Ride Review: Polaris Sportsman XP 1000

December 2017 Feature Steve Janes Web Exclusive

Although most ATVs are built with a specific market in mind, all makers of ATVs strive to make each particular model functional in multiple categories. Usually an ATV works well in for one type of use but really lacks in the others.

The Polaris Sportsman XP 1000 may be designed for the sport/utility market, but delivers a good deal of sport performance while providing unmatched power for the heavy loads.

Recently the editors of Dirt Toys Magazine put the Sportsman through a heavy workout … no, not pushing a plow or pulling a load, but pounding through the bumps on a rocky mountain trail. After all, life shouldn’t be all work and no play.

What we discovered (actually, it was no hidden secret … Polaris engineers have known about this for quite some time) was that the suspension on the Sportsman perfectly matched the requirements for the trail.

The High Clearance Arched Dual A-arm Front Suspension provided an uncanny ability to step over rocks and glide through the bumps without washing or jolting. In other words, you pick the line and it holds the line.

The proven Rolled Independent Rear Suspension keeps all four tires planted so you never lose grip. You feel connected to the earth, even when you’re traveling at a pretty quick pace.

The Sportsman was set up perfectly for the trail. It was quick and powerful. The power steering handled great. Sometimes with power steering if you get moving too fast down a trail you can get into a situation of over-steer and you can get a little out of control. But the 1000 seemed to handle it well.

Another feature that enhanced both the utility and sport mix of the Sportsman was the seat. It was very comfortable for your butt and lower back. It seemed to take the edge out of any bump the suspension may have missed.

The Sportsman was a lot quicker and turned a lot tighter than we expected. In the tight twisties of a mountain trail, it was fun to match the quickness and turning to the terrain. We also noticed how the tire traction seemed to be in perfect harmony with the Sportsman. Although there was never any loss of traction on dirt, rocks or mud, there also wasn’t an over abundance of traction which results in a lot of debris (mud) being flung in the air and usually ending up all over the driver.

When it comes to power, the ProStar 952cc four-stroke twin cylinder engine with electronic fuel injection cranks out 90 hp. High performance on-demand all-wheel drive or two-wheel drive allows you to put the right amount of power to the right number of wheels for the right ride.

We felt the left-hand single lever four-wheel hydraulic disc brake worked great in most conditions. However, if you were coming hot into a downhill corner, you really start to notice the weight and size of the Sportsman and wished you had backed out of the throttle a little sooner.

The right-hand foot brake is a little awkward to use. You have to lift your foot to get on it … so you either have full brake when you step, or no brake. It’s not like a side-by-side where you can pivot the weight of your foot off your heel.

The Sportsman is a workhorse (payload capacity of 575 lbs., towing rating of 1,500 lbs.). It’s solidly built. The platform is sturdy and stable. If you’re looking for something purpose-built for sport, the Scrambler XP 1000 is your ride. But when looking for something that can do a job, yet is still capable of play, it’s hard to beat the Sportsman.

The Sportsman XP 1000 XP retails for $11,999.

For more information visit www.polaris.com.

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