— Testing the hottest non-turbo RZR —
With the high-performance Turbo wars raging, Polaris still has a strong following with the extreme-performance RZR XP 1000 EPS, so much so it serves as the base for the all-new single-seat RZR RS1 and is still winning races in both short-course and longer desert races and rallies. The venerable XP1K also comes in three wildly different Special Editions—Ride Command for an extra $2500, the mud-master High Lifter for an extra $3200, and the fully equipped Trails and Rocks Edition for an extra $4500. Let’s check out the base RZR XP 1000 EPS, which we tested in SoCal, Moab and Sand Hollow, Utah.
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2018?
Polaris dropped the MSRP from $19,499 to $17,999, and the XP1K got a new ignition switch that lets you run accessories without draining the battery in 2017. For 2018, Ti Matte Metallic was dropped and replaced with Black Pearl, joining White Lightning. It also comes with the T-rail seat belts with the adjustable shoulder rubber mounts from the XP Turbo. The base XP1K weighs a full 198 pounds less than the Trails and Rocks Edition.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The standard RZR XP 1000 EPS is now $17,999. The Ride Command Edition is $19,499. The High Lifter Edition is $21,199, and the Trails and Rocks Edition is $22,499. The all-new single-seat RZR RS1 1000 is $13,999, while the RZR S 1000 is also $17,999. Can-Am’s Maverick 1000R DPS is $17,599, and the Maverick 1000R X xc is $18,599. Can-Am’s 120-horsepower Maverick X3 Turbo is $19,999. Textron’s Wildcat 1000 X is $16,999. The Limited is $18,499, and the new 125-horsepower Wildcat XX is $20,499. Yamaha’s manual-shift, 114-horsepower YXZ1000R starts at $18,999, and the Sport Shift starts at $19,799.
HOW FAST IS THE PROSTAR 999?
Really fast. The 110-horsepower ProStar twin cranks out 71 foot-pounds of torque. It propels the 1400-pound machine to 78 mph in high and is screaming at 42 mph in low. While the 999cc twin with 11.0:1 compression accelerates hard, it doesn’t pin you to the seats like an XP Turbo or Turbo S. It’s fun, predictable power, making the agile RZR a blast to slide.
HOW ABOUT THE DELIVERY & DRIVETRAIN?
It’s not top-shelf like XP Turbos, but the XP1K gets the job done. The EFI throttle map and CVT tuning are matched well for duning, trail riding and rock crawling; however, the XP1K doesn’t get the same high-grade CVT belt, front diff or axles as Turbos or even the RS1. It still performs at a high level but doesn’t take abuse like a turbo. The On-Demand 4WD system reduces but doesn’t eliminate pushing in soft turns, nor does it deliver four-wheel compression braking on downhills. A little trailing throttle slows the rears only, and there is no dedicated EBS.
HOW DOES THE XP1K HANDLE?
It’s very agile. With a 90-inch wheelbase, the XP1K will change lines quickly on the trail, and it turns in well. It has the power to carry drifts, but other UTVs are more predictable on rough terrain. The 1000 isn’t as stable in a straight line as Maverick X3s and Wildcats, as it tends to buck in big desert whoops and doesn’t track as well.
WHAT ABOUT THE SUSPENSION & WER SHOCKS?
They’re really good but could be better. With 16 inches of front and 18 inches of rear travel, the tubular A-arms and trailing arms get the job done, and the rear end has a torsion bar to fight body roll. The 2.0 front and 2.5 rear Walker Evans piggyback needle shocks are tuned for a plush ride but don’t have cross-over rings for the dual-rate springs like the X3s or XXs. Polaris set all WER compression clickers at eight clicks out; we went stiffer to six out in front for less dive under braking and a more comfortable, balanced ride in dunes.
HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
They’re strong, but there are stronger. Dual-puck calipers squeeze 248mm rotors at all four corners, and the 29-inch Bighorns supply plenty of braking traction. Newer turbos have thicker rotors and three-piston front calipers, so racers will want to upgrade.
WHAT WOULD WE CHANGE?
Unless the XP1K is going to be dune-specific, we would find some OEM take-off front wheels and 29×9-14 Bighorns for the rear, resulting in crisper handling and less front-end push. Next, we would upgrade the suspension to Shock Therapy’s Level 3 XP1K spring kit ($499.95), which includes four silent cross-over rings and four replacement top springs for true dual-rate ride quality and balance. This is the bare minimum. For all-out performance, we would go with ST’s Level 4 (eight-spring) DRS kit ($799.95), RIS valving ($649.95), front torsion bar kit ($649.95) and stiffer rear torsion bar with links ($549.95). This makes the XP1K float over the nastiest terrain while handling like it’s on rails at any speed. Then we would add a roof, door lowers and mirrors.
WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
What was once the class standard isn’t anymore. The tilt steering wheel is nice and comfortable, and so are the bucket seats and new lap belts, but the Trails and Rocks Edition and Turbo S come with retracting Sub-Zero harnesses. The analog speedometer isn’t nearly as cool or functional as the Ride Command interactive screen and GPS, and we’ve never been a fan of the center iPhone holder and cubbyhole; it’s a nice spot for a radio/intercom system, though. The quarter doors are curved for comfort, and the floor’s drain plugs are handy. Ride quality is good with the WER shocks, but cross-overs and top springs make it much better.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
Especially with the new lower price, the Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS is a solid performer wherever it’s ridden. It’s an able dune, desert, trail and mountain machine in stock form and is still winning WORCS, LOORRS, SCORE and BITD races when modified. It has a great powerplant, agile handling, good suspension and a roomy cabin with lots of elbow and leg room.
2018 POLARIS RZR XP 1000 EPS
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, DOHC 4-stroke twin
Bore x stroke 93mm x 73.5mm (x2)
Compression ratio 11.0:1
Lubrication system Wet sump
Additional cooling Auto fan
Carburetion 48mm EFI (x2)
Starting procedure Turn ignition switch w/ brake on
Type Paper pleat
Access Tool-less, remove bed hatch & undo 4 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
Fuel capacity 9.5 gal.
Overall length/width/height 119”/64”/73.75”
Ground clearance 13.5”
Claimed dry weight 1,369 lb.
Bed weight limit 300 lb.
Towing limit N/A
Frame Steel round tube
Front Dual A-arm w/ prel./comp.-adj. 2.0 shocks/16”
Rear IRS Trailing-arms w/ prel./comp.-adj.
Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Parking Lever on console
Front 29x9R14 Maxxis Bighorn
Rear 29x11R14 Maxxis Bighorn
DC outlet Console
Front 2 LED hi/lo headlights
Rear Dual LED brake/tail lights
Instrumentation Analog speed/odo/trip/hour/rpm/fuel/
Colors Black Pearl, White Lightning
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $17,999
Contact Polaris, (800) POLARIS