Machinery Chatter
Dan Miller Progressive Farmer Senior Editor

Thursday 08/14/14

Polaris Rolls 2015 Side-by-Sides, New ACE models

Polaris rolls out its 2015 lines of side-by-sides boasting more horsepower and new work capacities. It is also building on the success of its Sportsman ACE launched in January, with a significantly up-powered Sportsman ACE 570.

The Ranger 570FS seats three, has a new 44-hp engine and a 1,000-lb payload capacity.

Polaris added more power across its entire 2015 side-by-side Ranger line. It also introduced a new, economically priced Ranger ETX. Here are some of the new features in the Rangers.

-- The Ranger XP 900 features an upgraded, 68 hp, EFI Pro-Star 900 engine. Borrowing engine design experience from its RZR vehicles, the 2015 model has a 13% increase in power. The Ranger XP 900 carries 1,000 pounds of cargo and can tow one ton of supplies. It has 12 inches of ground clearance. The 900 line of side-by-sides begin at $13,399.

-- The two-passenger Ranger 570 has been restyled to match the Ranger full-size model. The 2015 Ranger 570 has 10% more power due to its 44-hp Pro-Star power plant (up from 40-hp in 2014). It can tow 1,500 pounds with a 2-inch receiver -- 20% more than previous models -- and carry 500 pounds. The Ranger 570 begins at $9,799.

-- The 2015 Ranger 570 Full-Size (3-seater) also has the new 44-hp, ProStar engine. It has the capacity to pull one ton of supplies and carry 1,000 pounds in the cargo box. Its suspension system is a bit beefier than the Ranger 570. The full-size model also has two more inches of ground clearance than the Ranger 570, an extra gallon of fuel capacity and weighs an additional 200 pounds. The full-size Ranger 570 begins at $11,299.

-- The Ranger ETX is a new, entry-level model of Ranger. It tracks closely with the 570 in design, but runs on smaller, 31-hp EFI ProStar engine. It has on-demand, true all-wheel drive. The Ranger ETX tows 1,500 pounds and carries 500 pounds in the cargo box. As with other Ranger models, the ETX comes with the Pro-Fit chassis frame system that accepts front and rear windows, a top and doors. Starting price is $8,699.

-- The 2015 Ranger Diesel (seats 3) and Ranger Crew Diesel (seats 6) come with a new 3-cylinder, Tier-4 compliant, Kohler diesel engine and 110 amps of alternator output, double that of previous models. The three-seat Ranger diesel begins at $13,799; the six-seater at $14,999.

-- Polaris is offering beginning next month three deluxe packages for its 2015 Ranger XP 900s with electronic power steering. These high-end packages are designed for trail riding, for hunting, and for cold weather. Here's a sampling of features in the packages (not every item is offered in every package): 4.3-inch LCD instrument display that provides fault codes and corrective actions, Bluetooth capabilities with Smartphone connectivity, GPS connectivity (elevation, latitude, longitude, compass, maps routes, marks waypoints), front and rear window panels, brush guards, heated seats, 4,500-pound winch, full cab, and heater/defroster. The Ranger XP 900 with deluxe trail package is $16,999; hunting package, $20,799; and cold weather $21,299.

THE ACE

I had the opportunity to drive the ACE models a few weeks back outside Greenbush, Minn., not far from Polaris' engineering and manufacturing facilities at Roseau. The ACE looks like a fun off-roader to drive -- and it is. It offered stable, quick rides down both a graveled county road and a flooded, muddy trail. The 570, running on its liquid-cooled, 45-hp ProStar, electric fuel injected (EFI) engine, topped out at 50 mph on the road and kept this driver dry through the water and mud of the trail. The original ACE has a 32-hp ProStar EFI engine.

The ACE introduced an entirely new concept in the off-road market with a vehicle built around the driver. It has some of the appearances of an ATV, but with a roll cage, single-seat bucket seat and driver-friendly, adjustable steering wheel. Most obvious is its single-seat "sit-in" chassis design. The driver and the vehicle's major components are centralized between the four wheels. The driver sits down into the bucket seat (with 4 inches of adjustment) and is held in place by a three-point seatbelt and side nets.

Polaris makes the case that its ACE has work capabilities that farm and ranch managers, with need for multiple, economically-priced off-road vehicles, will appreciate. The vehicle makes a good argument for itself.

The ACE and ACE 570 move across country with on-demand, all-wheel drive and high/low transmission. It has 10.25 inches of ground clearance and plenty of suspension travel for trips over rough terrain. It carries 360 pounds of cargo and tows 1,500 pounds. The ACE has a 1.25-inch hitch receiver that doesn't quite match its impressive towing capacity, or the ball size typical found on even smaller farm trailers.

With a 5.3-gallon fuel tank, it has plenty of range. It is 48 inches wide and weighs only 854 pounds, making it transportable in a full-size pickup.

For those of us living in the extra-large lane of life, getting seated in the ACE is a bit of a squeeze. A test drive at your Polaris dealer will give you the answer to your "fit-ability" concerns.

The Sportsman ACE (Sage Green and White lightning) sells for $7,499 and the ACE 570 (Voodoo Blue and White Lightning) for $8,499.

Posted at 3:43PM CDT 08/14/14 by Dan Miller
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