The Polaris Ranger has been the benchmark of the utility-class UTV market for some time. The company sells a ton of them and with the broad range of models available, there is a Ranger for nearly every use and budget. They are a proven, stable working machine that is also extremely capable on the trail, too., so much so that they blur the line between utility and recreation. We’ve spent a lot of time in various Ranger machines over the years and have been impressed with many of them. When Polaris offered us time in the all-new Ranger XP 1000 Crew, we jumped at it.
The Ranger Crew models have been around for a while, with the full-sized machines offering room for six. For some time, the biggest machine in the Ranger lineup was the XP 900 and it’s Crew version. When Can-Am brought out the Defender HD10, it was only a matter of time before Polaris went to the bigger 1,000-class engine. They did so in 2017, but shocked everyone with an all-new XP 1000 last year. The Crew version of the newer machine waited until the 2019 model year to come along and there is a lot of difference between this machine, and the Crew it replaces.
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When we start talking about the improvements made to the Ranger XP 1000 Crew, we have to look at where Polaris started with the standard XP 1000. They took over 100 ideas from current owners of Rangers and worked them into innovations for the new models. These ideas and suggestions carried over to the new Crew in some pretty substantial ways.
Polaris built the new XP Crew by starting with an all-new frame design that is constructed from a single frame spar. What you get is a more rigid chassis that has expanded capacity. It can now tow up to 2,500 pounds and haul 1,000 pounds in the cargo bed, and 1,750 pounds in total payload. For those that wanted more capacity, you’ve got it.
The engine is equally impressive. It’s a 999cc ProStar twin four-stroke that produces 82 horsepower and yet is the benchmark of quiet motors. Power delivery is smooth and controlled, but the XP can get up and move very quickly. The engine is very similar to the pervious model’s motor, but Polaris has made is smoother and a little quieter.
For suspension, the suggestions called for more travel and Polaris was willing to oblige. The Ranger bumps up an inch to 11-inches of wheel travel on all four corners. The shocks ride on dual A-arms with an anti-sway bar to keep the machine steady.
The Ranger rides on beefier tires too. Polaris noted that many owners swap out the tires for something a little taller and more aggressive, so they did it for you. The new 27-inch Maxxis MU511 tires up front and MU521 Tires on the back are very meaty and grab traction extremely well. These are one of the more aggressive stock tires we’ve seen outside of mud-specific ones. The taller tires help boost ground clearance up to 13 inches, too.
Polaris completely overhauled every aspect of the flagship Ranger and Ranger Crew models. With this, they made a ton of improvements to the interior of a machine that was already quite good. Starting where you park yourself, the seats are more sculpted and the padding is thicker, so your butt and back don’t take a beating when you’re riding. The seats are cut and sewn, so they not only look great, they’re going to be very durable.
The seatbelts may very well be the most comfortable in the category. They come across at the perfect angle and move well with you. Some seat belts cut into your neck, but these are awesome. It’s a small detail, but you have to wear one if you want the machine to go over a few miles an hour, and you should anyway for safety. With a lot of farmers, ranchers, and outdoors men and women using the Ranger, you’d want to make the seatbelts as comfortable as possible so there’d be little reason not to wear one, as opposed to just clicking it in and sitting on it, which we’ve seen some people do with other machines on the trail.
The dashboard and the controls have been worked over as well, with everything centered around the driver. The shifter has been moved to a more natural location, making it easier to shift from forward to reverse, and the knob on the end of the shifter is bigger and more ergonomic. There is 13.5 gallons of storage space inside the cab, with a dual-level glove box and lots of slotted storage on the underside of the dash. There are also lots of pre-cut slots for adding accessory controls, which fits in with the improved integration we’ll discuss in just a moment.
Polaris did address a complaint we had about the previous-year’s XP 1000 Crew – the steering feel. The old Ranger had a bit of steering lag, that really made the machine a handful at times, especially if you were going fast. You’d have to really crank the wheel to get the thing to turn. Polaris addressed this by making the steering feel much tighter and more precise. While the previous Ranger felt like the steering wheel was monsterous and slow, the newer machine feels much tighter, and the wheel feels smaller, even though it is actually the same steering wheel.
Speaking of integration. Polaris has pre-wired the Ranger for common accessories and made the installation much easier with new access points. Adding things like light bars or a winch are basically plug and play now. You can now install the accessory, run the wires to the fuse box and route them to the dash for the switch. You plug in the right stuff and you’re all set. Polaris says now that a winch install, which used to take several hours, can now be done in 30 minutes with moderate skill levels. That’s awesome.
We wanted to test out the Ranger XP 1000 Crew in some real-world scenarios, so we first took it to a working horse ranch for some time down on the farm. Farmers are great people for honest opinions of machinery because they don’t have time for nonsense. The job has to get done, and with as much efficiency as possible.
Towing capacity on the XP was bumped up to 2,500-pounds with a 2-inch receiver hitch standard. We pushed that limit as best we could around the farm and can come away saying that the Polaris can handle it without any issue. The longer wheelbase of the Crew helps spread the load on the machine, while the new frame doesn’t not give a hint of flex. We did find it helpful to bump up the compression adjustment on the rear shocks when we really taxed the load on the machine. We even overloaded it by throwing a bunch of guys into it, a bunch of cargo in the bed and a heavy trailer. The machine still worked like we expected it too. Knowing farmers like we do, there is a lot of potential for serious work with this machine.
One other truly nice feature about the machine that can’t go overlooked. Horses can be easily spooked at times, and the farm where we were testing on was no exception. The farmer was slightly concerned about us driving the machine around his animals, as he didn’t want to deal with overly stressed horses. That wasn’t an issue at all, as the new Ranger Crew is exceptionally quiet. The farmer said that often, when he rides his quad out into the pasture, the horses will move away and be stand-offish, but we were able to get very close to them in the Ranger XP 1000 Crew and they seemed very docile. I’m not sure who was more impressed by this – us, the farmer, or the horses.
As we stated at the beginning, the Ranger has a lot of recreational ability, so hitting the trail in the XP Crew was a blast. Even with the 113-inch wheelbase, handling was smooth and predictable. The suspension on the trail worked very well, although we did have to stop and back off the compression on the rear shocks after being on the farm. The revised hood of the Ranger gives excellent sight-lines for the driver and the overall feel on the trail is really good. We’ve found that the longer crew machines, while they don’t have the turning radius of the shorter machines, the added length makes them float over trail obstacles better. As long as you don’t high-center the machine, you can hammer rough terrain a little harder than you could in a 3-passenger Ranger XP 1000.
The new seating makes the ride more comfortable, even for the back-seat passengers. The overall ride quality makes this a machine capable of having a lot of fun off-roading for a larger family, or when you have friends to bring along. We plan on inviting up some friends and piling into it this spring for some bear hunting fun, and we’re confident that everyone will have plenty of room for themselves and their gear.
Who’s it for?
The 2019 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 Crew is a jack-of-all-trades machine that is really, a perfect fit for farms that need the extra space, whether for ranch hands or farm stuff, or trail cruisers looking for true six-person comfort. It has the capability to handle just about any task set before it, and do so in a comfortable and fun manner.
We tried to find the limits of what the machine could handle around the ranch, and are still looking to be honest. And when it comes to hitting the trails, the Ranger is certainly no slouch. It is really no wonder why these machines sell as well as they do. We look forward to what Polaris is working on next as they bring the advancements of the new XP 1000 Crew into other classes of Ranger products. It is proof that they are listening to their consumers and taking steps to retain their spot at the top.