POLARIS RZR XP 1000 EPS

— 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.

In deep dune sand and on harder surfaces, the RZR XP 1000 EPS is a very agile and willing cornering partner. The quarter doors let sand and mud into the cabin, though.

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.

We like the over-molded tilt steering wheel with thumb nubs and variable-assist EPS, but the old-school analog speedometer with small LCD digital screen is hard to read at speed. The center cubbyhole with iPhone holder is really hard to open.

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.    

Remove a panel in the bed and the airbox lid to access the paper-pleat air filter. After two days in the dunes, sand had worked its way into the airbox via the frog-skin inlet and duct.

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.

The RZR XP 1000 EPS has a 64-inch width and 13.5 inches of ground clearance. Long A-arms and 2.0 Walker Evans needle shocks deliver 16 inches of front travel. The WER shocks have 16-position compression-damping adjusters set at eight out, the midpoint of the range. We stiffened the front by going to six out.

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.

Trailing arms with straight radius rods and 2.5 WER piggyback shocks deliver 18 inches of rear-wheel travel, and a torsion bar fights body roll in turns. The XP1K comes with rear 29x11R14 Maxxis Bighorn radials, while the Trails Edition sports rear 30×10-14 Crawler XGs on beadlock rims. Taillights are LED.

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.

Polaris has produced the RZR XP 1000 since 2014, and the 2018 RZR XP1K is still a force to be reckoned with in all-around trail riding, duning and sanctioned UTV racing. Factory Polaris racer Beau Baron airs out our XP1K on a Sand Hollow State Park dune.

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.

Two 93mm pistons ride on a 73.5mm stroke with a compression ratio of 11.0:1 and output of 110 horsepower with 71 foot-pounds of torque via two 48mm EFI throttle bodies. It’s strong enough for 80-plus-mph top speeds. Check out how the rear shocks have coil binding of the top springs at normal ride height; longer top springs and cross-over rings would improve the ride.

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.

XP1Ks have two-piston hydraulic calipers and 248mm perforated discs on all four corners, while the turbos have triple-piston front calipers and thicker rotors. Brake lines are braided stainless steel with clear plastic covers.

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.

SPECS:

2018 POLARIS RZR XP 1000 EPS

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

Carburetion 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 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

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 1,369 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. 2.0 shocks/16”

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

2.5 shocks/18”

Brakes/actuation:

  Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal

  Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal

Parking Lever on console

Tires:

  Front 29x9R14 Maxxis Bighorn

  Rear 29x11R14 Maxxis Bighorn

ELECTRICAL

DC outlet Console

Lighting:

  Front 2 LED hi/lo headlights

  Rear Dual LED brake/tail lights

DETAILS

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

gear/clock/2WD-4WD

Colors Black Pearl, White Lightning

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $17,999

Contact Polaris, (800) POLARIS

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