UTV TEST: POLARIS GENERAL 4
The new-for-2016 Polaris General was a hit with enthusiasts. Its clever combination of sport performance and suspension combine with enough utility to justify it for work turned out to be a tasty recipe. For 2017 Polaris took the same great meal and super-sized it to a four-seat crew cab. With ample attention paid to passenger comfort for all four seats and fully dialed suspension from Walker Evans merge with a sleek silver color to make this not just a new General but a vastly improved one.
As nice as new features are, there was much about the General that was laudable, and the basic suspension geometry returns as does the 100-horsepower 999cc parallel twin engine. That engine makes the General 4 the most powerful Rec Utility in production with a class-best 0-40 mph time. But power isn’t just about acceleration. The power is partially responsible for the 1,280 lbs. total payload in addition to the 1,500 lbs. towing capacity. It delivers broad torque throughout its rpm range with 65 ft. lbs. of torque to haul, pull, and play. When you hit the trails most owners stay in AWD at all times. In AWD the General automatically reverts to 2WD when AWD isn’t needed. As soon as the rear tires slip, all four wheels engage. While AWD is great for some work and play, a new VersaTrac Turf Mode switch unlocks the rear differential for easier, tighter turns that won’t tear up grass or leave black marks on your driveway.
One change that was vital for a crew cab was a 32-inch increase in wheelbase. All of those inches were added to the all-new cockpit designed to balance work and play. Redesigned cut-and-sew premium bucket seats, customizable instrumentation and easy cab access aid the all-day comfort. GENERAL 4 doesn’t make the rear row riders an afterthought. The rear is claimed to offer the most elbow and knee room available for rear passengers. The driver’s seat is adjustable. The all-new digital instrumentation cluster moves with the tilt adjustable steering wheel for visibility. The combination of digital and analog gauge indicates vehicle speed, engine RPMs and standard trip information. The center digital gauge can be set up to just the way you want it, and even features an auto adjusting backlight that can switch from red to blue.
Simply adding to the wheelbase makes the ride smoother in the rough, but the new Walker Evans shocks are extra plush for a machine with just over 12 inches of travel. We spent time with a driver only, a passenger and fully loaded with four genuine adults, and we can verify that the new cab appointments and seats are very nice. We had riders over six-feet tall in the rear seats comfortably as well.
The suspension and engine performance remained impressively smooth. The ride is smooth, it handles g-outs nicely and the ride feels safely level without much body roll in turns. On some of the tight trails we drove, there is a long feel to the machine, but overall for the price we can see a majority of buyers choosing the four-seater. The most basic General two-seater is $16,299, and the General 4 is $20,999, but that two-seater has sealed shocks with preload adjustment only. If you upgrade to a two-seater with fully adjustable Fox shocks the price difference is $20,299 to $20,999. Add the better ride of the four-seater and it is an attractive package.