2020 Polaris RZR XP 1000 Trails & Rocks Review
Words & Photos: Lance Schwartz
A few short years ago, I don’t think even the most seasoned off-road enthusiasts could have guessed how far the UTV industry could progress in such a short amount of time. Sure, there are still conservative offerings in the new UTV space, but like Bob Dylan sang, “the times, they are a changin’”! The perfect example of this evolution is the 2020 Polaris RZR XP 1000 Trails and Rocks Review. It has great power, incredible comfort, and yeah, it has 30” tires on factory beadlocks. But…like the Transformers I had when I was a kid, this machine has more than meets the eye! To figure out just how capable it is, we put it to task on some of the best rock crawling and trails the east coast has to offer, at Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) in Coal Township, Pennsylvania.
2020 Polaris RZR XP 1000 Trails & Rocks Review
- 55% lower low gearing
- 30” Pro Armor Crawler tires
- Fox QS3 suspension with 14.75” of travel
- 14” Ground Clearance
- Factory Beadlock Wheels
- 4,500lb winch
- 1000cc ProStar 1000 Engine
Powering the Polaris RZR XP 1000 Trails & Rocks Edition is a naturally aspirated 999cc twin cylinder ProStar 1000 engine. The engine features dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, and a wet sump design. In this particular tune, the ProStar churns out 110HP, which is more than enough power for this machine. The engine has an abundance of torque, and while the exhaust note lets you know there’s plenty of fury to be unleashed, it isn’t obtrusive or obnoxious. Fuel injection is pretty much standard these days, and this engine is no different.
If you’re into rock crawling and big tires, on a stock machine you know those two things don’t necessarily always go together without the possibility of smoking a CVT drive belt. That is, unless you buy a purpose built rock crawler. Low gear in the Polaris RZR XP 1000 Trails & Rocks Edition is 55% lower than on a typical RZR. This ensures when you’re crawling over large obstacles, the belt is less likely to become damaged due to slippage. The Rocks & Trails edition features Polaris’ True On-Demand All Wheel Drive system, and this integrates seamlessly to transfer power to the ground. Larger axle half-shafts are also standard on this machine.
Over the last few years, off-road suspension technology has come a long way! The magic that happens on this RZR is a byproduct of the Walker Evans shocks. They feature 16 clicks of compression adjustment that can be felt when tuning. The high-clearance arched dual a-arm front suspension uses 2” Walker Evans bodies and delivers 16″ of suspension travel. The suspension out back utilizes trailing arms paired with high-clearance radius arms. The 2.5” Walker Evans rear bodies deliver 18” of travel. The long-travel arms not only provide excellent suspension dampening capabilities, but they also allow for 14.5″ of ground clearance. The standard Electric Power Steering (EPS) is an integral part of the smooth operating suspension, and the assist makes wheeling in tight, gnarly terrain nearly effortless.
One of the most obvious features that sets the RZR XP 1000 Trails & Rocks Edition apart from the crowd is the 30” Pro Armor Crawler XG tires wrapped around 14” cast aluminum beadlock wheels. You won’t find these wheels on any other Polaris and they’re honestly one of the best looking wheels I’ve ever seen on a RZR. Front are rear brakes are hydraulically actuated twin piston discs located at all four corners.
Interior & Exterior:
Inside the cabin, the Trails & Rocks Edition comes standard with Click-6 harnesses. Unlike other harnesses, this harness has dual retractable shoulder belts that make it easier to move around in than rigid mounted multi-point harnesses. This model also features steel rock sliders to help protect the vulnerable area under the doors. A sleek looking standard front bumper with a 4500lb winch is mounted up front, and in conjunction with the LED running lights, provides a great aesthetic.
Upon receipt of the Trails & Rocks edition, one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind was, “why didn’t Polaris call it the Rocks and Trails Edition” instead? My first trip behind the wheel answered that question. Unlike factory built mud machines, which really aren’t designed to take trail riding, this machine is. Think about it….if you buy one, you’re likely going to have to hit the trails to find the rocks, right? Well….that’s what this machine was designed to do! On the trails, it is really fun! Honestly, it doesn’t feel much different than a regular RZR, with the exception of the larger tires that most owners upgrade to anyway. The suspension is comfy, the engine has gobs of torque, and you could trail ride this rig the whole time you own it without ever hitting the rocks, and still be totally happy with it.
However, that isn’t where the story ends for us. UTV Off-Road Magazine can’t possibly test a machine called “Trails and Rocks Edition” without actually getting it in the rocks. Like the rest of the world, Covid complicated our testing process. We waited for nearly two months for the opportunity to hit the trails. The day Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOOA) was permitted to reopen, we were there with the machine ready to conquer the rocks. There are alot of rocks to traverse at AOAA. However, there’s a notorious trail there known as Barney Rubble. As you might imagine, this trail is extra rocky. Not just rocky, but EAST COAST GLACIER ROCK, SHARP, SLICK, STEEP, GNARLY, NASTY ROCKY! So…like any normal off-road nut, we hit Barney Rubble like it owed us money!
Low gear is meant for crawling, and it’s LOW! The combination of low gear ratio and enhanced low-speed throttle mapping made this machine easy to go slow, which is REALLY important. I was able to pick my lines and crawl through areas I would never try in a normal stock UTV. When we got to a particularly nasty area, the sticky Pro Armor Crawlers clawed, slipped, grabbed, and with very little wheel spin, I was able to negotiate the obstacle with just a slight bit of “pucker”. At one point we slipped off a large rock and slid toward the passenger side, which eventually ended with a “crunch”. No serious damage, but the passenger rock slider kissed a large boulder. The rock slider sustained damage, but it did the job of protecting the rest of the machine. We eventually made it to the top of Barney Rubble, which I never intended to conquer. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, we went back and did another loop!
Throughout the day, in addition to plenty of rock crawling, we also logged a bunch of trail miles on the machine. I love the crawling ability and the looks of the machine. I also really enjoyed it’s trail manners. The Click 6 harnesses surely provide the feeling of security. That being said, they aren’t as simple as a seat belt. If you’re the only one that drives your RZR, then you’ll probably love them. If you have a family of different sized human beings, you’ll need to adjust them each time a new driver or passenger gets in.
The 2020 Polaris RZR XP 1000 Trails and Rocks Edition is a blast to explore on. Whether your trails are really rocky or not rocky at all, this machine has the potential to make a new owner really happy. We’re seeing the evolution of the UTV before our very eyes. Manufacturers are listening to owners, paying attention to influencers and industry experts, and watching the modifications that owners are making to their UTV’s. You’ll continue to see more “big tire” machines hit the market, and I’ll go so far as to predict the size of those tires available directly from the factory, with a warranty, will continue to get larger. Our UTV industry is evolving, and the Polaris RZR XP 1000 Trails and Rocks edition is part of the evolution and revolution!
2020 Polaris RZR XP 1000 Trails & Rocks Review
ENGINE & DRIVETRAIN
- Type: 1000cc: 110 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 (Gated Shifter) with Reduced L Gear
- Drivetrain: Xtreme Performance True On-Demand Close Ratio AWD/2WD with Enhanced Low Gear Throttle Driveability
- Power Steering: Electronic Power Steering (EPS)
- Front Suspension: High Clearance Lower Control Arms, Dual A-Arm and 20.5 in (52.07 cm) Usable Travel, 16 in (40.6 cm) of Wheel Travel
- Front Shocks: 2 in Walker Evans Needle with 16-Position Adjustable Clickers
- Rear Suspension: High Clearance Radius Rods, Trailing Arm with Stabilizer Bar and 20.5 in (52.07 cm) Usable Travel, 18 in (45.7 cm) of Wheel Travel
- Rear Shocks: 5 in Walker Evans Needle with 16-Position Adjustable Clickers
- Front Brakes: Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Calipers
- Rear Brakes: Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Calipers
TIRES / WHEELS
- Front Tires: 30 X 10 -14; Pro Armor Crawler XG
- Rear Tires: 30 X 10 -14; Pro Armor Crawler XG
- Wheels: Cast Aluminum Beadlock
- Overall Vehicle Size (L x W x H): 120 x 64 x 74.25 in (304.8 x 162.6 x 188.6 cm)
- Wheelbase: 90 in. (228.6 cm)
- Ground Clearance: 5 in. (36.8 cm)
- Dry Weight (pounds/kg): 1,573 lb (715 kg)
- Cargo Box Capacity: 300 lb (136 kg)
- Towing Capacity: N/A
- 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: Front Blacked Out White LED Low/High w/ Accent Lights & Red LED Tail / Brake Lights
- Winch: 4,500lb Polaris winch
- Steering Wheel: Adjustable tilt steering
- Protection: Front Bumper, Rock Sliders
- Factory: 6-months limited warranty