Polaris unveiled the Polaris RZR RS1 back in January and, of course, we had to get our hands on one. This new machine boasts a single-seater cockpit design that’s like no other Polaris UTV before it. With expanded sight lines and race-inspired ergonomics, the RS1 is a solo driving experience like no other.
Now the question for you guys is: should you get one?
We’ve gotten some seat time over the past week after having one in house for tear downs and tests. SuperATV’s president and CEO, Harold Hunt, took it out for a spin this past weekend and gave us his impressions of his ride.
We can all agree that a key aspect of any UTV—especially one that calls itself a RZR—is fun. It looks like the RS1 is no slouch in that department.
Keep in mind that when Harold says something is fun, that means it’s fun. This is a guy that has ridden every UTV out there. He started SuperATV because he wanted to make riding ATVs and UTVs more thrilling. 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 XP 1000.
The engine in question is Polaris’ EFI ProStar 999cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, parallel-twin-cylinder engine. Each cylinder has four valves activated by dual overhead cam shafts. This engine pushes out some seriously smooth and enthusiastic power—100 horses, to be exact. That much power packed into a lighter machine makes for some pretty thrilling rides.
“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,” said Harold.
That feeling is built into the DNA of a machine, and it’s hard to quantify.
Maybe it’s the throttle response, the RZR 900 length wheel base, or the perfectly-balanced center seat. Or it could be the way the roll cage occupies such a small portion of your peripheral vision. All of these factors come together to make the RS1 feel like nothing you’ve ever driven before. 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. It gives the impression that you’re riding a much quicker, nimbler vehicle than the two-seater Polaris RZR XP 1000.
What’s truly different about the Polaris RZR RS1? What separates it from the 2018 RZR XP 1000 or other Polaris models? Apart from having one less seat, the difference might surprise you.
|2018 RZR RS1||2018 RZR XP 1000|
|Engine Type||Parallel Twin||Parallel Twin|
|Carburetion Type||Fuel Injected||Fuel Injected|
|Front/Rear Brake Type||Hydraulic Disc||Hydraulic Disc|
|Dry Weight||1,340 lbs.||1,369 lbs.|
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 the 1000, with an 83-inch wheelbase vs the 1000’s 90-inch wheelbase, and it has 13 inches of clearance vs the 1000’s 13.5 inches. It also weighs slightly less, with the spec sheet showing a dry weight of 1,340 pounds, versus the 1000’s 1,369 pounds. Our own scale puts the RS1 with all its fluids at 1,420 pounds
lbs. and the 1000 at 1,427 pounds—virtually identical.
So what’s the RS1 got that the RZR XP 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 drivetrain parts, including the newest Turbo model transmission, a version of the Turbo’s clutch, and a new front diff unique to the RS1.
All of that makes the RS1 its own machine, and quite different from the RZR XP 1000. Harold counts all of 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 drivetrain delivers.
With all these inclusions, it looks like Polaris could be paving the way for a true 1000cc Turbo (the newest Turbo model is 925cc). Time will tell.
The best part? The Polaris RZR RS1 costs $13,999. That’s thievery compared to the base-model RZR XP 1000’s $17,999 asking price.
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. A huge part of the off-road experience is getting to share it with your family and friends, and that’s hard to do in a machine that only has one seat.
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.
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. It’s comfortable and speedy, dishing out a driver-focused off-road experience like nothing else on the market.
So what’s the bottom line, you might ask?
Harold summed it up beautifully: “We had more fun with the RS1 today than I could have ever imagined. Great unit.”