When Polaris released the General 1000 it was to be a hybrid of a RZR and Ranger vehicle, to be the do it all for those of us who just need it. Little did we even know that we would really fall for this machine and its crazy combinations of the two too one. The sporty race breed of engine performance and suspension combined with the easy comfort and classy lines of a Ranger only made sense once the steel and plastic were in final form right in front of us. It was not long before we were riding the newest brainchild of Polaris in the very chilly mountains north of Santé-Fe New Mexico and when that day was done we were longing for much more time in the sweet high back seats. Thankfully Polaris gave us that chance not long after the original ride.
Our next adventure would be in our very own test vehicle loaned to UTV Planet by Polaris in hopes that we would get to know the machine even more liken to a marriage of sorts. Over the next few months we have gotten more familiar and with many miles under our belts we have come to this time and place to share that story with you. Getting out on the trail has never been quite the same and getting in and out of the General has set a weary mind at ease. The large ultra protective half doors swing wide open and slipping over into the high back custom seat is pure bliss. We say over because the height of the seats allow for such easy egress in and out of the machine instead of dropping down in a more traditional sport rig. The heavy bolstering in the sides of the chair gives you plenty of comfortable support while taking some of the jitters of the trail out of the ride. Even the headrest in the high back seats provides cushion under hard acceleration.
We noticed during our lengthy time in the cab it was abundantly clear that Polaris had laid out a great plan for everyday use whether riding in the trails, hauling gear to a camp site or simply flat footing the big 999cc 100hp Pro Star twin inline fuel injected engine to its max. From the driveline control switches to the tilt steering everything became second nature and felt natural each time we sat down inside. While tilt steering is really nice, some steering wheels can get in the sight line of the gauges. Polaris has fixed the tilt and gauge pod together so this is less likely to be an issue. The passenger is also well thought of and the center console grab handle keeps this rider feeling safe when their confidence in the driver falters a little.
Something that goes somewhat unnoticed in many cabs is storage unless you have none. In the Polaris General the amount of cavities for trail necessities is endless and the deep center console storage box doubles as an armrest when the trails get long. We found ourselves stuffing everything from trail snacks to binoculars and a small point and shoot camera in the deep well. We also made use of the 12vlt accessory port in the glove box as our charging needs became apparent when our trails became longer and longer. The glove box is roomy and provides even more secure storage but items can get damp inside under tough wet conditions. If you look closely to the dash you will find a shelf of sorts with mats that are stuck to the plastic dash with Velcro. This is a non-slip location for items that you might instant access to on the trail like a cell phone or MP3 player. This became a little troublesome though as the tiny squares of Velcro tended to become unstuck and the entire mat would fall into the floor. Not good but not impossible to re-secure either. After a little more Velcro was installed we had that problem fixed nicely.
There were some really interesting creek crossings in our trips through the wood lines and with the massive plugs removed it was really nice to see the water and mud just run right out of the floor through the holes where the plugs typically stay. Time devoted on cleaning our machine was always shorter than normal but not because we didn’t want to give this beauty her due. The floors clear out debris like magic thanks again to these floor plugs. Another reason to appreciate this models features just a little more.
Connecting the General to the trail is the GBC Dirt Commander tires. I think this tread formula must be made of the toughest rubber because after many hours of diverse terrain the tread still looks as if it had not been in touch with the ground at all. Of course some of the corners shown small cuts from those sharper rocks on the trail but overall it was amazing how well they hold up to abuse. The grip of the Dirt Commander tires is fantastic when cornering with not too much side bite and up loose gravely trails they help build confidence in the rigs ability. Our wheels have taken a little bit of abuse but still look great.
Another item that makes the Polaris General similar to the 2016 Polaris RZR is the suspension and shocks. The FOX shocks not only give the ride a comfortable smooth cushion of fluid and spring to take the beating for the passengers but they also are adjustable for minor tweaks. We found ourselves playing with the settings just a little but we almost always came back to the factory settings on the most widely used terrain. Out of the box the shocks are set up pretty darn good for the entry to mid level rider, owner. I do not think we would ever replace them at all as they performed as expected even during some fast unexpected water break g-outs snuck into the trail. Ground clearance is always a concern as most of the larger rocks and stumps tend to grab at the bottom of the machine. The General has 12 inches of very usable ground clearance and we have made use of every inch at times as well as being surprised that we did with some larger rocks that snuck up on us.
Riding the trail is very exciting but not the only use for this new Polaris General as it can be the best tool in the toolbox if you need it. After all it was built with the Polaris Ranger in mind. The tough hydraulic shock assisted dumping cargo bed, even though it’s a tad smaller than a Ranger’s bed, works well for hauling anything from rock to cord wood and even tools. The specifications tell us that we can haul 1500lbs behind this beast and with the intense torque when the go pedal is pressed to the floor it is easy to believe. This 999cc mill has 65ft lbs of torque according to Polaris.
There are so many reasons to love this machine and as we get a little older the one thing that comes to mind is not only comfort in the cab but the electronic power steering. It is hard to describe to someone who has never driven a vehicle with power steering but when we would get into the toughest tight root or rock filled sections of our trails the slow speed and ease of steering wheel use was a Godsend. Twisting the wheel left or right with any kind of precision is tough without power steering and not to mention can be extremely tough when a vehicle is locked into 4wd. Being in control is very important to someone hauling or working a machine all day and this just added that little extra item to brag about on our General.
Overall our lengthy experience with the Polaris General has been a memorable one. The time in the cab of this machine is extremely comfortable and I think as we get a little older we can really appreciate such a classy looking well thought out adventure machine. Its not only for the old in body as the young at heart can have a great time goosing the powerful engine into the corner and slipping through with the rear end out like a dirt track racer from time to time. There is just not enough time in the day for the type of adventures this new Polaris General can get you into and we cannot wait until the next one comes around!