In the last few weeks, I had the chance to test the 2023 Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic. Indeed, InfoQuad.com Magazine was invited to a test session held at the Research and Development Center located in Wyoming, Minnesota.
During this day, I had the opportunity to take a guided tour of their facilities. Afterwards, I was able to ride the new Ranger XP Kinetic 2023.
A bit of history
Contrary to what many quad riders think, the Kinetic is not the first 100% electric model offered by Polaris. In fact, Polaris has been offering the Ranger EV for over 12 years. This model, introduced in 2010, was equipped with a 48-volt electric motor developing 30 HP. The battery pack capacity was 11.7 kWh.
Of course, the capabilities of the Ranger EV were rather limited, which limited the number of units sold. Indeed, the speed limit was 40 km/h and the maximum range was 80 km. This explains why it met the needs of a smaller number of users. This is why this model is not really known in the quad community.
A giant leap
For 2023, Polaris has significantly raised the bar by introducing the Ranger XP Kinetic. This model offers 110 HP (80 HP more than the Ranger EV) as well as more load and towing capacity. The list doesn’t end there…
To avoid making this article too long and move on to my comments, I refer you to the article below to learn more about the specifications of the Ranger XP Kinetic.
My experience with Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic 2023
Before leaving with this version of the Ranger XP, I had several questions in mind. For example, how was the weight distributed in the vehicle? Where was the center of gravity located? How would the vehicle behave when driving across a slope? Would it slope?
To answer all my questions, there is nothing like riding it! As you might expect, the Polaris R&D center has a network of trails offering many different types of surfaces. It is in this environment that I was able to test the vehicle.
When you “start” the Ranger XP Kinetic, only the dial display lights up. You move the gear selector and press the gas pedal. I must admit that it feels strange, but you get used to it very quickly. Indeed, you cannot rely on the sound of the engine because the vehicle is silent.
3 driving modes
The Kinetic offers three driving modes: ECO+, Standard and Sport. Each of these modes offers different behaviours when you press the gas pedal or use the engine brake on slopes. The calibration of the 3 modes is exemplary. The Sport mode of the Ranger XP Kinetic when riding on rough terrain is by far the most pleasant at low rpm of all the ones I tried from any manufacturer. I should mention that this is the first 100% electric vehicle I have ever tested.
The power is impressive and what can we say about the torque this engine offers? Of course, everything is done without any response time. As soon as you change the position of the accelerator pedal, you can see the response. Of course, depending on the mode, this response will be more or less accentuated.
The driving experience is comparable to that of a comparable gasoline model. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to navigate small, narrow trails. It’s impressive. You almost forget you’re sitting in a utility vehicle.
Also, the Ranger XP Kinetic stays firmly planted on the ground and doesn’t try too hard to tip over in tight turns or when driving up a hillside. This is surprising since this one is relatively high and the driver and passenger position is also quite high off the ground. Needless to say, it took me a while to get comfortable with it since I don’t have much experience driving a Ranger.
Although my experience behind the wheel of this vehicle was limited in time, I can say that the Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic can be used in a work context as well as for leisure. Of course, the maximum range of 129 km remains a factor to be considered before heading out on the trails.
Towards an RZR Kinetic?
In my opinion, if we disregard the relatively limited range of the Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic engine, it is definitely ready for other applications. I could see it in an RZR XP or even a Trail S if possible.
With the Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic 2023, the manufacturer is well-positioned as a leader in this immersive market. It will be exciting to follow the innovations in electric engines that manufacturers will bring us in the next few years. One thing is certain today, it is that Polaris wants to lead the way in this field!