection accessory pictured is sold separately from Polaris for $309.99), 26-inch Duro Power Grip tires on 14-inch aluminum wheels and a 2500-pound Polaris HD winch. The headlights and directional pod light are also upgraded from halogen lamps to brilliant LEDs, and the only way you’ll get painted plastics in Onyx Black or Sunset Red colorway is by opting for the Trail edition.
IS IT POWERFUL?
The 567cc ProStar engine is no slouch with 44 horsepower on tap. Our test location was void of straight roads where we could check top speed, but the Sportsman 570 is plenty powerful where it really counts. From idle, a stab of the throttle commands you to hold on, even breaking tire traction. Point it uphill, and it loves to climb. But, power output is also mild and manageable when necessary. A gentle squeeze of the thumb throttle results in calm forward motion without any herky-jerky engagement from the belt-driven transmission; it’s perfect for transporting heavy cargo.
HOW CAPABLE ARE THE TRANSMISSION AND AWD?
Polaris has called its continuously variable transmission a “PVT” (Polaris Variable Transmission) for years, but it’s essentially a fully automatic CVT. It comes with high- and low-range gear selections, as well as reverse, neutral and park. The inline shifter is fluid when shifting between gears, and an indicator on the digital dash display lets you know what gear is engaged.
With high gear selected, the wheels are very responsive to throttle input. At speed, we were able to get some lift out of the front end to overtake cross ruts, and sliding around banked corners is always a thrill, especially in 2WD. Polaris seems to have found the perfect level of gear reduction for low-range operation, too. The Sportsman 570 loves to climb. It easily conquered every steep incline and rock face we pointed it at. You can also travel at a moderate pace without shifting back to high. It’s an advantage we came to appreciate on our test track, which was mostly slow-going with plenty of hills, bumps, rocks and tree roots.
Polaris does not offer a true locking front differential on any of its Sportsman ATVs, not even the mud-specific High Lifter editions. The system automatically engages the front wheels when it senses extra traction is needed. That said, we’ve always found the Polaris On-Demand AWD system to work well, even when navigating difficult rock-crawling trails in southern Utah. A switch on the front of the thumb throttle housing allows selection between 2WD and AWD, and on the Trail edition, you have the added choice of AWD with ADC.
ADC stands for “Active Descent Control,” and it works hand in hand with Polaris’ Engine Braking System (EBS) and AWD. For moderate descents, the EBS system works by slowing the rear wheels of the vehicle without using the brakes. Engine braking is much more pronounced with the transmission shifted to low gear. When selected, ADC provides engine braking assistance to all four wheels for even more control. It’s very effective on steep hills that are filled with embedded rocks and rain ruts.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
Its size might seem intimidating at first, but even our 125-pound novice test rider found the Sportsman 570 Trail edition easy to ride. The addition of Multi-Select EPS makes steering almost effortless and allows the rider to choose between three levels of power-steering assistance—low, medium and high. Holding the Mode button on the digital display will bring up the Options menu. Toggle the up and down arrows to EPS and press Mode again. Now, use the arrows to move to the desired assistance level and press Mode again to lock it in. The display will return to the speedometer setting after a few seconds.
We feel the medium setting provides just the right amount of assistance and trail feedback for most riders, but our test rider, who’s on the smaller side, found the high assistance setting suited her. She could move the bars from lock to lock with just one finger, lessening the fatigue factor so she could ride comfortably all day.
WHAT’S THE SUSPENSION LIKE?
Front A-arms are arched to further enhance 11.5 inches of ground clearance. We tested it over a large boulder section of the trail with rocks considerably larger than our clearance. We were able to push through with some scraping to the skid plate but without getting hung up.
All four wheels work independently, and all four shocks are 5-way preload adjustable. The softest suspension setting, which is preset from the factory, favors slower speeds with a plush ride, completely taming washboard and rocky trails. For higher momentum, we added two notches of preload to soften hits from cross ruts and roots, but we still found ourselves slowing down to soften the blows at speed.
HOW ARE THE BRAKES?
The front wheels and the right rear wheel are fitted with hydraulic disc brakes. A single-hand lever brake controls all three hydraulic calipers. There is a foot brake pedal, which Polaris refers to as an auxiliary brake.
Braking is one area that we feel the Sportsman 570 could use some improvement. Try as we did, we couldn’t get the brakes to lock up. At best, they show the machine to a swift halt. It takes some strength to squeeze the hand lever hard enough to get the Sportsman to stop quickly. Response time is even slower with the auxiliary brake. This was the only complaint we had from our smaller female test rider. We’re also of the opinion that separate front and rear hand brake levers would add more stopping control, especially when setting up corners and navigating hilly ascents and descents.
HOW HEAVY IS IT?
Polaris claims an “estimated” dry weight (no fluids) of 873 pounds. On our ProForm vehicle scale, with all fluids and a topped-off fuel tank, the Sportsman 570 Trail weighed in at 941 pounds, but keep in mind that we also added some extra poundage with the Body Armor kit. Weight bias is distributed evenly between all four wheels. As heavy as that might sound, the Sportsman 570 has a nimble and controllable feel on the trail.
IS IT COMFORTABLE?
If there’s one thing Polaris is best known for, it’s a comfortable ride, and the Sportsman 570 is no exception. The seat is wide, plush, and easy to move around on. The engine compartment is narrow enough not to cause an uncomfortably wide gap between the knees, standing or sitting. All controls are within easy reach, and the footwells are wide, protective and spacious.
CAN IT HANDLE HEAVY CHORES?
The front rack is good for 90 pounds, and the rear rack can handle 180 pounds. That’s enough for three large bales of hay. The racks are made of a flat composite material that provides a stable surface for odd-shaped cargo, with plenty of tie-down anchors. The front rack also has rack extenders around the outer edge for added support. The rear rack is ported for quick installation of Polaris branded Lock & Ride accessories, such as hard case cargo boxes.
The Sportsman 570 will tow up to 1,350 pounds with its standard 1.25-inch receiver. We’d like to see an automotive standard 2-inch receiver in the future, just as a matter of convenience, as it will share the same size hitch found on most pickup trucks.
OKAY, BUT WHAT ABOUT SEALED STORAGE?
There are 5 gallons of dry storage underneath the front rack, accessible by releasing a latch on each side. A large, zippered pouch can also be accessed under the seat and is easily removable with two Velcro fasteners. This portable pouch is perfect for storing snatch blocks, clevis shackles and other basic tools.
WHAT DOES IT OFFER IN ELECTRONIC FEATURES?
The digital gauge provides a speedometer, odometer, tachometer, two trip meters, an hour meter, gear indicator, fuel gauge, AWD indicator, voltmeter, coolant temperature, and a high-temp light. Below the display is a 12-volt power plug and an in-pod battery charger port for easy Battery Tender connection. The Sportsman is also pre-wired for hand and thumb warmers.
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO THE COMPETITION?
The Sportsman 570 Trail edition has an MSRP of $10,599, a difference of $2600 compared to the base Sportsman 570. Competing machines with similar accessories to the Trail Edition include the Arctic Cat Alterra 600 LTD at $10,499, Can-Am Outlander XT 700 at $9799, Honda FourTrax Foreman Rubicon 4×4 Deluxe at $10,599 (no winch), Suzuki KingQuad 500AXi Power Steering SE+ at $10,199 (no winch) and Yamaha Kodiak 700 EPS SE at $10,999.
Polaris’ Sportsman 570 Trail is a great choice for a wide range of consumers. It’s an easy adjustment for novice riders, yet it still packs enough power and capability to keep life-long ATV fans smiling. It’s comfortable enough for a full day in the saddle and includes everything you’ll need to go even further.
2023 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 570 TRAIL SPECS
Engine type 567cc ProStar 4-stroke DOHC liquid-cooled single-cylinder
Compression ratio N/A
Fuel delivery EFI
Transmission Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H inline shifting
Final drive One Touch On-Demand AWD/2WD with EBS/ADC
Fuel capacity 4.5 gal.
Front Arched Dual A-arm w/ 5-way preload-adj. shocks; 8.9” travel
Rear Dual A-arm w/ 5-way preload-adj. shocks; 9.5” travel
Front Single lever with 3-wheel hydraulic disc
Rear Hydraulic rear foot brake
Front Duro Power Grip; 26x8x14
Rear Duro Power Grip; 26x10x14
Ground clearance 11.5”
Rack capacities: f/r 90 lb./180 lb.
Tow rating 1,350 lb.
Fuel capacity 4.5 gal.
Dry Weight 873 lb.
Colors Onyx Black, Sunset Red