We test out the more wallet-friendly RZR Pro XP
We had a chance to test out the new 2022 Polaris RZR Pro XP Sport at Minnesota’s ERX Motor Park and came away impressed with this more affordable RZR Pro.
Engine: 925cc/181 HP
L x W x H: 126" x 64" x 71.7"
Suspension Travel: 20" Front/22" Rear
Tires: 30x10-14 Maxxis Carnivore
The crew at Polaris are in the throes of modifying their lineup of side-by-sides for the 2022 model year and beyond. Alert readers will note the word ‘Turbo’ has largely disappeared from the RZR’s official naming scheme, while all trace of the mighty 72-inch wide Turbo S monsters have vanished completely.
This, we learned while speaking to Polaris reps at ERX Motor Park in Minnesota, doesn’t necessarily mean fans of these hyperactive and wide brutes are left out in the cold. Officials were tight-lipped, but we did manage to squeeze out a “working on it” quote in reference to the turbocharged 72-inch market, accompanied by a knowing grin. Left guessing, it’s logical to speculate that turbos and wide RZR bodies will soon be solely the domain of the Pro XP line. Given supply challenges in global manufacturing, we might have to wait until the 2023 model year for this change – but it’s a fair to say something is in the pipe.
All of which brings us neatly to this year’s rigs. Fresh out of the wrapper is the Polaris RZR Pro XP Sport, a turbocharged and ready-to-rumble machine that wears Pro XP bodywork, but gives up a few features in favor of an attractive price tag. Showing up at $21,999 in America, its spec sheet includes all the Pro XP goodies we’ve come to expect – a 925cc turbocharged engine making 181 horsepower, Walker Evans 2.5 needle shocks, and 30-inch Maxxis Carnivore 2.0 tires. Polaris says this 64-inch RZR Pro XP Sport replaces the RZR XP Turbo in its lineup. In other words, it’s ready to shred with the best of them.
So what does the Pro XP customer give up in this less expensive Sport trim? Most obvious is the absence of the brand’s tasty Ride Command system and its jumbo touchscreen, instead replaced with a black plastic block-off plate like you’d find in base model cars thirty years ago. Also gone are the Click-6 belts, large swaths of the side doors, and that handy hinged-lid storage bin with USB charger atop the dashboard.
Wheeling a 2022 Polaris Pro XP Sport across the Minnesota landscape revealed a machine that’s earned its name. Compared to other 1000cc-class machines in the Polaris lineup, these turbo engines have the same bore spacing and bore size, but utilize a shorter cylinder stroke and a beefier bottom end. For those whose eyes glazed over during that sentence, all you need to know it those differences provide a much quicker revving engine, one that’s able to zing into the power band and stay there, permitting us some lurid slides which sent big rooster tails of dirt high into the sky. It also explains the unique yet entertaining racket that bellows out of the exhaust system.
There’s obviously no Dynamix 2.0 suspension on the 2022 Polaris RZR Pro XP Sport, a system reserved for the Ultimate trim that is priced $7500 north of this base trim. The Walker Evans shocks found here are sporty, but anyone accustomed to the Dynamix will complain of a rough ride over bumpy and hard surfaces until the driver gets out to fiddle with the 16-position adjustable clickers. Still, there’s 20- and 22-inch ratings for usable wheel travel front and rear, respectively, meaning keeping up with more expensive 2022 RZR models won’t be a problem.
Polaris engineers told us that while there are no changes to the driveline’s clutch or rear spring tuning, other durability improvements have been made for 2022 on the RZR Pro XP line. There’s an increased gauge thickness of the stiffener plate on the control arms, for example, plus a thicker and more robust material has been deployed for extra rigidity in the so-called ‘accordion tube’ to ward off blown hose issues. Certain plastic parts in the turbo gubbins have been swapped for metal items, while they also claim better heat management means quicker recovery times after you beat on the thing (recovery times for the RZR, that is; you’re on your own to get yourself back in shape).
Getting comfortable in the Polaris RZR Pro XP Sport’s cabin is easy, with the same slung-back driving position found in more expensive trims. Legroom remains vast even for this 6’6″ author, much better than what’s found in the more upright XP line, and the bolstered bucket seats are welcoming despite the Sport’s lack of tilt steering. Polaris gauges beat those found in Can-Am rigs any day of the week, though the latter does a better job of cabin storage – especially with the Sport’s lack of dash-top bin. One handy addition for 2022? A charge port near the ignition key to support a battery trickle charger for those times when the machine is in storage.
For those of you who like play DJ at the trail head, know that all machines in the Pro XP line are wired for sound, even if your selected trim does not come from the factory with speakers. In other words, all the wiring is in place; for this we can thank economies of scale. Polaris demonstrated one of their optional subwoofer kits they had installed in a top-rung RZR and it certainly rivalled anything currently on the market if you care about that type of stuff. Given the massive popularity of turning these things into party rigs, it would seem that plenty do.
Sure, the new 2022 Polaris RZR Pro XP Sport is a way to get customers to trade up from an XP Turbo and does without some addenda. But you know what it does have compared to its more expensive Pro XP brothers? Equal power, the same set of gauges, broadly the same seats, brakes that can stop the earth’s rotation, and the same wild streak of attitude.
With that in mind, you could almost call it a bargain.