Published on August 29th, 2017 | by Joe
2018 Polaris XP Turbo Dynamix Edition Test Review: WITH VIDEO
Polaris brings active suspension technology to side-by-sides.
When we first caught wind of Polaris introducing a new RZR model for 2018, we, of course, assumed it would be a 70” plus wide machine to go head to head with the Can-Am Maverick X3. While we were wrong, we can’t say that we were disappointed. Building a wider car would benefit a small segment of drivers. What Polaris has done with the new Dynamic Edition, RZR XP Turbo, is introduce active suspension technology to side-by-sides, allowing the car to adjust suspension settings on the fly to help maximize handling and suspension performance as needed for different situations. More than simply one new model, Polaris could add their Dynamix suspension technology to just about any model going forward; providing a step forward in handling and suspension performance nearly as significant as turbocharging was for the engine. We picked up our car from Polaris and put it through three rigorous days of testing in the desert and at the track to bring you our first, yet somewhat definitive, opinion on how the new Dynamix suspension equipped RZR XP Turbo performs.
The car is powered by a turbocharged, fuel-injected 925cc, parallel twin, Polaris, ProStar engine with 4-valves, and double overhead cams per cylinder. Horsepower was boosted to 168 HP in 2017 accompanied by a larger radiator and axles. The top end mates up to a Polaris variable, CVT style transmission with high and low ranges, plus neutral, reverse, and park. The drive system features Polaris’ highly responsive, high-performance, On-Command 2WD/AWD system. In AWD, the front wheels engage and provide 4WD at the slightest hint of the rear wheels rotting faster than the front.
When Polaris upped the horsepower in 2017, the engine’s performance was significantly improved. Mid to top-end power was notably better than 2016 making the RZR Turbo a real thrill drive. Ample power will be propelling us to a top-speed of 83MPH in a hurry. Combined with crisp throttle response, the engine allows you to more easily set up for jumps and steer the car with the rear end exiting corners.
The CVT transmission keeps power smooth and manageable off the bottom helping you pick your way through tricky rock sections and abrupt inclines. Turbo lag is not an issue. Test driver, Allen Knowles from CT Racing, recommends shifting into low range for prolonged times spent at low speeds to be kind to the belt.
Polaris’ High-Performance All-Wheel Drive system performs beautifully on steep, rocky climbs. All-wheel drive is also beneficial on tight trails where the front end helps pull you around corners, leaving 2wd for times when you want the freedom to slide through turns.
Suspension and Handling
Remaining mainly unchanged, the RZR XP Turbo measures in at 64” wide, with an 80” wheelbase, and an overall length of 119”. The RZR rolls on 29” Maxxis Bighorn tires mounted on 14” cast aluminum wheels, helping provide 13.5” of ground clearance. The addition of the active suspension system has added only 25 pounds to the car with the Dynamix edition weighing in at a claimed dry weight of 1,500 pounds.
The suspension features a dual A-Arms front and a trailing arm setup rear; both are sway bar equipped to help control body roll. Suspension travel numbers remain the same with 16” of travel front and 18” of travel rear. However, the Dynamix active suspension utilizing Fox 2.5 Podium shocks with bottom out control and the new Live Valve setup are brand new, allowing for the computer-controlled system to make on the fly compression adjustments.
The Dynamix suspension’s Suspension Control Module monitors steering wheel position, speed, pedal position, vehicle orientation, and more at a rate of 200 times per second and uses it to continuously adjust the shocks’ compression damping to maximize comfort and control at up to 40 times per second.
The system has three modes: comfort, sport and speed. In comfort, the damping will show all zeros up to 20MPH maintaining maximum comfort. Over 20MPH, the system firms up as needed. Under braking, the front shocks will go to full firm and remain there for 1.5 seconds allowing the suspension to deal with rough g-outs or obstacles in the trail. Over 95% acceleration, the rear shocks firm up to prevent the rear end from squatting. Turn left and the right shocks firm up. Turn left and hit the brakes, and the right front firms up. When all four wheels have left the ground for more than ¼ second, Airborne mode kicks in taking all four wheels to full stiff to absorb landing. You get the idea. The system is always reacting to maintain a level controlled ride without bottoming out.
Although the computer is in control of adjusting the compression damping, you are left with setting the ideal amount of spring preload. The Dynamix system also allows the driver to choose between three ride settings: “Comfort”, which starts off with minimum damping; “Sport”, which firms up the base compression settings by 40% and “Firm”, which sets the compression damping to full still.
Thanks to the electric power steering, steering effort and bump feedback are light and controllable. The car does a good job of going where it’s pointed, especially in all-wheel drive. While Polaris pretty much cured their body roll issues of 2014 in 2015, there was still some compromise between ride quality and flat cornering. The Dynamix suspension keeps the car cornering flat even in comfort mode. On the trail, the system lives up to the hype. The car accelerates flat, corners flat, and sucks up jump landings and nasty g-outs without bottoming or framing out. We spent nearly all of our time switching between comfort and sport mode with firm mode being a bit much for almost anything. Our only complaint with the suspension is the same as last year’s. Having tested so much with aftermarket shocks, the stock setup isn’t quite as compliant over small bumps as we’d like. Fortunately, these shocks can be revalved and resprung like any other shocks and still operate properly with Dynamix system, allowing you to have your shocks tuned for a softer ride or longer control arms.
Hydraulic disc brakes at all four corners slow the machine. The fronts feature three piston calipers front and dual piston calipers rear. Braking feel and performance are both very good.
The interior of the car features Polaris’ versatile and power Ride Command system. Along with controlling the Dynamix suspension through its 7” touch screen, Ride Command features phone, media, GoPro camera connectivity, digital instrumentation, GPS, car-to-car communication, and way more. There’s even a built-in rear facing camera.
Having been spoiled by aftermarket seats, the bolstered high back seats could be a bit more comfortable. At 6’4”, Allen Knowles prefers a taller seat, slid all the way back leaving the slider intact to maximizing seat height increasing legroom. Those just under 6’ typically find the RZR spacious enough and tilt steering makes getting comfortable a bit easier.
Polaris continues to build on the very successful RZR XP 1000 platform with the new RZR XP Turbo Dynamix edition. Over the past five years, the car has been turbocharged; had its power significantly boosted; its suspension has improved; it received the groundbreaking Ride Command System last year; and, finally, it has the first intelligent active suspension system in the industry with Dynamix Suspension. Trickle down technology has yielded a power steering equipped, turbo charged RZR XP Turbo for under $20,000, leaving the $26,000 XP Turbo Dynamix Edition to satisfy the fastest drivers with the deepest pockets, and the desire to have the latest technology money can buy in a side-by-side.
Model: 2018 RZR XP Turbo Dynamix Edition
2019 Polaris RZR XP Turbo Dynamix Edition Ratings
Summary: Polaris continues to build on the very successful RZR XP 1000 platform with the new RZR XP Turbo Dynamix edition. Over the past five years, the car has been turbocharged; had its power significantly boosted; its suspension has improved; it received the groundbreaking Ride Command System last year; and, finally, it has the first intelligent active suspension system in the industry with Dynamix Suspension. Trickle down technology has yielded a power steering equipped, turbo charged RZR XP Turbo for under $20,000, leaving the $26,000 XP Turbo Dynamix Edition to satisfy the fastest drivers with the deepest pockets, and the desire to have the latest technology money can buy in a side-by-side.