Page 81

Working Ranch - March 2018

ne piece of equipment that has become a staple among ranchers is the side-by-side UTV. One of the most popular among a small herd of work-oriented side-bysides is the Ranger XP 900 that Polaris Industries brought to market fi ve years ago. It’s a great machine, well-built, strong and reliable. But it may soon lose its favored spot in the ranch fl eet. That’s because the 2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS (base MSRP: $15,299), with more than 100 “owner inspired” improvements and 200- plus accessories, just rolled out. “We spent the last three years working directly with ranchers, farmers, hunters and other customers across the country getting their input on how we could make the XP 900 better,” says Chris Judson, Polaris Product Planning Director. Among those changes is the stance and style. The new XP 1000 EPS (electronic power steering), which is available in both regular cab and Crew models, is a couple inches taller than the old model, has a more rigid frame, and it features a sleeker, more pickup-like front-end styling with angular headlights. It also runs on 27-inch, 6-ply tires giving it 13 inches of ground clearance and 11 inches of suspension travel, an inch more of each than the previous generation Rangers. But what makes an even bigger difference from the driver’s seat is the steering is considerably quicker (19%) and the machine is tighter turning (13%) than its predecessor thanks to new suspension geometry and a faster ratio steering rack. EASY ACCESS Inside it feels bigger, and more spacious. Five inches more leg and foot By Bruce W. Smith Images by the author and courtesy of the manufacturer The 2018 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 EPS should be a welcome addition to any ranch operation. Polaris even offers an all-season, all-weather Northstar Edition that has a sealed cab with both heat and A/C. room give much needed space in the standard three-across cab thanks to wider doors and a refi ned split-bench seat, which makes getting in or out easy even while wearing waders. Cup holders abound (we counted six) as does both open and sealed storage compartments in the cab including two glove boxes. The headlight switch is now located on the outside edge of the dash where it can be easily reached standing outside the cab. The new Ranger’s accessories offer single-point plug-and-play wiring harnesses with easy access to the primary and secondary (under the tilt bed) power distribution centers. The bed, which is now deeper and stronger, has new fenders that keep mud at bay, a new easy-open tailgate, and redesigned stake pockets and divider tracks to make compartmentalization easier. Up front, Polaris’ engineers made it easier to pop off the grille to clean the radiator, and they moved the engine’s air intakes high under the hood cowl. This change, along with some minor electronic tuning, added 2hp to bring output to a class-leading 82hp and 62 lbs.-ft. torque. During our drive experiences we found those horses to move the Rangers we were driving along very briskly, topping 45mph and never once feeling sluggish. Speaking of performance, the 2018 XP 1000’s transmission now utilizes the same drive belt as the 144hp RZR Turbo, a new belt-cooling design, along with a completely redesigned clutch system that is claimed to double belt life and ease serviceability. With the new clutch comes engine braking—a great feature in hilly, steep terrain or while towing trailers—and velvet-smooth tip-in throttle response. Those changes contributed to upping the Ranger’s towing capacity from 2,000 pounds to 2,500— the biggest capacity on the market. ALL-SEASON WORKER Here’s the 2018 Ranger’s coolest asset: the all-season cab found on the Northstar Edition (MSRP: $23,999-US.) The doors utilize automotive-style rubber seals, which Polaris claims seals out dust three times better than the nearest competitor, and does a similar job sealing out water. We drove a Northstar Edition in sweltering 90-plus-temperatures for several hours over gravel and dusty farm roads during our multiday outing at the Honey Brake Lodge & Gun Club in Louisiana. The factory A/C system kept the interior a comfy 75 degrees with no sign of dust leaking into the cab. The 2WD/AWD 2018 Ranger XP 1000 is truly a refi ned, well thought out, quiet, comfortable, durable work machine. For more, visit Polaris.com or your local dealer. Polaris 2018 XP 1000 EPS side-by-side MARCH 2018 I WORKING RANCH I 81


Working Ranch - March 2018
To see the actual publication please follow the link above