By Jon Crowley
I was invited by Polaris to ride the newest mud-ready side-by-sides at High Lifter Proving Grounds near Shreveport Louisiana. High Lifter has been one of the biggest names in mud products for UTVs and ATVs for many years and it is awesome to see the relationship between Polaris and High Lifter grow. What started out with the 2015 High Lifter Polaris RZR XP 1000 has now grown to also include the High Lifter Edition Polaris RZR XP4 1000, High Lifter Edition Polaris RANGER XP 1000, High Lifter Edition Polaris RANGER XP 1000 Crew and High Lifter Edition Polaris Sportsman ATV.
In addition to the partnership on the technology side, Polaris is also a sponsor of the High Lifter Proving Grounds and utilizes the property for testing and validation for new vehicles. And this testing includes vehicles that are designed specifically for mud! This type of focus by a manufacturer means higher quality vehicles for all of us, mud riders or not.
The High Lifter Proving Grounds is holding their Grand Opening on Saturday, October 6, 2018 and I was able to get a sneak peak of the park and experience the full lineup of High Lifter Edition Polaris RZRs and RANGERs while doing so. Here is a glimpse of what I experienced:
The most performance minded vehicle of the High Lifter Editions is the two seat High Lifter Polaris RZR XP 1000.
This vehicle features a 64″ Width, 110 HP, 29.5″ Mud Tires and 21.5″ Usable Travel. Low range is 55% lower than the normal RZR XP 1000 and this keeps the Outlaw 2 tires clawing for traction.
In addition to the 2-seat, Polaris also offers a four-seat High Lifter Polaris RZR XP4 1000. This unit has all the features of the two-seat in a four-seat setup.
The RANGER High Lifter Edition was designed, tested and built side-by-side with the king of mud. It comes factory equipped for complete mud domination with 28″ Outlaw 2 tires, arched a-arms and purpose built bumpers. Built to conquer it all with industry-leading mud performance, capability, durability and the toughness required to keep you mudding all day long. The two-seat RANGER has a ProStar® 1000 engine producing 82 HP. Paired with a 20% increase in overall driveline strength, this mud machine delivers the power required to get you through the impassable swamps and mud bogs.
The RANGER CREW XP 1000 EPS High Lifter Edition has all the features of the two-seat RANGER, but with seating for six!
Being a newbie to mud riding, I didn’t know quite what to expect. The idea of abusing your vehicle in the mud is beyond something I would ever think about putting one of my own vehicles through. But I can tell you that after spending the day at High Lifter Proving Grounds, I have a new appreciation for what these High Lifter Edition can handle!
I spent most of the day in the RANGER CREW XP 1000 EPS High Lifter Edition and was very impressed at how well this big vehicle handled the terrain at High Lifter Proving Grounds. We did get stuck a few times, but the Crew is a LONG vehicle is a very large skid plate. I was amazed that we didn’t get stuck more!
I only have two items that I think need improvement on the RANGER High Lifter Editions:
- I think the RANGER should be designed so a 30-inch tire would fit. For mud riding, it is all about ground clearance, and every little bit helps. 28-inch tires are good, but 30-inch would be even better. I’d also like to see this carry across to the normal RANGER lineup. Ground clearance matters not only for mud but also for hunting, around the farm or exploring.
- The other item is the cubbies in the doors and dash. Everything needs to be designed so they don’t collect water. Simple drain holes should fixed this easy enough.