POLARIS RZR RS1

— 110 hp, great handling & lowest price —

Polaris stunned the UTV last year with its race-inspired RZR RS1, which has had great success in WORCS racing, so much so that Beau Baron even chose to campaign one in the Turbo class for 2019 (August 2019). We tried out the new RZR RS1 last year at the King of the Hammers (May 2018), Moab Rally on the Rocks (September 2018) with HCR Racing mid-travel suspension kit and at Glamis Dunes with Shock Therapy suspension mods (March 2019). This time we checked out the 2019 RZR RS1 at Polaris Red Rock Adventures, thanks to Sedona ATV ([928] 204-0000).

Polaris designed the 2018–2019 RZR RS1 1000 EPS for extreme performance and big fun for one. It’s a lot of fun on twisty trails, in dunes and on short-course tracks with its great agility. It’s a great UTV bargain, too.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2019?

Little but the price tag, which increased by $1000 for 2019. Introduced in 2018, the RS1 combines the RZR XP 1000 engine, air box and brakes with the CVT clutches, CVT belt, transmission, front diff and axles of the XP Turbo. The RS1 also got a two-foot brake pedal, a brake-throttle over-ride in the ECU, Sub-Zero four-point harness, and rear radiator mounting for racing, along with a seven-inch shorter wheelbase than the XP1K. For 2019, the RS1 reverted to the standard shoulder belt instead of the Sub-Zero harness.

Our Sedona ATV test unit was modified with 30x10R14 Sedona Rockabilly tires and Polaris’ accessory half windscreen ($159.99), aluminum roof ($309.99), and rear-view mirror ($74.99). Like the XP1K, the RS1 comes stock with 29-inch Bighorns.

The over-molded steering wheel with thumb bulges is comfortable, and the analog speedo and tach are easy to read. The digital read-out can be configured to display different parameters, like engine coolant temperature.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?

Polaris set the 2019 RZR RS1 EPS price at $14,999. The RZR XP 1000 EPS starts at $18,599, the Ride Command Edition is $19,999, the High Lifter Edition goes for $21,699, and the Rocks and Trails Edition is $22,999. The Polaris Ace 900 XC is $12,999, and there are no other single-seat UTVs to compare to the RS1.

HOW FAST IS THE PROSTAR 999?

Very fast. Although the RS1 has the same 110 hp engine as the RZR XP 1000, its driveline starts with the XP Turbo’s CVT clutch and transmission, and transfers power via the turbo front diff. Acceleration is potent, although the RS1 is only 29 pounds lighter than the XP1K. It tops out at 78 mph in high and 42 mph in low, and the inch-taller Sedona tires didn’t affect acceleration one bit.

The RZR RS1 has a width of 64 inches and 21 inches of front travel with Walker Evans 2.0 piggyback front needle shocks. LED headlights are good for night rides, and we never needed the front tow hook. We really like the accessory aluminum roof.

HOW ABOUT THE DELIVERY & DRIVETRAIN?

It’s top-shelf. Turbo drivetrain components arm the RS1 for extreme performance and racing. The CVT and EFI tuning are well-matched for every situation, from matting the throttle on fast trails to extreme rock crawling. The range selector is positive and fairly slick, and the RS1 was very sure-footed on Sedona’s slick rock. We would like to see an EBS system for rock crawling, though. A little trailing throttle keeps the belt hooked up on steep descents, but the front diff doesn’t engage for four-wheel compression braking since the fronts are turning faster than the rears. The all-wheel drive only engages when the rears spin faster than the fronts.

Rear travel is also 21 inches with WER 2.5 remote-reservoir needle shocks, long trailing arms and hollow radius rods from the XP Turbo. The long LED taillight is bright, and the high-mounted engine and CVT intakes reduce cabin noise.

HOW DOES THE RS1 HANDLE?

Better than the RZR XP 1000! The RS1 has a shorter wheelbase for more agility, and front and rear torsion bars fight body roll in corners. It is a blast to drift the RS1 into fast corners, especially with the front-width Sedonas on the rear rims. The two-foot brake pedal and ECU over-ride help set up drifts into corners, and the On-Demand AWD pulls you out of turns. It’s a super-predictable slider. When we hit sand highway last year in the Shock Therapy RS1, we were amazed with its whoop-eating abilities and straight tracking. We are also impressed with the EPS assist levels at all speeds.

The 999cc ProStar twin is fed by eight valves and two 48mm EFI throttle bodies. Pistons are 93mm, stroke is 73.5mm and compression is 11:1, just like the XP 1000. It runs strong on 87-octane unleaded, where the Turbo wants 91 octane.

WHAT ABOUT THE SUSPENSION & WER SHOCKS?

Also excellent. The RS1 starts out the same as the XP1K with 2.0 front and 2.5 rear WER needle shocks, but the RS1 has remote-reservoir rear shocks instead of piggybacks. These shocks have 16-position compression adjusters and deliver 21 inches of travel with the gull-wing front A-arms and rear trailing arms. Articulation is great for rock crawling, yet cornering is flat with the dual sway bars. Our RS1 had the compression on full soft for the rocks and roots around Sedona, and ride quality was excellent. This was aided by the extra sidewall of the 30-inch Sedonas.

Here you can see how the narrow cabin and doors aid sight line to the front tires for rock crawling. The skid plate protects the underside well, including the pivots for the trailing arms. The doors keep flung mud out of the cabin.

HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?

Racing strong! The RS1 has the same brakes as the XP1K, and each wheel gets a twin-puck caliper and 248mm rotor. The brakes are strong, even with the Sedona 30x10R14 Rockabilly tires adding footprint. There is no engine braking or active descent control, though.

Two straps and a rotating latch secure the rear fenders, which direct air to the rear-mounted radiator with two fans. Although the ride quality is good, aftermarket spring kits with cross-over rings, like those from Shock Therapy, improve the ride and control.

WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?

The RS1 has a roomy cockpit and great ergonomics, and we really like the instrument panel that tilts with the steering wheel. The bucket seat is comfortable and supportive, but we miss the extra security of the 2018’s Sub-Zero harnesses over the current lap belt. The seat is adjustable, and the low-boy half door is nice, too. There is plenty of room for taller drivers, and the controls are excellent. Storage is at a minimum, though. There is a small storage under the hood with 20-pound capacity, and the radiator cover doubles as a small bed with 50-pound capacity. Polaris does have an accessory rear cooler/storage bag combo ($259.99), QuikReach 525 DashPacks ($84.99) and 625 DoorPack ($94.99), and 830 under-hood cooler/storage ($114.99). We also like the accessory aluminum roof.

The comfortable seat slides for adjustment, and the low-boy door and side panel allow better view of the front tires while providing protection. We like the original Sub-Zero harness better than the shoulder belt.

WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?

Every time we drive the RZR RS1, we’re more impressed with its capabilities, performance, comfort and agility. It does everything well with very little demand from the driver. It’s a great rock crawler, trail and mountain machine, and duner. All are aided by the single-seat cabin that lets you see the front tires for precise placement. The cage-mounted engine and CVT intakes quiet intake noise and give the RS1 deep-water breathing. The high intakes also suck less dust. We like it. How long before there is a RZR RS1 Turbo S?

SPECS:

2019 POLARIS RZR RS1

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION

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

Displacement 999cc

Bore x stroke 93mm x 73.5mm (x2)

Compression ratio 11.0:1

Lubrication system Wet sump

Additional cooling Auto fan

Induction 48mm EFI (x2)

Starting/back-up Electric/none

Starting procedure Turn ignition switch w/brake on

Air filter:

  Type Paper pleat

  Access Tool-less, remove seat, hatch & undo

four clasps

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 83.0”

Overall length/width/height 112”/70”/73.75”

Ground clearance 13.0”

Claimed dry weight 1,340 lbs

Bed weight limit 50 lbs

Hitch No

Towing limit N/A

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Steel round tube

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arm w/ prel./comp.-adj. 2.0 shocks/21”

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

2.5 shocks/21”

Brakes/actuation:

  Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal

  Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal

Parking Lever on console

Tires:

  Front 29×9-14 Maxxis Bighorn

  Rear 29×11-14 Maxxis Bighorn

ELECTRICAL

DC outlet Right-side console

Lighting:

  Front 2 LED hi/lo headlights

  Rear Dual LED brake/tail lights

DETAILS

Instrumentation Digital speed/odo/trip/hour/rpm/fuel/

gear/clock/2WD-4WD

Colors White Lightning, Black Pearl

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $14,999

Contact Polaris, (800) POLARIS

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