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2009 Polaris ATVs Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

As with its snowmobile lineup, Polaris is returning in force with its range of considerably improved ATVs and has a surprise in store for us. It's well known that the manufacturer never stops improving its products, year after year. Since the introduction of the very first ATV with a fully independent suspension in 1996, Polaris engineers have brought numerous innovations to their models: the first engine braking system in 1999, the first ATV with a large-bore engine in 2002, the first ATV featuring electronic fuel injection in 2004 and the first ATV with two inline seats and a seat-cum-cargo box in 2007.

Polaris Sportsman XP 850

Despite these innovations and a slew of improvements, Polaris's flagship model was in need of a complete overhaul. It was only natural for the manufacturer to stay the course and launch an all-new chassis for its lineup of sport utility ATVs. For 2009, Polaris is introducing two new Sportsmans, to the delight of outdoorsy types everywhere.

XP 550 and XP 850
We got to try out the new 2009 Sportsman XP 550 EFI last August, a completely revised machine designed to take the new niche by storm, that of the mid-size, 550-cc ATVs. I can assure you that it blew us away on several fronts. The number of original features is mind-boggling: all-new longitudinal engine, new CVT transmission under the seat, new chassis with dual A-arm suspension on all four wheels, new 14-inch, cast-aluminum wheels, new front and rear Lock Ride cargo systems with a 165-kilo capacity and optional electric power steering.

Designed specifically for ATVs, the two new engines produce 40 and 70 hp respectively, which allows for considerably improved acceleration on the XP 550 and literally breathtaking ones on the XP 850. Mounted longitudinally, they allow for a slimmer machine and reduced friction for increased output to the wheels. Thanks to this new configuration, the Sportsman XPs are more ergonomic and offer lots more driver leg room. It's worth mentioning that all 2009 Sportsman models feature true four-wheel-drive on demand with active descent control and an adaptive engine braking system.

Polaris Sportsman XP 550
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