WINNER: Polaris Ranger 900
Clearly, Polaris is rabid in its continuing conquest of the SxS business in every segment. The new Ranger 900 XP is the personification of the drive Polaris has towards growing its worldwide leadership in this industry.
The new Ranger 900 is precisely that: New from its tip to its tailgate. The vehicle is barely three inches longer but the wheels have been pushed further toward each end, making the Ranger more capable in rough terrain and enhancing ride quality.
The front and rear suspensions are so plush, you could mistake the ride for that of an RZR. The 900 motor is a 60-horsepower, single throttle body version of the RZR XPs 88-hp mill. At 60 ponies this engine is immensely torquey and buttery smooth.
The fully tied-together driveline makes the old CVT-sub-tranny combo seem rough. There’s no driveline thrumming and a noticeably tighter feel on engagement and take-off. The cab features myriad improvements including an adjustable driver’s seat and huge underseat storage bins and the powertrain is now fully serviceable with the box raised.
One ride and you’ll be convinced this BIC Award winner is not just improved – it’s completely redefined the category.
Polaris practically invented the SxS genre and is proving it intends to continue leading it.
RUNNERS-UP: Can-Am Commander 800 XT & John Deere RSX 850i
Can-Am has nailed the dual purpose equation in the Sport/Utility segment with the Commander chassis. The dual level cargo box is a solid and functional hit with buyers. However, the commander’s sporty, performance feel and aggressive ergonomics play strong to the sport buyer.
We love the 800 Commanders exhaust sound and more importantly, the delivery of power from a torquey, smooth V-twin. Again, we strongly recommend buyers upgrade to the XT package or, in MY 2013, the DPS package – the value here is too good to ignore.
Like a sleeping giant waking from a long nap, John Deere has re-emerged in the business it launched in the early 1990’s. We might have been impressed if it had come to the market with touched-up Gator, but the Big Green Machine didnt do that – not a chance.
The new-from-the-ground-up RSX platform is a real Sport-Utility SxS that can play hard with anything in the segment. However, because its JD green, itll capably work hard and last for years.
There’s impressive stuff going on at Deere and the RSX is a clear indication of the company’s calculated commitment to the SxS market.