2014 Polaris RZR XP 4 1000 First Ride 0

14_polarisRZR4-frWhen Polaris introduced the RZR XP 1000, it was obvious a four-seat version would follow. The question was would it be a year later, following the cycle that had been established by its 800cc and 900cc predecessors? But those waiting for a XP 1000 with room for four didn’t have to wait as long as they thought. Just a few months after we sampled the RZR  XP 1000, we found ourselves on the sand dunes of Glamis shredding the 2014 Polaris RZR XP 4 1000.

In the simplest of terms the XP 4 1000 is a stretched four-seat XP1000. The same 999cc ProStar Twin that powers the XP 1000 is used in the XP 4, cranking out a claimed 107 horsepower. Dual Overhead Cams (DOHC) actuate four valves per cylinder to intake and expel fuel provided by the dual EFI throttle bodies. Between the two 1000 models there is no difference in the engine department, and that is a good thing as there is little doubt in our minds that this is the best performing side-by-side mill on the market.

Putting power to the dirt is done via Polaris’ PVT drive system that uses continuously variable clutch sheaves and a belt to drive a transmission with two forward (high and low) gears and a reverse. The transmission also features parking and neutral selections from the center console mounted shift lever. The clutch has been tuned to respond to the additional 219 pounds of vehicle and two extra passengers.

The 2014 Polaris XP 4 1000 is power by the same 107 horsepower ProStar engine found in the two-seat XP1000.

The 2014 Polaris XP 4 1000 is power by the same 107 horsepower ProStar engine found in the two-seat XP1000.

Seating for the rear passengers extends the body and wheelbase of the XP 4 1000 by 27 inches for an overall length of 146 inches, stretching 117 inches from tire to tire. That extra space gives enough room for full-sized adults while not having to resort to the stadium-style seating in most other four-passenger side-by-sides. Polaris explains the flat seating arrangement is important to keep the center of gravity lower for better handling in the corners. All four seats are heavily bolstered for a secure feel when the G’s increase and feature Dryseat technology to resist moisture from rain or cleaning. Standard three-point automotive seatbelts secure the occupants.

In the suspension department, the front and rear shocks receive stiffer spring rates and revised damping rates. The rear Walker Evan’s Position Sensitive Needle Shocks also have a larger shaft diameter (7/8” vs 3/4”) and longer remote reservoirs to handle the extra load. The compression adjustment range is also wider for both ends allowing for fine-tuning of the ride depending on the number of butts in the seats.

Glamis is one of the greatest places in the world to drive a UTV. The seeming endless dunes offer up a virtual rollercoaster ride with hill climbs, bowled corners and massive jumps. While the dunes are epic they do require copious amounts of power and suspension to navigate at speed, and according to the spec sheet the XP 4 1000 is well equipped for the challenge.

We put the 2014 Polaris XP 4 1000 to the test at the one of the best side-by-side location in the world - Glamis.

We put the 2014 Polaris XP 4 1000 to the test at the one of the best side-by-side location in the world – Glamis.

Getting into the XP 4 is hassle-free thanks to very solid doors that open and shut with ease. Adjust the front seats forward or back to suit your preference, buckle up, turn the key and you are ready to go. The engine fires to life with a pleasant idle that is subdued enough to not annoy but still conveys that there is plenty of go hidden in the right pedal. Gear selection is smooth, and the gear indicator in the center-mounted digital and analog gauge is easy to read. Legroom for all four passengers is adequate.

Stepping on the gas brings forth a surge of power that is snappy in both high and low gears. Speeds at the dunes are usually high so we spent most of our time in high gear. Polaris claims the XP4 1000 is the fastest accelerating four-seater on the market, and my seat-of-the-pants dyno agrees. Power comes on strong right off the bottom, tapers off a bit in the midrange and then pulls strong again approaching the top end. It’s crazy the speeds that the XP 1000 models can achieve without fuss. In the dunes we regularly saw the speedo creep above 70 mph. That should translate to somewhere above 75 on the dirt. With a full cab of passengers, the speed slightly dropped off, but only by a few mph.

The clutching seemed to match the extra girth of the XP 4 1000 over the two-seat RZR, however, with so much power on tap, feeling what the PVT is doing is more difficult. The engine has so much grunt, it just pulls no matter the situation. And that is where we encountered our only problems with the XP 4 1000. We did experience a few broken drive belts by putting too much heat into the Kevlar reinforced belt. The engine will pull the XP through and over anything, even if the strain is too much for the belt.  There is no place harder on CVT or PVT systems than sand dunes and smoked belts are not unheard of, no matter the manufacturer.

There is a major factor in our belt troubles, however – the lack of proper break-in. Polaris handed the units to us with less than 20 minutes of time on the clock, and per the owner’s manual, proper break-in consists of slow driving for two tanks of fuel or 25 hours depending on which comes first. Full throttle is not recommended for the first three hours of use.

We left the staging area with the pedal welded to the floor, pointed at the biggest dunes. It makes sense that the belt might not last as the engine temps are elevated as break-in occurs and the strain on the PVT is high with the high load of the sand hills. We did the broken belt fire drill three times in the next six hours of operation until we were able to control ourselves enough to let the belt break in. The most recently installed Polaris kevlar unit survived the rest of our time at the dunes. We will continue to monitor the wear as we experience other terrain with the XP 4 1000.

The 2014 Polaris XP 4 1000 handles like a machine that is shorter and lighter than it is.

The 2014 Polaris XP 4 1000 handles like a machine that is shorter and lighter than it is.

That annoyance is far overshadowed by the unbelievable capability of the XP 4. Not only is the engine package the best around, the suspension allows the driver to use every bit of that power. Up front 16 inches of travel is matched perfectly with the 18 inches of stroke in the rear for an overall ride that is unfazed by anything we could throw at it. Glamis’ Sand Highway is filled with massive whoops built up by long-travel sand cars, ATVs and dirt bikes and the XP 4 1000 skims across them at 70 mph without issue. Drop-offs and G-outs are gobbled up by the dual a-arm front end and three-link rear suspension. We spent so much time in the air with the RZR we are expecting a call from the FAA soon. Landings from big jumps are silky smooth thanks to the position-sensitive needle shocks excellent bottoming resistance.

Any twitchy tendencies of the two-seat XP 1000 are gone on the XP 4 thanks to the longer wheelbase. The rear end doesn’t snap around as readily making it easier to carve an arc at speed. Body roll is also less pronounced with a planted and stable feel. It’s just easier to drive. And you can impress three of your friends rather than just one with your Ken Block-like skills.

After spending several days in the dunes with the 2014 Polaris XP4 1000, we are flabbergasted by the pace at which the RZR product line has progressed. Polaris is hard on the gas and doesn’t seem ready to ease off any time soon. The XP 4 1000 is a solid performing side-by-side that allows you to share the exhilaration of ripping through the dunes with your friends or family. Polaris has once again raised the bar in the four-seat UTV realm and we are excited to see what it does next.

The 2014 Polaris RZR XP 4 1000 has a starting price tag of $21,999.

The 2014 Polaris RZR XP 4 1000 has a starting price tag of $21,999.

2014 Polaris RZR XP 4 1000 Technical Specifications:
Engine:  4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder
Displacement: 999cc
Fueling: EFI
Transmission: Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H
Final Drive: Shaft
Front Suspension: Dual A-Arm Walker Evans 2″ Needle Shocks (comp adjust/res.) 16″ Travel
Rear Suspension: Trailing Arm Walker Evans 2.5″ Needle Shocks (comp adjust/ remote res.) 18″ Travel
Front/Rear Brakes: 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Front & Rear Calipers
Front Tires: 29 x 9-14; Maxxis Bighorn
Rear Tires: 29 x 11-14; Maxxis Bighorn
Wheels: Cast Aluminum
Wheelbase: ?? 117 in.
Dry Weight: 1,596 lbs. (claimed)
LxWxH: 146 x 64 x 73.75 in.
Ground Clearance: 13.5 in.
Fuel Capacity: 9.5 gal
Bed Capacity: 300 lbs.
Bed Dimensions: 28X22X7 in.
Lighting: White LED, High/Low & Red LED Tail / Brake Lights
Instrumentation: Digital Gauge: Speedometer, Odometer, Tripmeter, Tachometer, Coolant Temperature, Volt Meter, Hour Meter, Service Indicator, Clock, Gear Indicator, Fuel Gauge, Hi-Temp Light, Seatbelt Reminder Light; DC Outlet
MSRP: $21,999

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