By Mark Bourbeau
The media intro of the 2013 Polaris Ranger XP 900 EPS showed
the similarities between the basically new-from-the-ground-up machine and its
predecessor to be far and few between. As a matter of fact, the dump box and
four wheels are about it and even those have been improved upon.
Our test session included an approximate 50-mile jaunt that took
place at the nearly 13,000-acre Bull Run Guest Ranch located south and a little
west of Cascade, MT, on ATV/side-by-side-specific trails across the high desert
and in rugged mountainous terrain.
And while we are on the subject of rugged, the Ranger’s new
stiffer chassis and longer travel suspension handled the abuse like a champ.
Couple that with the Electronic Power Steering for maneuvering over and through
the rough twisties and keeping control in extremely muddy conditions (it rained
quite a bit the morning of our ride), we were able to tame some fairly technical
Another testimony of this bad boy of workhorse side-by-sides
came in a demonstration where the Ranger XP 900 pulled a dead 3-ton dump truck
up a slight incline without ever spinning or powering out. The dust was a
flyin’. The 900cc powerplant has been re-designed for less horsepower but more torque
(compared to the RZR 900) to be able to accomplish feats such as what we
witnessed. We didn’t pull any dead dump trucks but we did pull a fell long
hills and the Ranger did equally as well.
These are just a few tidbits for you to chew on for now but
we think this 2013 Ranger is quite possibly the ultimate work/pleasure combo.
We also spent a fair amount of time on the new Scrambler XP
850 H.O., riding all the same trails as what we rode on the Ranger. This new
Scrambler flat out railed on everything we threw at it, including the mud,
hillclimbing, creek crossings and wide open spaces where we could crack the
throttle open. After the day’s ride we couldn’t really settle on what
characteristic of the Scrambler XP 850 we liked most. The power was instant and
responsive. The ride was great. You can’t beat power steering. Nimble?
Absolutely. Maybe it was the overall package that was most impressive.
We’ll have a full report on both the Ranger XP 900 EPS and
Scrambler XP 850 H.O. within the next couple of weeks so stay tuned.