Polaris overhauls its Sportsman range of ATVs

Polaris has launched two new Sportsman 4×4 models, updated its Sportsman 800 6×6 and brought out a new Ranger farm buggy for 2009.

The US ATV maker introduced the Sportsman in 1996, and it has been four years since the last model change. It says this latest overhaul is the most significant one since it was launched.

There are two new engine sizes, an 850cc twin and a 550cc single, putting out 70hp and 40hp respectively. This is a big jump in power compared with existing models, says the company, so the brake discs have been enlarged significantly.

Electric power steering is standard on the 850cc models, but optional on the 550XP. Polaris reckons it makes the machines 80% easier to steer than the unassisted systems used by most makers. Meanwhile triple-beam headlights are said to deliver 150W more lighting power than the previous Sportsman’s.

Looks-wise, the XP has got slimmer on top, narrowed at the knees by 83mm and at the ankles by 127mm. But the footboards are wider. Prices for the 550XP start at £5899 and the 850XP starts at £7499.

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The Sportsman 800 6×6 has also had a facelift, with a new 800cc engine and six-wheel shaft drive – the old model had 500cc and chain drive. Six-wheel independent suspension makes this machine feel like it’s a four-wheeler with more pulling power.

As on the XP, active descent control boosts the existing engine braking system at the flick of a switch. Standard drive is four-rear-wheel drive, but engage the on-demand all-wheel drive option and you’ll get six-wheel power when you need it. Prices start at £7499.

The Ranger side-by-side buggy has also been updated, again gaining easier steering and higher ground clearance. Dual A-arms mean suspension can be adjusted by up to 30%, while on the Ranger HD model, self-levelling suspension means the operator gets full suspension even under full load. Prices for the Ranger start from £7999 and £10,999 for the HD model.