Published on September 29th, 2015 | by Joe
2016 Polaris RZR S 1000, First Test: WITH VIDEO
We drop the hammer on Polaris’s brand-new, East Coast dominator!
In 2015, Polaris replaced the aging RZR S 800 with the all-new RZR S 900. The car boasted increased suspension travel, a longer wheelbase, 75HP high-performance Pro Star engine, and styling that matched the look of the RZR XP 1000. For 2016, Polaris has upped the ante for the wide trail rider by adding a slightly revised version of their Pro Star 1000 engine to the RZR S, providing a whopping 33% increase in power to one of the best handling chassis on the market.
We traveled to hilly, rocky, and technical Brimstone Off-Road Park in Huntsville, Tennessee to put the new S 1000 to the test in the final day leading up to Camp RZR, held Sept 18th and 19th. CT Racing Engine’s owner, Allen Knowles, has thousands of miles driving the latest high-performance UTVs in the dunes, desert, and mountain trails, making him an ideal test driver.
The RZR S 1000 utilizes the Pro Star engine found in the RZR XP 1000, with a different intake and exhaust. The parallel twin features four valves and double-overhead-cams per cylinder, fueled by EFI. The transmission features high and low forward ranges, plus neutral, reverse, and park. A high-flow clutch intake system is designed to help keep belt temperatures down. The engine boasts a claimed 100HP and is said to accelerate from 0-50mph in just 5 seconds.
Power output is ample pulling notably harder than the S 900 at lower RPMs, with midrange and top-end that feel equally as impressive. Throttle response is crisp as you would expect from a high-performance machine. The massive low-end power and snappy throttle response make the car feel unstoppable on steep hills and in tricky situations where bursts of big power come in handy.
Matting the pedal to the floor, the power curve is smooth and strong throughout the RPM range with enough thrust to pin you against the back of your seat. We never reached top speed; however, we did reach 70mph with more power in reserve. Whether you ride tight trails, or wide open dirt roads, the S 1000 has plenty of acceleration and top-speed on tap!
Belt slippage from the CVT transmission was never a problem, although as good stewards, we thoughtfully shifted the transmission into low range while tackling rough, low-speed, rocky sections. While Yamaha is boasting that the new YXZ1000R is the first true high-performance side-by-side due to its 5-speed transmission, driving in the rough technical trails of Brimstone, maintaining traction and forward momentum would have been very demanding on the driver with a manual shift transmission and the S 1000 is certainly not lacking for performance.
As usual, we mainly left the drive selector switch in all-wheel-drive, unless we were trying to break loose and slide. Polaris’s all-wheel-drive system worked pretty flawlessly, engaging the front wheels, providing extra traction when needed.
Chassis and Suspension
The 2015 S 900 was regarded as the best handling machine in the Polaris lineup, with the exception of hammering through deep whoops. The S 1000 shares the same phenomenal handling, chassis, and suspension as the S 900. The car measures in at 60” wide, the new standard width that most trails are being cut at. Its wheelbase measures in at 79” long, 11” shorter than the XP1K.
Dual a-arms at both ends deliver 12.25” of suspension travel up front and 13.2” out back, controlled by preload and compression adjustable, Fox Podium 2.0 shocks. A rear sway bar helps control body roll. EPS is standard equipment on the S 1000. 27” GBC Dirt Commander Tires mounted on 12” cast aluminum wheels provide traction and help yield the vehicle’s 12.5” of ground clearance.
The performance of the chassis and suspension add up to an outstanding handling machine. Steering on the car is light and accurate, going where it is pointed. Cornering stability is among the best of any UTV and its lack of body roll leaves you feeling well-connected to the trail on side-hills. High-speed stability is rock solid with no feeling of twitchiness. Unless you need 18” of travel for pounding through desert whoops, you can’t ask for a better handling machine!
With only a half day of ride time, we didn’t get the opportunity to tune the suspension. However, its action was firm, yet forgiving, right out of the box. It did a good job of absorbing impacts from roots, rocks, and boulders. We launched the car a couple of feet in the air repeatedly over water breaks, never finding the limits of the suspension travel. We could have, perhaps, softened it up a bit more for smaller impacts, or stiffened it up a bit for higher-speed trails with bigger impacts. Basically, it’s darn good stock and could be made even better with a little time to tune the clickers.
The GBC Dirt Commander tires were a great choice for this machine. The angled tread rolls smoothly on hardpack, while its tall, widely-spaced center knobs dig deep and offer good clean-out in the mud. When they wear out, we can’t see a reason to switch to a different tire for the varying terrain we ride in.
Hydraulic disc brakes can be found at all four corners, with dual piston calipers up front. The brakes offer excellent stopping power. A positive feel is delivered at the brake pedal, allowing you to dial in the right amount of braking force for scrubbing off a little speed or holding the car on the side of a steep hill. You really have to abuse them before there’s any sign of fade.
Stepping in through the quarter doors, there is plenty of room to enter the machine although we would like to see full doors as standard equipment. The driver’s seat features an automotive style latch and slider system allowing for easy adjustment. The high-backed seats are bolstered on the sides to help keep you in place. The steering wheel features tilt adjustment and the passenger grab bar can be adjusted closer or farther away.
Used to the extra comfort provided by the additional padding of aftermarket seats, Allen wanted a bit more padding than the stock seats provided. Leg room was sufficient for his 6’4” height, while the adjustable seat and tilt steering allowed him to dial in the ergonomics of the driver’s compartment to his liking. The trails were littered with an abundant number of mud holes, leaving us wishing for more splash protection than the quarter doors provided.
Storage and Accessories
The rear cargo bed features a 740-pound capacity, which can be customized, along with the rest of the car. Polaris offers huge numbers of Polaris-engineered accessories that many people finance into their RZRs leaving the dealer with a tricked-out machine. A built-in 1.25” hitch receiver provides 1,500 pounds of towing capacity.
For 50” wide ATV trails, Polaris still offers 50” wide RZR models. For hardcore dune and desert whoop pounding, the XP 1000 has the suspension travel and dimensions you’ll want. This leaves the RZR S models to serve the needs of the rest of us. Based on our brief encounter with the car, the 2016 RZR S 1000 is sure to be a hit. Its handling is stable, accurate, and agile. Now, with the 100 HP Pro Star engine on-board, it has the romping stomping low-end power that is missing from the Pro-Star 900 engine found in the S 900. The biggest problem we can see with the RZR S 1000 is being upside down on a 2015 S 900 and unable to make the upgrade. Polaris has another winner on their hands with the 2016 RZR S 1000.
Model: RZR S 1000 EPS
2016 Polaris RZR S 1000, First Test
Summary: For 50” wide ATV trails, Polaris still offers 50” wide RZR models. For hardcore dune and desert whoop pounding, the XP 1000 has the suspension travel and dimensions you’ll want. This leaves the RZR S models to serve the needs of the rest of us. Based on our brief encounter with the car, the 2016 RZR S 1000 is sure to be a hit. Its handling is stable, accurate, and agile. Now, with the 100 HP Pro Star engine on-board, it has the romping stomping low-end power that is missing from the Pro-Star 900 engine found in the S 900. The biggest problem we can see with the RZR S 1000 is being upside down on a 2015 S 900 and unable to make the upgrade.