2012 Polaris RZR XP 4 900 First Ride 0
Consider how different the world of UTV’s would be if the 50-inch RZR was never brought to the market. It has changed the way many enjoy the outdoors, and with the model year 2011 wrapped up Polaris hits the ground running with another engineering marvel. Instead of taking just one other person in the ride across your favorite outdoor adventure park you can take three. Polaris already has a four-seater, but wait just a minute, not like this one. This is the 2012 Polaris RZR XP 4 900.
At a small town called Parker just west of Phoenix, Arizona, Polaris invited media to take a deep look into the newest model in the Ranger RZR line. The 2012 RZR XP 4 900 was revealed in conjunction with the Best in the Desert Parker 250 race. This is where we saw the XP 4 in person for the first time, as well as a version set up to be a legal racecar in the same series. Our testing ground just a few days from race was over 20 miles of the actual Parker 250 race course.
Polaris developed the Ranger RZR XP 4 900 after the fiercely popular XP 900, which came to the market in 2011. The sleek, aggressive lines and huge-over fenders make the two machines almost twins, but from the side view there is a different look as this year there are two more seats. Spreading the framework out to a 107.4-inch wheelbase gives enough room to carry the two extra riders. The cab of this newest member in the RZR line features cut and sewn plush seats and a tilting steering wheel for riders to control preference. It also gets the anti-cinch seat belts that keep your shoulders happy in choppy terrain.
Stepping out of the RZR XP 4 900 you’ll notice the same incredible suspension that had been developed for the XP 900. This suspension gives up a massive 13.5 inches of travel in the front and 14 inches in the rear. The ground clearance isn’t too shabby either at 12.5 inches. The rear of the XP 4 swings via the three link independent rear trailing arms and is dampened by Walker Evans race-inspired premium shocks. These shocks both front and rear have pre-load and compression adjustments so the discriminating driver can fine-tune the ride. Just a touch different from the front Walker Evans shocks with 2.0-inch shock bodies, the rear utilizes a set of 2.5-inch diameter shocks. This gives the machine more damping control as well as the ability to dissipate heat more effectively with the added weight of passenger and 1390-pound framework.
Power To Go
Getting the RZR XP 4 900 down the trail is the stunning ProStar 900 fuel-injected 4-stroke, liquid-cooled Twin and super-tough transmission. Once again the 875cc mill is the center of attention in the off-road community. This powerplant was first introduced in the XP 900 and was an instant success. With 88 HP, four valves per cylinder and twin throttle bodies feeding the firebox, this beast is capable of propelling a fully loaded XP 4 anywhere you point the front wheels. The light-weight, belt-driven and compact transmission is also very capable of delivering the massive power to the ground. Where huge power to ground spike loads are concerned in the deep, rutted off-road trails, the Polaris transmission has everything covered. The weight of the engine and transmission are located specifically to help balance the machine for more controlled high speed riding.
If getting the high-performance machine stopped is a concern then you will be happy to know that huge dual-bore front and rear brake calipers are at your service. The vented brake rotors also help keep the heat down to eliminate brake fade. When the trail gets steep or really rocky Polaris’ on-demand true all-wheel-drive system is there to help. Switching from 2WD to AWD makes the RZR XP 4 crawl up rocky ledges and through thick mud with ease. On the LE model of this machine, which is what we had the pleasure of driving, you’ll also get Polaris’ electronic power steering (EPS) as well as the tough Maxxis Big Horn tires. Of course it wouldn’t be a Limited edition with out the Liquid silver color and LE graphics to top it off.
On a brisk and windy morning we were hustled out to a spectator area just off Shea Road in Parker where group of XP 4 900 UTVs ripped to life. Starting the machine is no trouble as the fuel injection technology fires the ProStar 900 in an instant. Adjusting the steering was simple and it gives the larger rider a more comfortable entrance and exit from the machine by allowing just that little extra room. I was overwhelmed with anticipation to rip the desert trails and hardly noticed the extra peeps in the rear of my machine. Peddling the throttle was met with instant response from the engine. There’s a hint of difference between the XP 900’s power delivery and the new RZR XP 4 900, added weight being the culprit. I can say it’s not a big enough difference to really matter. The power delivery is quick but smooth and we didn’t get the jerky feeling like some machines have shown in the past.
Hitting the whooped-out Parker 250 course I did find the suspension needed a bit more spring as the compression adjustments just didn’t seem to be effective enough for my personal taste. The suspension issues were only at extremely high speed and through really rough terrain. While navigating the really rough terrain I always felt in control of the machine. Having the power steering on our LE model kept the hard impacts from rocks away and gave a sense of confidence. The bucket seats held us in and were very comfortable making for with little fatigue when the day was over. Sitting in the rear of this beast was very comfortable, but a bigger person may need a bit more leg room. It is not uncomfortable by any stretch and with the full length grab bar there is always somewhere to hold on for the ride.
This wonderful world we live in has many surprises, but few amaze me more than those that come as a complete and total package. Kind of like a firecracker that is perfectly equipped with the fuse, wrapping and explosion all stuffed into a single moment in time. Setting a benchmark for increasing quality, complete packages and also persistence to stay on top, has taken a company in Medina, Minnesota to the peak of the performance side-by-side off-road market. And if the past four years are an indication of their intent to continually raise the evolution bar, then I guess the old saying rings true for other manufacturers that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
’12 Polaris RZR XP 4 900 Specifications:
Engine Type:4-Stroke DOHC TwinDisplacement:875ccFuel System:Electronic Fuel InjectionCooling:LiquidTransmission:AutomaticDrive System:On-Demand AWD/2WDFront Suspension:Dual A-Arm Walker Evans 2″ body (comp adjust/res.) 13.5″ Travel
Rear Suspension:Trailing Arm Walker Evans 2.5″ body (comp adjust/res.) 14″ Travel
Front/Rear Brakes:4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Front and Rear Calipers
Parking Brake:Park in Transmission
Front Tires:27 x 9-12; ITP 900 XCT
Rear Tires:27 x 11-12; ITP 900 XCT
Dry Weight:1390 lbs.
Overall Dimensions:134.4″ x 64″ x 77″
Fuel Capacity:7.25 gal
Bed Dimensions:23 x 38 x 10″
Box Capacity:300 lbs.
Payload Capacity:900 lbs.
Cargo System:Lock & Ride
Lighting:White LED, High/Low
Power Steering:Base Red: Not Equipped. Liquid Silver LE: EPS is standard
Instrumentation:Digital Gauge, Speedometer, Odometer, Tachometer, Tripmeter, Hour Meter, Clock, Gear Indicator, Fuel Gauge, Hi-Temp/Low-Batt Lights, Coolant Temp, DC Outlets (2)