When Polaris announced the all-new 2018 RZR XP Turbo S, we weren’t that excited. At first glance, the machine looked like a slightly wider RZR with big tires. However, when we saw the machine in person, we were impressed with the amount of redesign the RZR went through to become the latest “S” model. If you remember back when Polaris released the first S model, it was a wider version of the original RZR 800. It used the term again when it narrowed up the RZR XP 1000 and swapped out the long-travel trailing arms for narrowed-up A-arms and called it the RZR S 1000 and later a RZR S 900. You might think the “S” means “stance” or “sport,” but we believe it should stand for “strong.” Everything on this new RZR is bigger and stronger, from the tires to roof support. We listed all of the improvements Polaris made to this RZR chassis in the 2018 Polaris RZR XP Turbo S first look article here.
For our first test drive of the new Turbo S, Polaris had us touring around with Zero1 Odysseys outside Las Vegas. No, this was not a slow tour on smooth dirt roads winding through the countryside. The trail ride was one of the fastest and roughest trails any manufacturer has ever allowed us to drive on under its control. The Minnesotans weren’t scared.
Sitting in the cockpit, not only does the dash have a great new look, the steering wheel is positioned a little closer to the driver, and the new Sparco steering wheel is night-and-day better than the old plastic unit. The steering ratio is still quick, like the narrow RZR’s, and since Polaris upped the EPS assist level, the wider A-arms and heavier tires don’t feel any heavier through the steering wheel. We have always liked how well the EPS systems work on RZRs and this machine is no different. Overall, the car does weigh significantly more than a 64-inch RZR, but it’s not noticeable when you’re behind the wheel.
Out on the trail, it was easy to see the advantages of the large 32-inch ITP Coyote tires. Not only did they hook up very well, they rolled over rocks and ditches much more smoothly than the old 29-inch Bighorns. ITP’s new Coyote tire has an eight-ply rating, so it’s strong enough to be a race tire and aired up to 20 psi, or you can leave them at the recommended 15 psi to have a plusher and still puncture-resistant ride. The tires track straight and slide predictably. With a wider car, you don’t have to worry about a tire like this catching an edge as much, so a rounded profile isn’t as important as it is in a narrow machine. Tire wear was decent in 4WD, but when we drove in two-wheel drive, the knobs chunked and wore down noticeably quicker on the back end.
Speed-wise, this wide car is almost as quick as a narrow car. We thought being 8-inch wider, it would be noticeably slower like it is when you slap a long-travel kit onto a standard-width UTV. We were wrong. Polaris did such a good job re-clutching and tuning the throttle delivery settings in the ECU that this RZR didn’t feel any slower than a standard model. In fact, you can watch our Speed Run video HERE for yourself.
The RZR XP Turbo S model has a higher top speed set at 85 mph, making it the fastest production UTV you can buy. It’s a rocket. Step on the throttle and it goes. You sit a little higher in this RZR due to the taller tires, so it even feels faster behind the wheel. You can roll on the throttle if you want for a casual ride or pin it for a huge rush. At every throttle position, the RZR will spin the tires and launch down the trail. On hard-packed trails, there is plenty to spare. For dune riders, there is still enough on tap to climb the big hills and carve the deep bowls. We have more than 500 miles on our test car and have yet to break a CVT belt. Polaris increased airflow to the belt with some cover changes and it seems to help.
What really caught our attention driving this car is how well it does in the big bumps. Not only can it blitz 2-foot-deep whoops, it takes huge G-outs and big ditches amazingly. You can definitely scare yourself driving the RZR XP Turbo S. You approach things so quick, but the car can handle it. Your mind thinks, things are going to get ugly, but the shocks just soak it up.
Furthermore, with the added gusseting Polaris made to the A-arms, we didn’t have to baby the car at all. There’s no longer any fear of folding an A-arm or radius rod. You can drive the car hard, slamming into bumps and banking off corners with total confidence.
Like the standard-width Dynamix-edition RZR, this car will monitor your driving situation and adjust the shocks automatically. It’s a feature we didn’t think we would like, but it works really well in almost every situation.
You can drive the new 2018 Polaris RZR XP Turbo S hard in every way possible and all it will do is impress the heck out of you. If we had to pick one complaint about the new machine, it would be that it doesn’t come with full doors. For $27,500 it should. If you have the kind of coin to spend on an off-road toy, you won’t go wrong with this car. We can’t wait to see the four-seat version.
- Engine: 2-cylinder parallel twin
- Displacement: 925cc turbo
- Claimed Horsepower: 168 hp
- Transmission: CVT auto
- Length/Width/Height: 122.0/72.0/75.0 in.
- Front: Dual arm/19.0-in.
- Rear: Trailing arm/21.0-in.
- Front Shocks: Fox Dynamix 2.5 in. w/ reservoirs
- Rear Shocks: Fox Dynamix 3.0 in. w/ reservoirs
- Wheelbase: 90.0 in.
- Front: 30x10-15 8-ply ITP Coyote
- Rear: 30x10-15 8-ply ITP Coyote
- Wheels: Polaris non-beadlock
- Ground Clearance: 16.0 in.
- Claimed Dry Weight: 1718 lb.
- Fuel Capacity: 9.5 gal.
- Doors: 1/4 doors
- Roof Support Cage: 8-point
- Seat Belts: 4-point harness
- Colors: Blue, red
- MSRP: $27,499