In Search of the Do-Everything UTV

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
The versatile Polaris General is part sport and part work

Are you looking to get a Side-by-Side that can be very fun to drive, but that needs to be able to work hard as well? Maybe a “do it all” purpose-built rig that is easy on the eyes? The Polaris General 1000 just might be that machine.

When the General hit the scene a short time back it garnered much attention and with its mixed bag of features there is good reason. If you are searching for the single most well rounded off-road vehicle, the Polaris General could fill that void.

Polaris General Beauty

Starting with the most recognized element in the chassis, the ProStar engine platform, you can rest assured that you will have enough power for a very wide range of uses. The fuel injected, inline twin cylinder, 100-horsepower, 999cc mill gives its owner plenty of kick in the seat of the pants when squishing the go pedal to the floor.

But it’s not only made for speed, as the torque is very evident when towing. The towing capability of the General is set at 1,500 lbs at the two-inch receiver and with this there is a very wide range of loaded trailers or implements that can be pulled around a working landscape. Add in the fact that you can also stack your cargo bed with 600 lbs of payload and we consider the performance of this machine to be right in line with any homeowner or hunter’s needs.

Polaris General Towing

You can tow up to 1,500 pounds behind the General.

On the other end of the performance spectrum you will find a very responsive high performance engine delivering loads of linear power that can really set you back in the seat should you get the urge to hit the trails when the work is finished. Whether working or playing, you will get wide range of use from this flexible powerplant.

If you look at the racing heritage of the Polaris RZR and then realize that the very same engine sits in the rear fenders of the Polaris General, it’s clear that this machine is very capable of a grin-inducing ride. This engine’s ECU (computer) and CVT transmission, however, are calibrated for a more general use audience in regards to the way that power is delivered all along the RPM range. Could this engine be trained to rip like a RZR? But with its lower seating position, the RZR is slightly better suited for really high speeds than the General. While it can’t match the RZR out of the box, we would venture to say that it would be a real trail rager – maybe even race capable – with only minor adjustments. Even NASCAR’s Bill Elliott made the comment that if the General had a number nine on the side it might just make a great rig for the track!

Polaris General Action Snow

It’s not quite a RZR in performance, but the General is plenty fast and fun enough to keep anybody grinning.

When we look at the suspension the General has to offer, it is abundantly clear that even the tough spots in the trail can be overcome by its long travel arms and legs. With 12.25 inches of travel out front and 13.2 inches out back, the Polaris General has the flexibility on those slow days and the capability when you pick up the pace to deliver a smooth ride.

For those who really want to boost suspension performance, upgrade to the Polaris General 1000 Deluxe model and you get FOX Podium 2.0 QS3 performance shocks to dampen the hits. And don’t worry if you don’t feel comfortable making shock adjustments. FOX simplified the adjustment process on these shocks by making three choices for the owner via a lever on the top of the shock. There’s not much guesswork and we think anyone can make a decision between the three settings pretty easily. The FOX shocks sure are nice, but if you want to save a few dollars the dual rate spring coil over gas charged shocks on all the other General models will certainly get the job done.

Polaris General FOX QS3 Shocks

FOX Podium 2.0 QS3 performance shocks are found on the General Deluxe and come with three settings for simple adjustment.

While we are on the subject of comfort, let’s look at the cabin and the egress in and out of the high back, all-encompassing seats. Having a half door on the Polaris General keeps the trail’s hazards off of the driver and passenger while adding a little more safety to the entire rig. When you swing this door open it is super easy to slip into the seating. The seating is also a little higher, similar to the Polaris Ranger cabin.

Polaris General Half Door

If you work hard all day the last thing you want to do is struggle to get in or out of your machine. The high back bucket seating is fully bolstered to cradle your body as you make your rounds and when the speed picks up it also gives you a little more confidence in those quick turns around the trails or farm. This is a feature that there are really no downsides to. As we get a bit older it sure is easier on a weary back to be able to easily slip right into the seat.

Polaris General Seats

Seats in the Polaris General are supportive and easy to get in and out of.

Of course, once you’re inside the cabin everything is laid out for optimal reach and user friendly function. There is a very nice center console for extra gloves or storage of the many items you might need on the trail or crop row. The glove box also keeps room open as well. I’d say that’s a win-win and really needs no further discussion.

By now we are really at a place where you have to decide what your budget will allow. Our Polaris General has been used for recreation as well as working and many items in between. We have found that the dumping cargo bed is very rugged and even though it is not as big as a full sized Polaris Ranger bed, it still allows you to carry moderate loads.

Polaris General Cargo Box

The cargo bed is a little smaller than the one found in a full size Ranger, but it can still carry 600 pounds.

We have crossed a few deep streams in the General, but with higher than normal air/CVT intakes, there is little danger of choking the engine down unless you test the limits of reason. The drains in the floor are massive twist out caps and allow the water or mud to flow down and out from under the General, making clean up easier.

Polaris General River

Large drains in the floor help you quickly unload water and mud from inside the cab.

While it’s not quite as sporty as a RZR and not quite the same worker as a Ranger, the Polaris General is pretty adept as both a fun and work machine. It’s a wild ride with loads of potential for most anything you decide to do with it.

Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.

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