Polaris and Arctic Cat Launch New Off-Road Year

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
This week we're looking at Polaris and Arctic Cat off-road vehicles.

Minnesota's two prominent off-road vehicle manufacturers Polaris (…) and Arctic Cat (…) have this week rolled out their 2014 line of ATVs and side-by-sides. There's a long line-up of new vehicles. A couple of them caught my eye.


The Polaris Ranger Crew 900 is a five-passenger version of the manufacturer's Ranger XP 900, it introduced for the 2013 model year (lower image in the photo collage).

The Ranger Crew 900 is powered by the 60-horsepower ProStar 900 engine (located under the rear cargo box for more comfortable travel and easy access for servicing). This engine represents a 50% increase in horsepower over the Ranger Crew 800 electronic fuel injection (EFI) model. The Ranger Crew 900 features a high-capacity battery and new stator for 30% more electrical power over the Ranger Crew 800.

It has an all-new cab and more rigid chassis to smooth out the ride. The cockpit fits five people and a center console with added storage and cup holders. The Crew 900 includes tilt steering. Limited edition models of the 900 offer an adjustable driver's seat. For operator ease, fuel access is on the driver's side and the tank holds 10 gallons of fuel.

The Ranger Crew offers an electronic power steering option and has a long, 113-inch wheelbase. It also has 1 inch more rear travel suspension and 11.3 inches of ground clearance. The cargo box is built for 1,000 pounds of capacity and is wide enough to fit a pallet. It can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

The Ranger Crew 900 is available in Sage Green, Solar Red and Polaris Pursuit Camo. Limited Edition models include Sunset Red and Titanium Matte Metallic. Electronic Power Steering is standard on the Polaris Pursuit Camo and Limited Edition models. The Ranger Crew 900 begins at $14,399.


From Arctic Cat comes the 2014 Prowler 500 HDX, 500 HDX XT, and HDX Limited Edition models. All three models are built to seat three riders on a sculpted 40-20-40 bench seat configuration. Arctic Cat has introduced this model as an economical version of its top selling Prowler 700 HDX.

Seating for three passengers up front is matched by a cargo box built to haul large payloads. The cargo box tilts, can hold up to 600 pounds and carry a load as large as a pallet (the box is 41"L x 55"W x 10"D). On the Limited model the box features detachable bed sides that transform the HDX models into a flatbed. The 500 tows up to 1,500 pounds. These models include front and rear, two-inch hitch receivers.

Power for the new machines comes from the H1 443cc 4-stroke engine with electronic fuel injection. The engine is matched to a Duramatic automatic transmission, with high/low/reverse/park and engine breaking. The three models feature electronic 2WD/4WD selectable drives by a dash-mounted switch.

The HDX XT gets painted bodywork in Emerald Green Metallic or Vibrant Red Metallic, 14-inch aluminum wheels, a 25-pound-capacity under-hood storage space, plus left and right side storage compartments.

The HDX Limited includes five-position tilt steering, variable electronic power steering, and a locking front differential, 14-inch aluminum wheels, 25-pound under-hood storage and painted bodywork in either Emerald Green Metallic or Vibrant Red Metallic.

The Prowler 500s boast an 85-inch wheelbase that is 10 inches longer than the Prowler 700 XTX for improved ride and hauling capacity. But it retains the same 118-inch overall vehicle length. The Prowler 500 has 10 inches of suspension travel front and rear, and 10 inches of ground clearance.

I had an opportunity to drive both the Prowler 500 and Prowler 700. They both drove well over the course of the variable trail I drove. I felt a little more squeezed inside the 500's crew compartment than in the 700, although if my notes are correct they are the same size. But neither ride was uncomfortable and both handled very well over the bumps and curves of trail. The engine breaking for downhill travel is nice to have, too.

The folks at Arctic Cat say the Prowler 500 is being positioned as an economical way to move up from their ATVs to a side-by-side vehicle with good capacity to do work on the farm or ranch. They say the price difference is a not-too-insignificant $1,800 to $2,000.

The Prowler 700 brings more bed capacity (1,000 pounds) and Fox Float Air Assist shocks that can be adjusted to accommodate heavy loads. Of course the 700's engine is larger, 695 CCs versus 443 CCs loaded into the 500. Towing capacity, wheelbase, overall length and cargo box size are the same for both the 500 and 700 models. The 700 and 500 XT and 500 Limited all have the handy under-hood storage box.

If I'm spending my money (and I can be cheap), I might lean toward the price economy, but high feature value of the Prowler 500. If I'm spending your money, and you have an operation that ranges over long distances, I'd go with the higher capacity and higher horsepower of the Prowler 700.

Final 2014 pricing was not released as of this publication date.


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