2012 Polaris RZR-4 XP 900 – Coast To Coast
Race Testing Polaris' New 4-Seater
April 19, 2013
By Brit Mansell
Polaris spares no expense in their model introductions. This was the view from inside of the presentation tent.The wait is finally over! The machine everyone has been asking for is finally alive, and probably on your local dealer’s showroom floor right now. In one quick sentence, the 2012 Polaris RZR-4 XP 900 might possibly be the best all around vehicle, not just UTV, on the planet.
Almost as soon as the 2011 RZR-XP 900 was announced in early January, 2011, rumors began to surface about a similar vehicle being offered in a four-seat model. Several aftermarket builders even entered the market to meet the demand and crafted high horsepower four-seat, sport side by side based on a combination of the RZR-XP 900 and the RZR-4 800, so it was obvious that there was an instant position for this vehicle as soon as it was released.
The 2012 Polaris RZR-4 XP 900 is exactly what we expected it to be, and it is exactly what it should be. When this vehicle was announced there didn't seem to be very many overwhelming surprises. It wasn't until I was finally able to get behind the wheel when the surprises really became evident. I am very familiar with the performance characteristics of the two-seat XP, so I was expecting to be immediately under-impressed with the power efficiency and performance of the longer, heavier four-seat XP as compared to the two-seat model. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. The extra weight is not noticeable in the least bit and the extra length was actually a performance benefit in the rough, choppy desert terrain of Parker, AZ, where we were first introduced to the new king of the UTV market. The longer wheelbase allows the vehicle to maintain its trajectory while skimming the tops of the whoops at high speed. Shorter wheelbase vehicles are less able to span multiple whoops at once, forcing them down into the valleys between the whoops. Right out of the box, the RZR-4 XP 900 is perfectly capable of being a competitive desert racer, as evidenced by the vehicle entered into the 2012 Parker 250 by Jagged X Racing. The Jagged X vehicle was equipped with a few modifications, but none of which were performance-enhancing. The list of modifications included: two-seat specific roll cage, larger fuel cell, seats, harnesses, GPS, race radio, and safety lights.
This may be what Heaven looks like.
One of the standout features of the new RZR-4 XP 900 is the addition of Walker Evans Racing shocks on all four corners. The rear shocks have a diameter increase of 2.5 inches while the front shocks retain a 2.0” diameter. The rear 2.5” shocks are the largest diameter shocks found on any OEM side by side. Not only do these shocks carry the Walker Evans Racing name, they are in fact the exact same shocks Walker Evans Racing sells to their customers. That means that you get top of the line, race-grade shocks on a stock vehicle. The Fox shocks found on the RZR-XP are great shocks, but the WER shocks take this to a whole new level. These are probably the best shocks (in terms of quality, engineering, and performance) ever installed by an OEM on a UTV or SXS. If you were to purchase these shocks directly from WER, you would be looking at a bill somewhere between $2000 and $3000.
The standard performance traits of the XP 900 are still evident in the RZR-4 XP 900. Power is delivered very efficiently from the ProStar 900 powerplant and gets to the ground well through the precisely tuned CVT clutch. If you are familiar with the two-seat XP, you will be instantly at home with the four-seat version.
Our first drive in the new RZR-4 XP 900 was in the rough, damaging desert terrain of Parker, AZ. The XP4 handled the terrain with ease, much like a race-tuned vehicle would. The addition of the Maxxis Bighorn tires found on the Liquid Silver Limited Edition model was also a huge plus in this terrain. Parker, AZ is known for destroying race cars and play cars alike, but the RZR-4 XP 900 had no issues with durability.
Glamis Sand Dunes
Immediately after the model introduction, I took the vehicle to the Glamis sand dunes in southern California. The new XP4 was a standout performer here as well. We rode for hours through the extreme dunes near Oldsmobile Hill and the XP powered up even the gnarliest of dune approaches. It also soaked up the most extreme transitions like a purpose-built dune machine. The extra power and length of the XP over other UTVs will make it an instant hit in the sand, even while carrying four passengers. There isn’t another UTV on the market that can pull that off.