UTV TEST: 2021 POLARIS RZR TURBO S LIFTED LIME LE
Stand out in the crowd By the staff of Dirt Wheels
You would think that Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, is in charge of new-model color selection for current UTVs. The Ford Model T launched the company’s success, and Ford was famous for saying that the Model T was “available in any color you want, as long as you want black.” We get it. Black is the “cool” color. But, we like a little color in our machines, so we should be overjoyed with the 2021 Polaris RZR Turbo S Lifted Lime LE (Limited Edition), which has more than a little color. You can literally see this car for miles!
Because it is a Turbo S, and a limited edition as well, the Turbo S Lifted Lime is packed with features, tech and performance. If you look on the Polaris website, it categorizes the different types of RZR models. Those specific for tight or width-restricted trails are on a page labeled “Trail,” with a description of “agility for tight trails.”
Sportier RZR models from the RS1 to the Pro XP are labeled extreme performance with the claim that they can conquer any terrain. RZR Turbo S variations have their own category simply labeled “Wide open, performance for the roughest terrain.” In our minds it makes sense to break the various RZRs up this way. In its fourth year of production, the Turbo S remains a different animal from others in the Polaris line.
As far as technical changes go, Polaris improved the clutch alignment and durability, resulting in greater belt life and a machine that feels tight and right longer. Also new for 2021 is a charging port built into the dash. It makes it super easy to plug in a battery tender.
MAKING IT SPECIAL
Despite this being the fourth year, the RZR Turbo S is still a great-looking car. The richer-looking, more polished front fascia and rear treatment and lights gave the 2018 S a classier look. For 2021, that look has trickled down to other RZR models. What really sets the car apart visually is the 72-inch-wide, muscular stance and aggressive 32-inch ITP Coyote tires.
While the tires and 15-inch wheels were in your face and radical in 2018, today they seem proper and appear proportional. The tires are out where you can see them from inside the car. Seeing everything the front tires and suspension are doing is distracting when you first drive the S. And, the Turbo S is more than massive tires and exceptional wheel travel. When the S was designed, every component was strengthened with beefy axles, large and strong suspension arms, reinforced chassis, added cooling and a tougher drivetrain and drive system. One look at the front A-arms and you won’t question Polaris’ strength claims. All of our Turbo S cars have stayed tight, and felt solid and new despite many miles and hard use.
We mentioned that the Turbo S is loaded with tech. That starts with the Polaris Dynamix smart-suspension system technology. The S was the first time it was used on a 72-inch car. Dynamix has constantly improved, and by the time the Turbo S surfaced, the Fox Live Valve shocks were working extremely well.
The Turbo S’ suspension combines on-board GPS info with the Dynamix computer. Dynamix adjusts the suspension while you drive processing data from the GPS, an accelerometer and a gyro. Comfort, sport and firm suspension levels are selected by a dash-mounted rocker switch. Firm maxes all of the suspension adjustments, and we use it rarely, mostly for gaining clearance while rock crawling or in giant high-speed whoops. In comfort, you are at a base setting for the smoothest ride the car is capable of. It rides very nicely. With sport, you have 30 percent of added damping force over comfort.
In addition to the three settings, the computer stiffens the outside shocks when you turn at speeds over 20 mph. The rear shocks stiffen when the throttle is wide open, and the front shocks stiffen for 1.5 seconds when you brake. Get the car in the air and the suspension goes full stiff. The adjustments are instant and never intrusive. Dynamix does enhance performance, but in our opinion ride comfort over a massive range of terrain and driving speeds is the reason to buy a Dynamix-equipped machine.
Travel numbers are 21 inches in the rear and 19 inches in the front.
MUCH MORE TECH
Polaris’ Ride Command system is always packaged with Dynamix. The computerized suspension requires the GPS that is part of the Ride Command system. Polaris started building the 7-inch Ride Command touchscreen in-house in 2019. The glove-touch center-mount display screen allows the driver to see the GPS, rear camera, and, if one installed (it is pre-wired), the front camera. It also acts as secondary instrumentation, the Dynamix suspension screen and more.
Among the other displays are topographic mapping, Bluetooth and USB smartphone connectivity and AM/FM and weather radio as part of the stock MB Quart audio package. In-vehicle communications require optional Sena headsets.
Usual information like speedometer, odometer, trip meter, tachometer, coolant temperature, volt meter, hour meter, service indicator, clock, gear indicator, fuel gauge, hi-temp light, seatbelt reminder light, fault code display and a DC outlet are all on the dash.
A COMPLETE PACKAGE
None of that tech would be much fun without the 925cc, inter-cooled, turbocharged, twin-cylinder engine and associated drivetrain. Polaris has made the Turbo motor highly civilized but extremely responsive. It has a lot of meat in the mid-range that makes the Turbo S throw-you-back-in-the-seat fun to drive with more power feeling than other turbo machines. At high rpm, the Can-Am X3 and the Polaris Pro XP throw it shade, but it is very satisfying to drive.
We would like to see a lower ratio in low range, but otherwise no complaints. CVT clutching and response are smooth and predictable, and the AWD is effective. Polaris doesn’t have a locking front differential but employs the instant traction-sensing capabilities of its Isolated Xtreme Performance True On-Demand all-wheel drive system. It reacts instantly to the rear wheels spinning and feeds power to the front wheels.
The Turbo S is equipped with competition-type four-point harnesses. They are time-consuming to adjust the first time, but the feeling of safety is nice. It also has an aluminum roof that makes the structure stronger, shades and protects the passengers. Half doors with integrated lower doors added are standard.
While it is nice having the sound system, at higher speeds you don’t actually hear much. Other features of the Ride Command system are easy to use. You will soon appreciate the constant GPS. We returned to a riding area after a month, and when we started the car, our GPS track from our previous trip was already on the screen. Other Ride Command vehicles in the area show up on the screen as well. The reverse camera is nice, and we often leave it turned on to act like a rear-view “mirror.”
Complaints about the interior? A little tight on leg room for tall drivers, and the seats’ backs flex a little.
The two-seat RZR Turbo S Lifted Lime LE has amazingly effective suspension. If we were forced to complain, we’d say that the long travel has exaggerated dive and squat. The car feels most settled and controlled when you are smooth with throttle inputs. Under hard throttle the rear squats and the steering gets light.
In big whoops we’d like the longer wheelbase of the RZR Pro XP or even the Turbo S four-seater. On the plus side, the 90-inch wheelbase makes the S responsive and nimble on the trail. The handling and suspension invite you to stay on the throttle.
For narrow routes, the width requires care. At least you can see the front wheels to aid tire placement. If 64-inch cars fit, we generally had no trouble. We thought the short wheelbase might make the Turbo S feel nervous, but it didn’t. It is a ball in the dunes with ample stability side to side. The Coyote tires are even pretty effective. It easily handles paddle tires as well. The stock ITP Coyotes find traction in the desert and provide long tread life on trails with rocks and a firm surface.
We are always happy to climb into Turbo S, and the Lifted Lime LE is no exception. It is truly exhilarating to drive. We were happy in the rocks, in the mountains, the dunes and sight-seeing abandoned mines. It loves fast trails and the rough, but, is happy to slow down for tight and technical running. The suspension is simply amazing, and we do routinely change the mode. The tech side of the car is equally satisfying. Listen to music, track others in your group, mark your routes and be alerted of required maintenance. When needed service intervals arrive, you are prompted on the screen. This UTV has everything a serious off-roader looks for. When the Turbo S was released, there was no way to replicate the package from the aftermarket. Now it is possible, but it would be far more expensive than having Polaris build it for you. Go to www.polaris.com to learn about their entire lineup!
RZR TURBO S LIME
POLARIS RZR TURBO S LIFTED LIME LE SPECS
Engine type ProStar Turbo H.O., 4-stroke, DOHC twin cylinder
Fuel system EFI
Fuel capacity 9.5 gal.
Starting system Electric
Final drive Shaft
Front High-clearance dual A-arm with stabilizer bar, 2.5” Fox Podium Internal Bypass shocks with Live Valve (electronically controlled damping)/19”
Rear Trailing arm with stabilizer bar, 3” Fox Podium Internal Bypass shocks with Live Valve (electronically controlled damping)/21”
Front ITP Coyote (8-ply rated), 32×10-15
Rear ITP Coyote (8-ply rated), 32×10-15
Front Dual hydraulic disc with triple-bore front calipers
Rear Dual hydraulic disc with dual-bore rear calipers
Wheelbase 90.0 in.
Ground clearance 16.0”
Curb weight 1779 lb.
Colors Lifted Lime