Polaris RZR S 1000 2016 – First Ride


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The horsepower numbers in our UTV vehicles continue to grow like little jacks beanstalk and with our industry in deep mutation with pure sport machines, it seems there is no cap on any potential so expect the unexpected from here on out! Although some of their machines already have 100hp, it was the next obvious step for Polaris and their 60-inch wide RZR “S” graduating from the 900cc mill. The mountainous terrain of Brimestone Recreation would be our proving ground and with incredible elevation changes, some knarly uphill climbs and crazy steep downhill crawls with a dose of rocky root filled trails, it was sure to be the test we needed.

Our test session would take place during the very popular Camp RZR in the mountains of Huntsville Tennessee. Camp RZR is a time for hundreds and even thousands of loyal Polaris owners to get together and ride the elements that gave birth to the off road sensation called RZR. The 50-inch RZR was born just for this and it was our time to get a little seat time in the latest version of this extremely popular machine line. Polaris had set up right near the action and as we rolled in, the amount of hysteria was on the rise and with a sea of very clean 2016 Polaris RZR S 1000 EPS units waiting for us, the days ahead were about to get exciting.

The new trend of the matte finish, just like Black Pearl and Matte White Lightning offered on this Polaris RZR S 1000 machine, helps the “new look” to be scratch or blemish resistant. This means that instead of a mirror style shine that shows scratches very easy, you have a flatter more rugged look that doesn’t look totally trashed once you ride in the big mud or through the tightest tree branches first time out. The graphics are also placed so they stay looking sweet for much longer. Opening the half style door allows your entry into the interior of this inviting cabin and takes your first deep breath as the magnitude of what is before you takes hold.

After slipping down into the driver’s seat, it was up to us along with the winding trails to determine just how well we fit together in this new RZR from Polaris. Getting comfortable as well as secure in the cab of most any Polaris RZR product these days is very easy and the high back heavily bolstered seating sucks you right in. A three-point harness keeps you planted and if you need a bit more security we are pretty sure the Polaris 4-point harness accessory could be adapted to this rig.

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After slipping down into the driver’s seat, it was up to us along with the winding trails to determine just how well we fit together in this new RZR from Polaris.

To say the cab is comfortable might be a minimalistic description at best. Even small details are perfectly usable like the large drain plugs in the floor for those who clean their machines regularly after dunking them in the deep stuff. Looking around in the cab you cannot help but notice the new sunroof as we had while slamming the foot feed heading up the rocky rut filled hills. This not only gives you a little more light in the cab but it also gives you a little better view of the steep trails ahead. It also sheds the weather when mother-nature gets grumpy. Just one more “deep” thought process going on at the design table.

If you’re wondering what kind of gear you can actually carry in the bed of this RZR, you will be surprised to know that the rear cargo bed features a 740-pound capacity. I’m not sure what would weigh that much and fit in such a small spot but kudos to the spec sheet for sure! There are many Polaris-engineered accessories available to help you customize your RZR. A built-in 1.25-inch hitch receiver provides 1,500 pounds of towing capacity that may never get used for towing but hey, it’s available if you need it!

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Getting the big new toy up to speed wasn’t an issue at all!

So if you look at the series of RZR900 and RZR900S from last year, you will notice that the chassis is very similar if not almost exactly the same for this new RZR S 1000. The addition of the Prostar 1000 directly from the XP 1000 RZR with a 30 percent increase in power did however cause some concerns for the engineers in the realm of suspension and shoe horning the extra displacement into the chassis was not the only task to make the vehicle handle the change. Dialing in the camshaft profile allowed the engine torque to work better in the mid range and placed the power well under control. Or at least at idle it is! It seems we could always use a little more but if you live on the east coast or in tight woods with mountainous regions of the world, this could possibly be the best combination period. Power output is sufficient, pulling notably harder than the RZR S 900 at lower rpm, with midrange and top-end that feel equally impressive. The CVT transmission is nearly identical to the RZR S 900 models and offers that same reliable performance loyal RZR owners have come to expect.

So getting the big new toy up to speed wasn’t an issue at all but I can also say that the braking is pretty darn adequate as well. Utilizing Hydraulic disc brakes on all four corners and dual piston calipers up front, these brakes offer excellent stopping power. A refreshing more positive feel is delivered at the pedal, which allows you to dial in the correct amount of braking force for scrubbing off that extra bit of speed or for holding the RZR on the steep off camber hills like we found at Brimestone recreation. Although we did not really abuse the braking components it was clear they could handle vast amounts of consistent tapping before submitting to fade.

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The Fox Podium 2.0 shocks allowed us to get even better feel for the trails and obstacles within.

The tight turning radius and super fast FOX suspension soaks up the roughness under foot while cutting through the trees with ease. We found that the 12.25 inches up front and 13 inches of travel out back give the reach needed to cross the devils rock garden without effort. Giving us the confidence to dodge huge rocks or even stumps was a generous 12.5 inches of ground clearance. Even at excessive speeds! Making changes on the compression adjustable Fox Podium 2.0 shocks allowed us to get even better feel for the trails and obstacles within. A rear sway bar helps control body roll and if you’re an “out of control” kind of rider simply remove it, although it is not recommended. This rig handles very well in stock form so why change anything.

If you add in the fact that this machine was tested with Polaris engineered electronic power steering then you know we had a very smooth handling machine. The EPS not only gave us the feedback we desired in the fast twisties but when we had to slow up just a bit and crawl through the woods the effort was minimal at best. In fact, slow paced rock crawling is yet another great element that this machine excels at. There were countless trail sections that required finesse and slow paced control over the terrain beneath us but the smooth predictable throttle helped us plan and execute the correct path through the mess.

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These GBC Dirt Commanders do typically work very well and at moderate speeds they held onto the terrain very well.

With the available power totaling a massive 100hp, the tires on our rig seemed to have slight difficulty grabbing a good hold on the ground when the gas pedal was on the floorboard. These GBC Dirt Commanders do typically work very well and at moderate speeds they held onto the terrain very well. Grip and sidewall stiffness could be noticed very well in the slow crawling mentioned above and even when the rocks, smooth rocks that is, became wet from the muddy water the Dirt Commanders took control. It was when the RZR S 1000 took us out into the wide-open spaces that the engines brutal power began to twist the 12-inch rims uncontrollably. These tires are tough and wear really well even in harsh conditions.

Overall fit and finish is just what you would expect from a Polaris branded machine and the only thing I think we would look for in 2017 is the addition of an LED headlight to replace the Halogen beams. We do know full well that these LED fire eyes can be purchased and swapped in place right out of Polaris’s accessory catalog.

The teams that make up the Polaris engineering have once again proven that the next step is just beyond the minds ability to output the information and with a team like these guys pulling machines from places, consumers never expected the years will roll on with much more to be revealed in the off road world we live in.

For vehicle options and pricing for the Polaris RZR S 1000. Please visit the Polaris RZR S 1000 website at www.polaris.com



Active Descent ControlNot Equipped
Drive System TypeHigh Performance True On-Demand AWD/2WD
Engine Braking System (EBS)Not Equipped
Fuel SystemElectronic Fuel Injection
Transmission/Final DriveAutomatic PVT P/R/N/L/H
Cylinders-Displacement (cc)999cc
Engine Type4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder


Front SuspensionDual A-Arm, FOX Performance Series – 2.0 Podium X Shocks, 12.25″ (31.1 cm) Travel
Rear SuspensionDual A-Arm with Stabilizer Bar, FOX Performance Series – 2.0 Podium X Shocks, 13.2″ (33.5 cm) Travel


Front/Rear Brakes4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Front and Rear Calipers
Parking BrakePark in Transmission


Front Tires27 x 9-12; GBC Dirt Commander
Rear Tires27 x 11-12; GBC Dirt Commander
WheelsCast Aluminum


Bed Box Dimensions (L x W x H)20.7 x 37 x 7.9″ (52.5 x 94 x 20 cm)
Front/Rear Rack or Box CapacityN.A./300 lb (136.1 kg)
Fuel Capacity (Litres)9.5 gal (36 L)
Ground Clearance12.5″ (32 cm)
Overall Vehicle Size (L x W x H)106 x 60 x 71.5″ (269.2 x 152.4 x 181.6 cm)
Payload Capacity740 lb (335.6 kg)
Person Capacity2
Wheelbase79″ (200.7 cm)
Estimated Dry Weight (pounds/kg)1,235 lb (560.2 kg)


Cargo SystemLock & Ride
Color / GraphicsMatte White Lightning
Electronic Power SteeringStandard
Hitch Towing Rating1,500 lb (680.4 kg)
Hitch TypeStandard/1.25″ Receiver
InstrumentationDigital Gauge, Speedometer, Odometer, Tripmeter, Tachometer, Coolant Temperature, Volt Meter, Hour Meter, Service Indicator, Clock, Gear Indicator, Fuel Gauge, Hi-Temp Light, Seatbelt Reminder Light, DC Outlet
LightingHalogen, 55W low/ 60W high & Red LED Tail/Brake Lights