Is it just me, or is Polaris the only manufacturer that continues to forge ahead improving on their products and even developing new products while everyone else is sitting in their offices waiting for the good times to roll again?
Okay, so everybody put power steering on their quads! Wow. Yamaha had it for how many years before anyone else? And speaking of Yamaha, there were the leaked photos back in February of 2009 showing that they had a new 4-seat, 950cc, V-twin (Pure speculation on that part) ready to hit the showrooms that same year. What happened? My guess is not only did the economy affect their decision, but so did all the frivolous Rhino rollover lawsuits from the idiots not man enough to take responsibility for their stupidity or lack of respect for the machine. But perhaps that’s best left to discuss at another time. My point is Yamaha had a 4-seat UTV ready and didn’t bring it out!
And of course, the rumors have been circulating for a couple of years now about both Suzuki and Can Am having UTVs ready. But where are they?
In the meantime, Polaris comes out with the new XP, an ATV that fixes a whole lot of the problems we’ve had with Polaris’ of the past. They also came out with the electric Ranger and the 4-seat RZR 4. I’m sure there’s more, but my point is not to list the number of new Polaris’ but merely to highlight the fact that while everyone else is laying low, Polaris is pushing ahead - at fast forward!
So I say, “Hurrah Polaris!” They are made right here in America, by Americans. (And this might be a good time to point out that so are many of the ‘so-called’ Japanese ATVs!) Yes, the plants are here and the workers are here. Oh, profits you say. That’s a small percentage of the total investment, and oftentimes the profit goes right back into more manufacturing facilities right here in the grand ‘ol US of A!
But back to my point. Anything new from Honda? No. Yamaha? No. Suzuki? No. Kawasaki? No. Can Am? No. And Arctic Cat? No again. Only Polaris keeps bringing out the new models.
Let me be very honest here. Do I think that Polaris’ the best there is? No. I (and that ‘I’ only means “I”) prefer separate front and rear brake controls. I prefer a 4wd system that I control – that means I can choose between 2wd, 4wd, and 4wd with a locked front differential. And (especially) I want the engine braking to go to all 4 wheels without having to flip a switch – and then it goes to all 4 wheels only when you are going under 15mph and not applying any throttle.
But I applaud Polaris not just for what they are, but more importantly for what they are doing in the industry. And as I look back I see Polaris as the first with a CVT transmission. The first IRS (not a swing axle – that’s for all you old King Quad fans ;-). First to put good tires on an ATV. First (and still the only) 50” wide UTV. First 4-seat sport UTV. First electric UTV. I’m sure there’s more but I think I made my point.
If not, you’ll never get it.
I love ATVs (and maybe especially UTVs!). There are good models by every manufacturer. I have my favorites that suit what I like in an ATV (or UTV), but I like Polaris because whether or not they make everything just like I want, they operate their company just like I would if I was the CEO.
And that my friends is the difference between American companies and Japanese!