It was an attractive offer that David Curtis found hard to resist – a gourmet bacon butty breakfast and a day putting the Polaris ATV fleet through its paces at The Heart of England ‘off road’ track.
As soon as I arrived I could see it was going to be a very muddy day. The vehicles were lined up, fuelled up, warmed up and ready for action.
The track could have been a backdrop for a Men and Motors movie drama , challenging for both men and machines with deep muddy mini -mountains and streams to negotiate.
Last year was the most-significant product launch in Polaris Ranger history with the introduction of the next generation Ranger utility vehicles this year the line is more powerful with the addition of the 500 H.O engine for the RANGER 4×4 (now called RANGER 500 H.O.) and 800 EFI engine for the RANGER 800 XP, RANGER 800 HD, RANGER 800 CREW and RANGER 800 6×6. The new RANGER 800 XP also will have a power steering model available .
The heavy duty Ranger 800 6×6 is a truly powerful workhorse. For a start it has a gigantic 1 ton payload with a colossal (567kg) dump box and and a huge lockable job box for tools. It also has room for a couple of sturdy passengers.
The ‘800 breezed around the course, it has a new independent six-wheel drive suspension system – the axles articulate independently of one another for maximum traction in the changing terrain with the highest suspension for travel ( 24.4 cm front and 22.9 cm middle and rear).
The six wheel drive automatically engages all six wheels when you need more forward traction and usefully reverts back to four wheels when you don’t. Electronic powers steering takes away a lot of the work involved with demanding off road driving – you can steer with one finger . There is also a Ranger 800 ‘Crew’ with seating for six with generous front and rear leg room and a redesigned seat that’s angled back for car like comfort.
The Ranger EV is virtually silent. It’s an interesting option for outdoorsmen who don’t want to make a lot of noise Beyond its ultra-quiet electric motor, the Ranger EV is still very much a Ranger. Thanks to its 500-pound Lock & Ride cargo box, 1,200-pound towing capacity and 1,000 pounds of total payload, transporting hunting gear and game should be a snap. It feels strange driving a vehicle that doesn’t make any noise but you soon get to appreciate the silent running. Like all electric vehicles the ranger EV has 100 per cent of it’s torque available at any moment It features what Polaris is calling ‘the largest battery pack in the industry (11.5 kilowatts)’ and Polaris claims it has the longest range of any electric midsize. Its 30 horsepower electric motor has an estimated range of 35-45 miles and a top speed of 25 mph. According to Polaris, it should take about eight hours to recharge the batteries using a 110V outlet. You can choose between three drive modes ; High for speed, Low for towing and hauling, and Max for maximum range. If you drive around in High mode all the time, your batteries will drain a lot quicker, but the other modes don’t offer as much speed and performance
To help prolong battery life the tires on the Ranger EV don’t feature a very aggressive tread. However, this is not the type of vehicle you’d go mud-bogging in so tyre tread shouldn’t be a huge issue. I drove it around on grass and tarmac. It’s certainly not sluggish – it gets to 25 mph in an instant and handled easily over field and dale thanks to the all wheel drive system that automatically engages . Like it’s more aggressive siblings it has a certified rollover protection structure and a lock and ride cargo system.
The Sportsman 550 X2 is a beast. Real power is delivered by its 800 twin EFI engine through a six wheel shaft drive that delivers consistent controlled 40 HP performance. Despite the new anti kickback steering system designed to minimise rider fatigue that comes with constant jolts to the handlebars I discovered this was not a vehicle you could steer with one finger. After about ten minutes driving though I had the machine under control and soon appreciated just how good it was – it will go anywhere in any conditions – and it’s road legal.
Maggie Barrows Marketing Co-ordinator told The Landscaper, “with more power for the RANGER utility line, a new Midsize RANGER and the introduction of Polaris’ first electric vehicle, RANGER EV, our 2010 product line up offers innovation, power and value for the most complete off-road vehicle offering in the industry.”
I counted 26 different models in the Polaris ATV range with prices that range from £1,500 to £14,000 they have an ATV for every job and every wallet – save perhaps for an empty one.
It was a great day – drove home happy and muddy.
Tel 0800 915 6720 or visit www.polaris-britain.com
With annual 2008 sales of $1.9 billion, Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER™, snowmobiles and Victory motorcycles for recreational and utility use. Polaris is a recognized leader in the snowmobile industry; and one of the largest manufacturers of ORVs in the world
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