A New Ranger and One That Runs on Electricity!

A New Ranger and One That Runs on Electricity!

Polaris boosts power on variety of ATVs and SXS and adds a ton payload to the 6X6 Ranger.

"Economic problems? We don't need no stinking economic problems!"

 

Well, that could easily be the movie paraphrase of Polaris as they unveil their 2010 lineup with an eye toward marketshare capture and boosting their business as other OEMs suffer downturns and financial problems. Not long ago we got a chance to drive and inspect a number of the new Polaris lineup, and compared with models of the past, we think the engineers are "getting it."

 

The new third-platform Ranger pair introduced this year includes the 455 cc gasoline powered Ranger 400, left, and the all-electric Ranger EV. The two share the same external ballistics but ride on totally different chassis designs.

Using a pincer movement of two new mid-size Rangers, both of which will fit in the bed of a standard size pickup truck, and one that is electric powered, Polaris promises to take market territory with products that fit folks who have always felt the Ranger XP and Crew were just a bit too large. The third-platform traditional Ranger comes with independent rear suspension, a 455 cc carbureted engine, a top speed of 40 miles per hour, 500 pounds of cargo rating, a half-ton payload and 1,250 pounds of towing capacity. The electric version(Ranger EV) is the same size but sports a beefier chassis and suspension to carry the 8 lead-acid automotive batteries that power the 30 horsepower three-phase AC induction motor on the rear transaxle. (AC from DC batteries comes from electronic "brains" mounted near the console of the silent side-by-side.) The EV also runs with on-demand true all-wheel drive and Versa Trac which allows use on turf without turning ruts.

 

The new Ranger 800 6X6 has plenty of ground clearance and suspension travel to smooth out rough country while hauling up to a ton of cargo in the rear box.

Polaris officials estimate the range of the Ranger EV at 35-45 miles from its 11.5 kilowatt, 48-volt battery pack and a top speed of 25 mph. Even with electromotive force, the EV is rated at 1,250 pounds towing capacity, 500 pounds cargo box capacity and a 1,000 pound payload. The electric model clears the ground at 10 inches and boasts eight inches front suspension travel and nine inches in the rear. Two hours of ride time is average between charges, which can be done with any 120 VAC power source.

 

In the full-size Ranger 4X4 category the standard Ranger HD is now known as the Ranger 500 HO, to denote the new 500 cc High Output engine, and added an 800 electronically-fuel-injected twin cylinder engine across the rest of the line. The Ranger 4X4 is up 13% in horsepower, while the Ranger 800 XP (with optional electronic power steering) has 15% more horsepower than the 2009 models. The 800 cc engine is also found in the Ranger 800 HD, Ranger 800 Crew and Ranger 800 6X6 -- which comes in red and olive green, the green reminds one a lot of an Army "deuce and a half" at first glance. The full one-ton "pallet sized" cargo box doesn't hurt either!

 

The Ranger 800 6X6 cargo box is designed to carry a palletized load. Here, 1,250 lbs. of salt were used to demonstrate the new machine's ability.

In addition, the new 6X6 gets a weather tight poly box for tools, equipment or iced whatever between the cab and the cargo box, a nice touch for working in the boondocks all day and operating from a side-by-side.

 

One of the biggest improvements we noticed, and a fault in our eyes we've complained about with previous Rangers we've driven, is a redesigned throttle linkage that keeps engine speed control from becoming a series of "short bursts" as short-legged drivers (yeah…I know) bounce across rough terrain. All of the Rangers share the new design, and all of them are much more civilized to those of us who are vertically challenged!

 

While the company has made cosmetic and ergonomic improvements to all of its 2010 line, the other real news is power upgrades for those who want to ride two-up on ATVs.

 

The North Star folks nearly completely redesigned their Sportsman XP model of 2009 and spread the new chassis, engines and other features into the 2-Up models with the introduction of the Sportsman 850 and 550 Touring with electronic power steering, and the Sportsman 550 X2. For the economy minded, there's also a Sportsman 500 H.O. with more power and similar features and chassis as the 2009 version.

 

We found the new Sportsman 850 to be a very civilized piece of machinery with a short-fuse to some very thrilling performance with the flick of the right thumb. The new electronic power steering on both the 550 and 850 are extremely useful, and undoubtedly will become favorites with many buyers.

Base prices for the new ATV models include:

Sportsman 850 Touring EPS, $10,999; Sportsman 550 Touring EPS, $9,299; Sportsman 550 X2, $8,999; and, Sportsman 500 H.O., $7,399.

Pricing for the 2010 SXS base models are:

Ranger 800 6X6, $12,299; Ranger 400, $7,999; Ranger EV (Blue) $10,699; and Ranger EV (Camo) $10,999.

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