2011 Polaris Ranger RZR XP 900 First Look

January 3, 2011
JC Hilderbrand
JC Hilderbrand
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Hilde is holding down the fort at MotoUSA's Southern Oregon HQ. With world-class dirt bike and ATV trails just minutes away, the hardest part is getting him to focus on the keyboard. Two wheels or four, it doesn't matter to our Off-Road Editor so long as it goes like hell in the dirt.

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Check out Polaris’ video of the new RZR XP900 in action.

Polaris has released a new model of recreational side-by-side every year since 2008, and the trend continues with a brand new machine that brings sport UTVs to new heights. The 2011 Polaris Ranger RZR XP 900 is dream vehicle for RZR fanatics and sport UTV enthusiasts, and if the XP’s real-world performance is even close to what it looks on paper, the rest of the side-by-side manufacturers are going to have a coronary.

“The Ranger RZR family delivers the ultimate combination of power, suspension and agility,” said Matt Homan, vice president and general manager of Polaris’ Off-Road Vehicles Division in a release. “When we set out to design the Ranger RZR XP 900, we wanted to create a ground-breaking, high performance vehicle to complement our current, best-selling Ranger RZR line. The result is simply incredible.”

2011 Polaris Ranger RZR XP 900
The new RZR XP uses an all-new 875cc engine to put out a claimed 88 horsepower.
2011 Polaris Ranger RZR XP 900

Until this past year, Polaris has been the undisputed king of sport two-seaters. But, with Can-Am releasing the brutish Commander 800 and 1000, Polaris had to rely on its quick chassis and wicked suspension to compensate for a measly 55 claimed horsepower. It simply wasn’t enough. Weight , powertrain, suspension, handling aside, a whopping 85 claimed ponies from the BRP machine was like a Canadian missile strike, and now the horsepower war is officially on.

Polaris’ high-output 800 Twin wasn’t going to do the trick, so an all-new engine design culminated in the ProStar 900 EFI Twin. This 875cc DOHC engine is located behind the seats and uses four-valves per cylinder to crank out a claimed 88 horsepower (take that, Canucks). The fuel-injected mill uses dual throttle bodies with integrated oil cooler to keep peak performance. A new transmission eliminates all right-angle drives to the rear axle. Polaris says the new tranny is quieter and contributes to 29% better acceleration than the “next closest competitive side-by-side on the market.” The Parallel Twin also makes use of a 750 Watt charging system to illuminate white LED headlights with high/low beams (first OEM to offer standard LED) and power over 10 specific XP accessories that complement more than 60 existing components.

Three-link trailing arm independent rear suspension looks like something you’d find on a burly desert buggy or trophy truck. It was, in fact, modeled after high-performance race machines and the design allows for a massive 14 inches of suspension travel. Controlling all that wheel movement falls to a set of two-inch Fox Podium X 2.0 piggyback shocks. Front suspension is similar to the dual A-arms of the RZR S, but has been extended for 13.5 inches of travel. The forward shocks are the same Fox units as the rear which gives the RZR XP compression, rebound and preload adjustability on all four corners.

2011 Polaris Ranger RZR XP 9002011 Polaris Ranger RZR XP 9002011 Polaris Ranger RZR XP 900
The XP is wider and longer than the RZR S and features three-link trailing arm suspension in the rear with Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks.

Physically the XP is between the RZR S and RZR 4. Wheelbase is 81.4 inches compared to 77 on the S model, and all told the XP weighs 190 pounds more than the RZR S (1190 claimed total). Rolling on cast aluminum wheels with 27-inch ITP 900 XCT tires, the XP boasts 13 inches of ground clearance. Max payload is 740 pounds with 300 in the bed. This is a sport vehicle so Polaris doesn’t bother to include a towing hitch.

Available in Indy Red for the standard MSRP of $15,999, the XP is also available in the White Lightning limited edition model which comes with black Bruiser aluminum rims and two-color sewn seats as well as a graphics package and white bodywork for an extra $600. Power steering is not an option.

2011 Polaris Ranger RZR XP 900
2011 Polaris Ranger RZR XP 900
Polaris makes over 70 accessories for the XP, many of which are affixed in the top photo. It also offers a limited edition White Lightning.

2011 Polaris Ranger RZR XP 900 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 Fox Podium X 2.0 (comp/rebound/preload adjust) 13.5 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Trailing arm Fox Podium X 2.0 (comp/rebound/preload adjust) 14 in. travel
Front/Rear Brakes 4-Wheel hydraulic disc with dual-piston front calipers
Front Wheel: 27 x 9-12; ITP 900 XCT tires
Rear Wheel: 27 x 11-12; ITP 900 XCT tires
Wheelbase: 81.4 in.
Dry Weight: 1190 lbs. (claimed)
LxWxH: 108.4 x 64 x 73 in.
Ground Clearance: 13 in.
Fuel Capacity: 7.25 gal
Bed Dimensions: 23 x 38 x 10 in.
Box Capacity: 300 lbs.
Payload Capacity: 740 lbs.
Available Colors: Indy Red, White Lightning Limited Edition
MSRP: $15,999; $16,599 (Limited)

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