— Well equipped for the trail, By the staff of Dirt Wheels.
Polaris makes impressive machines, there is no doubt about that. Even in their lower-priced ATVs, the company provides comfort, reliability and capability. The Sportsman lineup offers a wide variety of machines, with 450cc to 1000cc powerplants that are trail- and work-worthy. We took their 2017 Sportsman 570 SP and tested it in the demanding terrain of Southern California, which consists of rocky and rutted desert, wooded and mountainous trails, and plenty of wide-open riding.
IN THE FRAME
Monster power is not always essential in an off-road machine, depending on what your intentions for the vehicle are. This ATV is in the recreational/utility category, and the powerplant is ideal in that arena. The Sportsman 570 has a smooth 44-horsepower engine that is electronically fuel injected with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. The 567cc, four-stroke mill is liquid-cooled and paired to a continuously variable transmission that has high, low, neutral, reverse and park gears. The wheels are shaft-driven through the 4×4 system operated via a thumb-selector switch on the machine’s thumb-throttle housing. The 570 SP comes with 4×4, 2×4 and 4×4 with Active Descent Control.
The ATV already comes with an engine braking system that helps slow the machine down when you aren’t utilizing the throttle. We like this feature, but even the previous years of the system has shown us that it is almost too powerful. The rear wheels tend to slide and lock up on downhills or when you chop the throttle. However, Polaris went a step ahead with their ADC mode. This makes all four wheels slow the quad down heavily when you are in high or low gear. You can virtually descend moderate hills without touching the brakes with the ADC mode activated. If you are carrying a load, you would likely be grateful for the slowing power, but with just a rider, it is a lot.
KEEP IT SUSPENDED
You will enjoy a smooth ride at quick trail speeds on this machine. The front suspension on the 570 has been upgraded from Polaris’ traditional MacPherson strut design to dual A-arms like those used on the sportiest Polaris quads. A-arms allow for more durability and have a much greater range of damper unit options both for production supply and for aftermarket installation. The front suspension provides 8.2 inches of travel out of preload-adjustable coil-over shock absorbers. The rear of the machine utilizes independent rear suspension that provides 9.5 inches of travel through dual A-arms and preload-adjustable shocks.
The shocks of the Sportsman 570 SP are set up to ride smoothly and comfortably over chop, rocks and rough trails. They don’t handle hard hits that well, but that isn’t what this machine is designed for. The IRS system smooths out the ride while sitting or standing. You won’t be hitting desert whoop sections at high speeds with this machine; believe us, we tried. Ground clearance is a healthy 11.5 inches, which helps the Polaris crawl over rocks or roots without many hang-ups.
STEERING THE RIGHT WAY
If you have ever ridden an ATV with electronic power steering, then you know how nice it is to have. You get less worn out on long trail rides and can control the machine easier. Fortunately, even though it doesn’t need it, the Polaris Sportsman 570 SP comes with EPS, and the system automatically adjusts for how you are riding the machine. Another plus for the Sportsman is that it is comfortable to ride. The handlebars have a nice, rewarding sweep that accommodates riding while sitting down comfortably. The seat is plush and couch-like, yet it allows you the ability to shift around on it for cornering. The thumb throttle is wide and easy to operate so it won’t wear your digits out during long rides. The gear shifter is down near your right knee and is smooth when shifting.
The brakes on the Polaris are strong yet smooth. The front end utilizes hydraulic disc brakes on each corner while the rear end of the 570 has a single hydraulic disc brake to help slow the machine down. The single hand-brake lever controls the front and rear brakes at the same time, while the foot brake only activates the rear brake. A lot of 4×4 machines are coming with this braking option, and we haven’t totally embraced it yet. We like having control of the front and rear brakes to be separate, but the combo hand lever provides even braking of the ATV, so we aren’t too upset about it.
As we stated before, this quad is a recreational utility machine so it serves a purpose other than having fun out on the trails. For starters, it can tow up to 1500 pounds by way of a 1.25-inch hitch receiver. There are two large storage locations on the Polaris. The front cargo rack flips open to reveal a healthy 6-gallon storage area, while there is a 2-gallon rear storage box under the rear cargo rack. The front rack can hold up to 90 pounds on it, while the rear rack can handle 180 pounds of cargo. The tie-down locations on the racks are a bit dismal, but Polaris does have their Lock & Ride accessory system that involves cargo bins and more.
The SP model of the 570 that we chose to test is the Sunset Red version that comes with 14-inch aluminum wheels with 26-inch-tall CST tires wrapped around them. The CST tires provide good traction in most terrain that we have utilized them for. They help the 570 corner well and even grab in dry hardpack dirt. As far as lighting goes, the Sportsman 570 has three lights. Dual 50-watt low-beam headlights are on the body of the quad that also have high-beam bulbs. There is a third 50-watt high-beam light that is a part of the cluster on the handlebars. The digital gauge on the bars is a speedometer, tachometer, odometer, has trip meters, an hour meter, fuel gauge and more.
The 2017 Polaris Sportsman 570 SP is an impressive machine for what it is made for. Polaris offers this model for $8699, but the starting price of the base model 570 is $6699. The Sportsman is comfortable to ride, has plenty of power for play riding and is a great tool to use around the ranch or job site. The SP’s painted plastics look clean and rich, while the 14-inch aluminum wheels make the 570 look that much better. The power steering, engine braking system and active descent control are all great options to have on an ATV, and despite being slightly out of harmony with the EBS, this is our favorite recreational/utility 4×4 quad in this engine class. Go to www.polaris.com to find out more information on their whole lineup of machines, and go to www.dirtwheelsmag.com to find ATV and UTV buyers’ guides to find the right tool for you!
2017 POLARIS SPORTSMAN 570 SP
Engine Liquid-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder 4-stroke
Fuel system EFI
Fuel capacity 4.5 gal.
Starting system Electric
Transmission Automatic CVT
Final drive Shaft
Front Dual A-arm/8.2”
Rear Dual A-arm/9.5”
Front Dual hydraulic disc
Rear Single hydraulic disc
Ground clearance 11.5”
Towing capacity 1500 lb
Curb weight 730 lb
Colors Sunset Red, Stealth Black, Hunter Edition Camo, Matte Sagebrush Green