Polaris Ranger 4X4

Polaris Ranger 4X4

Burch, Monte

Although not from Texas, this Ranger has some of the qualities of the famous Texas lawmen. It’s strong, tough, fast, hard working and, as my granddad would say, “has strength of character.” I’ve tested the Polaris Ranger vehicles from the start, and this new model, redesigned for 2005, combines the famous Ranger strength and toughness with a number of new features.

The Ranger 4X4 is powered by a 30-horsepower, four-valve, four-stroke, liquid-cooled Polaris 500 engine that provides class-leading towing, hauling and speed. The automatic Polaris Variable Transmission (PVT) requires no shifting and responds to both engine r.p.m. and vehicle torque. One of the features I especially like about the Ranger is its powerful engine braking, which helps on downhill runs. Over 1 million PVT’s have been built, and the Ranger 4X4 comes standard with an exclusive lifetime limited warranty on the belt drive.

The Ranger 4X4 also features Polaris On-Dernand All-Wheel Drive. Both front wheels fully engage when loose terrain is detected. An easily accessed dash-mounted switch activates the system that automatically senses rear-wheel traction loss and transfers full torque to both front wheels. The Ranger 4X4 also has a new electronically lockable rear differential. At the push of a button, the system can be engaged or disengaged when necessary. We subjected the four-wheel drive and differential lock capabilities to some pretty tough tests afield.

Our goose hunt club is reachable only by four-wheel drive ATV or utility vehicle. And, it traverses through Missouri gumbo mud that is stickier than glue and tends to ball up on vehicles. Ruts are almost bottomless and the surface is slipperier than the proverbial goose manure. The task is to load about 150 goose decoys, four hunters and all their gear onto a trailer and haul them to the blind through this quagmire. The Polaris Ranger 4X4 was more than up to the task, even if it did take a half-hour to hose it down afterwards. Another test was a rocky Ozark trail followed by a stream crossing-the only way to get within striking distance of a prime deer stand.

New for the 2005 Ranger is a Polaris independent rear suspension (1RS). Dual coil-over shock independent rear suspension provides 9” of suspension travel. That eases traversing deep ruts or rocky, washedout terrain. Up front, an improved MacPherson strut, long-travel (8”) independent front suspension matches to the rear, providing a full 11” of ground clearance to crawl or climb over even the toughest obstacles. According to Marc Tullemans, Polaris Product Manager, “The smooth ride characteristics of the independent front and rear suspensions are maintained even when carrying heavy loads up to 1500 lbs. of total payload.” The Polaris Ranger 4X4 also has the industry leading 27” water-fording depth, which we tested on the creek crossing near our home. Another feature I really like is the new 2″ receiver hitch. You can simply switch the receiver hitch from your pickup or SUV back and forth to the utility vehicle.

Even with all the go-anywhere capability, the Ranger 4X4 has two forward gears with the high gear allowing speeds up to 41 m.p.h. The Ranger 4X4 has a towing capacity of 1,500 lbs., a box capacity of 1,000 lbs. and a vehicle payload capacity of 1,500 lbs., which includes box cargo, driver and passengers. One of the best features of the new 2005 model is the exclusive Lock & Ride cargo system that provides an extremely versatile means of carrying equipment, gear and loose materials. This new cargo system combines a redesigned, multi-functional cargo box and a full range of Polaris accessories that attach in less than 10 seconds. The new, redesigned composite cargo box is big enough to hold a standard pallet, has drain holes for wet materials and comes standard with a pick-up style tailgate and self-cleaning hinge for easy dumping of loose if materials. With multiple D-rings m inside, tie-down points outside, and 1 ¼” thru-hole mounting points around the entire box, there are hundreds of ways to secure and carry gear and cargo. I do like the tailgate design as it prevents bark and other debris from building up between the bed and tailgate, and the latch is one of the easiest to use I’ve tested.

Other features carried over from former Rangers include built-in roll bars with a metal roof canopy and seat belts with even a center seat belt.

As opposed to former Rangers with bucket seats and a center console with drink cups, this model features a bench-style seat. There are cupholders for both driver and passenger, a closable storage box on the passenger side of the console, and a handy open storage box on the driver’s side. The hood also lifts to reveal a small storage box as well. A great safety feature requires that the unit’s rear brake be activated before the vehicle can be started.

Indeed the Polaris Ranger shows strength of character through the developments taken in getting to the 2005 model. The Ranger 4X4 is an extremely smooth-riding, powerful utility vehicle that’s a breeze to handle and has the guts to tackle even the toughest assignment.

Copyright National Rifle Association of America Mar 2005

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