Polaris quietly introduces the year's coolest piece of technology
Back in July Polaris unveiled its massive 2015 off-road lineup, which was chock full of new and updated ATVs and UTVs across the Sportsman, Ranger and RZR platforms. While it’s easy to focus on the new vehicles, one new accessory that got lost in the excitement demands more attention – the Polaris Interactive Digital Display.
You might be wondering why a dash-mounted display is newsworthy, but this little goodie is unlike anything we’ve seen from a rival manufacturer or even the aftermarket. In our eyes, the Polaris Interactive Digital Display is to any other dash-mounted digital display what your iPhone is to the old rotary phone your grandmother had.
At first glance, you’ll see a 4.3-inch, full-color, LCD digital display screen. You can expect to find all the usual information like fuel gauge, speedometer, odometer, trip meter and temperature gauge. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Polaris Interactive Digital Display can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, contains a vehicle diagnostics screen and offers GPS connectivity with access to a massive database of trail maps.
Your Smartphone Just Got Smarter
You pair your smartphone to the Polaris Interactive Digital Display much the same way you’d do in your car or truck equipped with Bluetooth. Once that is done, you can safely store your smartphone in a waterproof or dustproof bag and keep it out of harm’s way.
Whenever you stop your machine (it’s far from safe to do this while riding), you can read any missed text messages, see any missed calls, check your phone’s battery and the strength of your cell signal. All without actually touching your phone.
Vehicle Trouble Explained
Rather than a simple check engine light, the Polaris Interactive Digital Display can detect many problems with the machine, explain them to you and tell you how to solve them. It’s like having a direct line to a mechanic.
We asked Polaris exactly how it works and received the following explanation:
“It will give a code with plain text description for the most common items users are likely to encounter. Anything that is more advanced it will instruct the user to see their dealer but will still provide the plain text description of what the fault is.”
It’s this kind of information can help you avoid being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no idea what’s wrong. That alone makes this a very useful aid for off-road riders.
If you’ve got a Polaris Interactive Digital Display, you can leave your handheld GPS at home. The device offers exact location information, including elevation, latitude/longitude and compass bearings. Trail maps are courtesy of Polaris’ RiderX.
“RiderX has 85 percent of all known OHV and Snowmobile trail mileage in the United States,” Polaris tells ATV.com. “It is constantly being updated for changes, closures, re-routes and openings in relationship with multiple Federal, State and Local land management agencies. It represents hundreds of thousands of miles of OHV and Snowmobile trails and is the #1 source of recreational OHV trails information. RiderX is also rapidly expanding into Canada.
“Trail information is updated daily on RiderX.com. The rider / owner can then download the data anytime onto a USB memory stick / device and upload into their Interactive Display. Trail information can be stored indefinitely on the display, but a reminder that the trail data is old and should be updated occurs at 90 days to encourage responsible riding practices.”
Beyond the availability of marked trails, RiderX allows you to plan routes with fuel, lodging and food stops displayed. You can also record and save your route so you can find your favorite trail again and again. As well, you can share your route information with whoever you like through social media.
Available only for Polaris snowmobiles, the Polaris Interactive Digital Display has a feature that allows you to lock the ignition with a passcode. So if somebody happens to get a hold of your key, they still won’t be able to run the snowmobile without knowing the three-digit passcode.
A locked system will limit the engine speed to 3,000 rpm, which prevents clutch engagement, so the snowmobile will not move even when throttle is applied.
Hopefully this added bit of security will be available for Polaris ATVs and UTVs in the near future.
How Do You Get It?
While the 2015 Polaris RZR 900 XC Edition, RZR XP 1000 Desert Edition and Ranger XP 900 EPS Vogue Silver Deluxe all come standard with the Polaris Interactive Digital Display, it is available as an accessory on a number of current and prior model year Polaris UTVs for $699.99.
While we’d like to spend some time tinkering with one to see how it all works, our first impression of the Polaris Interactive Digital Display is a very good one. It’s another technologically progressive step from a very progressive company.