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3 Adrenaline Pumping UTVs that Will Make You Feel Like a Baja Star

Ever wanted to jump behind the wheel of a dune buggy and take on the Paris-Dakar rally? Are you playing DiRT on your Xbox and having fantasies about screaming through the Mexican desert in a suped-up truggy?  Tearing up the lawn doing donuts on your ride-on mower?

If you want to take your dirt-racing dreams to the next level you don’t have to find sponsors and spend half a million bucks building a custom buggy. There are awesome dirt-buggies right here in Australia that have enough grunt to send your adrenaline levels into the red zone—and you won’t need a sponsorship deal or a second mortgage to afford one either.

Polaris calls them Sports UTVs (‘Utility Task Vehicles’) and these pocket-sized off-road machines punch above their weight when it comes to down and dirty fun…

RZR S 900 EPS

Baja, Dakar, The East African Safari: off-road rally fans around the world know these famous races, but Australia has a brutal off-road event of our own, The Finke Desert Race. Polaris sports UTVs have earned a solid reputation in the Finke Rally. In 2015 Polaris ATVs made up more than half the entries in the light buggy class.

When Polaris launched their RZR UTV series nearly a decade ago it grabbed the attention of trail drivers with unprecedented acceleration and handling characteristics. The latest iteration, the RZR 900 has 78 hp of grunt and a lean, mean 50-inch girth, making it perfect for narrow trails. This sports UTV is loaded with features like electronic power steering, an automatic CVT transmission and on-demand AWD.

The RZR series has become a favourite with UTV fans, not only because of its impressive record in competition, but also its ability on rough terrain. Commentators and fans alike have been won over by the RZR’s unstoppable hardiness.  It can fly across sand dunes at 100kph and then grind its way over rock piles in low range like a baby monster truck.

The RZR 900’s Prostar engine is a modest 875cc, but Polaris have managed to squeeze an extra 40% more power and 15% more torque out of it, as compared with the previous RZR 800 model.

Polaris have also beefed up the suspension for the 900. The front end dual A-arm setup gives 12 inches of travel. With the anti-sway-bar at the back and Fox 2.0 podium shocks, the overall suspension effect is designed to be smooth and responsive.

In terms of retail price, the RZR 900 is positioned at the lower end of the Polaris sports range, but the overwhelming reaction from drivers is that this buggy offers high-value performance for its relatively modest pricing.

Specs:

  • Seats: 2, side by side
  • Engine: 875cc, 4 stroke, DOHC twin cylinder
  • Drive: on-demand AWD/2WD
  • Tyres: front – 27 x 9-12 GBC Dirt Commander, rear – 27 x 11-12 GBC Dirt Commander
  • Wheelbase: 79.0”
  • Dry weight: 560 kg
  • Fuel capacity: 36 litre

ACE 900 XC (single-seater)

Two seater UTVs are awesome because you can share the trailblazing experience with a passenger.  But for those who like to ride solo there’s another option; the Ace 900 XC.

Polaris brought out their first single seater Ace UTV in 2014 and the new format immediately found a cult following. The Ace UTV series brings together the best features of a quadbike —agility, compact size and central seating—with the sophisticated build of a UTV. The resulting hybrid offers powerful performance and an exciting driving experience that appeals to bikers along with all the enhanced safety features and superior handling that a UTV has to offer.

The new 2017 Ace 900 model is the most powerful single seater UTV Polaris has ever released.   Along with an upgraded engine and drivetrain the Ace 900 also boasts an improved chassis build and premium suspension specs.   The overall build is comparable to the 2 seater RZR 900, but you get all the fun to yourself in the centrally mounted single seat.

The 2016 Ace model was the first single seater in the Polaris UTV range to be equipped with a Prostar 900 engine, and the 2017 version  has been upgraded again to 875 cc punching out 78 horses.

Also new for the 2017 model are massive 12.5 inch suspension travels and adjustable compression damping on the WER needle shocks.

The massive Prostar 900 engine, plus auto CVT, plus single passenger setup is a formula that equals brutal power.   This UTV has had the fans on their feet since it hit the market earlier this year and the resounding verdict is that the punchy acceleration is exciting, bordering on scary.  The well balanced suspension and steering setup can take all the punishment the engine dishes out, so if you want to get airborne off the crests you won’t have any problems.

One of the outstanding features of the Polaris Auto CVT system is that it automatically engages AWD when wheel spin is detected.   That means you get all the handling benefits of 2WD going into a corner and then the CVT kicks over to 4WD to power out into the next straight. The nett result is no power loss for gear changes, minimal oversteer and heaps of traction even on rough, loose surfaces.

Specs:

  • Seats: 1, central position
  • Engine: 875cc, 4 stroke, DOHC twin cylinder
  • Drive: on-demand AWD/2WD
  • Tyres: front – 27 x 9-12 GBC Dirt Commander, rear – 27 x 11-12 GBC Dirt Commander
  • Wheelbase: 67.5”
  • Dry weight: 487 kg
  • Fuel capacity: 20 litre

RZR XP TURBO EPS (2-seater)

This beast is the thoroughbred of the UTV world. Part rally racer, part Baja buggy, the RZR XP is a turbocharged off-roader with state of the art specs.  If you’re looking for a machine that can deliver dirt bike thrills, but with the security of a seat belt and a roll cage, then this might be the perfect combination of safety and excitement you want.

With a turbocharged 925cc motor the RZR XP generates 144 horsepower.  It’s possible to hit 110 kph on the flat (if your nerves can take it) and the massive 114 ft-lbs of torque is enough to blast you up the steepest slopes with ease.

The air cooled CVT transmission gets the power straight to the ground and the RZR XP is equipped with a 2WD / AWD toggle so you have full control over the handling.   In AWD mode the transmission engages 4×4 automatically when the wheels slip to maximise acceleration and steering traction.  If you feel like drifting through the corners, lock on the 2WD mode and go sideways on the gravel.

If rock crawling is your thing you’re going to be excited about the XP’s suspension setup. 18 inches of suspension travel make this UVT capable of taking on obstacles most vehicles in its class would baulk at.  Fox remote-reservoir IBP shocks complete the suspension formula delivering rock-steady handling.  These premium Fox shocks have multiple compression zones and solid bottoming resistance to minimise impact as the piston reaches the end of the compression stroke.

The RZR XP is at the pricier end of the UTV market but for thrill seekers who want uncompromising performance specs, it will be a good value investment. Every aspect of this buggy’s design is engineered for optimum performance right off the showroom floor.

For those of us who want to spend our weekends taking off from sand dunes, kicking up mud and clambering over boulders, a Polaris RZR XP is as close to Baja glory as we will get in this lifetime.

Specs:

  • Seats: 2, side by side
  • Engine: 925cc, Turbo 4-Stroke, DOHC twin cylinder
  • Drive: on-demand AWD/2WD
  • Tyres: front – 29 x 9-14 Maxxis Bighorn, rear – 29 x 11-14 Maxxis Bighorn
  • Wheelbase: 90.0”
  • Dry weight: 679 kg
  • Fuel capacity: 36 litre

Want one? (Yeah, me too.)

Check out these great deals on Polaris ATVs in the Machines4U marketplace.

Oh, and maybe get your wife/girlfriend to watch this video before you ask her along for a ride!

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3 Adrenaline Pumping UTVs that Will Make You Feel Like a Baja Star
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3 Adrenaline Pumping UTVs that Will Make You Feel Like a Baja Star
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Take your dirt-racing dreams (and adrenaline!) to the next level with these awesome dirt-buggies you can buy right here in Australia.
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Machines4U
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