King Of Crawl

Hitting the rocks with a box-stock 2010 Polaris RZR 4

Published in the September 2010 Issue September 2010 Reviews Ryan Harris

The big difference between the RZR 4 and any two-seater side-by-side is that the extra seats may turn any outing into a group event with friends and family.

One of our favorite rides to date was a 65-mile journey through the mountains southwest of West Yellowstone, MT. There were dirt roads, gravel roads, technical climbs, tight trails, steep descents,
rocky patches and grassy meadows. It's a trail we've taken several times before. But we've never been able to take it with an entire family
comfortably inside one vehicle. You can talk and point out scenery to passengers and enjoy some gnarly riding in complete comfort.

However, there's another big reason why we like the RZR 4 and that reason is the focus of this Dirt Toys ride report.

If you own a base RZR, a RZR S or any sport side-by-side and have looked at the RZR 4 and wondered how the longer wheelbase and Fox Podium shocks would come into play on vertical terrain, we're on the same page. And we have to tell you, it's pretty amazing. In fact, once we got used to the length and girth of the RZR 4, we had a harder time getting comfortable with our '08 RZR again. Even when we were on solo rides or just with a single passenger, we had no reservations with taking the larger RZR 4 over the base RZR.

Why? For crawling (we use that term loosely, by the way), the vehicle tends to do a lot of vertical and torsional maneuvers. A shorter wheelbase vehicle has a higher chance of its center of gravity being overcome, leading to a rollover. Don't get us wrong-the RZR 4 can be dumped on its side. We've done it a couple times on the rocks and in the sand. But we've never been close to going end-over-end with it, despite climbing some hairy lines at
Moab, UT, and other rock-infested rides.

What Others Are Saying

Nate King, one of our test riders, took the RZR 4 to Moab. King has spent years climbing around Moab in a built `76 Ford Bronco crawler and has a 2008 Polaris RZR loaded with crawling mods, including long-travel suspension and BFG Mud Terrains on 15-inch wheels. King has taken the RZR 4 on a couple Moab trips and he says the RZR 4 had amazing vertical stability when climbing walls and ledges compared to the standard RZR and Yamaha Rhino we took on the same trails.

He also said the long wheelbase of the RZR 4 made it feel like they were riding an
extension ladder up steep walls and ledges. The shorter wheelbase vehicles would have flipped over going up or down some of the lines they took on the RZR 4.

King says the low center of gravity paired with the wheelbase gives the RZR 4 the edge. Its sideways, rear-mounted engine sits in the rear of the vehicle, behind the passengers. That makes for an amazingly stable vehicle.

The RZR features the same 800cc liquid-cooled four-stroke engine with EFI that's found in the standard RZR and RZR S. The engine provides enough horsepower and torque for climbing around through Moab. On desert terrain, the engine is more than adequate. The only place we found its weakness was in the sand dunes on dry sand going up steep climbs. There's not a lot of stock four-wheeled vehicles that will get very far in dry sand, though. Some careful driving could get you around most of the sand dunes. And if you hit the sand following a rain storm, you'll more than likely go everywhere you wish.

The RZR 4 runs four Fox Racing Shox coil-over, piggyback gas shocks. The shocks offer hours of fade-free performance and do an incredible job at controlling the largest of the RZRs. We have hit some pretty hard terrain at a pretty good clip and not had undesirable suspension action. The shocks do a good job of controlling rebound, which is a big factor in ride quality for side-by-sides. We also are impressed with the long-travel suspension's overall performance in vehicle roll control and cornering ability-even with four people in the vehicle. It's surprising to think that you can add in the neighborhood of 500-600 lbs. and not see high-speed ride quality take a nose dive. The RZR 4 handles incredibly well fully-loaded.

So while we've a blast riding the RZR 4 through mountains, at the dunes and on backcountry dirt roads, we may just take one of these and build a geared-down Moab trail walker and see where it takes us.

2010 Polaris RZR 4 Robbie Gordon Edition

Engine: Twin-cylinder 4-stroke
Displacement: 760cc High Output
Fuel System: Electronic Fuel Injection
Cooling: Liquid
Fuel Capacity: 7.25 gallons
Final Drive: Shaft
Transmission: Automatic PVT with P/R/N/L/H
Drive System: On-Demand True AWD/2WD
Front Suspension: Dual A-arm, Fox Podium X 2.0 compression-adjustable reservoir shocks, 12 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Dual A-arm, rolled with anti-sway bar, Fox Podium X 2.0 compression-adjustable reservoir shocks, 12 inches travel
Front Brake: Hydraulic disc with dual-bore calipers
Rear Brake: Hydraulic disc
Wheels: Cast aluminum Black Bruiser
Front Tires: Maxxis Bighorn 26x9-12
Rear Tires: Maxxis Bighorn 26x12-12
Wheelbase: 103 in.
Length: 130 in.
Width: 60.5 in.
Height: 75 in.
Ground Clearance: 11.5 in.
Dry Weight: 1,255 lbs.
Towing Rating: 1,500 lb.
MSRP: $14,999

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