Archive for the ‘utv’ Tag

2015 Jeep Renegade First Drive & Review

Jeep had paraded the ’15 Renegade and Renegade Trailhawk in front of journalists and the general public for over a year. We snickered at it, leered at it, touched it, and even sat in it during that time. The new Jeep really began to pique our interest, though. Was it a real Jeep, or was it simply a rebodied all-wheel-drive Fiat 500L? To find out, we jumped at the chance to get behind the wheel and test drive the Jeep Renegade Latitude 4×4, Limited 4×4, and the top-tier Trailhawk 4×4. Sport and 4×2 models are also available. Our review took us over the streets and freeways, as well as in the hills and mountains, near San Jose, California. First and foremost, if you’re a Jeep enthusiast who’s into lift kits, oversized tires, and boulders larger than bowling balls, stop reading. Traditional off-road Jeep fanboys and fangirls scoff at any 4×4 that doesn’t have a ladder frame or at least solid axles front and rear and for good reason. These heavy-duty components are some of the last bits leftover from when the first Jeep rolled off of the assembly line over 70 years ago. But, a company like Jeep can’t survive in today’s competitive automotive marketplace by building only Wranglers. New segments are needed to broaden the brand’s appeal and bring in new customers looking for on- and off-road capability and efficiency to the tune of more than 30 mpg. And that is exactly what the ’15 Jeep Renegade is designed to deliver.

With an open mind, it’s hard to not like the sporty and fun-looking Renegade when inspecting the exterior. The round headlights, seven-slot grill, trapezoidal wheel openings, and overall utilitarian feel of the Renegade set it apart from the other seemingly more sophisticated, and frankly boring, vehicle lineup in the compact-SUV segment. By comparison, the Jeep Renegade is that unconventionally amusing uncle, the one that let you light fireworks in the house and shoot beer bottles in the backyard. We appreciate that the Renegade puts a smile on our face, even when it’s simply parked.

The interior of the Limited and Trailhawk models we drove were quite plush and felt similar to what you would see in a top-tier Cherokee or Grand Cherokee. We appreciated the use of soft-touch materials in places where other manufacturers might use less-impressive hard plastic. The Renegade is available absolutely stuffed with technology. Some of our favorite features include the built-in on-demand Wi-Fi hotspot capability and an available mobile phone app, which enables owners to start their Jeep and lock or unlock doors from their cell phones. The instrumentation is easy to read and most controls are intuitive in their operation. We absolutely love the split HVAC system and the real numbers on the adjustment knob, instead of an ambiguous blue and red line designed specifically to mock us while we incessantly fumble for a comfortable temperature.

We tested both the 1.4L MultiAir Turbo and the 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir2 engines on-road. The six-speed manual used behind the 1.4L is a sporty, quick-shifting transmission. It takes no time at all to learn where the forward gears are and manipulate the clutch effectively. Shifting into Reverse requires that you lift up on the shift ring, similar to the shifter you might find in a sandrail or VW Baja Bug but much easier to engage. The 160hp 1.4L punches out 184 lb-ft of torque. You can keep busy shifting in the mountain twists or you can simply rev the engine to the moon by selecting the proper gear. Both options are fun. The naturally aspirated 2.4L produces 180hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. This engine is coupled to the nine-speed automatic, which can be just as fun to drive as the six-speed when toggled through the gears manually. Overall, the Jeep Renegade handles crisply and is extremely confidence-inspiring on-road.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Jeep if it didn’t go off-road. Nothing else currently in the vehicle segment even compares to the off-road capability of the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk. It has some off-road features, such as the large accessible bright red tow hooks, 20:1 crawl ratio, and Selec-Terrain traction system that we wish were on other vehicles considered to be more trail worthy by many 4×4 enthusiasts. Interestingly enough, the Renegade Trailhawk even has better approach, departure, and breakover angles than a Cherokee Trailhawk. An extracurricular off-road adventure took us to the sand dunes and rocky mountain trails in southern California. We were pleasantly surprised at how far up the trail we could take the Renegade Trailhawk, almost to the point of feeling guilty, while wondering “Should we be here in this?” It drives like a maneuverable side-by-side UTV. Rather than being forced to climb over rocks, ledges, and other trail obstacles, you can simply steer around them with ease if you choose.

The ’15 Jeep Renegade is not a Wrangler, and it shouldn’t be. Most new Jeeps never even go off-road. Think of it like this: without the success of the Renegade, the current Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee, the Wrangler would not exist, and neither would the Jeep brand. As a Jeep enthusiast you don’t have to buy these new Jeeps or even like them, but you should thank someone that does. Ultimately, all Jeeps, including the ’15 Renegade, are offered in a model that is still best in class for off-road capability, and that’s really what the Jeep brand is all about, right?

Read more at: http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/research/2015-jeep-renegade-first-drive-and-review/ar-AAaXXEg

Advertisements

2014 Polaris Sportsman Ace 4×4 – First Drive

A perfect entry-level vehicle

The all-new Polaris Sportsman ACE is the perfect combination of an ATV and UTV. It’s similar in size to a 4×4 quad and rides almost exactly like the new Polaris Sportsman 570 4×4, but it’s equipped with a single bucket seat, steering wheel, and a roll cage that provides a safe platform for newbies to the sport. This easy-to-use, nimble machine has the easiest learning curve of any ATV or UTV we’ve ever tested. If you can drive a car, you’ll feel right at home in the ACE.

INNOVATIVE & COMFORTABLE

The Sportsman ACE is covered by a ROPS (Roll Over Protection System) cab frame that’s similar to the roll cages found on the RZR lineup, and offers an ergonomically friendly cockpit that’s both easy to ingress and egress for small or large riders. The secure, high-backed, adjustable bucket seat is paired with an adjustable steering wheel. It’s also equipped with a three-point seat belt and has side bolsters to keep the operator properly positioned in the center of the machine. The steering wheel offers 3.5 inches of tilt adjustment, and the driver’s seat slides back and forth by 4 inches to customize the fit for the rider. There is an integrated dead pedal for your left foot to rest on and an integrated heel pocket for your right foot with an easy reach for both the gas and brake pedals. You’re also kept in via dual side nets that feature a metal rod to easily secure for clipping and positioning the nets to the back of the vehicle while exiting. This net system is sure to be replaced by more stylish aftermarket door designs.

TRAIL-READY WIDTH

A huge selling point for the ACE is its trail-capable and easily-transportable 48-inch width, which means it can take on nearly every OHV trail in the country, since many ATV trails are limited to a width of 50 inches. It will also fit in the back of a full-size pickup truck. A nice feature, since most side-by-sides require the added costs of a trailer. To ensure a low center of gravity, Polaris positioned all the major components, including the driver, centralized between the four wheels for an incredibly responsive ride. Along with this low center of gravity, the Sportsman ACE boasts 10.25 inches of ground clearance and 9.5 inches of rear travel due to its fully independent rear suspension (IRS) outfitted with performance, twin tube shocks featuring adjustable preload. The front of the ACE features a MacPherson strut setup with just over 8 inches of wheel travel.

Veteran ATV riders will feel funny in the ACE, at first, but after only a few miles, you’re hit with an added sense of confidence and security; the same feeling that has helped to make side-by-sides the fastest-growing powersports industry. Beginner to expert riders will appreciate the ACE’s comfortable ride and nimble handling characteristics. The suspension feels stiff, compared to standard Sportsman ATVs, but it soaked up the rough, rocky test loop and was difficult to bottom out. The machine felt stable, even around quick, 90-degree corners and even at top speeds your always feel in control.

32-HP PROSTAR POWERPLANT

The Sportsman ACE 4×4 is equipped with a new Polaris ProStar Electronic Fuel-Injected powerplant. It’s a dual-overhead-cam, single-cylinder, four-stroke design that is similar to the 570 RZR and Sportsman, which Polaris released last year. Its displacement is in the sub-400cc category, and it packs a solid 32 hp with a top speed of 45 mph, perfect for the entry-level to intermediate rider. It didn’t hit hard out of the hole, but its power range is wide and very easy to adjust to. This is the perfect powerplant for the rookie trail enthusiast. The motor provided plenty of excitement, the power doesn’t overwhelm or scare, and it’ll provide an excellent platform for learning.

The transmission is identical to the 570 RZR’s and provides the driver with the option of both high and low range, neutral, reverse, and a park mode that acts as the emergency brake. In high, the 32-hp ProStar pulled the 850-pound ACE up and over every obstacle on our technical, 50-inch-wide test loop. We used Low range for ascending and descending the steeper trails, and we powered through deep ruts, mud holes, and rock gardens without so much as a scent from the CVT.

The Sportsman ACE is equipped with the same On-Demand True All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system found on all Polaris ATVs and UTVs. The system eliminates the guesswork by automatically engaging AWD when you need it and then reverts back to two-wheel drive automatically when the AWD is no longer needed. It would be great to have a locking front differential, but this On-Demand system is used and loved by an outstanding number of enthusiasts.

Braking is solid, thanks to four-wheel hydraulic discs with dual-bore front calipers, and the little ACE rides on Carlisle 489 tires, mounted on stamped steel wheels, that provide great traction on most terrains. We put a good pounding on these meats and didn’t come to close to a flat.

Storage on the Sportsman ACE is exceptional with its integrated 2.8-gallon semi-dry, front storage compartment and a high-capacity Lock & Ride cargo box with rack extenders and rear tie-down rails that also accepts the accessory Lock & Ride cargo box for additional dry storage. The vehicle can carry up to 575 pounds of gear and can tow up to 1,500 pounds. The ACE is also pre-wired for the installation of a winch with up to 3,500 pounds of capacity, and Polaris offers more than 25 accessories for the Sportsman, including doors, winches, cabs, and storage to suit their driver’s needs. The Sportsman ACE is available in White Lightning and will be in dealerships in February.

ATV or UTV?

Like it or not, these UTVs are transitioning from a hit fad to the future of ATVing. Since the release of the original RZR 800 seven years ago, Polaris has been the leading UTV manufacturer of such machines, and for $7,499, the Polaris Sportsman ACE is sure to be a hit for both beginners and experts alike. What’s next for Polaris? You can expect the company to follow up with more single-seat and steering-wheel-equipped models from the entry-level ACE all the way up to a mind-blowing 1,000cc rocket ship. Stay tuned.

1401 polaris sportsman ace 4×4
Spec Chart

2014 Polaris Sportsman ACE 4×4

Price: $7499

Engine type: 32-hp ProStar, 4-stroke, DOHC single cylinder

Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection

Starting system: Electric

Drivetrain

Drive system: On-Demand True AWD/2WD

Transmission: Automatic PVT with P/R/N/L/H; shaft

Suspension (Type/Travel)

Front: MacPherson strut/8.2”

Rear: IRS/9.5”

Tires/Wheels

Front: 25×8-12/489

Rear: 25×10-12/489

Brakes

Front: Dual hydraulic disc with dual-bore front calipers

Rear: Dual hydraulic disc with dual-bore front calipers

Dimensions

Wheelbase: 61.5”

Claimed dry weight: 835 lb.

Ground clearance: 10.25”

Length/width/height: 90/48/68″

Fuel capacity: 5.25 gal.

Load Capacity

Front/rear rack/box capacity: 120/240 lb.

Payload capacity: 575 lb.

Electrical

Lighting: Halogen, 55-watt low/ 60-watt high

Instrumentation: Digital gauge, analog speedometer, odometer, tachometer, tripmeter; gear indicator, fuel gauge, AWD indicator, high-temp/low-batt lights, DC outlet

Read more: http://www.atvrideronline.com/features/1401_2014_polaris_sportsman_ace_4x4_first_drive/index.html#ixzz2uXh07KOT