— Polaris’ 2016 General created the crossover sport utility class with more than a foot of suspension, a 100-horsepower RZR engine and bucket seats. The new General 4 lets more people get in on the fun. Polaris stretched the five-star off-road limo by 32 inches to create the General 4 1000 EPS, and there is only one trim level available for 2017, equivalent to a Premium two-seat. Let’s strap in and check it out.
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2017?
In review, the General 4 1000 EPS has a 100-horsepower engine from the RZR S 1000, plus RZR S suspension and width, drivetrain and rolling stock. General 4s have a boat-style upswept chassis for more ground clearance, 32 inches more overall length, dual torsion bars, a tilting bed with folding tailgate, an all-new dash with cubby holes and an analog/digital instrument panel that tilts with the steering wheel. The General 4 also has an all-new CVT clutch with engine-braking system, new belt, and revised pedal map for smoothness and heavy lifting. Like the RZR S 1000, the General 4 sports 12.25 inches of front travel and 13.2 inches of rear travel. Unlike the RZR S, the General 4 doesn’t have piggyback Walker Evans shocks; it comes with all-new WER shocks with in-body reservoirs and ring-preload adjusters for the progressive-rate springs. Instead of Maxxis Coronado tires like the two-seat Premium, the General 4 gets GBC Dirt Commanders.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
Polaris set the price at $20,999 for the General 4. The Base two-seat General’s MSRP is $16,299. The Premium version is $17,799. The Deluxe goes for $20,299. The Hunter Edition is $18,999, and the Ride Command Limited Edition is $21,499. The RZR 4 900 EPS is $18,499, and the Ranger XP 1000 Crew is $16,999. Can-Am’s 85-horsepower Commander Max 1000 DPS is $16,599. Max XTs go for $19,099, and the top-shelf Max Limited is $22,099. The 72-horsepower Can-Am Defender Max HD10 DPS is $16,499 to $17,299, while the Max XT HD10s fetch $19,099 to $19,199.
HOW FAST IS THE GENERAL 4?
Fast enough to be fun and lead its class. The General 4 weighs 366 pounds more than the two-seat Premium, so it’s naturally going to have a lower power-to-weight ratio—18.57 pounds per horsepower versus 14.91. That said, the 100-horsepower ProStar twin still has serious yank, enough to make the transmission groan like the RSR S 1000’s. Top speed is a tick under 70 mph in high and 36 mph in low, and it has the power to maintain drifts and slides.
WHAT ABOUT THE DELIVERY?
It’s five-star. The EFI map and CVT response are delicate when you’re in technical terrain and deliberate when you stomp the throttle. It has decent yank, despite the 313 pounds of heft the four-seater has on the Ride Command LE two-seater tested last month. The General 4 has a handy toggle to instantly select 2WD, 4WD or turf-saving 1WD, and you can hear the rear diff unlock. The On-Demand 4WD system is great, as it eliminates push going into corners and engages the front end coming out. The Engine Braking System helps set up drifts, too, but EBS only slows the rear tires on steep descents. The metal range lever is long for more leverage on the tight linkage to the transmission.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
Predictably. With a wheelbase of 113 inches (32 inches more than the General), the General 4 doesn’t snake through twisty trails like a sport machine, but it’s super stable at speed. EPS assist keeps turning effort low, and front and rear torsion bars help keep body roll low in turns. Fully loaded with four people, the General 4 loses almost half of its ground clearance, which slows it down on whooped-out terrain.
HOW ABOUT THE WER SUSPENSION?
It depends. With one or two people on board, the HPG shocks deliver a good combination of ride quality and bottoming resistance on water bars and the like. The ride is awesome. Loaded down with four folks and a lead-footed driver, the Walker Evans HPG shocks ride lower and into a harsher damping zone, and they bottom easily on G-outs. Damping isn’t adjustable, either—just preload. If you’re going to be exploring with a full load, crank up the preload at all four corners to compensate.
HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
Plenty strong. Front dual-piston and rear single-piston calipers haul the 27-inch GBC Dirt Commanders down quickly, and stainless steel brake lines have little flex. Feel at the pedal is great, and the four-wheel disc brakes are backed up by EBS and a Park mode in the transmission.
WHAT ABOUT CREATURE COMFORTS?
They’re awesome. The General 4 has the most rear-passenger legroom, a full-length rear grab bar, two cup holders and a large storage bin with a padded, grippy cover. Seats also have grip covers with a stay-dry layer, and the front seats are adjustable and easily removable. Comfort and security are high with four bucket seats, and the tilt steering wheel is padded and comfortable. There’s plenty of leg- and elbowroom up front, too, and the General’s dash has lots of storage space and super-easy controls. A padded upright on the wide console offers a few hand-hold options for the navigator, and the doors with inner liners are comfortable as well. The rear doors only have inner latch handles, while the front doors have inner and outer openers. The General 4 doesn’t come with a roof, but the Lock & Ride Pro-Fit Sport roof is $499.99.
WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?
Polaris was smart to introduce the General last year and to follow it up with the General 4 1000 EPS for 2017. It has much better power, suspension travel, trail speed and ride quality than the Ranger Crew XP 1000 EPS, so it’s a much better choice for exploring and camping. The General 4 also has the same suspension travel as the RZR 4 900 EPS, plus 25 percent more horsepower and 100 percent more cargo capacity. It’s a great first-year effort with a great ride, awesome power and top-shelf comfort. We hope Polaris expands the General line to include a Deluxe and/or Ride Command General 4 for 2018 with Fox Podium X 2.0 or Walker Evans needle shocks.
2017 POLARIS GENERAL 4 1000 EPS 4X4
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, DOHC, 4-stroke twin
Bore x stroke 93mm x 73.5mm (x2)
Compression ratio 11:1
Lubrication system Wet sump
Additional cooling Auto fan
Carburetion 48mm EFI (x2)
Starting procedure Turn ignition switch
Type Paper pleat
Access Tool-less; lift bed, undo two straps
Transmission Dual-range CVT w/ rev. & EBS
Reverse procedure Move range selector to “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ auto diff-lock
Final drives Shafts
Fuel capacity 9.5 gal.
Overall length/width/height 150.2”/62.5”/75.0”
Ground clearance 12.0”
Claimed dry weight 1,857 lb.
Bed weight limit 600 lb.
Hitch 2” receiver
Towing limit 1,500 lb.
Frame Steel round/square tube
Front Dual A-arm w/ preload-adj. shocks/12.25”
Rear IRS dual A-arms w/ preload-adj. shocks/13.2”
Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Parking Mode in transmission
Front 27×9-14 GBC Dirt Commander
Rear 27×11-14 GBC Dirt Commander
DC outlet Console & dash
Front 2 LED hi/lo headlights
Rear Dual LED brake/tail lights
Colors Silver Pearl
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $20,999
Contact Polaris, (800) POLARIS