2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 HO First Ride 0
Polaris Industries has taken the UTV market by storm since it broke cover on its very first RZR model back in 2007. UTV enthusiasts seeking performance over work abilities have been drawn to the RZR like moths to a flame, and the numbers on the trails and dunes have grown every year. In a very Apple-like progression, Polaris has introduced new and more exciting models almost like clockwork. This year it’s the 2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 HO Jagged X Edition – a model based on the successful four-seat RZR XP 4 900 as a two-seat desert racing machine.
Taking its cues right from Jagged X Racing’s championship winning playbook, Polaris based the XP 900 HO on the four seat XP 4 chassis. It tossed the rear seats allowing for extra legroom, has an adjustable front drivers seat and stationary passenger seat. Filling the would-be void behind the seats are two large boxes with 2.5 cubic feet of storage space that can be removed easily. A blue cab frame, unique to this model, wraps around the rear of the Jagged X and ties into the rear of the frame at the suspension pivots just like most race or aftermarket examples. The very same Maxxis Big Horn tires that come with the up-spec XP 900 models are wrapped around Walker Evans Racing bead lock wheels. Finally, the first set of doors ever on an RZR complete the racer look, and it is one of the best looking UTVs to date from Polaris.
But the RZR XP 900 HO Jagged X has more than just race-model looks; Polaris also made sure this would be the best performing RZR to date. Larger 2.5-inch body Walker Evans piggyback shocks at the rear work with 2.0-inch front piggybacks. Both are adjustable for pre-load, compression and rebound. Electronic Power Steering assures responsive and light wheel inputs.
To complete the high performance package, power has been bumped up from the 88hp offered by the standard XP 900 engine to 94 for this special HO (High Output) unit. New exhaust and intake cams mated with stiffer valve springs add more punch, while new ECU settings make the most of the changes to the valvetrain. An SLP high performance exhaust adds a serious tone while improving performance. The CVT system received new clutch weights to put the extra juice to the ground effectively. Polaris claims that the Jagged X Edition will run dead-even with the lighter and shorter XP 900 two-seater and is 17% faster from 0-60mph than the XP 4 900.
MotoUSA was invited to sample the RZR XP 900 HO at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, better known asGlamis, over the New Year’s holiday weekend as Polaris hosted a massive UTV event dubbed Camp RZR. Somehow we were able to let them release the unit to us for testing in the desert afterwards as well for a more complete test. And test it we did, pounding out several days in the dunes and desert.
Getting into the Jagged X is much quicker and easier than any other RZR model. Grab the handle, swing the door open, slide into the deeply bolstered PRP racing seats and slam the door. No fooling with safety nets and the cumbersome plastic clips that hold them in place; every UTV should have doors if only for the convenience. While the PRP seats are ready to go for 5-point racing harnesses, an automotive-style 3-point belt keeps your butt in the seat. This would be the first change I would make if I owned one because a nice set of racing harnesses will keep you safe while holding you in the seat for more control. This would also cure the annoying problem of the shoulder belt rubbing on your neck if the seat is slid to the rear.
From the first stomp on the loud pedal it’s clear the XP 900 HO has more punch than the standard ProStar 900 mill. Throttle response is crisp and snappy, and the revised clutching hooks up hard. Not often do you find yourself wanting more power, and that is impressive considering how much power sand dunes sap. In the dirt the power will have you grinning from ear to ear. Power slides in 4WD are the norm no matter the surface, and you’ll be doing your best Ken Block impression all day long. That being said, for slow-speed maneuvering the power will cause a bit of jerkiness even in low-gear, making the unit jump forward with aggression. Once you are used to it and anticipate the jump, it is an almost non-issue. We had a chance to drag race the HO against a two-seat 2013 XP 900 and a 2013 XP 4, and Polaris’ claims are spot on in terms of performance. The XP 4 was left behind quickly while the XP 900 actually fell behind by one length at the quarter-mile mark.
Throwing the Jagged X around is some of the most fun you could ever have on four wheels. The steering has a light touch thanks to the Electronic Power Steering but is not muted at all, offering enough feedback to know what the front wheels are doing. In either 2- or 4-Wheel drive, the rear end is happy to step out when pushed, even when on the brakes. Even so, it’s always controllable and gives the XP 900 HO a lively feel. The oversteer tendencies actually help the longer wheelbase turn as tight as shorter machines; just flick it in and smash the throttle when things get tight.
While the longer wheelbase will hinder you in tight slow- speed maneuvering, it is the very reason Jagged X Racing chose to use an XP 4 to race in the desert. The extra length cuts down on the rear-end bucking that is common with UTVs, especially in whoops. Shorter machines transfer energy from a big bump from the front to back quickly and overwhelm the rear suspension as the rear wheels hit the same bump. Not the case with the XP 900 HO; even in the biggest buggy whoops we could find only the occasional out of rhythm G-out would cause the rear to kick up. Keep your foot on the throttle and the suspension will sort it out unless the holes and humps become truly ridiculous in size. The only criticism is that we had to turn the compression clickers almost all the way in on the rear shocks to allow the rear suspension to perform to its full potential. That leaves no more adjustment in the stock set-up, telling us the compression valving could be slightly stiffer in the rear shocks.
Overall, the 2013 Polaris XP 900 HO Jagged X Edition is absolutely the best RZR to date. The question is if the sticker price of $21,999 is worth it. If you want the best out of the box, and do not like making modifications, then absolutely. If you want to save the time and money to add all the high-end parts that come as standard, then yes. If you like tinkering and building something that is truly your own, then get the XP 4, order the HO engine bits and have a heyday turning wrenches. Either way you’ll end up with the same result – the best performing UTV money can buy.
2013 Polaris RXR XP 900 HO Tech Specs:
Engine: 875cc DOHC Twin Cylinder four-stroke
Fueling: Electronic Fuel Injection
Transmission: Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H; Shaft drive; On-Demand True AWD/2WD
Front Suspension: Dual A-arm Walker Evans 2″ body (comp/rebound/preload adjust) 13.5 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Trailing arm Walker Evans 2.5″ body (comp/rebound/preload adjust) 14 in. travel
Front/Rear Brakes: 4-Wheel hydraulic disc with dual-bore front and rear calipers
Front Wheel: 26 x 9-12; Maxxis Bighorn Tires
Rear Wheel: 26 x 12-12; Maxxis Bighorn Tires
Wheelbase: 107.4 in.
Dry Weight: 1529 lbs. (claimed)
LxWxH: 134.4 x 64 x 73.25 in.
Ground Clearance: 12.5 in.
Fuel Capacity: 7.25 gal
Bed Dimensions: 23 x 38 x 10 in.
Box Capacity: 300 lbs.
Payload Capacity: 800 lbs.