2012 SPORTSMAN 800
I'll start this review by debunking my own dated perspective of Polaris ATV's coming into this review. Back in the 90's we rode with several Polaris ATV's. This was a time when Polaris was just coming into the Kentucky market place and they were still getting the bugs worked out. During those years we witnessed many of those early Polaris ATV's breaking down frequently on the trail. Engines coming apart, CVT belt issues and other drive line failure was fairly routine. Not only that, but heard stories of the dealership not being able to fix certain failures and ultimately leaving owners with a oversized paper weight.
Those were the early days of the Polaris ATV's and since then it's obvious they have came a long, long way in performance and reliability. Certainly have been impressed at the build quality and common sense engineering of our Sportsman 800 test ATV. As with any quad we test there are areas that really impress us at Everything ATV UTV Reviews.
Engine: The 800 twin cylinder power plant comes to life hassle free with help from the fuel injection system. Once started it sounds okay, but not like a V-Twin Brute Force or Can-Am. The engine does however deliver quick acceleration and ample torque to raise the front end at will and power through and over the toughest terrain. The 800 Sportsman will not leave you wanting more power and if you can go wide open throttle for more than eight seconds you must be on the highway.
Suspension: The 800 Sportsman is one of the most comfortable smoothest riding quads we've tested. The seat is soft and similar to laying down on a memory foam mattress, but never bottoms out. The Sportsman 800 has massive ground clearance and fully independent suspension at all four corners with big time wheel travel. Simply put the Sportsman has one
of the smoothest and trail capable suspension setups in the business.
4wd System: Polaris refers to their 4wd system as AWD or All Wheel Drive. They call it this because their 4x4 system actually delivers true four wheel lockup. No limited slip action at the front differential where only one tire spins. The system is simple and requires only a flip of the handle bar mounted switch to engage. The Sportsman 800 we tested rarely had to be switched into AWD just due to its ability to power through and over obstacles with the 800 twin cylinder engine and tremendous ground clearance.
With all the capability of the Sportsman 800 there was one feature that would take some getting used to. The single lever braking handle on our Sportsman test quad worked great and it is simple to slow the quad, but it's not what we're accustom to. Some more seat time on the atv would undoubtedly make the feature more comfortable for folks like us who are accustomed to the independent front-rear braking handles on other atv's. Other notable mentions on the Sportsman 800 would be ease of maintenance, ample storage compartments, tough front valence, winch pre-wiring and a built in rear receiver hitch.
In conclusion, the Sportsman 800 really delivers a great package and is nothing like the pioneering Polaris ATV's. If you're looking for a used ATV that has all the right ingredients the Sportsman 800 is certainly one to consider. -Everything ATV UTV Reviews
2012 RZR 800 EPS
Recently had the opportunity to test a 2012 Rzr 800 Limited Edition with the 50 inch chassis. First let's cover some of the upgrades that come with the Limited Edition or LE. These include aluminum wheels, tough automotive style painted plastics and best of all, Electronic Power Steering or EPS. Polaris released at least three different versions of the Rzr 800 in 2012 and include the "S" version highlighted by a wider stance and adjustable gas charged shocks. The LE version we previously discussed and the base model without electronic power steering.
Firing the Rzr 800 up is as easy as turning the key with it's electronic fuel injection system. Once started choose between Park, Reverse, Neutral, Low or High Range. We found high range to fit most trail situations unless hill climbing from a dead stop, slow technical riding or towing a load. When the trail gets rough flip the all wheel drive (AWD) switch and unlike most other manufacturers the Rzr 800 delivers a true four wheel drive with all four tires grabbing traction. With the electronic power steering we couldn't feel any negative feedback through the steering wheel and found ourselves forgetting to take it out of AWD on more than one occasion.
The 800 twin cylinder engine provided plenty of power for whatever we encountered along the trail. These engines don't have the best exhaust tone, but make up for it in performance and reliability. The torque the 800 puts out is handled effectively by the PVT or belt driven Polaris Variable Transmission. The only area the transmission lacked in was engine braking and tends to break loose and free wheel at lower RPM's.
As always we pushed the 800 Rzr up hills and through tight trails that general only see ATV's. With the narrower 50 inch stance we had no trouble getting the 800 RZR LE through the trails. We can say that it would have been near impossible to squeeze the wider S model through some places. When riding on off chambers we did hit the hills and slopes with momentum to keep it on all four tires.
The highlight of the Rzr 800 was defiantly the smooth ride characteristics and electronic power steering. We had no problems with fatigue from hours on the trail and that makes the Rzr 800 one of the top picks for folks primarily trail riding with this UTV. If you're in the market for a used Rzr Everything ATV UTV Reviews has one fail safe suggestion and that is get one with power steering, you won't regret it!