We get some seat time in new 144hp Turbocharged RZR
Just days after Polaris officially announced the new 144hp RZR Turbo EPS, I was among the first to get behind the wheel.
It’s not often I get to test a vehicle before the official media ride, but we happened to be at the Oregon DuneFest this past weekend and Polaris was on hand offering demo rides during the event.
Upon entering the vehicle, I immediately noticed the changed proximity of the steering wheel to the driver’s seat. In every other RZR I’ve driven, I’ve felt the immediate need to pull the steering wheel just a couple of inches closer. It turns out, Polaris fixed this problem by tilting the driver’s seat a few degrees forward, making for a much more comfortable driving experience. I also did a double take to see if the RZR XP Turbo came equipped with aftermarket seats, as the stock ones were the most comfortable on my backside of any Polaris vehicle I’ve driven.
The new seat position not only improves the posture of the driver, it enhances the drivers view. On previous models, most of your lower forward view is consumed by the hood of the vehicle. Without evening turning the key, I felt much more comfortable in this cockpit than in any stock RZR I’ve driven before.
Turn the key and the engine doesn’t sound all that much different at idle, but the moment you punch the throttle and begin to accelerate you can tell this is a whole new beast. The whine of the turbo gets louder and louder as the revs increase.
I took the RZR XP Turbo EPS across varying terrain through the scenic Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. It was while driving across an open field of small rollers where I noticed the horsepower gain immediately. Because the demo units were running knobby tires as opposed to paddles, the hit wasn’t instantaneous, but I’m confident it was solely due to wheel spin because as soon as it hooked up, it wanted to just keep accelerating.
The tight trails with tall berms were a blast and really allowed me to feel the electronic power steering work. Coming into the ride I hadn’t paid close enough attention to know that the XP Turbo was equipped with EPS. As I was darting through the turns I noticed the ease with which I could carve out of one bank and effortlessly correct the steering going into the other.
The power throws you back into the seat so much it was almost difficult to get my foot off the gas pedal at one point. I would liken it to the feeling of riding an ATV with a twist throttle; when your weight transfers backwards and you can’t pull yourself forward enough to be able to let off the gas. I found myself getting on the brakes hard at one point to avoid running into the couple in front of me.
In my time behind the wheel I was far more interested in experiencing the added horsepower than the stopping power, but the few times that I did get on the brakes I could feel the front instantaneously lock up. I didn’t screech to a halt, but I could feel the tires stop rotating and a rush of sand being pushed out of the way.
All in all I was very impressed. The two biggest things that stood out were the power and the repositioned drivers seat. It may seem like a small thing, but I have never found the cockpit of a RZR to be comfortable, largely due to the proximity of the steering wheel to the drivers seat. For me, the few degrees Polaris rotated the seat forward completely changed my driving experience. That and the unbelievable and seemingly endless supply of power.
Paddle tires always improve the performance in the sand, but with this machine, honestly you don’t need them. I can’t wait to try the RZR XP Turbo EPS in the desert to see just how quickly it accelerates when it’s getting traction right from the get go.
Whether you’re in the market or not, find a tour stop for the Polaris Demo team and go get behind the wheel of the new 2016 RZR XP Turbo EPS. It’ll be an experience you won’t soon forget!