|Polaris Sportsman ACE Review
By Jon Crowley, UTVGuide.net
After some serious market research, Polaris determined that there was a hole in the off-road market that was not currently filled by any manufacturer of ATVs or UTVs. The new machine would have to be a trail capable machine that a beginner could drive, was fun, comfortable and competitively priced with utility ATVs. The result of this research and development is the all-new Polaris Sportsman ACE.
The introduction of the Sportsman ACE is part of our strategy to remain the leader in the powersports marketplace by introducing innovative products that define their categories, said David Longren, vice president of Polaris Off-Road Division. In creating the Sportsman ACE, we wanted to not only appeal to current off-road enthusiasts, but develop a vehicle that brings new customers to off-road recreation. We accomplished this by coupling an easy-to-use, nimble platform with a confident and secure ride that, together, provides drivers of all experience levels a new way to experience the outdoors.
Now there are many enthusiasts out there that have been dreaming of a single-seat UTV that had the powerful Polaris ProStar 1000 and incredible suspension found in the RZR XP 1000. Well, that dream machine could still be in the works at Polaris Research & Development, but the Sportsman ACE is geared towards the novice rider that may be intimidated by the riding position of a utility ATV, or just wants the comfort of a normal seating position, steering wheel and familiar brake/gas pedals.
The Sportsman ACE is powered by an all-new ProStar 32 engine that produces 32 horsepower. The new engine is small and compact, but Polaris engineers would not spill the beans on the engine size. Instead they wanted us to focus on the power it produced. While the ACE did not set me back in my seat, it wasn’t a slouch either. We were able to obtain speeds of about 50 mph and the throttle response in tight, technical conditions was good. Once again, the ACE is intended for more of a beginner so keep that in mind.
The rear suspension is straight off of a RZR 570, including a-arms, axles, brakes and uprights. The rear features 9.5 in/24.1 cm of wheel travel. The front features a MacPherson strut suspension that allowed engineers to move foot wells forward and keep the price point lower.
The Sportsman ACE may come in a very small package with a 90″ x 48″ footprint, but the cab is incredibly roomy for the size. The centralized seating has a very low center of gravity that makes for a sporty and confidence-inspiring ride. Tilting steering wheel and adjustable seat allow the ACE to be comfortable for a variety of people.
Comparing a few key specifications of the Sportsman ACE against the RZR 570 and the Sportsman 570 ATV really tells the story of the ACE being a hybrid – RZR 570 + Sportsman 570 = ACE.
The ACE, RZR and Sportsman are all about the same width, but the ACE is closer to the Sportsman ATV when it comes to weight, wheelbase and length. The ACE is even small enough to fit in the back of a Ford F150 pickup truck!
The cockpits flow-through design also makes ingress and egress easy, and new side nets feature a metal rod to easily secure them both for clipping and positioning the nets to the back of the vehicle while exiting. Doors that are similar in design to the RZR XP 1000 are available as a Polaris accessory, and would be the first thing I changed on the ACE.
The ACE has a good amount of semi-dry storage up front, and a decent size bed that could fit a cooler or even camping gear. The bed features tie-down rails, that also accepts Lock & Ride accessories. Plus the ACE comes with a 1.25″ receiver and a 1,500 lb towing capacity.
Lastly, the ACE was designed with price in mind. With a MSRP of $7,499, the ACE is priced much closer to a base level utility ATV than the RZR.
Polaris really did their homework when they designed the Sportsman ACE. While it isn’t the 999cc dune shredding single seater many hard core enthusiasts were looking for, it fills a big hole in the off-road market place, and I believe Polaris will sell a bunch of them.
Sportsman ACE Specifications:
Polaris is a recognized leader in the powersports industry with annual 2012 sales of $3.2 billion. Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets innovative, high quality off-road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER® and RZR® side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and small vehicles.
Polaris is among the global sales leaders for both snowmobiles and off-road vehicles and has established a presence in the heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle market with the Victory and Indian motorcycle brands. Additionally, Polaris continues to invest in the global on-road small vehicle industry with Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), Goupil Industrie SA, Aixam Mega S.A.S., and internally developed vehicles. Polaris enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Polaris and KLIM branded apparel and Polaris accessories and parts.
Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PII, and the Company is included in the S&P Mid-Cap 400 stock price index.
Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel and vehicle accessories are available from authorized Polaris dealers or anytime at www.polaris.com