Polaris RZR PRO XP 4 Ultimate Review- Ultimate Family & Adventure- Ready UTV?
At this point, we all know what a Polaris RZR is. The sport UTV craze was blown wide open with the RZR 800 back in the late 2000’s, and, today, the UTV market is larger than ever. Polaris still has a good foothold on the sport UTV market, but Can-Am and the Japanese brands like Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki are all hot on the RZR’s heels with great products. Can-Am, especially, has a strong foothold on the market and has been taking the UTV game straight to Polaris. Needless to say, the engineers at Polaris have been pushed to solidify their offerings as some of the best on the market while retaining the fun-to-drive attitude that a RZR has always enjoyed…
Enter into the 2020 model year and Polaris had something up their sleeves. The all-new 3rd generation RZR is now dubbed the “PRO” model, and you’ll find 2- and 4-seat vehicles with a 64” width and 181 turbocharged horsepower in the lineup. If you’re reading this and saying that that horsepower number is still less than the X3, you’re absolutely right. Like we always say, it’s what you do with the power that counts…
The RZR PRO XP 4 that we are reviewing has all of the latest features of the PRO lineup, including an all-new one-piece chassis that doesn’t bolt together in the center anymore, an extended wheelbase compared to past 4-seat Polaris RZRs (more on that later…), an all new look on the outside that some are finding adequately aggressive and some are saying is just weird, a revised twin cylinder ProStar turbocharged engine that pumps up the power a bit and includes many more solid components for greater longevity, new clutching through and through, new cargo box layout, new stronger ROPS system, and, quite possibly the most important thing is the all-new interior that significantly changes the way you sit in and drive a RZR.
Obviously the first thing you will notice is how the outside of the RZR PRO XP 4 has been changed to have a shark fin nose and higher belt line down the side of the body, leading you to the re-styled back end. One of the best new features on the PRO lineup is the one-piece cargo bed in the rear, which completely removes with just 4 bolts. Once removed, there is easy access to the entire engine compartment, making at-home maintenance and servicing that much easier. This easy serviceability continues to the inside where the rear firewall panels remove in two pieces and completely expose the front side of the engine. Both of these removals combine to make servicing this vehicle a cinch.
Since we are already talking about the inside and, specifically, the rear seats with the removable rear fire wall, the rear seats are all new with better bolstering and much more legroom than before. With the front seat all the way back and my 6’3”, long-legged body in the back seat, I no longer hit the front seat backs with my knees. Plus, the seat backs no longer have metal frames protruding out to bruise your knees. These new seats have a smooth back. There is, however, metal pieces (covered by plastic) protruding out a bit in the foot compartment in the back seat, so just be aware of this. The rear seating area is a bit more plain Jane compared to the front, but there is still ample storage and convenience features, just nothing to knock your socks off.
If you’re an adventure enthusiast and love camping, then this RZR PRO XP 4 could be your ultimate vehicle. Why?! Well, because the rear seat backs come out and the seat bottoms flip forward to create a fully load-flat floor. We fit 2 large and 2 small plastic construction boxes back here and secured them down with the included metal hooks. Man-oh-man, what a rad feature! We also put our dogs back here with the seats folded down (strapped in of course) with a dog bed on top of the plastic so they have comfort. If you don’t need to haul 4 people all the time, then this fold-flat floor works awesome! You can even fold one side flat and leave the third seat up, thus giving you the ultimate passenger and dog space. This is also the ultimate UTV setup for overnight camping trips. You can keep the weight lower, compared to a roof rack setup, if you don’t need to haul 4 people. If you do need to haul 4 people, you have the deep cargo tray in the back, too.
The front passenger compartment is equally as new, and Polaris finally upgraded the seats with much better foam everywhere in the seat. They also developed fantastic new seat sliders that don’t get stuck after one or two uses, and built in tilt adjustability of the seat bases (easily adjustable with just 2 bolts). When you couple these new seats with the tilt and industry-first telescoping steering wheel, you can really dial in the driver's seating position to your individual liking. The seats don’t rattle on their bases anymore (much more secure attachment system), and the feet support – dead pedal for your left foot and heel support for your right foot – are in the best positions for easy 1- or 2-foot driving. The view out the front of the vehicle, even with the lower overall seating position, is also very good with lower sculpted front plastics. The view is similar but still not quite as good as Yamaha’s YXZ1000R. The electric power steering is the final piece to this pie – it’s a bit heavier than before but I really like that for faster driving, and the ratio is extremely quick, which gives the driver the ability to make quick adjustments for upcoming obstacles at speed.
The passenger side is equally as comfortable with a new quick adjust grab bar, and the doors all around have been greatly improved with full coverage in the 4-seater PRO XP. Finally Polaris included better doors! If you’re riding in mostly muddy conditions, you’re going to want to find aftermarket doors that seal around the body of this RZR, but all of you desert, dune, and trail riders out there will be fine with these.
The last part of the interior that is significant is all of the technology wrapped into the Ultimate model. If you aren’t a fan of technology, the cheaper Premium and base models get rid of these features, but the Ultimate is definitely posh and very nice to have. For starters, the 7” glove touch Ride Command digital display is built into the center of the dash, and it’s easy to see for all passengers. Driver and front passenger have easy access to all controls, including the buttons for a digital dashboard, built in GPS navigation system (Ride Command GPS technology), FM and AM radio controls, bluetooth phone pairing controls, diagnostics, and all machine settings. The revised UI (user interface) of the Ride Command system is so easy to use, and so intuitive. Paired with the steering wheel controls, just like you would find in a modern automobile, the driver doesn’t ever have to take their hands off the wheel to control stereo volume and electronic shock adjustments. Yes, you read that right… In addition to Ride Command, the Ultimate PRO XP 4 model comes standard with a Rockford Audio stereo system with 4 separate speakers and 2 additional tweeters in the front. We have come to really enjoy having the key in its auxiliary position and being able to listen to the radio while stopped for a break on the trail. It’s awesome and sounds pretty darn good for a stock stereo system (upgrades are available).
Last but not least, those of you who want to add accessories to this vehicle will find it easier than ever with the Polaris Pulse quick connect wiring system included just under the center storage compartment on top of the dash (there is a passenger glove box, lower passenger storage space in the center of the vehicle, and center storage compartment for the front passengers, giving you plenty of storage space). With 10 switch cutouts pre-cut in the dash, you can easily buy quick connect wiring harnesses and wire up your accessories easier than ever! There are 6 prewired connection spots in the Pulse system that allow you to either wire up accessories to have constant power, or you can wire up accessories to have power when the key is in the “accessory” and “on” positions. All I can say is that every manufacturer should adopt this system, it is just that good. Kudos, Polaris, for making it SO easy to add accessories.
Alrighty, so it’s comfortable and loaded with technology, but how does the RZR PRO XP 4 drive?!
The RZR PRO XP 4 has an 8” longer wheelbase than past 64” RZR XP 4 models (125” now instead of 117”), and you can really feel how that wheelbase affects the vehicle. The PRO benefits from this extension with more stability in the corners, a way more controlled suspension action over the whoops, and the same capability that you would expect out of a RZR. One of the most impressive parts of this PRO XP 4 is that it performed so well in the rock crawling situations on a 700-mile we took it on recently. Sure, the breakover angle is not that of a 2-seater, that’s a given, but the full skid plates, which come standard on all PRO-models, and the extended wheelbase give this PRO XP 4 plenty of capability in the tight stuff. Credit the quick steering for aiding in these situations. And the capability is further realized when the speeds increase and you start hitting the wide open straights and turns. Again, quick steering makes this RZR a blast to fling into corners and make quick adjustments. The fast throttle response and progressive brake pedal motion gives you confidence when truly flinging this thing into corners. As long as the whoops aren’t spaced more than about 6 feet apart, you’re going to be able to navigate whoops with more confidence than any previous RZR. This new PRO model is truly a massive step up in the all-around handling department. Sure, past RZRs are fun to drive, but this new PRO model can better handle the wide range of terrain that you find in the deserts and mountains. The entire powertrain system has been upgraded for this new PRO model, and that is evident right from startup. The engine starts with confidence just like a regular car, every time. The engine is designed for better cooling with a heat soak input at the top of the engine now so the engine doesn’t heat up too much after shutdown. We have put 1300 miles on this vehicle now and have never seen the temperature go above 204, even during long dune runs. Can you feel the additional power when in the dunes? The increase in 13 horsepower to 181 total doesn’t seem significant, but when you pair the new clutching and increase in power, you really feel how this RZR puts the power down efficiently. The throttle response is immediate, and this RZR crawls at 2 mph with ease as well. We also noticed how this engine seems more fuel efficient than past models, giving you increased ride time, especially with the all-new 13 gallon tank. More time to ride means more time for fun!
The last significant part of the RZR PRO XP 4 is the Dynamix Fox LiveValve suspension, which gives you electronically adjusted suspension (right from the buttons on the steering wheel, or in the central Ride Command display) and 17” of front travel and 20” of rear travel with a true dual rate spring setup on all 4 corners (unfortunately, no crossover rings are found on these shocks). 3 modes are found in this suspension system for varying levels of compression dampening – Comfort, Sport, and Firm. Contrary to past Dynamix systems, Firm is actually a usable mode now, and this is in part thanks to that “oh crap” red button on the steering wheel. Again, another great innovation by Polaris and Fox here, but the red button is used for immediate full-firm compression dampening. Simply hold the button down on the steering wheel if you see an unexpected bump coming that you need full compression dampening. Hold it all the way through the bump so you can soak it up, then release the button to return to your desired suspension compression mode. It’s incredible! If you like duning, this is especially handy when coming up to the bottom of g-outs in the dunes where you want to attack them with speed. Simply hold the button and you’re ready to soak it up! For normal driving, Sport mode is phenomenal, delivering the ideal balance between a smooth ride and plenty of compression firmness as you hit bigger bumps. Plus, you can leave it in Sport and just use the “oh crap” button for any of the larger bumps. It truly is an incredible system with immediate response.
Speaking of ride quality, this RZR PRO XP 4 has one of the most progressive rides in any sport UTV we have ever tested. It’s incredibly smooth at all speeds over the washboard that is so common on UTV trails these days – you actually don’t mind the washboard in this UTV! When the speeds increase, the ride remains buttery smooth but has the compression needed if the big bumps sneak up on you.
This RZR PRO XP 4 is a very good UTV, no doubt about that, and it is by far the best 4-seat RZR that Polaris has ever produced. If you’re looking for a family UTV that can haul people and all of your gear, this is a fantastic option. Yes, there are still some Polaris quality issues where the interior plastics don’t fit together perfectly, but that is one of the only quality things we can nitpick on this RZR. I have been very critical of RZR vehicles in the past with fit and finish and powertrain quality issues, but this new PRO model is truly a massive step in the right direction for the brand. You can’t even hear the wonderful front differential in this UTV, or the carrier bearings, which are an achilles heel in past RZR models.
If you’re looking at this RZR PRO XP 4 compared to a Can-Am Maverick X3 MAX X ds Turbo RR (the direct, 64” wide comparison), you’re going to find that the RZR PRO has found the better middle ground in the wheelbase measurement compared to the X3 MAX. The MAX is still very long for tight trails (wheelbase = 135”, a full 10” longer), where the RZR is a bit more nimble. The RZR just utilizes its space a bit more effectively. It also probably isn’t going to win a drag race with the X3, especially with the higher dry weight (the RZR PRO XP 4 weighs 2044 lbs dry, compared to the X3 MAX X ds Turbo RR at 1765.9 lbs). It seems somewhat odd to write this, but the RZR does have better quality in some areas, especially with respect to every suspension connection being double sheer (the X3 is still single sheer in some areas). And, the RZR PRO cannot be beat in the area of technology (the biggest factor in the price gap between the X3 and the RZR), both with the in-dash 7” display and electronic Fox suspension. At the end of the day, sit in both and figure out which one is more comfortable for you. Also figure out how much technology you want to have in your off-road toy.
All of this technology in the Ultimate model does come with a steep entry price. However, I don’t think you need to modify this PRO XP 4 like you would like past RZR models. It comes with nearly everything, including a much better built roll cage than past factory units. The MSRP comes in at $32,299. You can get a much less optioned out base model, too, which starts at $25,699. The Premium model starts at $27,999. So, if you want it all, you have to pay for it all. I’ll tell you this, if you can afford it, the Ultimate model is a one-stop shop, complete with everything you need to enjoy trail, desert, and dune riding for MANY years. Until next time, stay safe on the trail!