The mighty Polaris RZR line is headed by the big RZR 1000 and Turbo models that are made to scream across the terrain at eye-watering speed. These machines are a lot of fun and definitely have a place, and the four-seat versions let you take friends and family along for the ride. Then there is the RZR S 900, an extremely fun and capable trail and dune machine with plenty of horsepower and a 60-inch width that gives it great handling in tighter trail conditions. This machine is a favorite for many, and the RZR4 900 expands on that fun by adding two more seats, making it a perfect canvas to paint a family-fun picture with.
What makes the RZR4 900 such a great multi-passenger trail machine? To understand that, we have to step back to the RZR S 900, the two-seat machine upon which the four-seater was based upon. The S is a 60-inch wide machine that was wildly popular, first as an 800, and then as the first generation 900 engine size, before Polaris went to their current ProStar platform. The suspension is the key element of the S that makes it work. And that is a big factor in why the RZR4 900 is an amazing machine.
The RZR4 900 uses the same type of suspension up front as the big RZRs, just with reduced wheel travel. There are dual A-arms with Fox 2.0 Podium shocks with 31.1cm (12.25-inches) of wheel travel. Having a premium shock means the suspension action will be smooth and predictable, and have enough adjustment to tailor the ride to your liking.
Out back, there are dual A-arms, just like the two-seater. This is a big change compared to the trailing arm setup that the bigger RZRs have and that is very deliberate. A trailing arm setup works extremely well for stability at speed, but it can make things a little strange at slower speeds and in tighter terrain. If you’ve ever taken slow, tight turns in a RZR 1000, you might have noticed what we mean. There’s a little body roll. With dual A-arms, the ride is a bit more predictable at the speeds you’re traveling at for trail riding. That’s not to say that the suspension is bad. Far from it, it actually works extremely well, and if your passengers aren’t used to higher speed trail riding, the combination of the Fox Podium 2.0 rear shocks with 33.5 cm (13.2-inches) of travel combined with a rear sway bar, give the RZR a very solid and predictable feel at any speed. This is one of the many things about the RZR4 900 that we love.
Comfort is another issue that Polaris addressed with the RZR 4 900. We all know the RZR seats and how comfortable they are. There are folks turning them into desk chairs even, and if you have a few of these laying around, send them our way! These high-back bolstered seats are the same in the back as they are in the front, making a comfortable ride for everyone. The material dries quickly too, helping keep everyone happy with a dry butt. A key thing is the leg room in the back is really good and there are things like cup holders and a good, well-placed hand rail for the rear passengers to hold on when you get on the gas and get a little rowdy on the trail.
That leg room for the rear passengers is an interesting issue. It makes for a unique balancing act that the engineers have to work through. If you make the back-seating area huge, then the machine has to be equally huge, and then there’s a matter of drive-ability. Look at some of the strictly utility machines on the market that are extremely long to give full cargo capacity and have a rear seating area. These machines work and function very well, but that extra length sacrifices some of the trail capability of the machine. With the RZR 4 900, the length works just right to give excellent handling and trail manners while giving everyone enough room to be comfortable and enjoy the ride.
Handling the truth
Another element of comfort with this machine is the handling, of which the suspension also plays a roll. For a multi-passenger UTV, the RZR 4 900 is very much a point-and-shoot machine. Thanks to the compact design, it doesn’t handle like a big, long UTV, but it also doesn’t have the quick and tight handling of something like a Kawasaki Teryx4, or the Yamaha Wolverine X4. While we love both of those machines, we also loved the Polaris.
Part of that love comes from the Polaris On Demand all-wheel drive system. Now we’re not going to go in depth about how it works. We all know how the system works, and it is how the system works that makes comparing the RZR 4 to other machines a little more difficult. With the completion, when you have the machine in four-wheel drive, the system is engaged. This means that the front wheels are turning too. This isn’t a bad thing as it can pull you through corners tighter, and give you some added control. With the Polaris system, the rear tires are pulling, but the fronts don’t engage until they’re needed. This lets you drive a little sportier, which adds to the fun factor. What this means is, you can drive it a little more aggressively and get a little bit wilder with it. One of our testers laughed about this and said his wife hates it when he does that, but then she always wants to go riding again. He thinks she likes that tiny bit of “good” fear that you get when pushing things, a bit.
That brings us to the heart of the RZR – the engine. Powered by a 75-horsepower, 875cc ProStar twin cylinder engine, the 900 makes plenty of oomphto tackle the trails. While the motor does share a lot of DNA with the bigger 1000-engine, it is subtler, and very controllable, making it a perfect engine for trail riding. While the 1000 engine grips and rips you right up to the top of the speed settings, the 900has a more linear power curve.
It’s always funny to see how Polaris motors act in various platforms. They have been known to use the same engine across several machines. The 900 motor works well in other platforms, but we really like it in this machine. You get enough power and speed to have a good time with you and your passengers, but it’s still very controllable for less experienced drivers. This means if you want to let one of your passengers take the wheel, they’re going to have a great time.
One happy side effect from Polaris using the same engine across many platforms is that should you feel the need for more speed, there is a wide range of hop-up parts available. There have been some monster RZR 4 900’s made, and we’re not going to lie that the thought has crossed our minds. This would make a fun project. Maybe someday!
Things we like
Aside from what we’ve talked about, there are a few other things we really like about this machine. It comes with GBC Dirt Commander tires, which are excellent all-around trail tires. These tires are 27-inches tall and roll on 12-inch wheels. It’s a great combination.
The interior is well thought out with ample room for any sized driver and passenger. It has four of the all-important cup holders, with two in front and two in the back. Like every RZR, there are drains built into the floor, too, so you can keep the machine clean and drain out mud, and soapy water after a bath.
Things we’d change
Hey, nothing’s perfect, right? Ok, some people love the quarter doors that Polaris uses on the RZR and some of the ACE models. And while we will agree that they are far better than nets for convenience, why not just go ahead and include the bottom quarter? Maybe even make it removable for those that want it like it is now? When you hit some mud and it sprays in the door and you really don’t want it to do that, well, you get what we’re saying here.
We’ll also add that it’s getting about time for a cosmetic redesign, isn’t it? Look at the new Ranger 1000. It’s a complete change from the Ranger that has been around for a while. You’d have to think that something new is coming in the looks department for the RZRs.
With all the various RZR models out there, the RZR 4 900 stands out for the simple fact that it is the best option for trail riding and exploring with friends or family. It is a sporty, fun machine that is well built and powerful enough for thrills and chills, while remaining controllable enough for the whole family to enjoy.
For more information on the 2017 Polaris RZR 4 900 EPS, please visit Polaris.com