When Polaris asked us here at UTV Underground if we were interested in reviewing the 2020 Polaris Ranger, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have fun with this machine for a few months. We’ve been surrounded by UTVs for the better part of the last decade, but I have personally, never had a chance to call one “my own” for any longer than a typical shoot. That’s partly due to how quickly things change now with manufacturing but also looking for that “right fit”.
I live in Arizona – and I go over-landing and off-roading just about every weekend. So we decided the best way to test this machine was to take it out camping here locally. So we packed the Ranger into the toy hauler and off we went! At 62.5” width, 120” length and 76” height, the 2020 Polaris Ranger 1000 fit into the toy hauler like a glove. Being only 1429 pounds, it was also light enough where I wasn’t worried about pushing the weight limits of the ramp, or the trailer.
We did our typical camp meet up and set up with friends and they were all pretty jealous when we rolled out the shiny new Ranger. We hit the trails the next morning and spent the better part of three days zooming all over the mountains. My first impression? This thing moves. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of a utility side by side, but this thing has some get up and go. For the next few months I spent most of the weekends cruising the forest roads at about 25MPH, but with 4 wheel drive turned on, the Carlisle tires latched on. Traversing the tight forest trails wasn’t an issue either, the turning radius is tight, you could almost do a U-turn in a 2 car driveway.
For 2020 Polaris continued with its refined and bold look for the Ranger 1000. Available in Tan, Red or Titanium, our Ranger came in Sunset Red Metallic, and boy does it look good. The front grill can be removed by just pressing two tabs, so washing your radiator out of dust is about as simple of a process as could be. On the base model, you get the door nets you can adjust how flexible you want the door strap to be. From the back, you get the bed with a fold-down tailgate. Hands down the bed was one of my favorites features, out camping it makes it easier than ever to drive around the forest and collect firewood, and then when you’re done, just grab the latch and dump it all out at once. Plus things just fit well in a bed. The tents, coolers, etc – it was all so much easier than in a full-size truck or car. The plastics hold up well the abuse on the trail too. Light scratches from trees and bushes buff out – and the shade from the roof is really nice.
This thing has an overabundance of storage. It’s almost too much, but then again you can’t really ever have enough of storage. You get 8 cup holders and an open cubby right above the footwell. You could easily fit a tow strap with a set of gloves there, or something you don’t mind getting dusty.
On the dash in front of the passenger you get a compartment that shuts and stays closed, it’s not dustproof, but it does a good enough job keeping the dust out.
Under the seat, you get a ton of storage. We were able to fit our Assault Industries On-The-Go Tool Kit and a Gates belt with more room left. The seats, seat belts, and bench seat in the back are all much improved over the early “utility” years. You can tell Polaris really put a lot of thought into this machine.
We spent the weekend cruising everything between bumpy forest roads, some slower rougher patches requiring low gear. We even managed to find some mud – and it handled it all like a champ.
Coming from usually driving sport models with doors, I wasn’t all that sure about the soft doors that come from the factory, but after getting some time in the Ranger, I’m sold on them. Being 6’2” usually I’d hit my knees or get jabbed by plastic, this was not a problem in the Ranger. I had more than enough legroom when getting in and while driving it. Not once did I hit my knees and had plenty of room left.
For the shorter folks, the drive side seat is also on sliders so you can slide it on up. The steering wheel also has an adjustment, so you can adjust the angle to your comfort. In short – it’s comfortable machine even on longer rides.
In the 2020 Polaris Ranger you get 61 horsepower motor with 55 foot-pounds of torque. It may not seem like a lot, but it’s more than plenty for this little machine. You’re able to carry 1,000 pounds of cargo in the bed, or tow a trailer up to 2,500 pounds. With a 1000CC motor the Ranger has some major get up and go.
Flip the switch to all-wheel drive and you’ve got more traction than you know what to do with. It’s way far beyond what’s needed around the farm or ranch these days and very well suited to exploring and trail riding.
Having the bed that rotates up is almost cheating how easily you can get to the engine. Taking care of the Ranger is about as easy as it gets, with the quickly removable front grill, you’re able to wash out all the mud or dust with ease, being basically waterproof you’re able to hose off the machine without worrying too much about the components.
We also had a good look at all the maintenance aspects and it was a walk in the park, but more on that in our 2020 Polaris Ranger 1000 How to Change CVT belt article.
The Final Opinion
At $12,999 you can’t go wrong with the Polaris Ranger 1000. Whether it’s to put it to work on the ranch, or cruising around campsite this thing will not leave you disappointed. The best thing you can do right now is to contact your local Polaris dealer and arrange for a test ride. There are a ton of sales and specials going on right now and you can even have a machine delivered to your driveway. Now is the time to get out on the trail and enjoy summer.
Words by Sebastian Krywult
Photos by Malgorzata Krywult