2020 Polaris General 1000 Deluxe Review
Words: Cody Hooper // Photos: Adam Campbell Photography
“Jack of all trades, master of none”. This is the first quote that comes to mind when I hear the word “multi-tool” or something similar. In theory, if you spend all of your time trying to be good at everything, you’ll never truly master any one particular skill. Makes sense, right?
Back in Fall of 2015, Polaris unveiled the General 1000, which they touted as the most versatile UTV on the market. Polaris boldly claimed that those looking for a utility UTV and a sport UTV would find the ultimate package with their new in-betweener, as the General 1000 aims to be the UTV owner’s ultimate multi-tool. But can it really be that good at both?
- Great ergonomics and seating position
- Awesome Rockford Fosgate Stereo
- Strong ProStar 1000 twin engine
- Easy, near-faultless AWD system
- Great storage and bed space
- Performs well in both work and play
When Polaris made the decision to bring their engine manufacturing completely in-house for their Ranger and RZR lines years ago, it paid dividends early. The first ProStar engine we got to experience was the 570cc single in the RZR 570, followed by multiple introductions of the 900 and 1000cc ProStar twins in the following years. Polaris’s new ProStar UTV engines stood in stark contrast to the parallel-twin 760cc pushrod engine that came before it, providing more power, torque, reliability, and a much smoother driving experience.
The General is equipped with a 100 horsepower version of the 999cc parallel-twin ProStar engine. Featuring dual overhead camshafts operating four valves per cylinder, the ProStar twin produces smooth, tractable power in gobs. Low and midrange power are key here, as the engine signs off a bit up top. The tradeoff in top-end power is worth the sacrifice, as the General is happy to blast its way up steep hills and rock faces with a stomp of the loud pedal.
Acceleration from a standstill is strong and brisk; it will outrun everything in its class except for the occasional Can-Am Commander 1000R or Arctic Cat Havoc 1000 that may get the jump. Throttle modulation is slow initially but comes on strong in the midrange, showing that Polaris wanted to tune in some character that you can feel behind the wheel. It works – while not RZR-quick, the General is just rowdy enough to be a blast on-trail.
Even at 11,000 feet of elevation, the General’s ProStar twin engine had plenty of grunt to lug us and our gear all over the mountain. The engine and clutch tuning worked in harmony, even at high elevation.
The General gets Polaris’s standard-fare “PVT” belt-drive continuously variable transmission. It’s a similar setup to the systems you will find in the Ranger and RZR lines, operated by a long, center-console mounted gateless shift lever. It features high and low speeds, with a park position as well (no parking brake).
Low-speed clutching is very smooth, with easy engagement in high or low that doesn’t lead to much bucking. Throttle response and clutch backshift are responsive as well, meaning throttle changes translate quickly into wheel speed.
The General’s EBS calibration is well-tuned for downhill descents, but it isn’t overwhelmingly strong. Engagement is smooth and easy, reducing any head-tossing in the cab. We have yet to experience any belt slip, overheating, or belt failures during our testing, and we don’t expect to anytime soon.
The biggest reason to get the Deluxe trimmed- General: Fox Podium QS3 shocks versus the Sachs standard gas-charged shocks on the Sport and Premium versions. Fox’s 2.0” body Podium shocks are a staple in the industry for good reason: they are durable, ride well, and are easy to maintain and tune. We applaud Polaris for optioning the General with the QS3 shock adjuster package, as it will keep owners out of trouble when looking to adjust the ride stiffness.
Fox’s QS3 adjuster is an easy, tool less compression adjuster that features three settings: Soft, Medium, and Firm. When in the Soft setting, the General rides incredibly well at low speeds. Trail debris, rocks, roots, and ruts don’t upset the car or the passengers.One of the big reasons this car rides so well is its suspension design. Dual A-Arm front and rear suspension underpins the General, and both ends are supported by sway bars to keep the body roll in check. It handles well and responds to clicker adjustments with enthusiasm. The Fox QS3 shocks possess a wide delta of ride stiffness between settings 1 and 3, which will make faster drivers happy. Setting 3 (Firm) is great for fast-paced trail riding, but if you’re going slower, you’ll likely be in the softest setting to maximize the ride quality.
The General wears Maxxis Coronado rubber in the Premium and Deluxe trims, which are an upgrade from the CST tires on the Sport (base) model. The Coronado is a great multi-terrain tire that we would recommend using until they’re finished before shelling out for a replacement set, unless your aim is to go up in tire size. The stock 27” tires are fairly small, but the General will clear larger rubber with ease. The wheels on the Deluxe model look upscale, but they are not beadlock capable.
The brakes on the General are great. Dual piston calipers grip large, vented rotors at all four corners. The binders are easy to modulate and hold the General on steep inclines well. Stomping on the brake pedal hard will lock the tires on most surfaces.
Interior & Exterior:
When you step up to the Deluxe General trim, you get a lot for the money:
- Special Color Treatments
- Color-matched bucket seats
- Polaris Accessory Sport front bumper
- Polaris 4500 lb winch
- Upgraded 14” aluminum wheels
- 27” Maxxis Coronado Tires
- Fox Podium 2.0 QS3 Shocks
- Polaris Factory roof
- Convex rear-view mirror
- Rockford Fosgate Stage 1 Bluetooth stereo system
The Deluxe model tacks on $4,800 to the General’s base price before you add options and accessories. If there’s one factory option we would recommend, it’s the $2,000 Ride Command infotainment system and Rockford Fosgate Stage 4 Stereo Package. Ride Command features stereo controls, GPS, camera capability, GoPro integration, and more; the Stage 4 stereo package brings you four powered speakers and a powered subwoofer, all packaged neatly in CAD-designed enclosures that tuck up out of the way.
The General’s interior is quite comfortable, featuring ample head, shoulder, and leg room for a unit this size. There are multiple storage compartments and the divided center console keeps the General from feeling like a utility UTV. The General has very good placement of armrests and handholds for both driver and passenger. The floorboards are very grippy and have good bracing points, although most of the time, your passenger will likely be relaxing in their seat, enjoying the view and the supple ride along the trail.
The gauges on the General are fantastic, a great mix of analog and digital instrumentation. A large LCD screen is flanked by analog tach and speedo needles that sweep in opposing arcs. The weather-sealed buttons on the binnacle’s side are easy to use, positioned where you don’t have to put your arm through the steering wheel to reach them. Nice touch, Polaris!
Our test unit had the Ride Command and Rockford Fosgate Stage 4 Stereo Package, which adds a massive amount of connectivity and technology to the General. Bluetooth music functionality is great, and the audio quality pumped out of the Rockford Fosgate system is fantastic, especially for a factory option. With Ride Command, you can see nearby friends who have either a Ride Command system in their Polaris UTV or are using the Ride Command mobile app. This is great for long days on the trail, as you can monitor where the other rigs in your crew are without having to rely on radios for all communication. It’s a great feature, and well worth the price of admission here.
The ride: where the rubber meets the trail, the spec sheets end, and the speculation stops. In this case, it’s where we find that the formula Polaris put together here really works. The General is as comfortable to work with as it is to trail ride with. The only caveat to the work side of things is that the General features a unique cab frame shape that doesn’t accept standard tube-style clamps. There are multiple aftermarket clamp options available today to mount your gear and accessories.
The dump bed is large, with easily enough room to pack large gear totes next to a 45 gallon cooler for extended trips on the trail. It also tows well, and is packaged with a 2” hitch receiver from the factory regardless of which trim level you choose. The dump bed also allows wonderful access to the engine and transmission for servicing, if you’re the DIY type.
On the trail, the General feels completely at home. The shocks have enough range of adjustment to suit multiple riding speeds, styles, and terrains without having to shell out a couple thousand dollars for upgrades. At moderate trail pace, the General steers, stops, and puts power down extremely well. It can cut a line on a wooded trail with some of the best, and you’ll be doing it in complete comfort. It’s only in the really big, deep holes that you find the limit of the General’s suspension. With over a foot of wheel travel at both ends, the General swallows up bumps on the trail very well. For reference, the original RZR 800 had 9” front and 9.5” rear suspension travel- 3.25 inches less up front and 3.7 inches less in the rear than the General.
Recalling the quote in the opening lines of this story, a jack of all trades is often a master of none. However, the General reminded me of the entire quote: “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” Sure, there are better pure-utility UTVs on the market, and there are definitely far more capable vehicles in the sport UTV category. However, in this segment, where customers need to work and play with the same rig, the General is a masterclass in cross-functionality.
2020 Polaris General 1000 Deluxe Specifications:
ENGINE & DRIVETRAIN
- Type: 1000cc: 100 hp, 4-Stroke ProStar DOHC Twin Cylinder
- Cooling: Liquid
- Fuel Delivery System: Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
- Drive System Type: Automatic PVT P-R/N/L/H
- Drivetrain: On-Demand True AWD/2WD/VersaTrac Turf Mode
- Power Steering: Electronic Power Steering (EPS)
- Front Suspension: Dual A-Arm with sway bar, 12.25” Travel
- Front Shocks: Fox Podium 2.0 QS3
- Rear Suspension: Dual A-Arm with sway bar, 13.2” Travel
- Rear Shocks: Fox Podium 2.0 QS3
- Front Brakes: Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Calipers
- Rear Brakes: Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Calipers
TIRES / WHEELS
- Front Tires: 27 x 9-14; Maxxis Coronado
- Rear Tires: 27 x 11-14; Maxxis Coronado
- Wheels: Cast Aluminum
- Overall Vehicle Size (L x W x H): 2 x 62.5 x 75 in (300 x 158.7 x 190.5 cm)
- Wheelbase: 81 in (206 cm)
- Ground Clearance: 0 in. (30.5 cm)
- Dry Weight (pounds/kg): 1,544 lb (700 kg)
- Cargo Box Capacity: 600 lb (272 kg) Rear Dumping Box
- Towing Capacity: 1,500 lb (680.4 kg)
- Fuel Capacity: 5 gal (35.9L)
- Instrumentation: Dual-sweep Analog Dials w/ 4″ LCD Rider Information Center: User Selectable Blue/Red Backlighting & Brightness, Programmable Service Intervals, Speedometer, Tachometer, Odometer, Tripmeter, Clock, Hour Meter, Gear Indicator, Fuel Gauge, Coolant Temperature, Voltmeter, Service Indicator and Codes, Seat Belt Reminder Light, Gear Indicator, DC Outlet
- Lighting: LED Headlight w/ Accent & LED Taillights
- Steering Wheel: Adjustable tilt steering
- Other Standard Features: POLARIS HD 4500 LB Winch, Sport Low Profile Front Bumper, Sport Roof, Convex Rear View Mirror, Stage 1 Rockford Fosgate Audio
- Factory: 6-months unlimited miles, optional extended plans available through dealer