The performance side-by-side market has quickly become one of the most fiercely competitive segments in the automotive marketplace. These unique vehicles combine supercar power-to-weight ratios with the off-road performance of a premier-class desert racer. For the 2022 model year Polaris has taken the high-performance UTV class to another level with the introduction of the all-new 2022 Polaris RZR Pro R and Turbo R models. Polaris recently invited us to join them in the desert outside of Las Vegas for a chance to jump behind the wheel of both the 2022 RZR Pro R and RZR Turbo R. Both were two-seat vehicles, and both were top-tier Ultimate trims. Follow along as we dig into what makes these two amazing vehicles tick, as well as what makes them both strikingly similar and distinctly different. Let’s go!
Engine Power And Performance
One of the biggest differentiators between the 2022 Polaris RZR Pro R and Turbo R models is the engines that power them. For 2022 the RZR Turbo lineup has been reduced to just one model, the Turbo R, which now receives its motivation from the same 181 hp turbocharged two-cylinder engine that was previously only found in RZR XP models. The all-new 2022 RZR Pro R received the industry’s first four-cylinder engine, a 225 hp naturally aspirated 2.0-liter sourced from the company’s Slingshot on-road vehicle.
With a 44 hp disparity between the two drivetrains, to say that the difference is noticeable would be an understatement. The power delivered by the new 2.0-liter engine in the RZR Pro R is simply unbelievable. With more horsepower-per-ton than a 702 hp Ram 1500 TRX, the RZR Pro R is a rocket ship off-road. Helping to control all this power are a set of three drive modes: Sport, Rock, and Race. Sport mode works as a sort of “normal” driving position. We found the RZR Pro R to have very controllable throttle response in this mode, giving us a composed driving experience when powering out of a corner or navigating tight and winding terrain. Rock mode dials throttle sensitivity back quite a bit, allowing for precise engine control when crawling over challenging obstacles. Finally (and most fun) there’s the full-kill Baja mode. With the dash-mounted switch flipped to Race, the RZR Pro R feels like an unstoppable ball of acceleration. Throttle tip-in is incredibly sensitive and the full power of the 2.0-liter engine comes on fast and hard. We especially enjoyed this driving mode on long, straight stretches of desert trail and when pushing hard through large whoops. It also worked best during those situations where we needed to get the front end light in a hurry when navigating sudden obstacles. To say the RZR Pro R is an adrenaline rush would be putting it mildly.