If you are going to pick a farm family to test-drive the Polaris 2021 RANGER XP 1000 NorthStar Ultimate, you don't have to look past Klint and Aimee Bissell, of Bedford, Iowa. They've used an older model RANGER as a work vehicle on their row-crop farm for four years. They also use it for fun, taking it on trail rides on their wooded acres and beyond. So, the Bissells were well-qualified and were ready to ride when Polaris sent them a brand-new XP 1000. Three weeks later, they had put more than 700 miles on the odometer.
The 2021 RANGER XP 1000 version is built on the same frame as 2020 models. It has a four-stroke, twin-cylinder overhead cam, liquid-cooled engine with 999-cubic-centimeter displacement to generate 82 hp. The Bissells use that power to move equipment, such as their corn and soybean head trailers. The powertrain operates in three modes: performance, work and standard. The XP 1000 has 14 inches of ground clearance and, to smooth bumps, Dual A-arm on both the front and rear that have 10 inches of travel. A full-body skid plate protects the underside from damage. "The ride on this vehicle is amazing," Aimee says.
The 36.75 x 54.25 x 12.5 rear storage box has a capacity of 1,000 pounds. The Bissells use the bed to move snow, haul tools and carry soil samples. Klint likes the tailgate. It folds down like a pickup truck's rather than swinging out like some side-by-sides.
The XP 1000 comes with a Polaris PRO HD winch with 4,500-pound capacity. It is activated by a switch on the dash and has an automatic retraction limit. "The winch allows us to hook onto firewood [branches] and pull it out of the woods," Aimee says. They've also used the winch to pull out vehicles stuck in the mud.
One of the key attractions to the new NorthStar model is the three-person cab. It's roomy and has plenty of storage, including a space created when the passenger seat is flipped up. Aimee says the family uses the storage for tools (tow rope and jumper cables, for example), for supplies (soil-testing) and during the Iowa winter, extra layers of dry clothes. In-floor D rings allow tie-downs to give stability to stored items. So, for instance, feed buckets won't roll around.
The cab comes with an adjustable steering wheel and driver's seat. There are power windows on both sides of the cab. An in-cab battery-charging port provides easy access to keep a full charge when the vehicle is stored in the winter months.
"My favorite feature on this vehicle is the heater. It's mind-blowing how warm it can get in that cab," Aimee says. "Plus, this thing comes with six cup holders."
If she has a question about the XP 1000, it's about the location of the interior door handle. Since the door opens left to right, which is backward from a car door, the Bissells originally found the configuration "unusual" but soon got used to it.
Technology options include the Ride Command infotainment system that has a 7-inch touch screen to enable Bluetooth cell phone connectivity, an AM/FM radio and a GPS navigation system with topographic maps. The touch screen is engineered to be used even with work gloves. "I think the navigation system will be very useful to get back to the trailhead when we're riding a trail," Aimee says. The system also can track multiple vehicles during trail rides.
The screen displays the view from front and rear cameras. The rear camera is useful when backing up to hitch a trailer. The XP 1000 has a 2,500-pound towing capacity.
For warm-weather use, the cab is air-conditioned. To let nature provide the cool, the doors are removable, and the windshield folds forward and up.
The Bissells had fun with the XP 1000 NorthStar, Aimee says. "I would definitely recommend this vehicle. Actually, I'd like to purchase this vehicle."
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