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Polaris ACE 900 XC EPS test

June 25, 2017
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— Yes, it is indeed fast! —

Polaris introduced the first single-seat 4×4 sport UTV with the 2014 Sportsman Ace 325, and the Ace evolution and revolution continues with the 2017 model year. Polaris dropped the “Sportsman” last year and replaced the original Ace 325 with a torquier Ace 500 this year that joins the Ace 570 and SP 570. But, the biggest news is that the Ace 900 XC replaces the 2016 Ace SP 900 with a more formidable chassis and suspension platform, and the biggest Ace got a 24-percent increase in power to make it a faster woods weapon. Basically, it’s a single-seat RZR S 900.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2017?
The ProStar 900 was introduced in the Ace package with the 2016 SP 900, but it was the 60-horsepower version from the Ranger XP. The 900 XC gets the RZR XP/S version, and the 78-horsepower ProStar 875cc twin has the highest output ever. Stretch the Ace chassis by 4 inches to get the wide-track 900 XC, and the wheelbase is 6 inches longer due to stretched front and rear A-arm geometry. The longer A-arms and Walker Evans 1.5 position sensitive needle shocks provide 12.3 inches of front travel and 12.6 inches of rear travel. Front and rear torsion bars keep the 59-inch-wide Ace flatter during hard cornering. The WER needle shocks have adjustable compression damping and tapered aluminum needles in the shock bodies to fight bottoming. A new Ace cabin also offers 10 percent more legroom, and quarter doors greatly improve confidence and ease of entrance and egress. There are also new storage bins in the Ace dash, a new instrument panel and LED headlights, and more aggressive taillights. Also, the 27-inch GBC Dirt Commanders are the tallest and most aggressive Ace tires to date, as the SP 900 had 25-inch rubber. The 900 XC weighs 1075 pounds (dry), 109 pounds more than the SP 900, 160 pounds less than the RZR S 1000 and 205 pounds less than the RZR XP1K.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The Ace 900 XC is $12,999, while the new Ace 500 is $6999. The 570 is $8499, and the 570 Ace SP with EPS is $9999. There are no other major manufacturers of single-seat UTVs, but other entry-level UTVs include the original Yamaha Wolverine 700 starting at $10,999, the Can-Am Commander 800 DPS at $12,199, Arctic Cat’s Prowler 500 ($9499) and 700 ($13,999), and Honda’s $8999 Pioneer 500 and $10,499 Pioneer 700. The Ace 900 XC has more horsepower and suspension travel than all of these UTVs. Kawasaki’s Brute Force 750 4x4i EPS ATV starts at $9,999, and the Teryx 800 starts at $12,999.

Beneath the pop-in engine hatch in the 240-pound-capacity bed, the airbox is shared with the RZR 900/1000. Two rubber latches free the airbox lid for access to the pleated-paper filter.
Beneath the pop-in engine hatch in the 240-pound-capacity bed, the airbox is shared with the RZR 900/1000. Two rubber latches free the airbox lid for access to the pleated-paper filter.

HOW IS THE PROSTAR POWER?
It’s got yank like a RZR S 1000! The 78-horsepower twin has awesome power and delivery. The Ace 900 XC weighs 129 pounds less and has 3 more horsepower than the RZR S 900. We couldn’t find a trail smooth and long enough to top it out, but the turn-toturn acceleration is incredible. It’s scary fast on loose, rocky trail and will pin you to the seat with ample traction. This Ace will rule the GNCC SSXC and SS College (16–21) classes and would do well in the XC3 UTV Pro-Am or Amateur Limited 1000cc classes.

AceXC2_IMG_9253

WHAT ABOUT CVT/4X4 DELIVERY?
Also top-shelf. The Ace 900 XC has Polaris’ high-performance on-demand 4WD system, so the front differential engages quickly when rear wheelspin is detected. It stays in 2WD when turning into a corner, then it goes into 4WD on exit, virtually eliminating the dreaded 4×4 push. The CVT engages quickly, as does the EFI system, when the gas pedal is pressed. The Ace 900 XC is a tight package with big performance, and the 27-inch GBC tires add to the delivery of all that power.

The 875cc ProStar twin has 10.6:1 compression and a 46mm EFI throttle body feeding the two 93mm pistons, and output is 78 horsepower. The old Ace SP 900 makes 60 horsepower, but HMF Racing can bump that to 74 with its re-flashed ECU ($979.95).
The 875cc ProStar twin has 10.6:1 compression and a 46mm EFI throttle body feeding the two 93mm pistons, and output is 78 horsepower. The old Ace SP 900 makes 60 horsepower, but HMF Racing can bump that to 74 with its re-flashed ECU ($979.95).

HOW ABOUT THE SUSPENSION?
It’s the best ever in Ace history. While Ace SPs have had dual-A-arm front suspension, they haven’t had over a foot of travel or WER needle shocks like RZR’s sport. The ride quality is the best in the Ace line, and compression damping can be softened for more plushness or stiffened with a few clicks of the large adjuster knob on top of the piggyback reservoirs. Front/rear travel is 12.3/12.6 inches, and balance is excellent too.

IMG_9254_Ace_900_Spread

WHAT ABOUT THE HANDLING?
It’s RZR-sharp. The 59-inch width makes it almost a foot wider than other Aces, and dual torsion bars fight body roll when you throw it into a corner. It’s a great drifter and has plenty of power for carrying the slide out of corners. The extra 6 inches of wheelbase adds greatly to the stability in slides and in a straight line, and the EPS adds the right amount of assist at all speeds.

The Walker Evans Racing rear 1.5 needle shocks don’t have a piggyback reservoir or adjustable compression damping; stepped aluminum needles close off valving at the end of travel to prevent bottoming. Progressive rear springs have ring-type preload adjusters.
The Walker Evans Racing rear 1.5 needle shocks don’t have a piggyback reservoir or adjustable compression damping; stepped aluminum needles close off valving at the end of travel to prevent bottoming. Progressive rear springs have ring-type preload adjusters.

IS IT THE ULTIMATE WOODS WEAPON?
You bet, and it’ll also be a great dune sled and mountain machine. Smaller Aces may fit between tight trees better, but the 900 XC is great when charging through turns and off-camber trails. It doesn’t have a tippy feel at all, but even 72-inch-wide UTVs go up on the bicycle when pushed too hard in turns.

Like the Wildcat 1000, Aces have tie-rods in front of the spindle. Long A-arms and WER piggyback front 1.5 needle shocks give the Ace XC 12.3 inches of front travel and a 59-inch width instead of the normal 48-inch width. LED headlights are more aggressive.
Like the Wildcat 1000, Aces have tie-rods in front of the spindle. Long A-arms and WER piggyback front 1.5 needle shocks give the Ace XC 12.3 inches of front travel and a 59-inch width instead of the normal 48-inch width. LED headlights are more aggressive.

IS IT A MUD MASTER?
Affirmative. With 13 inches of ground clearance and that monster motor, the 900 XC is ready to go deep. Polaris doesn’t have over-fenders for the 900 XC yet, but mud flaps ($79.99) and lower door extensions ($299.99) help keep mud out of the cab, as would the accessory Lock & Ride poly roof ($199.99) or canvas roof ($129.99). With a lift kit, the 900 XC will eagerly turn larger mud tires.

Those not in an Ace 900 XC need to get used to this viewpoint. New LED taillights are more aggressive to match the power and fighting stance, and the Ace will tow 1500 pounds—although it comes with a plastic receiver plug to show its cross-country racing prowess.
Those not in an Ace 900 XC need to get used to this viewpoint. New LED taillights are more aggressive to match the power and fighting stance, and the Ace will tow 1500 pounds—although it comes with a plastic receiver plug to show its cross-country racing prowess.

HOW ABOUT THE BRAKES?
They’re strong. Four hydraulic calipers squeeze large, perforated rotors via braided-steel brake lines. Feel at the pedal is good, but there is no EBS or Active Descent Control, only park mode in the transmission.

Extra cabin room is enhanced by the tilt steering wheel and adjustable seat, and the new Ace dash has cubby holes on each side and blanks for accessory switches. The new easy-to-read instrument panel has Bluetooth connectivity and large icons for fuel level and engine coolant temperature.
Extra cabin room is enhanced by the tilt steering wheel and adjustable seat, and the new Ace dash has cubby holes on each side and blanks for accessory switches. The new easy-to-read instrument panel has Bluetooth connectivity and large icons for fuel level and engine coolant temperature.

HOW ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
It’s greatly improved. The tilt wheel and adjustable seat have positions to suit most people, and 2017 Aces have extra room in the cabin. The new dash with extra storage is a big improvement, and the new digital instrument panel is easy to read and has Bluetooth connectivity. We like the seat and quarter doors, but these doors let roost into the cab. Door extensions and a roof would up the comfort factor immensely. Steering assist and the steering wheel are spot-on, but the range selector is on the notchy side.

WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?
We also got to test the Ace SP 570 and were impressed with it, but the new Ace 900 XC is off the chain. Power is incredibly strong. Delivery is super aggressive, and the 900 XC has Walker Evans needle shocks for race-level performance. The stretched chassis and suspension arms essentially make the Ace XC a single-seat, 60-inch RZR S 900 with a $1700 smaller price tag. Its 59-inch width, 67.5-inch wheelbase; 12.3 inches of front travel; and 12.6 inches of rear travel make this a race Ace. It even has the same 27-inch tires as the RZR S 900 and a RZR-like roomier cabin.

AceXC9_DSC_5547

SPECS
2017 POLARIS ACE 900 XC EPS ENGINE/TRANSMISSION
Engine type ….Liquid-cooled, 4-valve, DOHC, 4-stroke twin
Displacement ………………………………………..875cc
Bore x stroke ………………………….93mm x 64.4mm
Compression ratio …………………………………10.6:1
Lubrication system ……………………………Wet sump
Additional cooling …………………………………Auto fan
Induction ……………………………………….. 46mm EFI

Starting/back-up …………………………….Electric/none
Starting procedure …………………Turn ignition switch
Air filter:

Type ……………………………………….Paper pleat

Access ……………………….Tool-less, undo two clips
Transmission ……………….Dual-range CVT w/ reverse
Reverse procedure………. Move range selector to “R”
Drive system ..Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ auto diff-lock
Final drives …………………………………………..Shafts DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS
Fuel capacity ……………………………………..5.25 gal. Wheelbase …………………………………………….67.5”
Overall length/width/height …………………94”/59”/72”
Ground clearance …………………………………….13.0”
Claimed dry weight ………………………………1075 lb.
Rack/Bed weight limit …………………..120 lb./240 lb/
Hitch ……………………………..Optional 1.25” receiver
Towing limit……………………………………….1,500 lb.
ROLLING CHASSIS
Frame …………………………………..Steel square tube Suspension/wheel travel:
Front Dual A-arms w/ comp- & prel.-adj. shocks/12.3”
Rear IRS A-arms w/ prel.- & comp.-adj. shocks/12.6”
Brakes/actuation:
Front ………………….. Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Rear ………………….. Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Parking …………………………………..Lever on console
Tires: Front …………………27×9-12 GBC Dirt Commander
Rear ………………..27×11-12 GBC Dirt Commander
ELECTRICAL
DC outlet ……………………………………………Console Lighting:
Front …………………………………2 50-W headlights
Rear ………………………………..Dual brake/tail lights
DETAILS
Instrumentation …Speed/odo/trip/hour/rpm/fuel/gear/clock/2WD-4WD
Colors ………………………………….Matte Silver Pearl
Minimum recommended operator age ………………16
Suggested retail price ………………………….$12,999
Contact …………………………Polaris, (800) POLARIS

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