[New] Polaris RZR RS1 Review—The Single-Seater Showstopper

The RS1 is fun first and foremost

Polaris unveiled the Polaris RZR RS1 back in January and of course we had to get our hands on one. Now the question for you guys is: Should you get one?

We've gotten some seat time after having one in-house for a week or so for tear-downs and tests. SuperATV's president and CEO, Harold Hunt, took it out for a spin this past weekend, and gives us his impressions of his ride.

Fun is the Name of the RZR RS1's Game

We can all agree that a key aspect of any UTV, and especially one that calls itself a RZR, is fun. It looks like the RS1 is no slouch in that department.

"That dude was fun, RS1 stole the show for me," says Harold after his test ride.

You've got to remember that when Harold says something is fun that means it's fun. This is a guy that rides and has ridden every UTV out there. He started SuperATV because he wanted to make riding ATVs and UTVs more fun. And why wouldn't the Polaris RS1 be fun? That smaller, zippier frame is powered by the same engine that pushes its big brother, the 2018 Polaris RZR 1000.

You know that feeling when you just can't wait to get going—when you've got a smile on your face just thinking about what the next few minutes are going to be like after you hit the gas. The RS1 does that to you.

"Every time you get in, you just want to hit the gas and kind of race through the woods... It's kind of hard to describe," says Harold.

That feel is built into the DNA of a machine and it's hard to quantify.

There's no one thing you can point to to explain the RS1's feel. Instead, it's something greater than the sum of its parts. From the throttle response, to the RZR 900-length wheel base, the perfectly balanced center seat, or the way the roll cage occupies such a small portion of your peripheral vision; it all comes together to make the RS1 just feel good. You can see both front wheels bouncing along the trail at all times which allows you to navigate tighter routes through trees and rocks without smashing into them, and it gives the impression that you're riding a much quicker, nimbler vehicle than the 2-seated Polaris RZR 1000.

RZR RS1 Vs RZR 1000

What's truly different about the Polaris RZR RS1? What separates it from the 2018 RZR 1000 or other Polaris models? Apart from having one less seat, the difference might surprise you.

Take a look at the spec sheet for the 2018 RZR RS1 next to the 2018 RZR 1000.

The RS1's basic specs are identical to the RZR 1000's specs
These basic specs for the RS1 and the 2018 RZR 1000 are identical. It's not until you look at the full specs that you see a difference.

I'll forgive you for not seeing the difference between the two right away. They're pretty much identical under the hood, so let's skip to the interesting changes.

First, the RS1 is shorter than a RZR 1000 with an 83" wheelbase vs the 1000's 90" wheelbase, and it has 13" of clearance vs the 1000's 13.5". It also weighs slightly less with the spec sheet showing it weighing in at 1340 lbs. dry and the 1000 weighing in at 1369 lbs. dry. Our own scale puts the RS1 with all its fluids at 1420 lbs. and the 1000 at 1427 lbs.— virtually identical.

Check out the RS1's full spec sheet and see how it stacks up against the RZR 1000's specs.

The RS1 Stands on its Own

So what's the RS1 got that the RZR 1000 doesn't? First of all, it comes with a snorkel standard which is a nice addition. It also uses Polaris' most up-to-date drive train parts including the newest Turbo model transmission, a version of the Turbo's clutch, and a new front diff unique to the RS1.

Despite all it's similarities to the 1000, the RZR RS1 has its own identity.
Despite all it's similarities to the 1000, the RZR RS1 has its own identity.

All that makes the RS1 its own machine, and quite different than RZR 1000. Harold counts all these unique parts as a positive noting that "as soon as you get in it you're ready to go" because of the instant power this updated drive train delivers.

With all these parts on one machine, it looks like Polaris could be paving the way for a true 1000 cc Turbo (the newest Turbo model is 925 cc). Time will tell.

The best part? The Polaris RZR RS1 costs $13,999. That's thievery compared to the base model RZR 1000's $17,999 asking price.

What's the Catch?

We can't overlook the very narrow application this machine has by having only one seat. It's hard to imagine this as anybody's primary UTV. How many of you ride alone more often than you ride with a buddy or spouse in the passenger seat? Not many I suspect.

That's where the name comes in—RS1 presumably stands for Race Spec. We have already seen how well it can perform on the track, and that seems to be its intended purpose. We'll have to see how it handles in longer desert races where losing that co-driver could be a real disadvantage.

The Bottom Line

If you have room in your garage (and your budget) for a single seater, this one looks like a no-brainer for the recreational off-road enthusiast. We'll have to wait and see how it takes on the racing scene.

What's the bottom line?

Harold sums it up beautifully, "We had more fun with the RS1 today than I could have ever imagined. Great unit."