TEST: 2018 POLARIS RZR XP TURBO DYNAMIX EDITION

— The future of handling has arrived with the new RZR XP Turbo Dynamix Edition! Polaris has added the world’s first off-road-specific, intelligent suspension with its revolutionary Ride Command system to create a more comfortable and more confident riding experience. Dynamix suspension is the first and only suspension that adjusts on the fly for the best ride at every moment, using sophisticated sensors to monitor seven vehicle inputs and make adjustments at a rate of 200 times a second to optimize the ride. The new Dynamix Edition suspension makes active low- and high-speed compression adjustments to optimize cornering, braking, acceleration, driving at speed and being airborne.

Polaris’ industry-first Dynamix Edition RZR XP Turbo EPS adds on-the-fly active suspension adjustments to level the ride, even on downhill off-camber corners—in this case by adding damping to the outside shocks. It’s also the first XP Turbo with the multi-function Ride Command.

The real-time-adjusting Dynamix suspension takes this technology even further with the option to manually toggle between three extremely different suspension settings—Comfort, Sport and Firm. The super-soft Comfort setting is designed for cruising around and eliminating the chatter and small bumps. The Sport setting is for the ultimate blend of performance, comfort and high-speed handling. The Firm setting locks the suspension into full-compression damping for the most extreme riding conditions, such as rocks, G-outs and nasty terrain.

This RZR Dynamix suspension is brought to life with its integration with the Polaris Ride Command system. The Ride Command’s 7-inch glove-touch display features a screen option that continuously showcases the suspension control system status—compression damping, selected mode, pedal position, G-force, steering angle, brake status and diagnostics. The whole system is designed to help riders visualize the real-time control while they are benefiting from the improved handling.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2018?

Clearly the introduction of Fox Internal Bypass (IBP) Live Valve suspension is the biggest news with Polaris for 2018. The 7-inch Ride Command display is in its sophomore year, so, while not new to RZRs, it’s still a really big deal, and the Dynamic control screen and functioning are completely new to it. When looking at specs alone, the new Dynamic RZR weighs an extra 21 pounds due to the additional shock-adjusting equipment and the Ride Command display.

The front end was widened last year for larger radiators, and a red grill is new on the Black Pearl Dynamix Edition. Fox 2.5 Podium IBP Live Valve shocks and long A-arms deliver 16 inches of high-quality travel, and the front torsion bar and smart shocks fight body roll.

If you look carefully enough, you might also notice an all-new 900-watt charging system. This was added to improve charging and allow for better accessory integration. This is actually a pretty big deal in itself, as the 660-watt system on the XP Turbo was the weak link when trying to add electrical accessories to the previous model. At 660 watts, the previous RZR Turbo charging system had just enough juice left for a couple of small lights and a GPS or radio. This lack of additional available wattage was especially problematic for the race crowd, making it almost a necessity to add an external alternator-type charging system for any type of night race. These remote alternators provided plenty of power but cost a small fortune. We asked the Polaris engineers if the new 900-watt system would work as an upgrade to the 2016–’17 Turbo models, and they said it wouldn’t be a direct plug-in, as the wiring harness is different. We will have to wait and see if the aftermarket guys can come up with an adapter or another way to utilize it.  We also learned that Polaris improved the drivetrain chatter and durability with a much larger, higher-quality driveshaft carrier bearing. Higher-quality, better-sealed bearings were also used to upgrade the wheel bearings. These carrier-bearing and wheel-bearing improvements were actually made across the entire RZR and General line for 2018.

A lot of UTVs will be seeing this view for a while. Rear travel is 18 inches, and the 29×11-14 Maxxis Bighorn tires on blacked-out aluminum wheels provide good all-around performance. Rear bearings are upgraded for 2018.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?

The RZR XP Turbo EPS starts at $19,999 with Walker Evans needle shocks and goes to $22,999 for the Fox Edition Turbo EPS with Fox IBP shocks. The Dynamix Edition XP Turbo EPS upgrades to Fox Live Valve IBP shocks and Ride Command for $25,999. The 2018 Can-Am Maverick 120-horsepower X3 is $19,999. The 172-horsepower X3 Turbo R is $22,999; the Maverick X3 X ds is $24,999; and the X3 X rs starts at $26,899.

HOW FAST IS THE XP TURBO?

The XP Turbo is among the fastest and quickest UTVs currently available. In stock form, it puts down 168 horsepower at the crank and only weighs 1500 pounds dry. In a straight power-to-weight contest, this puts the XP Turbo on the same playing field as the faster supercars, such as the Lambo or Ferrari. Standing on the throttle will put a smile on even the biggest power junky’s face. In a drag race, the XP Turbo fares just as you would expect, exhibiting minimal hesitation out of the hole; it comes on strong and keeps pulling. The XPT is easy to drive fast and will hold its own, even against the mild-to-moderately built UTVs from the competition. As for top speed, the XP Turbo still racks out at about 85 mph but has absolutely no problem getting there quickly.

RZR Turbos, 900s and 1000s all use 93mm pistons, but Turbos have 9.0:1 compression versus 10.6:1 (900s) and 11.0:1 (1000s). A 68mm stroke yields 925cc, and the ProStar twin is fed by twin 48mm EFI throttle bodies and an inter-cooled turbocharger to produce 168 horsepower. Driveline bearing upgrades for 2018 increase durability.

WHAT ABOUT THE CVT/EFI DELIVERY?

CVT delivery has been remarkably good with the RZR from the beginning. The XP 1000’s delivery was decent, and Polaris still continues to test, fine-tune and improve it. The Turbo was similar from the beginning, but impressive power and excessive heat caused belt durability issues early on. Polaris has addressed the clutch cooling issue with massive cooling and ventilation improvements. Increased cooling, combined with further clutching refinements, has all but eliminated belt breakage on the ’17 and ’18 model XP Turbos. Fortunately, all of these clutching upgrades will retrofit on the 2016 XP Turbo if you are experiencing any durability or heat issues.

EFI delivery is on point as well! We have no complaints about fuel delivery with any of the XP Turbos. Acceleration and power delivery are spot-on and crisp, regardless of elevation or ambient temperatures. We’ve run our XP Turbo in both extreme desert heat and freezing-cold winter temperatures, and the EFI system accommodates any changes very well.

Touch the shock icon on the main Ride Command page to access the Dynamix page. The coolest part of Dynamix is that in Sport mode, the SCM increases damping from 3 at 0–14 mph to 7 at 50 mph and above, and it also adjusts during braking, turning or accelerating to keep the ride level.

HOW DOES THE DYNAMIX TURBO HANDLE?

For all-around sport use, the Dynamix is the best-handling production UTV to date. Off the showroom floor, every previous UTV has been stuck with whatever suspension settings the manufacturer thought would suit the widest variety of users. The problem is that there are a variety of types of riders who will buy a UTV and even more types of terrain that each user will encounter. In other words, one size really doesn’t fit all! The manufacturer is forced to choose settings that will be “okay” for everyone but not necessarily great for anyone.

The Dynamix suspension offers three radically different suspension settings that are accessed by a dash-mounted toggle switch. This gives the guy who wants to cruise around at 10–20 mph a Comfort setting that won’t beat him up, but he can quickly switch to Sport mode when he’s ready to start pushing the limits. The Firm setting can be used like a panic button for G-outs or to raise the ride height and increase ground clearance when necessary.

In addition to the cab-adjustable, active-suspension system, the Dynamix RZR also features a setup similar to that of the previous Fox or Turbo editions with IBP shocks. These shocks provide a huge working range and are complemented by the addition of a front sway bar.

We loved the overall handling of the Dynamix Edition and felt that the Sport setting was ideal for just about anything over 15 mph. The only negative trait we noticed was on a high-speed, whooped-out power-line road. The rear center skid would drag through the deeper G-outs in the Sport setting, but the Firm setting was a little too much compression for the rest of the trail.

Other than the Live Valve magnetic solenoids replacing the mechanical compression adjusters, these are the same Fox 2.5 Podium IBP shocks found on the $22,999 Fox Edition XP Turbo. Considering that Ride Command costs $1900, the Dynamix Active Suspension comes to $1100.

HOW DOES THE ACTIVE SUSPENSION WORK?

The technology that has been implemented with the smart active suspension will do wonders for everyone from average to advanced drivers. The Dynamix system reacts immediately to your driving input and optimizes the suspension settings for every move. This system is amazingly effective, and whether or not you watch it work on the display screen, it is always working and bettering your ride. One key feature we really learned to appreciate is that the brake sensor tells the front shocks to go full stiff to minimize the nosedive effect. What’s more, if you stab the brakes and then get back on the throttle for a G-out or unexpected bump, the front shocks stay full compression for an extra second and a half, soaking up any unexpected hit. Another really cool and usable input is that when steering, the system will automatically stiffen up the outside two shocks, minimizing body roll and keeping the RZR flatter in the corners than ever before.

HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?

The brakes are as good as it gets; they will stop on a dime, hold you on a steep hill or do pretty much anything else you want them to do. Pedal feel is pretty good as well. The overall braking system inspires confidence; we had no complaints.

Remove the panel in the bed to access the spark plugs, oil-fill port and tool-less-access paper air filter. Dual-sided frog-skin intakes provide more air on 2017 and 2018 Turbos.

WHAT ABOUT ROCKS AND MUD?

We have not yet been full-on rock crawling with the Dynamix Edition, but we’ve taken it through extremely rocky terrain. In football- to basketball-sized rocks, the Firm setting will instantly give you the ground clearance you’re looking for. In tit-for-tat style, the ride is definitely more abusive, but the ground clearance will keep you from dragging the skid plate and/or hanging up. In larger, slower rock-crawling situations, the ground clearance should be an asset as well, but the stiffer settings will also limit articulation. On rocky downhills, we switched to Comfort and pinned it. Firm also maximizes clearance for mud and fights the added weight of mud clinging to the machine. Mud fans will want the accessory door inserts, as the front tires fling mud under the quarter doors and into the cab.

WHAT ABOUT RIDE QUALITY AND CAB COMFORT?

The overall ride quality of the Dynamix Edition is competitive with the best all-around sport UTVs we’ve ever driven. Driving it aggressively and fast is almost mindless, and it is extremely comfortable in the soft setting when cruising around slowly. Body roll has all but been eliminated between the two torsion bars and Dynamix system, and it turns on a dime. The RZR XP seat belts have been improved over the years, but we noticed they still have a tendency to lock up. The quarter doors worked flawlessly and gave us zero issues, but we really wish Polaris would just kick in the lowers instead of selling them as an accessory. If you’ve ridden with the bottoms installed, you will never want to go back. The tilt steering wheel, seating position and controls are all top-notch, and we like the Ride Command’s many features, although there are no speakers for the audio as on the 2017 Ride Command 1000.

The Fox 2.5 Podium IBP and IBP Live Valve shocks have three IBP ports controlled by reeds on Dynamix and Fox Edition RZRs, while Can-Am X3 Fox IBP shocks only have one IBP port each; however, X3s have cross-over rings for the dual-rate springs, while RZRs don’t have that ride-quality tuning option stock.

WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?

The Dynamix Edition RZR XP Turbo is the best all-around sport UTV we have driven to date. We were truly hoping for a 72-inch RZR XP model to compete with the West Coast desert-ready Maverick X3 X rs, but, nevertheless, we were impressed and excited by the Dynamix Live Valve suspension. Polaris has just shaken up the UTV market once again with this incredibly effective technology, and it will surely be the next great-selling machine that everyone has to have. As exciting as this machine is, however, we can’t help but think about how far this technology could go in the near future. While the Dynamix XP Turbo features three preset suspension settings, how long will it be before we see software allowing for fine-tuning of these available presets? It sure seems like the sky’s the limit, and we’re absolutely pumped to be along for the ride. 

SPECS:

2018 POLARIS RZR XP TURBO DYNAMIX EDITION EPS

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION

Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, DOHC 4-stroke twin

Displacement 925cc

Bore x stroke 93mm x 68mm (x2)

Compression ratio 9.0:1

Lubrication system Wet sump

Additional cooling Auto fan

Induction Turbocharged, 48mm EFI (x2)

Starting/back-up Electric/none

Starting procedure Turn ignition switch

Air filter:

  Type Paper pleat

  Access Tool-less, undo two straps

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 9.5 gal.

Wheelbase 90.0”

Overall length/width/height 119”/64”/73.75”

Ground clearance 13.5”

Claimed dry weight 1,500 lb.

Bed weight limit 300 lb.

Hitch No

Towing limit N/A

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Steel round tube

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arm w/ prel./comp.-adj. Fox Live Valve

IBP shocks/16”

  Rear IRS Trailing-arms w/ prel./comp.-adj. Fox Live

Valve IBP shocks/18”

Brakes/actuation:

  Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal

  Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal

Parking Lever on console

Tires:

  Front AT 29x9R14 Maxxis Bighorn

  Rear AT 29x11R14 Maxxis Bighorn

ELECTRICAL

DC outlet Console

Lighting:

  Front 2 LED hi/lo headlights

  Rear Dual LED brake/tail lights

DETAILS

Instrumentation Ride Command, speed/odo/trip/hour/

rpm/fuel/gear/clock/2WD-4WD

Colors Ghost Grey, Velocity Blue; Fox Edition,

Matte Sunset Red; Dynamix Edition, Black Pearl

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $19,999; Fox Edition, $22,999;

Dynamix Edition, $25,999

Contact Polaris, (800) POLARIS

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