My First Time Wielding A RZR Pro XP- Is It The Right RZR For You?

I have to admit I have been guilty of drooling over a RZR Pro XP! Yes, anytime a brand new side-by-side drops into the world I must deep-dive into all the info about it. That was certainly the case when Polaris dropped the RZR Pro XP into the world. I went down the rabbit hole in a big way studying that side-by-side! Specs are one thing but finally getting behind the wheel is completely another! On my trip to Polaris’ Headquarters in September gave me just that opportunity. Yes, it is a completely new RZR, and yes, it is a beast. But is it for you? That depends!

Polaris RZR Pro XP First Impressions Review

By The Numbers

Let’s get the numbers out of the way right out of the gate. The Polaris RZR Pro XP has more of everything than anything else on the market except the Maverick X3 X DS Turbo RR or the 72-inch wide Maverick X3 X RS Turbo RR. Both the RZR Pro XP and Maverick X3 X RS are the flagships of both brands, with both of these models bringing everything to the table the respective brands have to offer. At the moment the RZR Pro XP is only available at the 64-inch wide mark, but don’t worry, we know a wider RZR Pro XP is ready to be released literally any day. Horsepower is set at 181 with front and rear travel landing at 17-inches and 20-inches respectively. Polaris notes the suspension has 20-inches and 22-inches of “usable” travel respectively, and I will have to dive into that at a later time. Ground clearance lands at 14.5-inches meaning a large pumpkin can pass under this RZR without getting destroyed. I think mentioning the wheelbase being 96-inches on the Pro XP compared to the 90-inches of the RZR is important being that is a significant change. No matter how you cut it, the RZR Pro XP is Polaris’ biggest 64-inch wide beast ever, and it is the NEXT generation of Polaris RZR. Interior Stuff Like the rest of the Polaris RZR Pro XP the interior of this RZR is completely new. We are talking everything is new from the switches to the floorboards. Climbing into the cab and strapping into the harness, I found everything to be comfortable as well as within my short reach. I felt well planted in the RZR, and I liked the seating position. The seats are bolstered and include 4-way adjustability in addition to height adjustable seat belts. Step up the the Premium or Ultimate models and you get a 6-point harness. Not only is the steering wheel adjustable but also telescoping so you can find the best driving position. Depending on what model you choose you also get a Rockford Fosgate audio system, RIDE COMMAND, and the DYNAMIX automatically adjusting suspension. My experience with the interior of the Polaris RZR Pro XP was that it was well appointed to the point of being a departure from the previous generation RZR. I will tell you that beyond that, with my brief time in the cockpit, the rest is a blur! The seats were comfortable and I appreciated all the adjustability of components to make the RZR fit me like a glove. Fellow editor extraordinaire Casey Cordeiro has spent a lot of time driving both a RZR Pro XP and Pro XP4, and he has said more than one he believes the Pro XP to have the best interior overall of any sport side-by-side on the market. That is high praise.

Polaris RZR Pro XP First Impressions Review

My Drive Time

There is nothing like firing up any side-by-side for the first time, particularly one with so much hype around it. It was pretty exhilarating. Heading out was even more exhilarating, turning the RZR Pro XP onto the first trail with a little throttle “shot” to see how it would respond. It responded very quickly by squatting a little while raising the front end up a bit. One thing was clear immediately and that was the power on the Pro XP is insane. Our first section was a trail in the trees weaving in and out of trees, and it was clear the Pro XP’s suspension does not resemble the RZR XP in the way it feels or reacts. The tree section didn’t allow much speed, but enough speed to begin to feel how the RZR turns, and it is different than previous RZR’s. The Pro XP feels like the weight falls more onto the back of the vehicle with the front being lighter. This makes turns more “interesting” as it feels like the front wheels turn but it takes a split second for the weight transfer to happen and the RZR Pro to begin turning. It takes some getting used to at first. I was very impressed with the steering rack being short so very little turn input results in the front wheels turning. The power is insane! Did I mention that? Blip the throttle and the RZR would jump. But the Pro XP had no trouble going slow either, and that was also impressive. I didn’t get to do any real rock crawling or slow-speed crawling, but I would think that would not be any problem for the Pro XP. The clutching and belt engagement was very good from a standing start or rolling start with no belt lash. Moving in and out of the trees including some brake where I got on the throttle then off the throttle then back on the throttle, the clutching was excellent. The suspension literally soaked up everything I hit with almost no acknowledgment of a bump or rock being in the trail at all. I was very happy with the RZR Pro XP in the trail section.

Polaris RZR Pro XP First Impressions Review

Polaris RZR Pro XP Sport $22,999

Heading out of the trees now it was time for a whoop section! I swear it is almost like the RZR Pro XP can sniff out when it is coming into a wide open section similar to me when I get close to a legit barbecue place. I came out of the trees and onto a long open stretch with whoops throughout, which made my right foot give the throttle a punch. What happened next was pretty fantastic. First, I was introduced to the 181 horsepower ProStar turbo engine, and secondly the suspension travel made itself known. Polaris says big power is available in the mid-range of the engine RPM, and they are right! A little shot of throttle makes the RZR Pro XP immediately respond in a way the screams at everyone inside the vehicle. It was pretty crazy the way the Pro XP lurched forward when giving it some throttle. The whoops were like they were truly not there as the suspension just soaked them up. Yes, I knew I was hitting sixteen to twenty-four inch whoops but the RZR Pro XP just kinda ate them without me feeling very much at all. For all the abilities the Pro XP had in the trees, there was no doubt speed and whoops is where it feels at home. Now I have driven a RZR XP Turbo DYNAMIX in big whoops in the past, but this was a different experience as the Pro XP acted as though it couldn’t be bothered by these whoops.

Polaris RZR Pro XP First Impressions Review

Polaris RZR Pro XP Premium $26,499

Finally, as we meandered back to the staging area, we lined up to do a standing start on a long stretch of grass. I am not going to lie that was excited to give it a go. You know in the movies when something happens and they slow the action down to a crawl with a “breath” sound effect in there? It was like that when I punched the throttle to the floor! The Pro XP had no pause at all as it launched off the line! If you have never driven a pure sport side-by-side with insane power I can tell you that even if you are not a speed demon the whole thing puts a smile on your face! I must have spun tires for 20 to 30 feet coming off that line and the RZR just decided the direction it wanted to go during that time while I held onto the wheel. I didn’t time myself to 60 MPH but I can tell you I got there really quick. Coming back to the line I put the Pro XP into all-wheel-drive just to get off the line quicker on try number two, but I just wound up spinning all four tires for several feet before finding traction. The fact is the Pro XP drips power and I am here for that. I wound up doing two more standing starts before coming back in. There is no doubt the RZR Pro XP has the power to make you pinch a hole in your seat, and it likes going fast.

Polaris RZR Pro XP First Impressions Review

Polaris RZR Pro XP Ultimate $28,499

My Conclusions

It is important to note that I only had thirty or so minutes to drive the RZR Pro XP which is just not enough time to do any real testing at all, but it is enough time to get some first impressions. First, the RZR Pro XP has the power. If you want to have a ton of power, then this RZR will scratch that itch like no other RZR can. It likes to go fast but can also go slow without feeling like it is miserable or out of its depth. I am impressed that it plays both rolls so well. Second, I did not walk away feeling like I had a real grasp as to what it was going to do when it comes to turning and high speed handling. It takes time to figure that with any side-by-side, but within a few minutes of driving a side-by-side I generally have a feeling for what it is going to do in the corners, but with the Pro XP I didn’t. The front suspension felt twitchy at higher speeds like it didn’t know exactly what the RZR wanted to do. I think that is from the chassis combined with the weight distribution and suspension setup. The frontend felt like it wanted to do its own thing a handful of times as opposed to what the steering was telling it to do. The frontend felt lighter than the rest of the vehicle particularly when you get into the throttle or at higher speeds. This was also evident in the corners. I didn’t get the opportunity to really “corner” the Pro XP, but in some turns I would turn the front end and for that split second the front of the RZR wouldn’t turn, and then the backend would get into the turn making the RZR turn. While there were times the suspension shinned like a diamond there were also times where the suspension seemed a little lost. I am confident with more drive time I would be able to get good at knowing exactly what the RZR Pro XP is going to do, but in thirty minutes I just couldn’t get a feel for it. Looking back on my time driving the RZR Pro XP makes me smile and scratch my head. I think it is huge step forward in both performance and driver experience. It is also a completely different RZR than RZRs past. I am very excited about the Pro XP and want to spend more time driving it in all different terrains to see what it is all about.

Polaris RZR Pro XP First Impressions Review

Is It For You?

Whether or not the RZR Pro XP is for you absolutely depends on you. If you are new to side-by-sides I don’t think the RZR Pro XP is for you. My initial experience with the Pro XP is that at higher speeds even experienced drivers need some time to figure out what to expect from the Pro XP. It has so much power that it can get out-of-sorts on you real quick, and that needs to be respected. Frankly, it is too much side-by-side for a lot of people if they don’t have experience driving at higher speeds or driving aggressively. While the Pro XP will handle slower terrain for a great riding experience, people don’t buy a 181 horsepower side-by-side to only go slow. There are other RZRs to choose from that are still plenty powerful and easier to determine how they will handle. No matter what your experience take some time to become familiar with the Pro XP when you climb into the cockpit before hanging it all out there. It is undoubtedly the fasted most powerful RZR ever and it is a ton of fun to drive. Yes, the smile is still on my face!

For more information about the Polaris RZR Pro XP lineup check out the Polaris RZR Pro XP Website