TESTED | POLARIS RZR TRAIL 900 PREMIUM EPS | First Impression | Launch Report | Tested
The Polaris RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS has arrived and it’s here to steal you away from your ATV. We put the little unit to the test!
When the Australian government announced that all new ATVs must be fitted with OPD tech the industry stopped selling ATVs. It was a sad day for many Australians as the ATV or Quad had become common place in our garages.
The alternative was to buy a much safer side-by-side. Most brands produce a varied range of side-by-sides aimed at everything from work to play but there aren’t many that do both or that could replace the work rate and fun factor you may have had riding your ATV.
Here on Australasian SXS we’ve tested plenty of vehicles. But it wasn’t until we stumbled across the Polaris RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS that we realised this little unit could replace your ATV.
The Trail 900 looks like a race/recreational vehicle but after three months testing it on our cattle farm we learnt it has more uses than just play. In fact, we used it more for work than we did play and here’s why:
SIZE – When the Trail 900 Premium EPS was wheeled off the truck for testing I was surprised at how much smaller it looked compared with the traditional RZR XP 1000 Sport. It looked like someone had stuck a RZR in the clothes dryer.
And the specifications don’t lie. The RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS is over 350mm narrower than the RZR XP 1000 Sport! At 1270mm wide the Trail 900 is only 50mm wider than the Polaris Sportsman XP 1000 ATV.
That brings me to my next point. With a chassis and wheel track narrower than most SXS machines the RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS felt more like a safer, more comfortable ATV than it did SXS.
We were able to get in and out of gullies, around trees, and double back on cattle with the same ease that we do on our ATVs. But it is much more comfortable thanks to the aftermarket windshield and roof fitted to our test model.
It loses out in ground clearance to the RZR XP 1000 with 2794mm as opposed to 3560mm and has a little less ground clearance than the Sportsman 1000 ATV which is 2900mm. Occasionally, while bashing through the paddocks, we noticed the undercarriage smash a rock but with the safety of a cage we weren’t fazed and the undercarriage of the unit didn’t break as a result.
It’s lighter than the RZR XP 1000 at 571.5kg, is narrower and shorter than the RZR XP 1000 and also has a shorter wheelbase at 2000mm as opposed to 2286mm.
As you can see, the dimensions make this unit significantly smaller than the traditional RZR XP 1000. That is why it is easier to manoeuvre and use for work.
RIDE & COMFORT – If you’re going to spend all day in your SXS, and you can with the RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS thanks to the 35.9L fuel tank, comfort is essential.
The RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS runs the traditional ZF Sachs Shocks front and rear as opposed to the FOX gear you see getting around on the more expensive RZRs. The benefit of this is that it keeps the price down (around $19,995 depending on your spec) and for what this vehicle is designed for, you do not need the full-blown race suspension.
The RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS has about 1800mm less suspension travel in the front and over 2500mm less in the rear than the RZR XP. We didn’t have an issue with this as we weren’t sending it off massive jumps.
It soaked up all we could throw at it on the trails and was still really comfortable flogging through paddocks than the RZR XP. You can still jump this unit, just don’t expect it to handle a big bottom-out or over-jump like the RZR XP would.
And if you want to play with the suspension to get it just right it has tool-less, knob-type compression-damping adjusters on the shocks.
ACCESSORIES – When comparing the RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS to your big-arse ATV it’s like bringing a gun to a knife fight when it comes to ergonomics and accessories. Where an ATV has cold air to chill your extremities, the RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS has bucket seats, electronic power-steering, doors, a windscreen, a tub that can take 136kg and a massive 680kg towing capacity.
We’ve spent decades mustering and working on ATVs and it wasn’t until we hopped in the Trail 900 Premium EPS that those ATVs began collecting dust. Even the agricultural side-by-sides we have tested ensured the ATVs still got some use when we needed speed, ruggedness and agility when performing some tasks on the farm.
But the RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS ticked all those boxes and then some thanks to the extra bits I listed. An ATV does not have a tub, seats (make that two of them), a steering wheel, doors, windscreen or roof. It doesn’t have three storage compartments or drink holders either. The comfort and ease-of-use of the RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS far outweighs any ATV we’ve used.
PERFORMANCE – The RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS utilises a four-stroke, DOHC, Twin Cylinder, 875cc, motor with P/R/N/L/H. It pumps out 75hp as opposed to 110hp in the RZR XP 1000. While we did notice the gap in power compared with the race-spec XP, the RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS still has plenty of power for exploring the trails and punching out farm work.
And the big advantage is that with less weight in the Trail 900 than the RZR XP, that gap in HP is closed slightly. So don’t worry, the Trail 900 will still have your passenger pucker up when you step on the throttle and charge into a corner.
It pulled a 4WD trailer loaded with a 500kg bale of hay no problem. It could punch from corner to corner much quicker than the Ranger or General models, especially in tight sections when hunting cattle if using low range.
On our race track it clocked a 46.5sec lap time and it managed to finish our 100-metre sprint track in 7.9sec. Where does that put it in the rankings? 1st!
That’s because it so the only vehicle we’ve run through our new course. But we only expect the turbo units to beat it.
RECREATION – While we mainly used the RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS for work we did get out to do some play on it and because it has the RZR DNA running through it, we couldn’t fault it. Because it is narrower than the XP RZRs and has less suspension travel we were a little apprehensive about hitting the race track.
Our fears were quickly nullified. The RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS was loads of fun on the track we have setup. It is accurate, sharp and has loads of torque to launch out of corners.
But it was more fun just trail riding around our farm and using it for a little hunting. Because of its size we found it easy to crawl in and out of tight trails we have setup for using ATVs.
VERDICT – Finding a replacement unit for your ATV is no easy task when looking at the current crop of SXS machines. Most side-by-sides are much bigger, much heavier and nowhere near as agile. But the RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS has changed the game.
While it is marketed as a recreational vehicle, here in Oz our recreational riding areas are limited so a unit that can work and play makes more sense. It’s narrower, shorter, lighter and overall more compact than the traditional RZR XP making it much more agile when driving.
But does that make it more likely to roll? Sure, with a narrower wheel-track anything is more likely to roll and unlike an ATV, you can’t counter-balance it. But after a few months we were able to work out the tipping point (which was much further than we thought) and we haven’t rolled it once.
We wouldn’t recommend hitting the corners with the same speed and ferocity that you can in your RZR XP but it will still rip around a track.
While it looked more like the size of an ATV than most side-by-sides we’ve tested, remember you are getting so much more in this vehicle than an ATV, including safety. And sure, it may not have the work ability of the bigger tubbed Ranger line-up but don’t forget, an ATV doesn’t either! In fact it doesn’t have a tub at all.
Polaris have priced the RZR Trail 900 Premium EPS at those looking to get into the sport. At $19,995 MLP the Trail 900 Premium EPS allows you to dip your toe in the RZR water without the $30k plus price tag. It will get you hooked on that racey RZR feel, but if that feeling never arouses your sense you can always use it as an ATV replacement.
POLARIS RZR TRAIL 900 PREMIUM EPS SPEC:
Displacement / Engine Type 875cc / 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder
Drive System Type Horsepower High Performance True On-Demand AWD/2WD 75 HP
Front Suspension Dual A-Arm with Stabilizer Bar and 25.4 cm Wheel Travel
Rear Suspension Dual A-Arm with Stabilizer Bar and 25.4 cm Wheel Travel
Front Tyres 26 x 8 x 12; PXT
Rear Tyres 26 x 9 x 12; PXT
Wheels Stamped Steel
Box Capacity 136 kg
Towing Capacity 680 kg
Fuel Capacity 35.9 L
Ground Clearance 27.94 cm
Vehicle Size (L x W x H) 282 x 127 x 173 cm
Payload Capacity 336 kg
Wheelbase 200.7 cm
Dry Weight 571.5 kg
Seat Type Bolstered Bucket Seats with Driver and Passenger Seat Slider (Tool Required for Adjustment)
Lighting Halogen 55W low / 60W high & red LED tail/brake lights
POLARIS RZR TRAIL 900 PREMIUM PRICE:
The 2021 RZR Trail 900 Premium MLP is $19,995
GENUINE ACCESSORIES FITTED TO OUR MODEL:
Poly Sport Roof – $303.75
Tip out windshield (hard coat poly) – $1,000
Glass fixed screen – $1200 (instead of above)
Poly half screen – $349.99 (instead of above)