The 1000cc mark has now been reached by three manufacturers—Arctic Cat, Can-Am and Polaris—in the high-performance sport UTV category. Polaris already had a great-selling machine with its RZR XP 900 and didn’t necessarily need a bigger motor to keep up. Well, it wasn’t just a bigger motor that Polaris put in the XP 1000; they built a whole new machine from the ground up.
Compared to the RZR XP 900, the XP 1000 has a new frame, suspension, roll cage and bodywork, which all offer up a brand-new driving experience, to say the least. This new RZR XP 1000 starts at $19,999. For comparison, the top-of-the-line 2014 Can-Am Maverick X rs goes for $18,799 and the Arctic Cat Wildcat X sells for $18,499. The LE model of the RZR XP 900 sells for $17,799
About the only thing in this machine that resembles the older XPs is the motor. To reach the 1000 moniker and a claimed 107 horsepower, Polaris used their tried-and-true DOHC, twin-cylinder ProStar engine. This unit, like the XP 900, has two throttle bodies feeding fuel into a quiet, two-in-one, automotive-style exhaust system on the other side.
Along with the cc increase, Polaris dramatically increased the size of the intake system and air filter. The CVT venting has also been increased for much better clutch and belt cooling.
Using a standard keyed ignition, the new XP1K fires up instantly and roars to life. The note is strong yet not loud, which we like. Tap the throttle pedal and the revs quickly jump and fall back down. In neutral, the engine tops out at 8800 rpm. There is no lag and power is instant.
The pedal-assembly placement is actually much better than it is in all other RZRs. The slightly wider cabin feels much more roomy than the XP 900. Although the cockpit doesn’t measure significantly larger, you do feel like you have more shoulder, hip and legroom. The seat placement and floor-pan design can be thanked for that. In fact, both seats are placed on sliders so they can easily be moved forward or backward, adding comfort for different-sized drivers and passengers. Total movement is about 4 inches. The cockpit occupants are contained by three-point seat belts and a pair of Wildcat-like V-shaped doors, which we like much more than the old net design found on other RZRs. For an extra $400, you can get full doors from your Polaris dealer. We did install a plastic Polaris roof right away for only $250.
When you put the redesigned, better-quality shift lever into high range, hang on, because you are in for a treat. This RZR gets up to warp speed now. Mash the pedal to the floor and it roars forward like a trophy truck. You do sit about 6 inches taller off the ground than you do in an XP 900, ultimately getting better vision of the trail. The machine feels stout, more like a Can-Am Maverick than a light, flickable RZR XP 900. It took us about 10 seconds to reach a top speed of 77 mph at our riding area, which sits at 3000 feet above sea level. We prefer driving the XP1K in 4WD. There is so much power that you need all four wheels spinning the direction you want to head.
At the top speeds these machines can reach on smooth trails, we have realized it’s time to switch to rounded, full-face helmets. The RZR XP1K passes through the wind so fast, the standard MX-style helmet lifts your head and nearly rips the visor off.
In most situations we drove the XP1K at about half throttle, and that was enough to pin you to the back of the seat. When you do stomp on the gas, the front end gets noticeably light. If fact, over small bumps and jumps, this RZR flies nose high, which is much better than nose down.
Contributing to the overall larger feel of the machine are the tires. Polaris equipped the beast with massive 29×14 Maxxis Big Horn tires on all four corners. The fronts are 9 inches wide, while out back 11-inch-wide meats are found. These are the largest stock tires found on any ATV. Those tall tires, along with huge new Walker Evans shocks, soak up bumps better than any previous RZR. Where the old RZRs would sort of skip and dance over the bumps, the XP1K drives through them and barely leaves the ground. The suspension action is more on par with the ultra-plush Wildcat than ever before. Even though the RZR sits taller, it still corners flat and precise. To do this, Polaris installed a new, solid, cast-steel swaybar to replace the hollow tube one used on older models.
The new shocks are not only larger and hold more oil, they are physically longer than anything we have seen in this industry. Up front, 2.5-inch shocks offer 16 inches of travel out of the dual A-arm setup and offer compression adjustability and spring preload tuning. Out back, the same adjustments are available out of an even bigger shock. This unit features a full 3-inch canister and travels 18 inches. The trailing arms on this new machine are constructed a little differently than on the RZR XP 900. Here they are heavy-duty pieces of rectangle tubing, sort of reminiscent of the round tubing arm on the Wildcat. The new longer trailing arms and wider A-arms extend the machine’s width to 64 inches and the wheelbase to a 90-inch measurement versus 81.4 inches on the XP 900. The Wildcat has a 95-inch wheelbase.
We have a test track for high-performance UTVs that is part fast, part rough, part twisty and all fun. In the 1000, you could keep it completely pinned through the rough stuff. The section of 30 two-foot whoops could be attacked at top speed. The G-outs and foot-tall square edges gave the car no fits either. While we haven’t compared this machine to the Wildcat yet, we think its plush ride will be matched. Even the sweeping, rutted turns we have were no match for the tall Maxxis tires. While you do sit a little high in the cockpit, you don’t feel like the machine is going to two-wheel. Steering is quick and precise. We do feel a little body roll in the tight corners when slowing down from high speeds, but that could be the tire flexing or the spring damping set too soft.
To get the XP1K to handle its best for our area, we did add about an inch of spring preload to get the back end to squat a little less. We also cranked the easy-to-reach compression and dialed it in five clicks from full hard.
Polaris not only upped the ante in the power and suspension departments with this machine, they are refining other areas and putting more attention to detail with this new product. Outside, the air filter is easy to access with no tools. However, it is a paper style that can’t be correctly cleaned; it has to be replaced. The rear shock reservoirs are placed on the back of the roll cage and can easily be reached for adjustments.
We mentioned how the small V-shaped doors are a big improvement over the old style nets. They are also better than Arctic Cat’s similar door setup. Inside the cockpit, Polaris increased the glovebox size and made the door easier to open. It’s almost too easy and pops open from time to time. There’s also a new dustproof GPS/cell-phone pocket with a clear face if you want to view your device for navigation. The steering wheel, shifter and seats are all better quality than before. They might not be as nice as Can-Am components in this arena, but they are close. Up front, the hood has extra hooks to keep it from flying off at speed, and the headlights are full LED bright.
WHAT DO WE THINK?
Polaris already had a winner with the RZR XP 900. It dominates nearly every form of racing, from woods and desert to GP and short-course racing. The taller stance and largest tires in the industry will sure make the 1000 even more competitive in the mud pits. For the average trail and dune riders, the RZR XP 900 was good, but we saw most people upgrading components like seats, roll cages and even installing long-travel suspension. With this machine, you won’t have to do those upgrades. Just turn the key and the Polaris RZR XP 1000 will provide $20,000 of fun right out of the box.
2014 POLARIS RZR XP 1000
Engine DOHC, 8-valve, twin-cylinder
Fuel system Dual EFI throttle bodies
Transmission Fully automatic CVT
Front Dual A-arms w/ 16″
Rear 3-link trailing arms w/ 18″
Front Dual hydraulic discs
Rear Dual hydraulic discs
Fuel capacity 9.5 gal.
Ground clearance N/A
Claimed dry weight 1375 lb.
Colors Black/white, orange/black