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2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800 Press Intro - Test Ride

2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800 Press Intro - Test Ride

Polaris Ranger Rzr 800
Polaris Ranger Rzr 800
Phoenix, AZ - In 1999 Polaris first introduced its Ranger as a 500cc work horse targeted at the utility and farming market. However in recent years there has been a demanding increase in recreational market for these UTV’s. With Yamaha releasing their UTV, the Rhino in 2004, the sales of UTV’s for recreational use has sky rocketed, but has still let many customers wanting more from their UTV. The Ranger RZR attempts to answer that call.

Polaris invited to the release of their newest side-x-side aimed at the customer wanting nothing but razor sharp side-x-side performance. I was fortunate enough to be one of the test drivers for this new side-x-side as we pushed the limits in the deserts of Arizona. When I first saw this new Utility Terrain Vehicle, it screamed speed. It screamed handling. It screamed everything I would want in a side-x-side as a recreational rider. As I dove further into this new vehicle, I learned that it was more than just another side-x-side, it was the beginning of a new era in this rapidly evolving market. The Ranger RZR is a mere 945lb dry weight, that’s 104lbs lighter than the nearest competitor. Combine the RZR’s low weight with the twin cylinder 800cc EFI Polaris engine that has been totally redesigned specifically for this project and you have a terrific start to the ultimate UTV.

2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800 2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800 2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800 2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800
Polaris Ranger Rzr is the smallest and lightest in its class, and it has the lowest center of gravity along with the fastest acceleration and top speed of any other Side-By-Side

So does it deliver? That’s the question I wanted answered as we drove to the testing grounds. Walking up to the RZR, I could immediately tell how much smaller this UTV is compared to the competition. At only 50 inches wide, the RZR is 4.5” narrower than the Rhino, making it the only UTV capable of riding on trails and tighter areas that were once limited to ATV’s. Climbing inside the RZR there is a noticeable amount of leg room. Thanks to the engineers for pushing the firewall further forward and giving the seats 4 inches of adjustability so even us drivers at 6’3” and above can cruise around without having our knees in the dash. With the mid-engine placement, the seats were lowered seven inches over the competition giving it a lower center of gravity helping to offset the narrow stance and still giving it superb handling.

2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800  tilt steering
2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800  adjustable length passenger T-bar
For improved rider comfort the Rzr is equipped with tilt steering along with an adjustable length passenger T-bar

Once behind the wheel I started looking at the dash panel and was excited to see that the RZR came stock with a VDO performance speedometer and digital gauges included. On start up, I began to look for the parking brake and the head technician began to explain that the “Park” gear was the brake. They designed the Ranger RZR so that the parking gear would actually engage machined notches inside the transmission case, not another gear, but the actual case. This would completely eliminate the need for a mechanical parking brake, save the brake pads and reduce the total weight of the vehicle.

2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800  adjustable seat belt
three position adjustable seat belt that is stretchable to provide for enhanced rider comfort
Heading down the trail I could immediately feel the suspension working. Although at lower speeds, it was rougher than other UTV’s, the faster I went, the better the suspension soaked up the terrain with its 9.5 inches of wheel travel and its exclusive rolled IRS rear suspension. The steering on the RZR was responsive and light in the wheel. However it did tend to push in the tighter turns a slight amount when the AWD was engaged. The seat belts have a huge improvement over the competitors. No more bruising when the belt locks. These belts have a built in stretch cord allowing the belt to stretch a few inches which slows your body down, rather than the knee jerk reaction found in competitors three point harness. Another big improvement was the added side nets that come with each unit. Accompanied with the raised body sides and the additional shoulder protection bars, there was plenty of safety features in this vehicle designed to keep the occupants inside. While driving the Ranger RZR, the power was unbelievable. A very quick throttle response thanks to the even firing 800cc twin cylinder fuel injected engine. Very quick acceleration and a top speed of 55mph easily surpassed the competition leaving them in the dust.

2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800
2008 Polaris Ranger Rzr 800
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Polaris ATV Industry News
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