Polaris RZR 800 Review
Polaris RZR 800 EFI with aftermarket roll cage, doors, bumper and long
travel kit from Fireball Racing
It has been rumored for months as the Ranger's "Evil Twin", but now it is the real deal. The RZR stands for "Razor".... As in Razor sharp side-by-side.
The all new Polaris Ranger RZR. It is smaller, lighter,
and faster than any side-by-side currently on the market. It is incredibly
responsive with lots of power provided by a twin cylinder 800 EFI engine, low
center of gravity and front/rear anti-sway bars.
Looking at the RZR head-on, it looks very tippy, but from the
side you can see the lowered seat placement and a longer wheelbase which will
help keep it on four wheels.
KMS Performance was kind enough to let
us take their brand new Polaris RZR out for a test drive while at the UTV Rally
in Moab, UT. The power was smooth and would spin the back tires on loose soil.
The throttle was a bit twitchy. A heavier throttle spring may help there.
The RZR did not feel narrow or small with two of us in it. Climbed up some
decent rock areas with ease. And it accelerated up to top speed real quick.
Polaris Ranger RZR 800 Overview & Specifications
Electronic fuel injection
The RZR is powered by an 760cc EFI even-firing, twin cylinder engine that is mounted sideways behind the seats. The electronic fuel
injection system constantly and automatically compensates for changes in altitude, pressure and temperature, making the RZR extremely reliable no matter where the rider chooses to go. In addition, the need for re-jetting after upgrades like high flow intake and exhaust systems
should be eliminated (may need a EFI fuel controller to take full advantage). There are some reports that this engine puts out 40+ horsepower!
RZR's 760cc EFI twin cylinder engine
The good news is the 760cc EFI engine is not new to Polaris (also
used in the Polaris Sportsman 800 EFI) so reliability in early models should
Power delivery is a bit twitchy. Since the RZR is fuel
injected, the throttle isn't really moving anything in a carburetor like the
Rhino. A stiffer feel to the pedal would be nice.
The dry weight of the Polaris RZR is 100 lbs. less than the
Rhino. With a larger engine (800cc delivers 30% more horsepower than the
Rhino) and EFI, the RZR's power-to-weight ratio is
reportedly 44% better than a Rhino. It also reaches 35 mph 26% faster than a
The RZR also has the highest top speed of any currently
A stock RZR can make it to the top of
Sand Mountain, NV.
Stock Rhinos can make it about one-half way up the hill. Big
difference in power.
At 102" long, it is almost a foot shorter than the Yamaha
Rhino (113.6”). Not enough room for people to turn it into a four seat UTV.
At 50" wide, the RZR is narrow enough to be used on most ATV trails.
Although the RZR is shorter, it actually has a longer wheelbase by almost two
The RZR is 4 1/2 inches narrower than the Rhino.
Rhino vs. RZR vs. Prowler
The RZR is smaller than the Rhino in every dimension except wheelbase.
Polaris Ranger RZR is 50" wide so it can fit on ATV trails.
Another nice part about the length of the RZR at 102 inches is
you can load it sideways on a trailer and still be legal on the road. The
Rhino and Prowler are too long to sit sideways and still be within the maximum
width of 102 inches. The RZR will also fit in the back of a truck much easier
than a Rhino.
Center of gravity
With the traversally mounted engine placed behind the seats,
Polaris was able to lower the seats by at least 7 inches to that the Rhino
& Artic Cat. The lower center of gravity will help stability and
responsiveness. Polaris thinks this is such and advantage they have a patent
Seat position helps lower center of gravity.
Weight bias is about 45 percent to the front and 55 percent to
Suspension features - More travel out of the box
The Rhino sports 7.3” travel front and rear. The Polaris RZR
has 9" of front wheel travel & 9.5" of rear wheel travel.
The RZR independent rear suspension
has 9.5" of wheel travel.
The rear suspension is an "Rolled" Independent Rear
Suspension (IRS) System that is canted backwards so as the wheels travel up,
they also travel backwards to help absorb some of the shock. Polaris calls
this feature "recessional wheel travel.”
The RZR is also the only side-by-side that is available with a
front anti-sway bar. Front and rear anti-sway bars make the RZR more stable in
hard cornering. We need to take a look at how easy it is to disable the
anti-sway bar for rock crawling type use where the bars limit off-camber wheel
travel. The front sway bar is pretty weak in the dunes. If you want to
jump at all, I would recommend removing the front sway bar.
The 2009 RZR S has much
better suspension. 12" of travel. 60" wide. Fox Podium
2009 RZR S
All Wheel Drive
Polaris equipped the RZR with an all-wheel drive (AWD)
traction system. The AWD is enabled or disabled via a dash-mounted
switch. When enabled, the RZR senses wheel slippage and automatically
engages the AWD. Then when traction is no longer needed, the system
automatically reverts back to 2WD. In the dunes, I find it is more fun to
run in 2 wheel drive. But I did find that the RZR would climb steep
hills farther in AWD.
And it looks like Polaris did their homework and learned from
Yamaha's mistake. They include nets and deep foot wells to keep your legs in
the vehicle during a roll-over.
The RZR comes with nets to keep legs inside the UTV. This is a pre-production
This is the production version. The leg nets are there, plus another net that
overlaps and goes higher. Not overly user-friendly. And doesn't help
with the RZR's overall appearance either.
Since the engine sits sideways, the exhaust exits right near the passenger
fender. Not the greatest location. Aftermarket exhaust manufacturers
will have to make a similar bend, so don't expect this to be fixed with a
And the exhaust "heat shield" will touch your plastic and
The exhaust also melts the plastic behind
the passenger seat. This was fixed for 2009 models.
The radiator hose routing seems a bit sketchy. This hose runs
right next to the passenger side front shock. It can easily touch the
The RZR seats are better than the Yamaha Rhino, but are still a bit stiff. They
are pretty thin so aftermarket seats will be tough to fit without losing leg
The Seat belts can be a bit sensitive when trying to retract
the belt on un-level ground. Moving to level ground seems to help. Best
solution is to swap to an aftermarket four-point harness.
There have been problems with the air filter letting debris
into the engine. New aftermarket air filter setups will help cure
this, but hopefully Polaris will come out with a fix for this problem. There
is a TSB on all units made before August 2007. Check with your local
Polaris dealer to see if the TSB applies to your RZR. Newer units have
had some adjustments to help seal the intake, and 2009 RZRs are much
Tilt Steering Wheel
Tilt steering from the factory is a nice addition, but the wheel does feel a
The factory "roll" cage definitely has a case of the uglies. The roll
cage material sounded real thin when you tap on it with your fingernail. I
would quickly invest in an aftermarket cage to increase safety and
I am 6' 1" and the RZR it was a bit tight for
me. I would be more comfortable with a bit more
The bed on the RZR is very small, but setup to use Polaris lock and load
type tie downs.
The good news is the bed is very lightweight which helps keep the overall
weight of the RZR low.
Photos used with permission
Ground clearance of the RZR is advertised at 10" vs. 12" for
the Rhino. In reality, it is lower than 10" and hangs up on lots of
trail obstacles. Also a bit low in the dunes when crossing ridges.
I think that the low ground clearance is probably the
biggest negative to the Polaris RZR.
The 2009 RZR S (long travel
RZR from the factory) has a much improved 12.5" of ground clearance.
Photo used with permission
Polaris RZR Frame is a little
on the "light" side.
The RZR does not have a separate emergency brake. On
the RZR, the parking brake is automatically engaged when the vehicle is in
Park. A separate e-brake would be nice to have.
The RZR has a
Hitch Towing Capacity or 1500 lbs, but don't expect to tow that much. The
receiver cannot handle any tongue weight. I towed a wood splitter
(very little tongue weight) a short distance and bent the receiver mount.
The rear differential on the RZR is always locked. It would be nice
to have a selectable locker for tighter turning and so you don't tear up the
Aftermarket Parts Availability
Aftermarket parts manufacturers have embraced the RZR and lots of parts
are now available with new stuff coming out all the time. PURE Polaris also
has lots of parts & accessories available.
The RZR roll cage does not have any provision for a whip flag. Plan to
add a whip flag mount if you are headed to the dunes.
Rear View Mirror
The RZR does not come with a rear-view mirror.
Clutch modifications are very easy o the RZR.
Electrical Charging System
Stator Output: Idle ~310W, Max ~475W.
If the voltage level is outside of the
ranges defined below for more than 6 seconds consecutively then the
battery warning will illuminate on the gauge. The 4 ranges are setup as
* RPM range below 600 can be attained during
engine cranking at startup. This range is not looked at.
The biggest issue with the electrical system of the
2008 RZR is the location of the voltage regulator under the driver's
seat. With no airflow, the regulator can easily overheat and shut down.
The 2009 RZR has moved the regulator up in front of the radiator.
There is a
harness kit available for 2008 RZR so you can relocate your
regulator up front and help solve this issue.
2008 Voltage Regulator is under the driver's seat.
The 2009 Polaris RZR Voltage Regulator is up front by the radiator.
Production Polaris RZR Photos:
Available colors are green and red. The Polaris RZR is now
available at Polaris dealerships, with an MSRP of $10,299.
Aftermarket Parts & Accessories:
Roll Cage and Doors from PDS Fabrication
Long Travel Kit, Bumper, Roll Cage from LoneStar Racing
Polaris RZR racing in the Baja 500 - DragonFire Racing
Polaris RZR racing in the BITD Vegas to Reno -