We put Polaris' new Sport-Utility UTV through its paces
Nobody churns out new ATVs and UTVs like Polaris. The Minnesota-based manufacturer produces far more models than anybody in the industry. But just when you think its off-road lineup is completely full, Polaris discovers a void in the proverbial pie and fills it. Its latest offering is an excellent example of this – the 2016 Polaris General 1000.
Engine: 999cc Twin Cylinder with 100 hp
Transmission: Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H; Shaft
Drive System: High Performance On-Demand AWD/2WD
Bed Capacity - 600 lbs
Price: Base - $15,999; Premium - $17,499; Deluxe - $19,999
According to Polaris, the General is targeted at competitors like the Can-Am Commander and the Yamaha Wolverine. This is a fun recreation machine that can work hard and play harder. The goal for Polaris engineers had been to create a model that could drum up instant excitement and conquer more obstacles on the trail, but also give the discerning worker a way to get more out of the same machine.
An all-new chassis provides great suspension travel as well as one full foot of ground clearance for those trails that seem to have more obstacles that usual. The General has over 12 inches of wheel travel in the front and over 13 inches out back. Keeping the bumps and thumps at bay are FOX Podium X QS3 shocks with a magic on the reservoir that gives you three levels of suspension adjustment. This simplifies the adjusting madness and makes things less complicated for the owner who just cannot get wrapped around the fine-tuning strategy of a traditional shock clicker. Factory installed front and rear sway bars also help to stabilize the machine in tight cornering or in off-camber terrain. We always felt in control of the machine in the dirt sections of the trail. Even while tackling off-camber ditch crossings and sideways hill climbs, the General was really planted and confidence inspiring.
Moving into the cab, the high-back seating is very comfortable and familiar, with just a couple of minor changes. The General’s seats are a new design, although they look very similar to the RZR seats we know well. The bottom portion of the seat is thicker and Polaris positioned the seat with two degrees more layback than a RZR seat. It was our experience that the extra height of the seating gives the driver and passenger much easier entry and exit from the vehicle. A sliding adjuster was included on our test machine, which makes it easy for the driver to add more or less leg room. Large drains in the floorboard are also very useful when looking to clean out mud or dirt. The flooring is built well for drainage, but I do wish it had more grip for wet conditions.
Tilt steering is another nice feature and made customizing our riding position much easier. The gauge cluster actually floats with the tilt steering, so the gauges are easier to read at any position. We cannot mention the steering wheel without talking about the Electronic Power Steering on the Polaris General 1000 Deluxe. When we think of work, we want the work to be confined to a job at hand and not relative to the extreme pressures found in getting to and from a jobsite in non-power steering machines. Polaris has refined the power steering in all of its machines to be not only responsive at low speeds, but also regressive at higher speeds to allow the driver to maintain control of the vehicle and feel the trail under the wheels.
If you need to bring some items with you on your ride, the cab offers ample storage space. The dash has several small open spaces for stuff like cell phones and GPS devices. We took our cell phone on the ride and laid it into one of the slots in the center of the dash. These small spaces have a rubber mat, similar to the material found in automotive cup holders, and our phone stayed put the entire time. It’s a great feature for those who just cannot stand to be out of contact. More storage space is found in the glove box and center console storage box, which has a USB connection for charging your electronic devices.
Bringing a cellular device may seem like it could distract you from your ride, but our Polaris General 1000 EPS Deluxe test unit comes with an MTX premium eight-speaker sound bar mounted in the front top of the protective roll structure. This system is Bluetooth capable, so hearing our favorite tunes was as easy as connecting the devices.
The power of the 2016 Polaris General EPS 1000 Deluxe comes from the highly acclaimed 999cc ProStar twin cylinder engine. This fuel-injected powerplant has been specifically tuned to give the grunt needed off the bottom for hauling loads or towing from the receiver hitch. The 2016 Polaris General will tow 1500 lbs and can haul 600 in the cargo bed. Total payload is 1100 lbs, which gives you room for two 250 lb adults in the cab. Dumping the bed is easy thanks to the assistance of a large gas shock.
Although the General and RZR share an engine and transmission, the fuel mapping for the engine and gearing for the tranmission have been changed to give the General its working ability. The low gear in the General is actually lower than the RZR S. We noticed this during our ride as the General’s top speed in Low gear seemed to be about 10 mph slower than RZR S.
During our ride in the mountains north of Sante Fe, New Mexico, we had a chance to get even more familiar with the newest Polaris product and the recreational side of its DNA. Conditions were very cold and with about four inches of snow on the ground when we stepped out of the hotel, we knew things could get interesting.
Large 27-inch GBC Dirt Commander tires come standard on the General 1000 EPS. These eight-ply tires are extremely tough, so flat tires should be few and far between.
We knew the engine would be a great performer, as it seems the Polaris engineers have developed this platform to be incredibly powerful and reliable. The fuel injected inline twin fired to life with just a bump of the switch and the sound is unmistakable. Shifting the transmission is also very positive as the detent of the gear selector locks itself in where the driver can really feel it is in place. The General has Polaris’s AWD system and 2WD so it was not hard to get moving on any of the terrain we had encountered.
The high doors were a nice feature, as it seemed to keep most of the trail debris off of us during the ride. One note on the width of the machine is that the suspension is at 60 inches wide, but the doors do protrude outward a bit in the center and make the gap needed on the trail to be 64 inches.
Our experience in the 2016 Polaris General was very enjoyable and the machine has many great features that we think anyone in need of a universal UTV will love.
|2016 Polaris General Specs|
|Engine:||4-Stroke Twin Cylinder, 999cc|
|Induction:||Electronic Fuel Injection|
|Transmission:||Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H; Shaft|
|Drive System:||High Performance On-Demand AWD/2WD|
|Front Suspension:||Dual A-Arm with Stabilizer Bar 12.25″ (31.1 cm) Travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Dual A-Arm with Stabilizer Bar, IRS 13.2″ (33.5 cm) Travel|
|Front/Rear Brakes:||4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Front Calipers|
|Front Tires:||Red – 27 x 9-12; Blue/Orange – 27 x 9-14|
|Rear Tires:||Red – 27 x 11-12; Blue/Orange – 27 x 11-14|
|Dry Weight:||Red – 1,430 lb; Blue – 1,491 lb; Orange – 1,544|
|Length/Width/Height:||116.4 x 62.5 x 73.8 in|
|Ground Clearance:||12 in|
|Bed Capacity:||600 pounds|
|Towing Capacity:||1500 pounds|
|Payload Capacity:||1100 pounds|
|MSRP:||$19,999 (Deluxe Version)|