UTV Product Reviews

Polaris Ranger HD Long Term Review

Polaris Ranger HD Review

Polaris Ranger HD
2009 Polaris Ranger HD

March 2, 2009:

We picked up our 2009 Polaris Ranger HD at Placerville Polaris today and put it right to use during a serious downpour.  Several culverts were clogged in the neighborhood, so my son and I jumped in the Ranger HD and used it to run around.

2009 Polaris Ranger HD 2009 Polaris Ranger HD

Right off, I noticed that the Ranger HD’s power steering was very smooth and made steering effortless.

March 4, 2009:


Took the dogs out for a ride today.  Two large dog crates fit nicely in the back.  Dogs had a good time.

March 5, 2009:

Polaris Ranger HD - Self-Leveling Shocks

I decided to give the self-leveling shocks a try today.  Loaded the Ranger HD up with some seasoned oak firewood that was pretty wet from the recent rains.

Polaris Ranger HD - Self-Leveling Shocks Polaris Ranger HD - Self-Leveling Shocks
Initial load before driving

Polaris Ranger HD - Self-Leveling Shocks Polaris Ranger HD - Self-Leveling Shocks
After driving around a bit

You can clearly see that the shocks were sagging after I loaded up the Ranger HD with firewood.  As I drove around (about 2 miles total), and could feel the suspension stiffening up. I was pretty surprised when I came to a stop and looked at the difference.  Not only did the shocks react to the ride height, but I could feel that they could deal with the extra weight as well.  Very impressive.

Power steering and unlocking rear differential made driving in tight areas while loaded like this a pleasure.

March 6, 2009

Polaris Ranger HD Polaris Ranger HD Polaris Ranger HD

Another tree fell and took out our dog kennel.  Loaded the Ranger HD up with lots of green oak (very heavy).  The bed is a real nice size for hauling lots of firewood.

I put the selector in 2WD with the rear differential in the unlocked position.  Drive across the lawn even loaded and making tight turns, but the lawn did not get torn up.  Very nice.

I have been impressed with the shocks so far, so I did a bit of research.  The shocks are Nivomat which is a semi-supporting system working in combination with a mechanical spring.

Nivomat looks like a standard shock absorber with a piston rod with damping valves at the end, an outer tube and a cylinder tube. Several components are added to provide the leveling function. Two reservoirs are contained in the outer tube, an oil reservoir (or low pressure reservoir) and a high pressure chamber. Inside the piston rod is the pump chamber (with inlet and outlet valve) and the pump rod, which serves as a height sensor or regulator and a release bore which releases the pressure after the vehicle has reached level.

A load initially causes static compression of the vehicle’s suspension. Once the vehicle begins to move, the pump is activated by the relative movement of the body. Extension of the piston rod causes oil to be drawn through the inlet valve into the pump. Compression then pushes the oil through the outlet valve into the high pressure chamber. The pressure in the oil reservoir decreases as the pressure in the high pressure chamber increases. The increasing pressure acts on the piston rod and raises the vehicle at a continuous rate.

Once the vehicle has reached optimum height, oil is no longer drawn in. The height regulator opens a bypass between the high pressure chamber and the pump chamber preventing oil from flowing out of the oil reservoir.

When the vehicle is unloaded the vehicle begins to rise. The height regulator opens the release bore. Oil flows out of the high pressure chamber into the oil reservoir, the pressure drops in the high pressure chamber and the vehicle lowers to the initial height.

Since Nivomat is mechanical, the vehicle needs to be moving before the pump starts to work and it takes about a mile to a mile-and-a-half of travel before the vehicle reaches its optimal level point.

March 8, 2009

Polaris Ranger HD Polaris Ranger HD Polaris Ranger HD

Polaris Ranger HD 

Went to our neighbors ranch to feed his horses. A few bales of hay fit very nicely in the bed.

The unlocked rear differential was nice so we didn’t tear up his nice pasture, and the power steering made driving in the tight quarters of the barn rear easy.

Power steering on the Ranger HD is a variable-assist setup.  What this means is steering is easy at slow speeds, but it adjusts as speed increases for a more positive feel.

The horses are Overo Paints.

March 9, 2009

Polaris Ranger HD - Dump Bed Polaris Ranger HD - Dump Bed Polaris Ranger HD - Dump Bed

Checked out the bed for hauling compost.  The dump really extends up high to allow everything to empty out real easy.

March 29, 2009

Polaris Ranger HD Polaris Ranger HD

Checking out the self-leveling shocks again while hauling more oak firewood.

March 31, 2009

Polaris Ranger HD Polaris Ranger HD

Over with the horses again today.  Just cruising around the ranch.

May 1 – 2, 2009

Exploring the Pine Nut Mountains at Slaters Mine Placer mining equipment at Slaters Mine Mt. Siegel - Polaris Ranger HD

Mt. Siegel in the Pine Nut Mountains    Polaris Ranger HD near Mt. Siegel

We took the Ranger HD over to Nevada for a few days ofexploring in the Pine Nut Mountains. The Ranger HD did great.  Nice smooth ride.  Power steering is awesome. No problems climbing some steep hills.

Memorial Day

Polaris RANGER HD Polaris RANGER HD, Polaris RZR S and Kawasaki Teryx Polaris RANGER HD, Polaris RZR S and Kawasaki Teryx

A few of us headed up to Iron Mountain near Pollock Pine, CA for a quick Memorial Day ride.  I took our RANGER HD, and my friends had their Polaris RZR S and Kawasaki Teryx.

Other Photos:

 2009 Polaris RANGER HD -  BOSS Lift & Carry System 2009 Polaris RANGER HD -  BOSS® Lift & Carry System

2009 Polaris RANGER HD  2009 Polaris RANGER HD  Polaris RANGER - BOSS Lift & Carry System

RANGER HD features a Self-Leveling Suspension  


Manufacturer Info:

Website: Polaris Industries

Polaris Industries, Inc.
2100 Highway 55
Medina, MN 55340
(763) 417-8650

With annual 2007 sales of $1.8 billion, Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), including the Polaris RANGER™, snowmobiles and Victory motorcycles for recreational and utility use. 


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