TESTED | POLARIS RZR PRO R | Launch Report | Tested
The much-anticipated Polaris RZR Pro R has landed in Oz and we cut some laps in the all-new machine to put it to the test.
We were the only lucky bastards in Oz to get to test the Polaris RZR Pro R as soon as it landed and it blew us away! It possesses the biggest engine ever dumped in a side-by-side, a 2.0L, four-cylinder ProStar donk they appropriately named Fury. The Pro R has the biggest and heaviest set of Fox shocks the buggy class has seen. It has a chassis that can be dropped from Centre Point Tower without breaking (we encourage you not to try this) and the tech would make Elon Musk giddy.
The Polaris RZR Pro R is an absolute beast. Not only to look at but on the specs sheet as well. With 225hp under the hood it is the most powerful side-by-side ever made. It is also the widest, at 74 inches and possess the longest suspension travel.
The RZR Pro R is essentially a Finke-ready, sand crusher. The length (340cm wheelbase for the four-seater), motor and suspension all make it an absolute weapon in deep, power-sapping sand whoops. A naturally aspirated, fuel-injected, ProStar Fury engine cranks out 225hp – more than any other side-by-side on the market. It has selectable throttle control which lets you pick from three modes: Sport, Rock and Race.
Up front it runs fully boxed steel front A-arms with three-piece stabilizer bars, FOX 3.0 Live Valve X2 Internal Bypass shocks which provide nearly 70cm of travel. Out back, boxed trailing arms with patented rear toe link, high-clearance radius rods, a three-piece stabilizer bar and another set of FOX 3.0 Live Valve X2 Internal Bypass shocks offer nearly 75cm of suspension travel.
It also allows you to pick four different suspension settings which also adjust the sensitivity of the steering wheel. They’re called: Rock, Baja, Comfort and Track.
It’s 2 inches bigger than the previous RZR king, the Turbo S and has a big-arse set of 32-inch Maxxis Rampage Fury tyres. Everything about this vehicle is big.
The Pro R also uses Polaris’s patented DYNAMIX DV systems. It monitors inputs from the driver and machine hundreds of times every second and automatically adjusts compression and rebound damping independently as well as the steering feel.
Oh and it also has the “holy shit” button we’ve seen on other Polaris models that stiffens compression and rebound on all four shocks instantly for when you over jump anything.
All this gear is held together by a one-piece chassis, coupled with a fully-welded roll cage and strengthened hubs. It has all this other cool Polaris tech too like RIDE COMMAND which has with GPS tracking technology and a Rockford Fosgate audio system to blast tunes.
Sitting in the bucket seats I could feel my lumbar being hugged. The steering wheel is adjustable and telescopic so I could sit it right in my lap.
In the short distance I covered to get from the shed to the race track at the Evans Motorsport facility I managed to hit a wombat hole and a set of chewed-out 4WD ruts but I didn’t even feel them. I braced for impact but all I felt was a slight bump. Entering a driveway in a HiLux would cause more grief.
Out on the track it was obvious this machine was a step above anything else I’d driven. The Pro R absorbed holes a metre deep and gutters 30cm high without so much as a jolt through the steering wheel or seat. It glides so smoothly over every single bump it feels like you’re riding on a cloud. It might sound clichéd but there’s no other way to describe it.
With the DYNAMIX DV working overtime to constantly read the terrain, I was blown away by how quickly it could compute and adapt the suspension. Sure, it’s helped by the big-arse FOX shocks but this tech is still as impressive as the first time I tested it in the Turbo S and felt like it worked more accurately than before.
A Scary Moment
The beefed up a-arms, trailing arms and toe link all improved the control over the previous models. I over jumped the main table top and was coming down hard on the right wheel, afraid I was about to snap one of those arms. But it absorbed it effortlessly and from the cab I was unaware of how bad it looked until I saw a video replay on the phone of Polaris Marketing guru Kris Matich. One single wheel, a-arm and hub just absorbed the full force of the entire vehicle.
I dabbled with the other suspension and steering modes and they did exactly as they said they would, got stiffer and more responsive the firmer I went. But for a punter ploughing around a natural terrain motocross track you’re best leaving the throttle in Rock and suspension in Comfort.
Surprisingly, the suspension and chassis were the highlight for me just because of how incredibly stable they made the Pro R feel and how well it absorbed the terrain. The reason that may surprise people is because much of the hype has been about the motor. Polaris adapted the 2.0L motor from their road-based Slingshot vehicle.
This is a good thing because it means the engine is tried and tested. Of course it is tuned and redesigned to meet the rigours of off-road driving but the platform is a proven component.
It also may surprise you to see this vehicle is only available naturally aspirated. There are already aftermarket companies working on a turbo conversion and we’ve also heard Polaris may bring it out in a Turbo version one day.
To explain just how much power the Pro R actually has, I’ll enlighten you on a moment I nearly had with a fence. I flicked all the modes to full race spec. Throttle on Track and suspension on Race. I came out of a right hand corner I’d done a dozen times, planted the throttle and instantly puckered my arse.
The Pro R put it all to the ground and started hurtling me towards the fence because I got on it too early. It was ridiculous. It took two-seconds for the Pro R to literally launch out of the corner and straight for the fence.
There’s torque, mid-range pickup and top-end scream than anything you’ve ever driven. The only person who could master the Pro Rs grunt was professional driver Jackson Evans. For the rest of us, the full race mode was too much. But the softer modes will accommodate any kind of driver. They are forgiving but still incredibly wild if you drove it like a rental.
When trying to compare this motor to something you may have driven I can’t. At 1125kg with 225hp being fed into four wheels that are constantly monitoring for any loss of traction, there is no comparison for power in the dirt. Maybe a trophy truck, but I’ve never driven one of those.
Who’s gonna buy one?
The four-seat version we tested would be ideal at events like Finke. The longer wheel base is better suited to high speeds and deep whoops. At nearly $55k the Pro R is not cheap, but a trophy truck or homemade buggy is more. This Polaris RZR Pro R comes ready to race, there is not much you need to do to it. So for that reason I think it would be a waste to buy the Pro R and not race it somewhere.
Sure it can be hammered around your private track and taken on wild trail rides but you can do that in a more affordable RZR. If you are buying this thing, don’t deprive it of its natural instinct, put it where it belongs, on the race track.
Polaris RZR Pro R
Type four-stroke, DOHC, four-cylinder
Fuel metering EFI
Tank capacity 46.5L
Transmission Auto PVT P/R/N/L/H
Ground clearance 40.6cm
Claimed Weight 1,125kg
FRONT FOX 3.0 Live Valve X2 Internal Bypass shocks
REAR FOX 3.0 Live Valve X2 Internal Bypass shocks
Front Triple-bore front
Rear Dual-bore rear
Drive Modes Sport, Rock, Race
Front tyre 32-inch Maxxis Rampage Fury
Rear tyre 32-inch Maxxis Rampage Fury
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