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 Next-Generation Ranger XP

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pwm
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PostSubject: Next-Generation Ranger XP   Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:17 pm

New suspension, new look and subtle, and classy touches

Story: Bob Davis

2009 Polaris Ranger XP Review



This is the scenario where the anti-bump technology really shines

Description / Competition
Honestly, folks, at the time of this writing I hadn’t had the pleasure of testing the ’09 Teryx and Prowler XTZ, but from what I’ve seen on this Ranger and what I’ve heard about the other ‘09s, it appears that all these vehicles will be up for “Side-x-Side of the Year” honors. Without having the other two vehicles on hand (that will be next issue) I don’t like speculating too much, but it’s possible the ’09 Ranger XP could win top honors as both best “Side-x-Side” and “Most Improved” for the ‘09 model year. Polaris has done an exceedingly good job on what can be best described as a totally new-generation Ranger. This heavy hauler is a tremendously capable off-road machine that should satisfy both work-related and luxury-seeking alike. It tows and hauls effortlessly, provides outstanding comfort, offers a slick suspension system and its refined look enhances the overall riding experience. The SxS segment is constantly expanding, with sophisticated, highly versatile machines that have moved far beyond mere work value and simple off-roading fun--you can now place this new Ranger among them.



Notice the extra cutout areas on the dash for more switches, the redesigned sportier tilt steering wheel, new left side Parking Brake, redesigned foot pedals and foot rest, new cab flooring with slightly more legroom, range selection lever (to right of steering wheel), cupholders and beautifully done glossy paint job.
2009 Rangers

Polaris says--and we concur--that 2009 will bring the most significant upgrades in Ranger history with the introduction of the next-generation Ranger. It traded its “cutesy” exterior for bold new styling that can be described as ruggedly brutish. The new upgraded models include the manly redesigned Ranger 4x4 and Ranger XP and the all-new, heavy-duty Ranger HD with front-end hydraulics. In addition, the Ranger recreational lineup includes improvements to the red-hot RZR and the addition of the pure-sport RZR S.

The new Rangers were redesigned with heavy-duty front end protection, including the most armored front end ever designed by Polaris, for the protection of critical components and a redesigned bumper for added durability. Other improvements include anti-bump steering, 50% easier steering, 46% more dash storage and new ergonomics including a bigger seat and slightly more leg space, reoriented gas and brake pedals, new angled-back seat, relocated brake lever for operation inside and outside the vehicle and a redesigned tilt steering wheel.

Exterior / Appearance
Fit and finish on our Ranger XP Limited Edition is top-notch, with a spectacular rich metallic high-gloss Sunset Red paint accompanied by similar elegant yet subtle nuances—for example, the owner’s manual says that in order to keep the gloss paint looking good, use furniture polish after cleaning to bring out the luster. Our XP test unit came with classy wheels and aggressive-tread, 26-inch radial tires. Big headlights and new LED taillights do a good job of making the machine very visible.


With improved handling, we were able to rocket out of the turns
Heavy-Duty Front-End Protection

Polaris outfitted the new models with the most-armored front end ever designed. The design offers protection for critical components such as the radiator, cooling system and front differential. The front headlights have been inset for added protection from rocks and branches, and the redesigned bumper with heavy-duty bash plate offers dedicated vehicle tie-down points, a massive central tow hook and inset tow hook cage for additional front differential protection. For those who require more lighting than the stock 50W per light, Polaris pre-drilled auxiliary light mounting holes in the bumper for installing aftermarket Halogen/LED distance headlights.

Seating / Dash
An improved (smaller-diameter / thicker-grip), ergonomic-friendly steering wheel design with adjustable tilt, anti-bump steering, comfy bench seating with a slightly altered back angle, an almost power-steering like feel and a (much needed) redesign of the foot pedals will make long-distance trips more enjoyable, and includes a foot rest that makes the machine feel more truck than UTV.

Polaris restyled the dash for ‘09, adding a driver-angled, multi-function speedometer that makes it easier to read during a quick glance. The rocker switches also have backlit displays, something no other vehicle has. Because so many Ranger owners add accessories, Polaris installed dual 12V outlets and made room for rocker switch cutouts on the dash for a clean-looking system of buttons and switches, no matter how many accessories you want to add on. For convenience, there are also deep-well cupholders on both ends of the dash.

The relocation of the hand-activated parking brake showed remarkable safety insight. Let’s say that you step out of the Ranger, forget to set the brake and the vehicle starts rolling. In every other Side-x-Side or UTV (without Park mode) you would have to try hopping back into a rolling vehicle to set the parking brake, a dangerous maneuver. With the Ranger’s parking brake set to the dashboard’s far left, all you need to do is reach in and pull it back from outside the vehicle. While this may not sound like much, it could very well save you from a broken limb or the vehicle colliding with something—or, even worse, someone. We applaud Polaris for the foresight it showed in locating the parking brake where it did. Another factor that will help for parking brake longevity is an indicator that lights up when the brake is set. In addition, Polaris designed the engine to sputter if the brake is set, alerting you that it’s on. Again, well done, Polaris!


Easy access to critical components, nice access to the dash and electrical for adding accessories and the small storage are left of the battery.

Storage
There’s storage galore—under the dash are several open compartments, there’s a right-side enclosed glove box, and on the XP and HD models there’s a huge removable storage compartment beneath the rider’s seating. There’s also an optional cooler insert for this area developed by the staff at PURE Polaris accessories. In addition, a small area under the hood is perfect for keeping such necessary items as a tire plug kit or tow rope.

Engine / Drivetrain
Powered by a 683cc, twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled Polaris Liberty engine that spits out a whopping 40hp with a 50-mph top speed, the machine will give you more than enough power for any terrain scenario.

The Ranger’s On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD) traction system is one of the finest around and has been at the heart of the Ranger for years. The system is activated by a rocker switch on the dash that has three settings: one-wheel drive (turf mode), two-wheel drive and full-locking four-wheel-drive. The electrically-operated Hilliard front differential offers true 4WD traction even when towing or cornering with no locking-diff feedback whatsoever. Set in AWD, the system automatically engages the front tires when the rider needs more forward traction, then automatically reverts to 2WD when AWD is no longer needed. No problems here.

The Ranger still doesn’t have the Polaris CVT braking system called Active Descent Control (ADC), but we’re hoping one day Polaris will install it.
Notice the outward shock mount hole on this left/front shock photo. Polaris outfitted the Ranger’s front suspension with adjustable preload dual A-arms rather than the MacPherson struts on the front of previous models. In addition, it built “motion ratio” into all four shocks that give users the ability to set the suspension for the type of work or riding they do, by allowing them to switch the shock ratio through two mounting locations drilled in the chassis near the shock top.

Chassis / Suspension
Think for a moment about the last vehicle you test-drove. Whether it was a car, truck or Side-x-Side, chances are that you picked the vehicle that had the most comfortable seating with the best steering feel. Regardless of vehicle type, few things impress drivers more than smooth and easy steering. This is where the upgraded Ranger takes center stage. For ’09 the XP offers a well-calibrated dual suspension setup along with “anti-bump” steering that provides composed control whether trail riding or hauling cargo.

The Ranger has always been maneuverable and handles reasonably well, though I’ve felt it to be a bit more top-heavy than I liked and it had hauling issues when carrying 800 pounds in the cargo bed. For years I had felt that the root cause of these problems was the plush suspension—which it still has. The AWD traction system has always been effective in helping with handling issues. I must say, however, that the new up-front dual A-arms and stronger preload suspension seem to decrease the body roll and make the Ranger feel a little more grounded. There’s much more to the new suspension, though. To help clarify the new suspension and anti-bump steering, we spoke with Louis Brady, Polaris’ Chassis / Suspension Project Engineer.

The new suspension’s contribution to the Ranger is overwhelmingly positive and could very well be the best all-around suspension available. Here’s how it works.

There are two upper shock mounting points on each wheel, giving a motion ratio adjustment that increases stiffness of suspension. The inner mount allows for a softer ride with better handling, like a regular SxS. By attaching the upper shock mount to the outside hole, the motion ratio (shock stroke / vertical wheel travel) increases, which makes the suspension stiffer. Switching the shock ratio to a more vertical position adds considerable stiffness to the ride for carrying weight—like snowplows, cabs or loads of firewood.

This works much more effectively than just changing the preload coil with a spanner wrench because it actually changes the suspension wheel rate. The preload coil adjustment, available on each wheel, increases the initial spring compression for a 30% stiffer ride when needed. The wheel rate stays the same--only the ride height is affected.
After setting all four shocks to the outward hole mount, we estimate that suspension stiffness increased as much as 60% and raised the entire chassis two inches, which is an important handling factor when carrying heavy loads or accessories.


Notice the 2-inch receiver, independent rear suspension, huge hydraulic brakes set within the wheel for better protection and 12-inches of ground clearance down the middle.

Anti-Bump Steering
To combat ruts, stumps and rocks, the Ranger offers anti-kickback steering that greatly reduces feedback over bumps and / or logs and makes the vehicle steerable with one hand. Unless you actually experience it, it’s almost too hard to put into words the tremendous benefit that anti-bump steering gives you.

Again, we asked Louis Brady for his input. The anti-bump feature is found on the Sportsman XP ATV as well and this was how he explained it.
“On the Sportsman XP, we spent a lot of time and effort packaging the hub, bearings, brakes, and other components as tightly as possible. By doing this we were able to push the ball joints deep inside the front rim. The closer the ball joint gets to the centerline of the rim, the smaller the moment arm for kickback gets. For example, if you cut this distance in half and hit an object with the front tire, the force delivered to the handlebars is now half as much. On the Sportsman XP this distance compared to the original Sportsman was reduced by almost 66%. On the Ranger we reduced this distance by approximately 50%. This also reduces steering effort, as you may have noticed”. We did. It’s very impressive.

Dumping Cargo Box
The polyethylene cargo box bed measures 36” x 54” x 11”, for almost 12.5 cu. ft. of volume and a 1,000-pound payload capacity, making the Ranger closer in capacity to a full-size UTV than a Side-x-Side. At 34 inches, the bed is higher than most, though a little too high to be a comfortable work height. There are D-rings located in all four corners and engineers did something to it that I’ve been harping about on other cargo boxes for years. They installed dump release/lift handles on both sides of the box so that two people can dump a heavily loaded box. In a bit of irony, with the power-assist lift arm underneath the box helping with lifting chores, I was able to dump a fully loaded box by myself anyway. I couldn’t do that on any other full-sized UTV, though. Go figure.
T
he 26-inch aggressive tread tires and true 4WD simply beg you into tackling mudholes like this.

Tailgate
The Ranger’s tailgate is a plus. Taking a cue from pickup trucks, Polaris made the tailgate operable using just one hand, which is helpful if your other arm is full. The self-cleaning hinged gate works exceedingly well. The new LED brake lights are very bright, will last for several thousand hours of use before they burn out and are built within the box body for better protection.

Summary
We grew quite fond of the XP during the few months we had it. It was fun to drive and a nice alternative to the full-on work Utility Vehicles like the Gator and Mule. While some UTV purists have scoffed that the newest Ranger is too gentrified for their tastes, I don't agree. Thanks to incremental upgrades that have greatly improved the ride, refinement and driving experience, its new look and impressive suspension system with anti-bump steering, the Ranger is suddenly more competitive than it's been since its early years in the narrow category UTV segment.

In terms of refinement, it has an edge over all the UTVs and its comfort gains put it closer to the Rhino, Prowler and Teryx Side-x-Sides. All three are quicker than the Ranger off the line and top end, but I don’t care. I like this Ranger—a lot! I appreciate having a comfortable as well as a capable vehicle to take me and a lot of weight into places most people will never see.

Nice job, Polaris.

_________________
2010 Ranger XP 800
PP Windshield F&B, EMP EXT Bumper, Warn 40XT, Kobalt Box, Backwoods Armor 2" Lift/Arched Forward A-Arms, ProArmor Doors, DJ Fab Heat Shield, KFI Front Hitch, UTV Tech Mud Guard & Grill Insert, Crow 4-point Harness, Hi Lift Jack, 27" Horns, SS108's, Garmin 76csx, IPOD 80GB w/Otter Box, ATV Trail Tunes Sounds, Dual Battery Setup,  2-way Radio, PWM Built Spare Tire/Gas Carrier, Diamond Back Top & Floor Mats, HID's, FlexSteel Seats


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PostSubject: Re: Next-Generation Ranger XP   Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:20 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Next-Generation Ranger XP   Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:37 pm

Very Nice!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Next-Generation Ranger XP   Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:00 pm

I think it'll be a big hit like the RZR. Definitely don't resemble the Mule anymore.
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PostSubject: Re: Next-Generation Ranger XP   Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:18 pm

I have rode one, they are nice.
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PostSubject: Re: Next-Generation Ranger XP   Sun Nov 30, 2008 4:54 pm

bigcat wrote:
I have rode one, they are nice.
Yeah That
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PostSubject: Re: Next-Generation Ranger XP   Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:31 pm

I'm riding a 09 Black Metallic XP speacial edition Ranger and it is sweet , you wouldn't beleive the smooth ride and the power it has
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PostSubject: Re: Next-Generation Ranger XP   Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:50 pm

Huntsman wrote:
I'm riding a 09 Black Metallic XP speacial edition Ranger and it is sweet , you wouldn't beleive the smooth ride and the power it has

How about the seat warmer yours has. Twisted Evil
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PostSubject: Re: Next-Generation Ranger XP   Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:35 pm

funny ha ha kittycat
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PostSubject: Re: Next-Generation Ranger XP   Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:07 pm

MEOWWWWWWWWW...... affraid
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