Polaris introduced the Desert Edition RZR XP 1000 (tested December 2014) for 2015, but it didn’t return for 2016, despite the fact that the Desert LE was perfectly suited for eastern conditions with its 30-inch tires on beadlock wheels, high-clearance A-arms and link rods, bumpers, and nerf bars. We spotted two High Lifter Edition RZRs at 2016 rock-crawling jamborees in Utah, so it’s great to see Polaris introduce the 2017 RZR XP 1000 Gold Matte Metallic EPS LE, the first factory-equipped rock-crawler limited edition. The Gold Matte LE is its official name, because what we call “rock crawling” in the desert Southwest is called “trail riding” in the east, where nearly every trail is infested with limestone boulders and ledges at Brimstone Recreation, Windrock Park, Hatfield-McCoy and other riding areas.
WHAT’S AN XP 1000 GOLD EDITION EPS LE?
First off, standard RZR XP 1000 EPS’ got an $800 price reduction for 2017. As they did last year, XP1Ks make 110 horsepower and have Polaris’ variable-assist electronic power steering (EPS) and 2.0 Walker Evans Racing piggyback front shocks. One thing 2017 RZR XP 1000s don’t get is WER 2.5 remote-reservoir rear shocks; instead, all get WER 2.5 piggyback needle shocks to match the WER 2.0 front shocks. These needle shocks have a large aluminum needle that’s stepped to progressively limit fluid flow during travel to fight bottoming. They still have dual-rate springs but no cross-overs and 16-position compression-damping adjusters with large knobs. New for 2017, the XP1K is available in three limited editions: the Velocity Blue High Lifter Edition, the Velocity Blue Ride Command Edition and the Gold Matte Metallic Edition. Only the Ride Command LE and XP Turbos get the high-end Fox IBP rear shocks with large remote reservoirs.
On the Gold Edition, 30-inch Pro Armor Crawler XG tires on four 14×10-inch aluminum beadlock rims provide the rock, desert or tarmac traction, and the high-clearance front A-arms, front brush-guard bumper, UHMW skid plate, rock sliders, 4500-pound winch with synthetic line, high-clearance link rods, high-visibility front fender flares and close-ratio On-Demand AWD front diff arm it for battle. A 55-percent-lower low range is the same as on the High Lifter Edition, as is the gear-driven reverse. It also has an exclusive gated shifter and stronger front axle half-shafts. The Rock Crawler Edition also gets six-point harnesses with automotive-style retracting shoulder straps, quick-release chest and lap retainers and a rear-view mirror. All other RZR XPs get the 2016 High Lifter Edition’s dual-row chain-driven reverse. And, whereas the XP Turbos get a new 1.5-turn steering rack, the Gold LE actually gets a rack with slower turning than standard XP 1000s due to the limited-slip front diff.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
While the standard White Lightning or Titanium Metallic 2017 XP 1000 with EPS is $19,499, the fully equipped Gold Edition is $23,999. The High Lifter Edition is $22,699 ($800 less than 2016), and the Ride Command LE is $20,999 with front and rear cameras. The 2017 Can-Am Maverick 1000R X mr is $21,199, while the Maverick 1000 X xc is $18,599. The Maverick 1000R Turbo is $20,499, while new X3 Turbos are $20,999 to $26,899. The 2017 Wildcat 1000X RG Pro EPS is $18,499, and the Limited RG Pro 1000 is $19,499. Yamaha’s YXZ1000R is $19,999 to $21,599, while the YXZ1000R Sport Shift is $20,599 to $22,399. With around $5000 in PURE Polaris accessories, the Gold LE is a bargain at $23,999.
HOW FAST IS THE PROSTAR 999?
Seriously fast. The high-compression twin has serious yank and rips out of the hole and from turn to turn. It does 78–79 mph in high and is screaming at 25 mph in the new low. A new throttle map gives you more low-speed control for easing up big rock ledges, yet it still thrills in the upper revs.
HOW ABOUT THE DELIVERY & DRIVETRAIN?
It sets the gold standard. The lower low and low-speed throttle map let it lope along at a slow walking speed, which is great for easing up obstacles. The new extreme-performance True On-Demand all-wheel drive front diff is the quickest-engaging Polaris front diff yet, so it pulls up rock faces yet still freewheels into turns to enhance turn-in. Also, although there is no official engine braking system, the lower low provides plenty of compression braking when you keep the belt engaged with a little trailing throttle, and the gated shifter assures you’re in park if you have to get out to stack rocks. Polaris has three AWD-system front diffs. Non-EPS RZRs have 20-percent slip. EPS RZRs have 7-percent slip, and the limited editions have 1-percent slip.
HOW DOES THE GOLD EDITION HANDLE?
Very well, even out of its element. In between rock obstacles at Sand Hollow and Dove Springs/Jawbone, the Gold Edition is agile and sure-footed in hardpack and sand-dune bowls and ridges. The narrow 10-inch rear rims and Crawler XG tires encourage drifts into turns and deliver consistent slides on exit. The rear torsion bar keeps the body roll under control in turns yet still articulates in rocks.
WHAT ABOUT THE SUSPENSION & WER SHOCKS?
Ride quality is excellent. Although the rear WER piggyback shocks don’t have the fluid volume of the remote-reservoir shocks on XP Turbos, it takes a lot of high-speed whoops to cause heat fade. Travel is still 16 inches front and 18 inches rear, but the high-clearance lower A-arms and radius rods are stouter and more rigid. Balance is good between front and rear ends, and the spring and damping settings are very good. Polaris recommends compression clickers be set at 5–7 clicks out. We tried 7 out all around and were comfortable with the ride in desert, dunes and rocks, but we ended up at 5 out in front for choppy whoops.
HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
Very strong. Dual-puck calipers squeeze 248mm rotors at all four corners, and the Pro Armor Crawler XG 30-inch tires provide a lot of braking traction. We ran them at 15/16 psi and then went to 11 psi for better grip and ride quality.
WHAT ABOUT ROCKY TRAIL COMFORT?
It’s excellent. Bolstered seats are very comfortable—more so with the Click-6 harnesses, which are padded and allow movement for reaching into the deep glove box or center cubby for the winch remote but lock in a panic-brake situation. The adjustable driver’s slider and tilt wheel accommodate most drivers, and elbowroom is plentiful with the curved quarter doors and updated cab. Noise and vibration in the cabin are low, and the adjustable passenger T-bar is nice; however, the Maverick X3 X rs and all YXZs come with a standard roof but the new Gold LE doesn’t. Also, the lowest Click-6 (six-point) harnesses constrict leg movement, so we ran them full loose.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
Unless you’re a full-on dune enthusiast, the RZR XP 1000 Gold Matte Metallic LE packs a lot of features and performance into a tight, great-looking package. It’s a fantastic trail and rock machine that still does desert and dunes very well. The 30-inch Crawler XG tires and high-clearance suspension arms make the 14 inches of ground clearance seem like more, and the lower low and new throttle map make the gnarliest obstacles seem like mole hills. The full skid plate, rock sliders, beadlock wheels, winch and front bumper with tow loop add to the RZR XP’s capabilities. It looks great sitting still and makes the pilot look more skilled in motion.
2017 POLARIS RZR XP 1000 GOLD MATTE METALLIC EPS LE
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 123.5”/64”/76”
Ground clearance 14”
Claimed dry weight 1,567 lb.
Bed weight limit 300 lb.
Towing limit N/A
Frame Steel round tube
Front Dual A-arm w/ prel./comp.-adj. shocks/16”
Rear IRS Trailing-arms w/ prel./comp.-adj. shocks/18”
Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Parking Lever on console
Front 30×10-14 Pro Armor Crawler XG
Rear 30×10-14 Pro Armor Crawler XG
DC outlet Console
Front 2 LED hi/lo headlights
Rear Dual LED brake/tail lights
Instrumentation Digital Speed/odo/trip/hour/rpm/fuel/
Colors Gold Matte Metallic
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $23,999
Contact Polaris, (800) POLARIS