Two-seat fun for the young ones By the staff of Dirt Wheels
There’s no better way to teach your kids how to drive than starting them young. Car control, rules of the road and safety can all be learned in the dirt, making them a great driver years before they are ready to hit the road. We like to get kids behind the wheel early, and a new youth-sized UTV is a great way to do it.
This test took place with a 2019 model, and the only changes Polaris made to the machine is to add green and white color options. On the good side, the price has stayed the same at $5499. For comparison, their youth RZR 170 is $5299 and their youth ATVs range from $2199 to $4199.
Polaris gives the little Ranger a Y10 recommendation, which we feel is fair for beginner drivers. This model is powered by an air-cooled, 149cc powerplant with fuel injection and has plenty of ponies to put smiles on kids’ faces. The motor is connected to an automatic CVT transmission with forward, neutral and reverse gears with a chain drive.
Overall, the vehicle is 85 inches by 48 inches wide, 58 inches tall, and it weighs in at 673 pounds dry. It will easily fit in the back of any pickup to haul to a riding area or neighborhood dirt road. The driver’s seat has a slider that moves 5.7 inches, so a variety of kids will fit in it. We’ve taught several kids to drive using this Ranger, and the passenger seat is big enough to allow parents to ride along for the first few lessons.
TIRES, BRAKES & SHOCKS
Suspension is handled by A-arms in the front, with 5.1 inches of travel and a swingarm out back with 6 inches of travel. All four tires measure 22 inches tall and are mounted on 10-inc steel wheels. Braking is handled hydraulically at both ends, and a separate parking brake is provided. As with all youth models, Polaris provides a training video, safety whips and helmets.
Automotive-style, three-point harness seat belts provide security and keep the kids from bouncing up and down in the cockpit. Furthermore, using the Ride Command smartphone app, there’s a geo-fence that you can set to control a new driver’s movement. With the app, you set parameters on a map that, if breached, the car will reduce its top speed to whatever you have set. You can also set a maximum top speed from 10–30 mph for in or out of the virtual fence. Finally, the keyed ignition has an electronic passcode that can be locked by parents to keep the machine from starting until homework and the chores are done.
We put nearly a year of testing on this Ranger 150, and it’s holding up to both weather and new driver abuse. It gets driven almost every weekend by neighborhood kids, family members and even seasoned youth UTV racers. It’s not the fastest youth UTV you can buy, but it’s no dog, either, topping out at just over 30 mph. Kids have a blast piloting the little Ranger by themselves or with a buddy. Just watching the expressions on their faces, especially new drivers, is worth every penny of the purchase price.
The cockpit fits a wide range of driver and passenger sizes. Even smaller kids in the right seat can hold the passenger grab handle well, and the seat belt is comfortable and easy to put on. Back on the driver’s side, the seat slides to adjust, and the steering wheel has a three-position tilt to use as they grow.
Drivers have loved stabbing the throttle pedal and cruising around our local empty lots. Torque is respectable and plenty strong enough for travel in loose dirt or up small inclines. No, the little car won’t rip the dunes or go through deep mud, but it goes fine on hard-packed dirt, across washes briefly or splashing through mud puddles.
The steering is precise and not heavy, even for the youngest drivers. After the first few minutes of any kid driving this machine, they get the basics down. We stressed knowing where the brake was first, and every kid caught on quick. In the bumps or over small rocks, the car is a little on the bouncy side, but we actually never heard complaints from the kids. The car does sit low, so it’s very planted on the ground, and no matter how much the kids would slide around corners, we never saw the Ranger tip or two-wheel. All of the controls were well-placed and kid-sized, so adults helped very little after explaining the basics. Other than having to jump-start the little Ranger after a couple of months of it sitting last summer, we haven’t had to turn a wrench on it. That fact makes the parents even more happy.
Smaller kids or new drivers of any age loved getting in and driving the little Ranger around. It became the favorite choice for all of our mini testers in no time. Kids over 5 feet, 6 inches tall and older than 12 with experience took short rides, but have been begging us for something a little faster. A RZR 170 with a few mods will keep them happy until they can bump up to a RZR 570.
For a beginner’s UTV that looks like Dad’s, it’s super safe and very reliable, and the Ranger 150 gets an “A” grade from us. Anything that keeps the kids outside enjoying the real world instead of indoors on electronics is a winner in our book. However, we like how Polaris incorporated some electronic technology in this ride, making kids safer while keeping an eye on them when we can’t.
SPECS: POLARIS RANGER 150
Engine Four-stroke single cylinder
Lubrication system Wet sump
Additional cooling Air fan
Starting procedure Turn ignition switch w/ brake on
Transmission CVT w/ reverse
Reverse procedure Move range selector to “R”
Drive system 2WD
Final drives Chain
Fuel capacity 2.5 gal.
Ground clearance 8”
Claimed dry weight 673 lb.
Overall vehicle size 85”/48”/58”
Bed box dimensions 21”/42”/5”
Bed weight limit 50 lb.
Towing limit N/A
Frame Steel round tube
Front Dual A-arm w/ 5.1” preload adj. shocks
Rear IRS Swingarm w/ 6” preload adj. shocks/”
Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Rear Hydraulic disc/left-side pedal
Parking Lever on floor
Front 22×7-10 Wanda
Rear 22×10-10 Wanda Lighting LED daytime running lights, single rear brake light/taillight
Instrumentation Digital display with gear indicator, odometer, trip meter, voltage, engine temperature, engine hour meter, programmable service hour interval, ground speed, engine rpm, GeoFence status, clock, or speed limit status.
Minimum recommended operator age 10
Suggested retail price $5499
Contact Polaris, (800) POLARIS