I was recently invited on an eye-opening trip to visit the sprawling Polaris proving grounds in Wyoming, Minnesota. There, over 600 acres feature 17 miles of trails carved from the earth to test Polaris’ off-road vehicles through a range of heavy duty scenarios. And with the company’s exciting new all-electric RANGER XP Kinetic set to roll out to customers next year, I was stoked for the chance to get an early test on the new utility side-by-side.
I should preface this with the fact that I haven’t actually driven a gas-powered Polaris RANGER before. In fact, I’ve never driven any side-by-side. I’m normally a two-wheeler guy, but I jumped at the chance to test this thing out, and to push it HARD. Coming from motorcycles, I must say it’s amazing how much fun you can have when you don’t have to worry about little details like, you know, tipping over.
With big knobby tires, long travel suspension and enough power to push both to their max, I had this side-by-side slinging dirt in every direction.
There’s a reason the Polaris engineers call it the “best and most powerful RANGER ever built.” It bests every gas-powered RANGER that came before it when it comes to power, throttle control, ease of use, reduced maintenance, and just about everything else.
Motorcycle propulsion, four-wheeler ruggedness
The beauty of the Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic is the way it combines the electric motorcycle drivetrain from Zero Motorcycles with the long-standing Polaris RANGER vehicle design, including all the years of ruggedization testing that have gone into the vehicle’s gas-powered older brothers.
If you’re already familiar with the existing RANGER line, then you’ll instantly feel at home in the electric model. Outside of a few key giveaways like the lack of a grille, it’s hard to tell the two apart at a quick glance. Around 95% of the RANGER 1000 accessories are compatible – that’s how similar they are.