Polaris Ranger Review - 2009 Polaris Ranger XP 700 UTV Review

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2009 Polaris Ranger XP 700

Polaris Ranger review
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2.3 / 5.0
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Finally! The Rangers get tilt steering, new adjustable coil over front suspension and a host of refinements.

In 2009, Polaris has really paid attention to what consumers have wanted in their Ranger line up. To begin, let’s just make a list of updated items on the exciting redesigned Ranger 4x4 and XP:

• Completely redesigned body providing a much sportier, aggressive look
• HD Front Bumper with inset light mounting points, tow hooks and tie down points
• Fixed main hood with flip-up center, providing good access to electronics
• No more front struts = Welcome all new adjustable coil over front suspension
• 2” more front suspension travel
• 50% easier steering effort
• 140% more usable storage and 50% more than nearest competitor
• Larger cup holders in better location
• Removable sealed under seat storage = No more side opening door under driver’s seat
• Tilt steering wheel that’s centered in front of the driver instead of off-center
• Improved seating geometry = 8 degrees more lean-back to the seat with small side bolsters
• Repositioned parking brake

And, as if that wasn’t enough for the Ranger product line, there’s a new version of the Ranger XP called the Ranger HD! So, what is the Ranger HD, you ask? Well, it’s Polaris’s answer to the ultimate do-everything ranch or construction utility vehicle. Here’s what items it adds to the drastically updated Ranger XP:

• Variable Power Assisted Steering = Literally pinky finger effort is all it takes
• Self Leveling Nivomat Rear Suspension = Full ground clearance up to maximum payload

• Optional Lift and Carry System

So, now that we’ve cut to the chase and given you all the updates up front, let’s describe what some of these updates have done for the drivability of the new Rangers. To start, let’s talk about the new front suspension of the Rangers. If you’ve ever driven a Ranger XP before, you know that the suspension, especially up front, is very plush but offers no adjustability. That has proven awesome in slow speed situations like mud riding or rock crawling, but when the speeds increase, being able to adjust the shocks is paramount for keeping a good ride quality. In the past Ranger models, you couldn’t do anything about the stiffness of the front suspension. This year, Polaris eliminated the front struts and replaced it with dual A-arms and coil over shocks. What does this mean? Well, this opens up the long travel market quite a bit for the Rangers. Not only that, you have the same level of adjustment in the front as you do the rear. Plus, you can move the upper shock mounting locations outward or inward to increase shock dampening. By moving the upper shock mount outward, essentially what’s happening is that the motion ratio is increasing. What does this mean exactly? Well, in the case of you having the same spring and dampening inside the shock, it means you can carry more weight and the dampening is more effective or stiffer. The only downside is there’s slightly less wheel travel, because the shock shaft moves more for each inch of wheel travel. For example, if the motion ratio of the shock in the inward most position is .6, this means for every inch of wheel travel the shock moves .6”. If you move the shock’s mounting position outward and the motion ratio say changes to .7, instead of .6, this ultimately means that with a 6” shock stroke you would lose approximately 1.5” of wheel travel. Now, this has just been an explanation of how it works and not true numbers for the Polaris. It’s probably not that drastic on the Ranger, but the nice thing is now you don’t have to run rubber spring spacers when running a plow, because all you have to do is move out the upper shock mount and stiffen the spring preload.

The second most noticeable changes made to the Rangers this year is by way of ergonomics, and Polaris really delivered what consumers wanted. I swear they updated everything the consumers wanted, except for maybe the engine being the bigger 800 that we would all love to have. No more bus-like steering wheel that’s off center from where you sit. Now you have a nice tilt steering wheel similar to the one in the RZR that is directly in front of the driver. On top of that, for those long rides, you can now relax even more with 50% less steering effort required. The second most noticeable thing is the extra 8 degrees of angle to the back of the bench seat. This definitely added to the comfort of driving the new Rangers. Not only that, the seats now have slightly more contour to them, which is designed to keep the drivers and passengers better planted and comfortable. Although nice, you still find yourself trying to hold yourself in more than a bucket seat. But, the advantage a bench seat has over the buckets is 3-row seating. Make sure you read the accessory section, because there are some new accessories that really increase the comfort of the Rangers. In addition, by way of ergonomics, Polaris added a little separator on the floorboard to prevent the middle passenger from getting in the way of the gas pedal. The two other things that definitely need mentioning are the much larger cup holders and 140% more usable storage than last year. You’ll notice in some of the pictures that there are all kinds of places to put gear in the Rangers, not that it was much of a problem before.

The last things to point out on the Rangers are the styling and overall functionality changes made to the exterior. To start, Polaris did a fantastic job this year in changing the styling of the new Rangers. It has a much more aggressive body style that doesn’t just look good, either. Up front, not only did they change the hood design drastically, they also shortened it a few inches. What does this do, you ask? Well, when you sit down in the new Ranger, you have more leg and knee room, which is a very welcome improvement for us taller drivers and passengers. Secondly, with the new pop-up hood, you now have easy access to the stock battery, but also a pre-molded location for a second battery for all those interested in adding major electrical accessories. There’s also pre-molded places for your winch electronics, as well. This brings me to the very front of the Ranger. Ever wondered where the best place is to tie down your Ranger? Well, this year, Polaris made built-in tie-down locations along with tow hooks and inset light mounting points for aftermarket lights.

So, now that we’ve talked about all the nice additions to the new Rangers, you’re probably wondering how it drove, right? Well, needless to say, the engineered changes to the Ranger this year make it almost a totally different machine. Upon initially stepping on the gas and beginning to maneuver the vehicle up the trails, you’ll notice right off the steering takes less effort. The power delivery feels relatively the same as last year, but one thing they did this year is change the gas pedal to further enhance slow speed drivability. The first half of the gas pedal stroke only opens the throttle body ¼ of the way. The last half of the pedal stroke opens the throttle the remaining ¾ of the way. So, essentially, you’ll notice that feathering the throttle at slow speeds, whether rock crawling or traversing a technical trail, you’ll find is just like a car…smooth as silk. And, most noticeably you’ll begin to realize you’re not driving your grandpa’s farm utility vehicle anymore. The front suspension really gives the new Rangers a sporty feel to them with precise steering and a firmer, sportier valving setup to absorb the bigger bumps at higher speeds. At slow speeds, it’s definitely firmer than previous models, but not by too much. I noticed that for whatever reason, whether it was the front steering geometry or weight bias, but you could really flick the rear end of the Rangers around into nice controllable power slides, which was nearly impossible with past year’s models. Overall, Polaris really delivered with the 2009 Rangers.

Review By: UTV Off-Road Magazine

5 Consumer Reviews of "2009 Polaris Ranger XP 700"
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Review by TOM FISHER in arroyo grande ca , on Oct 21, 2011
1.0 / 5.0

i bought a 09 ranger been in the shop 4 times in 1 year for the same thing wont idle dealer sold me air filters tells me that i dont service it i do ever 50 hrs the throttle body is drity i ask them is there a better air filter system that i came put on thay sad no that this is the way itis i ask them how cam this be polars wont stand behind there units thay must know about this problem thay do but this is the way itis, so i ask whats this this thing worth it has 487 hrs that i am going to get rid it .I HAVE kawasaki mules 4 of them that have over 3000 hrs on them , this is bull. I will never one a polaris .

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Review by Rob in Drury MO, on Apr 14, 2011
5.0 / 5.0

Purchased the Ranger XP special edition new and love the machine. I have a small farm and this has been great. I have pulled cement out of the ground and all sorts of things. I would recommend this to any and all that ask.

I have had ZERO problems with it. All I have done is change the oils (engine and both gear cases) and washed it when it has gotten to the point you could not recognize it. The power is also great. We have rain ditches along the road and it pulls itself out of them with no effort.

All in all a great machine,

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Review by suspicious, on Nov 02, 2010

What a bunch of whiners. This is a piece of mechanical equipment! And, guess what, it will have malfunctions! If you are unhappy I suggest the blame lies with the dealer not the manufacturer. It seems to me the overall ratings on the Ranger say it all. Not perfect but will stack up to any of the similar ATV s

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Review by RCarriere in timmins ont, on Oct 17, 2010
2.0 / 5.0

I bought a 09 polaris ranger xt had to put brand new diff ,it was 1 yrs old exacly with 500 km never abuse ,cost me $2000 dollars on a $15,000 dollars bike, what a rip off stay away or keep paying,saleman told me no need to buy a warrenty ,those bike never break,part girl ask me if i always beleveis what a saleman says,J&B IN TIMMINS SO BE-WARE

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Review by Tom Tazelaar in Amory MS, on Sep 08, 2010
1.0 / 5.0

Be very careful buying anything Polaris. They re-designed a defective fuel pump on new ATV's and sold it to their sucker customers for $592. They insisted that they make "improvements" to their designs all the time. They would never admit the original was defective.

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