By Jon Crowley
When Polaris announced the GENERAL as a new rec-utility vehicle, at first I was a bit perplexed. To me the Ranger XP 900 seems pretty dang sporty for a utility machine. I have put paddle tires on a Ranger XP 900 and gone to the dunes (see Polaris Ranger XP 900 Dune Review).
AndI have also added 30-inch tires and taken our Ranger XP 900 Deluxe rock crawling (see Ranger XP 900 Rock Crawling Review).
While the Ranger proved to me that it could be pulled into some pretty gnarly terrain, it was true that a more sporty suspension and powerful engine would help it excel in these environments. From a manufacturer standpoint, the Ranger is more 75% utility and 25% recreation (utility-rec).
Looking at the RZR XP 1000 or RZR S 1000 you quickly find that they are more suited to pure sport activities since they lack a bed that is suitable for hauling/dumping. What Polaris was missing in their lineup was a vehicle suited for 75% recreation and 25% utility. That is where the GENERAL comes in, and after I spent the day in one recently, I think Polaris has hit a home-run.
2016 Polaris GENERAL 1000 EPS Deluxe
The all-new 2016 GENERAL is a perfect blend of RZR S 1000 and Ranger XP 900. To make sure it has what it takes for recreation uses, the suspension and drive train are almost pure RZR S. With 100 horsepower, the Polaris GENERAL has best-in-class power. And the suspension boasts 12-inches of ground clearance, plus 12.25-inches of front wheel travel and 13.2-inches of rear wheel travel from an a-arm suspension that is nearly identical to the RZR S 1000. Engine and clutch are almost all RZR S as well with minor tweaks to the calibration and tuning so the GENERAL can have the low-end grunt necessary to do work.
100 Horsepower Prostar Engine makes the GENERAL a blast to drive
While the Prostar 999 cc twin delivers 100 horsepower that make it fun to drive, it also has a broad torque range – 65 ft. lbs. of torque to haul, pull, and power through the biggest jobs.
The GENERAL features convenient one latch tailgate opening on the 600 lbs. capacity dumping cargo bed as well as Polaris Lock & Ride integration for a variety of specially made accessories to get work done fast.
The tuned suspension geometry features dual rate springs that maintains most of its ground clearance even when fully loaded, and also gives you a smooth ride when empty.
With a 600 lbs. capacity bed there is enough room to bring gear for camping or haul around the ranch
Standard half doors are built with automotive style latches and do a great job at protecting riders from weather and trail debris. They also swing open wide to make it easy to get in and out.
Seats are Bolstered to help keep you planted in sporty terrain but still allow for easy ingress/egress
The all-new cockpit was designed with a balance of work and play. The GENERAL comes with all-new seats that are designed for comfort whether you are out on the trail or mending fences around the farm. The seats more closely resemble those found in a RZR with bolstering that help keep you in place when on the trail. Driver seat also comes standard with a seat slider so you can adjust to varying driver height. Plus the seats are positioned more upright than a RZR which give you great visibility and make it easy for ingress/egress.
If you ride or work in a cold climate, Polaris Lock&Ride Pro Fit cab design allows you to add a windshield, upper doors or a full cab in just a few minutes.
Polaris Lock&Ride Windshield works great and takes seconds to install.
Polaris GENERAL Review
Suspension – Borrowing the suspension from the RZR S 900/1000 was a smart move. It works well and the common parts mean more aftermarket products will be available (shocks, arms, etc.). FOX Podium 2.0 shocks available on Deluxe model.
Engine / Drivetrain – Proven engine with good power and torque. Common engine, axles and clutch mean more aftermarket options. Engine placement behind the cab keeps noise down as well.
Cab – Great seats and seat position (more upright like the RANGER). Good size for cab; enough to make it comfortable (elbow room) but small enough to be nimble.
Bed – Properly sized bed for the intended purpose. Enough for hunting, camping or working around the ranch, but not so big that it makes the overall size of the vehicle larger than it needs to be.
Doors – Half doors work great and cover enough to keep you protected from water/mud coming up from the front tires.
Instrument Cluster – Well positioned to make it visible regardless of steering wheel tilt.
No Turf Mode – Although no other competitors in the rec-utility segment offer turf mode, I think it is an important feature that not only protects your lawn, but also allows you to turn sharper. The ideal scenario is to have turf mode (rear differential locker) selector separate from 2WD/4WD switch.
Tire Size – What can I say? I like to put big tires on my cars for better performance while rock crawling and more ground clearance in the desert, and I am not sure a 30-inch tire will fit. Most likely a 29-inch is as large as we can expect without interference or modification. I can also see a Polaris GENERAL High Lifter Edition as a future model because mud guys will eat this vehicle up.
Price – The Deluxe edition GENERAL has a MSRP of $19,999. Wow, we have come a long way when a rec-utility vehicle is $20K! Good news is the base model is more reasonably priced at $15,999.
Overall I believe the GENERAL actually fills a hole in the Polaris side x side lineup that I didn’t realize existed until now. After spending the day behind the wheel and really looking into the market, I truly believe that Polaris has not just added another vehicle to fill a void, they have created a vehicle that will dominate this market segment. Competitors may have similar power, suspension or comfort, but none do it all like the GENERAL.
The Velocity Blue and Deluxe Orange Burst models will be available at Polaris dealerships starting in December. The Indy Red will be available in March 2016. More information about Polaris whole line of Off-Road Vehicle offerings and Polaris Engineered Accessories can be found online at www.Polaris.com.
Polaris is a recognized leader in the powersports industry with annual 2014 sales of $4.5 billion. Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets innovative, high quality off-road consumer and military vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER® and RZR® side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and on-road electric/hybrid powered vehicles. Polaris is among the global sales leaders for both snowmobiles and off-road vehicles and has established a presence in the heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle market with the Victory® and Indian Motorcycle® and Slingshot® brands. Additionally, Polaris continues to invest in the global Work and Transportation vehicle industry with Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), Goupil Industrie SA, Aixam Mega S.A.S., and internally developed vehicles. Polaris enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Polaris Engineered Parts, Accessories and Apparel, Klim branded apparel and ORV accessories under the Kolpin®, Cycle Country® and Pro Armor®brands.Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PII, and the Company is included in the S&P Mid-Cap 400 stock price index.
Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel and vehicle accessories are available from authorized Polaris dealers or anytime at www.polaris.com.