Polaris re-invents the wheel

By: Barry Ashenhurst

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On February 18 2014, Polaris did what no other manufacturer has done: it launched 10 new models in one hit – one with plastic wheels and no tyres. Barry Ashenhurst was there.

Staged at the 4×4 Training and Proving Ground in Werribee, VIC, the 2014 Polaris product launch introduced several recreational and commercial models of interest to Australian ATV users.

 

ESPECIALLY FOR AUS: POLARIS UTE 570

Chief among them was the Ute, "developed specifically for the Australian and New Zealand market", according to  Polaris Industries Product Manager Scott Taylor.

The Ute is powered by the new Polaris 570cc four-stroke engine and equipped with a tilting dump-box able to carry up to 180kg.

Taylor says Australian ATV users tend to be much harder on equipment than their US and Canadian counterparts.

"That’s why the Ute has been beefed up with tougher driveshaft splines, ball joints and suspension bushes," he says.

Thankfully it comes with power-steering, something we’d like to see on all Polaris Sportsman models.

We know Polaris has persistent chassis cracking problems on the 550 Sportsman but whether or not the Ute has a stronger steel chassis is unknown at this stage.

 

Sportsman Ace: Highly unusual

Another interesting addition to the 2014 Polaris line-up is the Ace, a single-seater ATV with a centrally-mounted seat, a steering wheel and Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS).

Pre-launch publicity suggests the Ace is a fun-only model but Scott Taylor says emergency services and park authorities have already shown interest in the Ace, mainly because of its inherent safety advantages and car-like controls.

The Ace is described as "a combination of a Razor and a Sportsman" – the Razor providing the rear end and the Sportsman the front end.

It’s powered by a conservative 32hp engine, and driven through the familiar Polaris auto transmission, but expect to see more horsepower down the track, and don’t be surprised if it’s the 570. 

Another model we found fascinating was the, $20,000, WV850, a Sportsman specced up for military deployment, with plastic ‘honeycomb’ wheels, no tyres, full metal cargo racks front and rear, and a single-speed transmission.

This model too, will be available in Australia. In fact it’s here now.

 

Much Better Engine Braking

A performance factor that grabs attention is the vast improvement Polaris has been able to make in engine-braking.

Some Sportsman models have shown an alarming inability to hold a descending ATV at a reasonable speed.

With one Sportsman a few years ago we couldn’t get the Active Descent Control (ADC) to work at all.

But thankfully that’s in the past. On a 45-degree concrete ramp, the new ADC works more than effectively.

In truth it probably has more retarding effect in low range than you actually need, but we won’t criticise Polaris for that.

Oh, one more thing. The manufacturer is set to amplify its presence in the local market. Expect to see Polaris advertising during some of the biggest televised sporting events this year.

Watch out for NewFarmMachinery’s tests of both the new Ute model and the Ace.

Look out also for the full specifications of the new models on NewFarmMachinery.com.au

Click here to find Polaris ATVs for sale.

Click here to look up Polaris ATV specifications.

Polaris 2014 launch riders Polaris ATVs lined up for the media to test drive. Polaris 2014 launch riders
Polaris Cody Crocker Polaris ambassador Cody Crocker taking those with a strong heart for a spin on the Werrribee 4x4 training ground. Polaris Cody Crocker
Polaris rider descent Look ma, no hands! Polaris rider descent
Polaris Scott Taylor Polaris Industries Product Manager Scott Taylor flew in from the US to present the products to the Australian public. Polaris Scott Taylor
Polaris Sportsman ACE front The all new Polaris Sportsman Ace Polaris Sportsman ACE front
Polaris Sportsman ACE rear Polaris Sportsman ACE rear
Polaris Sportsman WV850 Military grade Polaris Sportsman WV850. Notice how the wheels are non-pneumatic. Polaris Sportsman WV850
Polaris test ride Polaris test ride
Polaris ute 570 audience Onlookers admiring the brand new designed-for-Australian-farmers Polaris Ute 570. Polaris ute 570 audience
Polaris ute 570 Barry Ashenhurst NFM ATV expert Barry Ashenhurst with the Polaris Ute. Polaris ute 570 Barry Ashenhurst
Polaris ute 570 front Polaris ute 570 front
Polaris ute 570 logo Polaris ute 570 logo
Polaris ute 570 rear The all-new Polaris Ute is equipped with a tilting dump-box able to carry up to 180kg. Polaris ute 570 rear
Polaris ute 570 ride Polaris ute 570 ride

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