First Ride: Polaris RZR XP 4 Turbo S
A Beast Fit For the Whole Family!
There is no doubt the excitement around the office has been high since finding out we’d be receiving a new 2019 Polaris RZR XP 4 Turbo S. Upon delivery, the initial walk around heightened that excitement even further. Polaris promised quite a few big changes for the S, and visually that was very apparent, but would all of these changes make the driving experience that much better? Would they make the UTV perform that much better? So we concocted a plan to truly put it to the test. The location would be one of the harshest desert environments we know of, and the driver, lets just say I am not scared to put the skinny pedal to the floor and hold it there.
In the off-road racing community, The Parker 425 is among the most unforgiving races in the states. The race course is located just outside the small town of Parker, AZ, where the desert changes very quickly not only in terrain, but in temperature as well. It transitions from waist deep trophy truck whoops to sand dunes in a split second, then mix in some high and slow speed rock sections, as well as massively rough and rutted corners. A beautiful mid 80 degree morning can quickly turn into triple digits, taxing the cooling system as well everything else on the car. It all may sound a little brutal, but it’s exactly what we were looking for to put this new “Beast” of a RZR to the ultimate test.
Pulling the RZR XP 4 Turbo S off the trailer in this unforgiving environment, we were itching to start pushing the car to find if it lives up to the promises. With the new look and feel, we had our expectations set pretty high. Loading the gear in the cars, getting coolers secured down and helmets strapped tight, the nerves start to hit; we are about to push a UTV harder and faster through bigger terrain than we ever have before. Belting in, Polaris made a wise decision to do away with the standard 3 point auto style seat belt and put in a auto latch fixed 4 point harness. A big improvement in safety, but don’t fear aftermarket world, we would still prefer a 5 point harness in a performance car such as this, especially if it’s being pushed to the limit. On the same note, we found the need for more supportive aftermarket seats as well. For a trail rider, the seats are easy to get in and out of and comfortable, but pushing the car to the limits requires staying planted securely in the car. With almost no side or front bolster I found myself sliding around in the seat. But again, this allows you to pick what aftermarket seat works best for you, if you feel the need to do so.
Being 6’4, I often find the cabin area of UTVs cramped, and it was no different here. Being able to drop the seat down a few inches as well as slide back would not only help enhance a larger driver’s comfort, but it would also help get the center of gravity a bit lower. Feeling like you are sitting on the UTV and not in the UTV is definitely an uncomfortable feeling. Luckily there is nothing the aftermarket can’t fix to help each individual get the set up dialed to their own liking. The new instrument cluster and Ride Command system are both very easy to use and read while blasting down the trail, and for those that don’t like to run mirrors, a push of a button allows you to watch people disappear in your dust through the rear facing camera that displays within the Ride Command system. Another great added feature to the interior is the small cubby above the glove box with a rubber net to secure the contents. It would be perfect for an extra pair of goggles or gloves, or in our case, a handheld radio fit perfectly and was easily accessible.
While sliding around in the seat, I had the comfort of knowing my grip on the new steering wheel was never in question. In my opinion, going to the Sparco steering wheel was a massive improvement for the Turbo S. The quality of the wheel feels great in your hands and added a level of confidence knowing my hands wouldn’t slip if they start to sweat while pushing the UTV in the heat. Could you imagine if they went to Sparco seats next? I would be in heaven. The smaller diameter of the wheel was also a nice touch. With a smaller wheel you would assume that the steering would be a little tougher, but Polaris thought about that too. The wheel feels very light and easy to turn at slow speeds while giving the perfect amount of feedback in the high speed winding trails, I was very impressed.
As the mileage behind the wheel increased, so did my confidence in the car. As we flew through the trails, the wider 72” track width really came into its own, keeping the car flat and stable allowing the throttle to stay glued the floor while letting the front wheels pull us through the ruts and bumps, making us feel like we were on rails. Exiting the corner with a head of steam, the massive trophy truck whoops appeared. “Here we go, this will be a epic yard sale”, or at least I thought. In utter amazement, the car soaked it up and seemingly asked for more. There was a slight buck toward the end of the whoop section but nothing to be alarmed about… Looking back at the pictures, it was a sizable buck, but with the car in four wheel drive it settled down very quickly. If you want to be extremely aggressive through the big bumps, a little rear shock tuning will be needed as it feels a little soft, but for an out of the box UTV, Fox absolutely nailed the Live Valve set up. Having the ability to soften the car up through the chatter bumps then stiffen it up for the big hits is still an amazing feature. The best part is it’s all done with a simple rocker switch that easy to reach on the dash.
Beating through the whoops and rocks at high speeds isn’t for everyone. But if that’s your fancy, Polaris built this car for you. With all new beefed up front control arms, rear trailing arms, and high clearance radius rods, there is never a doubt that something will break. In addition to that, the new reinforced chassis makes makes the whole experience feel solid and planted to the ground. In four wheel drive, the 32 inch ITP Coyote tires were able to transfer the 168hp to the ground in a hurry, which really helped with rapidly exiting tight corners, as well as with climbing loose rocky hills where maintaining momentum is key. The choice to go to ITP for tires on the Turbo S was definitely a good one. These tires have great all around traction, as well as a strong sidewall to prevent any punctures, which is not something you want to deal with when miles out in the desert on a hot day.
After putting some serious miles on the all new 2019 Polaris RZR XP 4 Turbo S, I did have a few small complaints, but those were easy to set aside when you realize what this UTV is truly capable of. Overall, we were very impressed with the both the build quality of this new top of the line RZR, and its ability to easily handle the toughest terrain we could throw at it. Normally in a stock UTV, we find the limits of the car before finding the limits of the driver, but that was not the case here. The RZR XP 4 Turbo S has absolutely proven itself to be one nasty beast of a UTV, leaving us itching to get right back behind the wheel, and ready to tear up the roughest terrain we can find.