The first Polaris RZR came on the market in 2007. It caught on because it was a side-by-side and yet it was designed to fit through a 50-inch gate. When other companies were pulling back, Polaris was asking more from their engineers. Since the 50-inch RZR came on the market, Polaris has been out in front with a reputation for innovation.

That first model was an 800 and now the Polaris lineup includes 40 Sport UTVs to choose from. Having 40 UTVs to choose from is like turning a kid loose in a candy shop. I wanted a machine with two seats, so that narrowed the field down to 22.

I shied away from turbo models because I heard that they ran hot and were hard on belts. Now I was looking at 14 models.

Being a bells and whistles kind of guy, I had heard enough about a feature called “Ride Command” to be very interested. So I looked for RZRs equipped with this accessory.

Ride Command is a GPS built into the machine and a whole lot more. The “more” includes all the information you could want on what the condition of the machine is plus information about your ride.

Ride Command allows you to download the Ride Command app to your smart phone, making it possible for anyone to take advantage of its features without installing one on your machine. I enjoy being able to see all the riders in the group I am riding with on the Ride Command screen. It tells me the distance between me and each of the other riders, making it easy to keep from losing someone from the group. It is easy to set up and download the tracks of all your rides.

The ride suspension is top notch. Consider these features:

29-inch tires.

13.5 inches of ground clearance.

Independent double a-arm suspension in the front with 16 inches of wheel travel.

Independent trailing arm suspension in the rear with 18 inches of wheel travel.

Race-proven Walker Evans Needle Shocks.

That may not mean so much to some people, but to me they mean that rocky trails won’t feel so rocky in this machine. I also like the color of the RZR. It is a navy blue mat with red accents.

The street-legal kit is designed to plug into the current light system. Instead of drilling holes in the plastic and inserting small twinkle lights, the rear taillights blink for a turn. Also in front, the turn signals are integrated into the accent lights.

Well, enough looking; it was time to get a feel for the ride. I got strapped in and backed out. The first thing I noticed was the backup camera — no more wondering what’s behind me.

Out on the trail, the feel of the power steering is solid and feels more like driving a truck than a UTV. The seats are comfortable and the storage on the dash is more than adequate. I have always been a fan of the Polaris “On Demand” four-wheel drive system. Put it in four-wheel drive and it will only kick in when needed.

The power that the 999 cc engine puts out will give you no concern about powering out. I climbed some technical sections on the trail to the Moonshine Arch in Vernal with confidence.

The suspension was true to its description and did the job on rocky trails. I was on the Dyer Mine Loop, a ride on the Outlaw Jamboree in Vernal. One section of this trail was a rock garden about 3 miles long. While I still had my ups and downs through this section, I wasn’t bottoming out or high-centering like some of the other machines. I also encountered a section of “whoops” that can throw you around in some machines. Not this one; the riding in this section made me a believer.

Is it the perfect machine? No, there are some issues. The turning radius is not very tight and being a big boy, there is a section of the door frame that my knee bumps into on a ride. A knee pad solved that one.

I have put over 300 miles on the XP 1000 and unlike other machines I have tested and reviewed, I didn’t just take this one out for a day ride. This one is all mine and I highly recommend it. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and consider the Polaris XP 1000 Premium.

Lynn R. Blamires can be reached at quadmanone@gmail.com.

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