— Test drive in the 181 hp machine —
The Polaris RZR platform is an ever-growing and -evolving beast. It came into this world as a tiny 50-inch-wide machine that made it the first UTV able to ride narrow ATV trails. That fact and the aftermarket’s (mainly HCR and Pro Armor) quick reaction to modify it made it an instant hit. In just over a decade, Polaris has pumped out over a dozen versions of the RZR that still cater to everyone from that narrow trail rider to the wide-open desert racer with the 72-inch-wide Turbo S models.
For 2020 Polaris is dropping a totally new, from-the-ground-up 64-inch model that will lead the brand into the next decade. Called the 2020 Polaris RZR Pro XP (starting at $22,999), the new platform is available in two or 4 seat versions. It still uses a belt-driven, automatic CVT transmission, bringing an impressive 181 horsepower to the ground through a set of aggressive 30×10-14 Maxxis Carnivore tires. Standard A-arm front (17” travel) and trailing arm (20” travel) rear suspension sit 6 inches further apart than before, making the total wheelbase measurement 96 inches. The frame is made from beefy 2-inch tubing where it counts surrounding the passengers and 1.75-inch cross tubing.
You sit much lower in the cockpit when compared to any other RZR. It’s a lot more like a Can-Am X3 feeling than a RZR. In fact, the new seats are very reminiscent of what comes stock in the X3. Furthermore, the seats slide forward on rollers and have a three-position front mount (tools required), so you can get your seating position exactly the way you like it. The floorboard has been changed, giving more room for both driver and passenger. The passenger doesn’t get an adjustable seat, but they do get a cool adjustable grab handle that offers multiple vertical or horizontal hand placements. It’s very comfortable.
Back on the driver’s side, the steering is a massive upgrade. It’s a D-shaped, tilt and telescoping wheel that reminds us of a top-of-the-line Sparco product. The Ultimate models of the Pro XP get volume adjust buttons on the wheel, as well as a couple other controls. Very automotive-looking. The ability to adjust the Fox Dynamix shocks has been moved to the wheel as well. The shock adjustments are dramatically different on this model. The softest setting is actually comfortable now, medium works good and firm is great for aggressive driving but not too stiff. New is a full firm button, which brings the shock up to the older firm setting or 10. For this you can momentarily hit a button on the wheel and it activates for you and releases a few seconds later. It’s great for those unexpected obstacles that will surely show up much quicker now.
Up front, a brand-new dash is very versatile and user-friendly. It’s not only our favorite part of the Pro XP, it’s our favorite UTV dash period. It has multiple storage boxes on top, one cubbyhole straight forward of the shifter and a side shelf down by the passenger’s left foot. Between the driver and behind the cupholders is another storage console that is very car-like.
Polaris gave us a quick lap around a 15-mile brutal desert loop just as we were going to print with this issue. They weren’t afraid to let us open it up or find out how it does over big rocks and bumps. The 181 horsepower gets to the ground quickly, and the new Maxxis claws forward like nothing before. The 8-ply tires are heavier, but the engine doesn’t care, and the complete drivetrain has been upgraded to handle it. The Pro XP accelerates forward as quick as any other RZR made. The driver’s compartment is comfortable, and you can see over the new front hood only slightly better than before due to the lower seating position we were in. There is definitely room for big and tall drivers or riders in the new RZR.
In the softer suspension setting, the car felt low yet very plush. For our test drive, this setting was too low and the rear ended up dragging a lot unexpectedly. It needs an inch of preload and 2 more inches of ground clearance. We found firm to be the sweet setting for this terrain. The longer wheelbase really helped stabilize the car on high-speed, narrow trails. The extra wheelbase was very forgiving over all bumps—from little chop to whoops and big G-outs. The aggressive Maxxis tires have a lot more bite on the sidewall, so they tend to pull you up high on berms, but a slight driving adjustment cured that. They are not the tire we would choose for this loose terrain, but the sizing and strength are a huge improvement. In 15 short miles behind the wheel, we were hooked. We like the lower seating position for sure. The longer wheelbase helped it in the bumps yet didn’t hurt it in the corners. The look will have to grow on us, but the rest of the car should be another Polaris home run.
2020 POLARIS RZR PRO XP
Engine type Liquid-cooled, twin cylinder, turbocharged,
Lubrication system Wet sump
Additional cooling Auto fan
Starting procedure Turn ignition switch w/ shifter
Type Paper pleat
Access Behind driver and firewall
Transmission Automatic CVT
Reverse procedure Brake on, move range selector “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ EPS
Final drives Shafts
Fuel capacity 12 gal.
Overall length/width/height 126”/64”/71.7”
Ground clearance 14.5”
Claimed dry weight 1736 lb.
Bed weight limit 299 lb.
Towing limit N/A
Frame 2” Steel round tube
Front Dual A-arm w/prel./comp.-adj. shocks/ 17”
Rear IRS 3-link trailing arms w/prel./comp &
Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Parking Lever on console..Lever on console
DC outlet Console
Front 4 LED headlights
Rear LED brake/tail lights
Instrumentation Analog speed/odo/trip/hour/rpm/fuel/
Colors White, Grey, Metallic Blue
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $22,999–$28,499