How do these heavyweight Sport-Utility ATVs stack up on paper?
The 2020 Polaris Scrambler 850 and Can-Am Renegade 850 Sport-Utility ATVs are designed to offer a mix of sporty fun and work capabilities. Let’s see how they compare…by the numbers.
If you’re parking a mighty 850cc-class ATV aboard the bed of your pickup or on your trailer, chances are you’re going to have a very good day on the trails. These machines mix the best of several worlds, combining speed with agility and a hefty dollop of fun.
Included with all these rigs are loud paint colors, roarty exhausts, and limited payload on their racks. After all, these things are for fun, not work … unless you wish to tow something. Then they stand ready to haul four-figures worth of weight.
Sound like a good time? We agree. Let’s dive in.
Installed in the 2020 Polaris Scrambler 850 is a 4-stroke twin measuring, for once, exactly the number of cubes shown on the ATV’s fender sticker. Liquid cooled and rated at 78 horsepower, this SOHC 850cc ProStar is paired with the Polaris on-demand AWD system and has electronic fuel injection like everything else on the market these days.
In the Can-Am Renegade 850, a V-twin Rotax measures 854cc, so go ahead and use those extra 4cc’s against your Polaris buddies for bragging rights. The brand’s Intelligent Throttle Control brings selectable riding modes to the game, optimizing power delivery and throttle response. Like the Polaris, it is rated at 78 horsepower and has standard engine braking. Its 4WD system has a Visco-Lok auto-locking front diff, handy for powering one’s way out of a boggy mud hole.
Dual A-arms ride on front and rear of the 2020 Polaris Scrambler 850, with 9 inches of travel and 10.25 inches of travel, respectively. A rolled IRS lives out back as well. Tires are of the 26-inch variety, rolling on 14-inch steel wheels front and back. The Scrambler 850 is good for 11.5 inches of ground clearance. It’s not equipped with power steering, by the way.
FOX 1.5 Podium shocks appear on the Can-Am Renegade 850, paired with 25-inch ITP Holeshot rubber on 12-inch cast aluminium wheels. Arched double A-arms with a front sway bar and 9.2-inches of travel live up front, while a torsional trailing arm independent setup appears at the rear providing 9.9-inches of wheel travel. Ground clearance maxes out at 10.5 inches.
Size & Weight
Polaris pegs the Scrambler 850 dry weight at 735 lbs. Overall size of the rig is a hair under 7 feet long and just over 4 feet high. Like most other ATVs in this class, it plays in the 48-inch wide segment. Seat height is an inch under 3 feet, making it a comfortable perch for most riders. Its wheelbase is 53 inches, contributing to good balance during high speed running. Check out the complete Polaris Scrambler 850 specs here.
The angry-looking Renegade 850 is about an inch longer than the Scrambler, but sits 4 inches lower at its highest point. It, too, is in the 48-inch wide class, meaning you’ll have no trouble transporting the thing aboard the bed of your pickup truck. Dry weight is only 681 lbs, meaning it should be a mite easier to extract from the mire. Seat height is just 34.5 inches and its wheelbase is 51 inches. Check out the complete Can-Am Renegade 850 specs here.
Towing & Payload
Hitch towing rating on the 2020 Polaris Scrambler 850 is a surprising 1500 lbs, a product of it sharing much with the robust Sportsman chassis. However, given the Scrambler’s edict as a sporty ATV, its front and rear racks are limited to 25 lbs and 50 lbs respectively. Total payload is in the neighborhood of 300 lbs, so be sure to pack smartly if you’ve been downing creatine as part of your gym program.
If you’re towing with the Can-Am Renegade 850, know that you’ll be able to haul 1300 lbs, plenty for most day-to-day activities and even enough to haul that bull moose you bagged out of the woods. This is good news, especially since the rear rack capacity is a relatively paltry 35 lbs (yes, we double-checked that number). Its fuel tank measures 5.4 gallons.
The design team at Polaris has chosen to set the Scrambler 850 apart from its platform-mates by giving it a couple of expressive headlamps and a front bumper that looks ready to take on the worst Mad Max can throw its way. The company makes an effort to point out the Scrambler is designed to be narrower at the knees and ankles. This feature, combined with a sculpted sport seat, is said to reduce leg fatigue and increase rider comfort. The bike is offered in the brand’s trademark Orange Madness color.
Can-Am’s styling choices for the Renegade 850 can be summed up in one word: aggressive. It’s spider-like front headlights give it a dose of hard-nosed presence, especially paired with color-keyed suspension coils and a contrasting front bumper. This performance trail bike is available in any color you want, so long as it’s Sunburst Yellow.
Polaris has priced the Scrambler 850 at $10,299. There are few options save for accessories such as lighting or winches. Pro tip: if you are considering adding a winch, spring for the unit rated at 3500 lbs and equipped with the Rapid Recovery system. After slogging through the winching process, the last thing you want is a winch resisting all attempts to wind its cable back onto the barrel.
As they are direct competitors, it should surprise exactly no one that the Can-Am Renegade 850 is priced at … $10,299. It’s almost as if the marketing folks actually go out and research competing brands. Interestingly, it is possible to spec the dandy Fox 1.5 Podium X RC2 HPG shocks normally found on much more extreme machines. They aren’t cheap but might just be the ticket if you’re looking for suspenders with rebound and pre-load settings.
While the 2020 Polaris Scrambler 850 is only offered in one trim level, the Can-Am Renegade 850 is available in the base trim we’ve discussed above, as well as the X XC package. This bumps the price tag up to $12,799, but you get a list of added features, including improved Fox 1.5 Podium RC2 shocks, beadlock wheels, and tri-mode dynamic power steering.
If you decide more power is a necessity, both the Scrambler and Renegade are offered with a 1000cc engine.