Tested: Polaris Sportsman X2 550 ATV

By: Barry Ashenhurst

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Australian farmers seldom look at two-seater ATVs like the Polaris Sportsman X2 550 unless they have reason to carry a pillion, but there’s practical potential in these machines that more users should investigate.

Tested: Polaris Sportsman X2 550 ATV
The Polaris Sportsman X2 550 ATV: a powerful little workhorse well-matched for rural service.

By its nature, the two-seater is rated to carry a larger payload. Thanks to a slightly longer wheelbase it’s thought to be more stable than a single-seater. Some of these machine also have a tilt-tray on the back that can be used to carry all manner of small loads around the property.

Polaris’s Sportsman X2 550 is a prime example of a two-seater than can do a lot more work than a single-seater.

True, the X2 550 is slightly longer and about 30kg heavier than a conventional ATV, which makes tight turning a little more difficult, but the X2 is more than willing to pay for its keep.

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It can carry a payload of 333kg, of which 180kg can be assigned to the rear ‘dump box’. Raising the pillion seat is a simple business, although getting it back down again can be testy, but in wide-ranging tests the Sportsman proved that its engine and drivetrain are well matched for rural service.

Power is what you’d expect from little more than 540cc; brisk but not sporty, and there’s ample torque for a day’s work on even the steepest terrain. The engine is happy to plug along at low speed all day, which can’t be said for every ATV engine.

Ride quality is excellent, thanks to a highly evolved dual-A-arm suspension set-up at both ends, and the machine is easy to operate, even without power-steering.

Polaris has improved the Auto Descent Control (ADC) on this model – we haven’t always liked it because it hasn’t always worked – but during NewFarmMachinery’s evaluation the X2 550 crept down steep grades in low-range four-wheel drive with little or no correction from the wheel brakes.

The Sportsman’s single-cylinder four-stroke doesn’t have the compression braking of a Rotax V-twin with a comparable capacity but we’re happy to call this version of ADC a ‘vast improvement’.

The X2 spec hasn’t changed for 2013. The retail price is $11,000. Power-steering is not an option.

The test machine had no winch, or any other bolt-ons for that matter, but the range of Pure Polaris’s accessories is astonishing.

To read the full review see Issue 4 of NewFarmMachinery magazine, on sale November 25, or subscribe to the magazine to receive them at your doorstep.

Watch the video review.

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