My interest in the Polaris General was piqued when it was introduced in 2016. Not having as much utility as the Ranger nor being as sporty as the RZR, the General had a nice mix of utility and sport.
Because of its successful introduction, a four-seat version came out in 2017. When Nick Faulkner of Layton Cycle offered a 2018 model to test, I didn’t have to think twice. Because the General has four seats, I invited Fred Newton and his wife to join us for a trip to the Ticaboo Resort near the Bullfrog Marina at Lake Powell.
In reviewing the specs for this machine, I was surprised to learn that it is over 12½-feet long. With a 113-inch wheelbase (measuring from the centers of the hubs), the platform provided plenty of room to fit four adults on very comfortable seats.
The dual A-arm suspension is enhanced with 12 inches of ground clearance and plenty of wheel travel. The lengthy wheelbase, in addition to the Fox 2.0 Podium shocks, smoothed out the trails considerably.
The General comes with 27-inch tires — GBC Dirt Commanders mounted on attractive 14-inch cast aluminum wheels. In addition to dual-bore front and rear calipers hydraulically actuated on all four wheels, the General features full engine braking and will stop on a dime.
To avoid tearing up your lawn, a “turf mode” feature puts drive to one rear wheel, allowing the other to spin free. Two-wheel and on-demand all-wheel drive are controlled by the same switch.
Powered by a 100-horsepower, 999cc, fuel-injected ProStar DOHC, four-stroke, twin-cylinder engine, you don’t feel the size of this machine. It is, in fact, fast and sporty. Geared low, I was surprised to see at 40 mph that the tachometer was reading 6,000 RPM. While I don’t feel the need for speed, it is capable of doing over 70 mph.
Moving to the cab of the General, I noticed that the instrument cluster is situated on the steering column, where I think it should be. Most are located in the center of the dashboard. The whole cluster moves as the steering wheel is tilted so it always provides a convenient view of the information available. The extent of that information is impressive.
The plastic is coated with automotive paint, and the cab is enclosed with half doors. Two 12-volt accessory outlets provide power for what you need to charge. Lots of storage solutions are available, including a lidded console between the seats in front and back. Cubby holes are situated in the dashboard, with lift-out rubber inserts for easy cleaning. Four cup holders along with slots to hold cell phones are available for all four passengers.
The General comes standard with a Polaris HD 4500 LB winch and a low-profile front bumper. The winch is controlled by a switch in the dashboard that includes plenty of blanks to add switches for other desired accessories. A tilting cargo bed with plenty of room represents the utility side of this UTV.
The Ticaboo trails provided a great opportunity to see what the General can do. Having ridden these trails in May on an ATV, I was interested to see the difference in the ride.
The washes provided an excellent test. Riding in one, we came to a steep sand hill. The General climbed it with little effort, but coming down I had to give it some gas to keep the long body from coming around.
I climbed a steep bench and wished I had more ground clearance as I scraped bottom. Adding a lift kit and larger tires would make a difference.
Turning the wheel over to Becky, I took a seat in the back. That wild woman gave the General a run for the money while I held on for dear life. However, it was hard not to smile.
I was concerned about the 62.5-inch width of the General when I tried to squeeze it through the slot canyon south of the lodge. It came through without a scrape, but afterwards I realized that I was trying to suck in my gut as if that would help. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and for back country adventures with your family consider the General 4 1000.