Serving the multitudes
No manufacturer is as good at finding and filling a niche as Polaris. Polaris hopes its new 2017 General 4 will fit the bill for families looking for a machine that’s perfect for a fun day out on the trail and rugged enough to get some work done when duty calls.
The original two-seat General is a powerful, all-purpose machine that fits snugly between the RZR and Ranger in Polaris’ UTV lineup. This rig boasts the big ProStar mill just as its sporty RZR and hard working Ranger, but tuned a bit for an overall or “General” operation.
It only made sense that Polaris stretch out the General to make room for the whole family with the new 2017 General 4. We had a chance to test it out at a private ranch outside of Great Falls, Mont. This area offers up very tight, narrow cliff side trails, long winding fields, mountainous switchbacks and beautiful creek crossings deep in the valleys. In our opinion it’s just what we needed to get to know this machine and its attitude on the trail.
Our 2017 Polaris General 4 was dressed in the Silver Pearl, coming standard with a 4,500-pound winch and front bumper – accessories that would cost you time and money to buy and install yourself. The big, light doors provide protection from roots or rocks protruding from the trail banks and give you a little more confidence in the craziest terrain. Rear doors on the General 4 are opened front to rear instead of the way the front doors are opened and it was apparent to us that this gives the passenger easier access to roomy space in the back. Easier egress is always a plus, especially if you are trying to talk the wife into a machine for her and the kids to ride in with you.
Sitting in most any Polaris machine these days you feel secure and comfortable due to the custom seating. High back seats surround you and give you the support your body needs for virtually any amount of time on the trails, not to mention they make you confident in the safety of the rig. Using a unique tilt steering Polaris has integrated the gauge cluster to move with the wheel so your line of sight always gives you clear view of the info shown there. The driver seat also slides front to back to accommodate those longer or shorter friends who may want to try the General on for size themselves.
Polaris completely redesigned the interior of the General 4 for extreme comfort. The rear seats have what seems to be the most room and conveniences for your back seat drivers. Taller friends riding back seat will also appreciate the padded seat backs on the front seats. This keeps any accidental bumps from their knees fairly comfortable as you roam the countryside. From cubbies as well as center console storage for your trail gear to drink holders, this back seat may actually be the most welcoming of any in the industry. No, really!
Driving the General 4 across the landscape of Bull Run ranch, it was clear that the power for this machine was sufficient. Using this 999cc ProStar powerplant has become standard for Polaris and it should be very proud of its capabilities, because it builds great usable horsepower and torque. Even with the longer wheelbase and four adults, the power was never lacking. We did not have an opportunity to load the receiver hitch or cargo box with gear, but it seems as if the engine wouldn’t mind a little more challenge in the way of a working scenario with tools or trailer in tow. There is plenty on the table for those who will use this machine to move people and equipment on the job site. We cannot forget that the bed still dumps on this General 4 and that gives you plenty of honey-do responsibility for those who need to clean up their property.
As we made our way through the winding and somewhat tight trails it was indeed apparent that we had a little longer tail following us, but the length also gave the machine a little more stability in our opinion. Chassis roll was minimal in higher speed cornering; with the independent rear suspension and dual sway bars handling the duties, the General stayed planted to the trail. Polaris claims the suspension will actually retain 62% of its 12 inches of ground clearance when fully loaded due in part to the dual rate shock springs. Clearing the big rocks or debris along the Montana back roads was also not difficult and with the suspension travel being 12.25 front as well as over 13 inches in the rear, the harder hits were soaked up almost completely.
One item that is new for the entire General line this year is the Turf Mode rear differential. This allows tight turning on more sensitive terrain without trenching crop circles into the landscape. This is a plus for many jobsite uses as well as those who will use this General to work at home.
Of course, Polaris has included its AWD (all-wheel drive) system on the General and it is seamless when engaged. We rarely had to use the AWD function, but it’s nice to know that even when engaged it will only actually work when the machine feels it needs more forward traction and remains silent like a church mouse until then. We did notice that the driveline seems to make a little more noise when the AWD is disengaged. It seems as if the prop shafts forward of the engine had some kind of slight vibration that created a rattling noise, which was not apparent when AWD was engaged. It did not affect the operation of the unit, but noises can be eventual issues.
Overall this newest model of the General is sure to please those looking for an option that is rugged as well as comfortable. And to that husband or wife who has a lead foot, the power is ready when you are!
|2017 Polaris General 4 1000 Specs|
|Engine:||4-Stroke Twin Cylinder, 999cc|
|Induction:||Electronic Fuel Injection|
|Transmission:||Automatic PVT P/R/N/L/H; Shaft|
|Drive System:||True On-Demand AWD/2WD/VersaTrac Turf Mode|
|Engine Braking/Active Descent Control:||Standard/Not Equipped|
|Front Suspension:||Dual A-Arm 12.25″ Travel|
|Rear Suspension:||Dual A-Arm, IRS 13.2″ Travel|
|Front/Rear Brakes:||4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with DualBore Front Calipers|
|Front Tires:||27 x 9-14; Dirt Commander|
|Rear Tires:||27 x 11-14; Dirt Commander|
|Dry Weight:||1,857 lbs|
|Length/Width/Height:||150.2 x 62.5 x 75 in|
|Ground Clearance:||12 in|
|Fuel Capacity:||9.5 gal.|
|Bed Capacity:||600 pounds|
|Towing Capacity:||1500 pounds|
|Payload Capacity:||1280 pounds|
|Electronic Power Steering:||Standard|