Gear ATVs

ATV Review: 2015 Polaris Sportsman 1000

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Engine displacement is a growing market in the off-road industry, and as the 2015 ATVs hit dealership floors you’ll find plenty of big bore ATVs. Among them is Polaris, which has harnessed the massive power of a fuel-injected four-stroke liquid-cooled engine for the popular Sportsman ATV. It’s ready for business on the farm or in the woods. So dragging a massive elk out of the mountains might have just gotten a little easier.

The rugged terrain near Zion National Forrest in Knab, Utah, served as our testing grounds for the new Sportsman. Power is the big story for this new Sportsman, which easily handled the rough terrain.

The Pro Star 952cc 4-stroke SOHC motor pump’s out 88-hp and 66 foot pounds of torque. With electronic fuel injection, throttle response and performance are both apparent and controllable. The power delivery is gradual, and really comes to life in the higher RPM’s. The transmission not only handles the extra power and torque, but also delivers the power smoothly and predictably.


This drive system also includes Polaris’ acclaimed On-Demand True AWD/2WD for when the trails deteriorate or the slower, rocky sections depend on all four wheels to work equally hard. The Sportsman XP 1000 comes with low and high gears, as well as reverse neutral and a true park gear in the transmission. Polaris includes its proven Active descent control to help slow the Sportsman through engine braking. Keeping the ATV in check with engine braking helps the rider focus more on the task of driving and a little less on the machine itself. There is also a lockable park brake for that added protection when you walk away from your machine.

The Sportsman XP 1000 sports a Dual A-Arm suspension with 9 inches of travel in the front and ten inches in the rear. Polaris calls the rear suspension a rolled IRS suspension. The suspension geometry was shared from the Scrambler platform and has proven itself to perform well and reliably. Ground clearance rises to 11.5 inches in the center of the machine, causing the Sportsman to cruise easily over most exposed roots and moderate rocks in the canyons we toured.

The 26-inch tires mounted on 14-inch wheels seemed like they would cross over most obstacles we might encounter. Our Sportsman was equipped with power steering, which made the ride a lot smoother and kept fatigue to a minimum. The EPS worked flawlessly, although it did seem to give a little too much assist at slower speeds.

In addition to trail rides, the machine is also equipped to handle hard work. The front and rear cargo racks can accommodate 120 and 240 pounds, respectively. There are also plenty of tie-down points for gear, and the Sportsman will tow up to 1500 pounds via the 1.25-inch receiver hitch.


When it comes to comfort, Polaris has mounted the engine for better confidence while riding. The narrow driver’s seat keeps your knees closer together, with plenty of room for the driver to shift around in challenging terrain. The seat is thick, and provides plenty of cushioning for rough terrain. There seemed to be ample room in the floorboards for longer legs and larger feet. We did not have any trouble keeping our feet planted, although the footwell grips did seem like they might not be rugged enough in wet conditions.

Consumers can be afraid of big power sometimes, but Polaris has engineered great control over the Sportsman’s high power. If you plan on working your next off-road machine, or simply riding the rugged trail to an out-of-the-way fishing hole, this is a classy rig worthy of consideration.

—Plenty of comfort
—Seemingly endless power
—Great fender coverage for the muddy trails
—Very good Brakes

—Grip in footwells
—Slow speed EPS input

$11,999 Black Pearl Metallic
$12,299 Pursuit Camo
$11,999 Matte White
$13,999 Titanium Matte Metallic LE


Engine Type: 88HP Liquid-cooled, SOHC 4-stroke Twin
Displacement: 952cc SOHC Twin Cylinder
Fuel Delivery: EFI
Transmission: PVT w/Hi-Lo, rev., Neutral, Reverse & Park
Final Drive: Shaft
Drive system: On-Demand True 2WD/AWD
Engine Braking System: Active Descent Control
Fuel capacity: 5.25 gals
Wheelbase: 53″
Overall Length/Width/Height: 83.25″/47.6″/50.75″
Seat height: 37″
Ground Clearance: 11.5″
Claimed dry weight: 823 lbs.
Payload Capacity: 575 lbs.
Hitch Towing Capacity: 1500 lbs.
Front Rack Capacity: 120 lbs.
Rear Rack Capacity: 240 lbs.
Front Suspension: Dual A-arms w/Preload Adjustable Shocks, 9″ Travel
Rear Suspension: Dual A-arms w/Preload Adjustable Shocks, 10.25″ Travel
Front Brakes: Dual Hydraulic Discs, Single Lever for Front and Rear
Rear Brakes: Dual Hydraulic Disc, Right-foot Pedal for Front and Rear
Front Tires: 26×8-14 PXT
Rear Tires: 26×10-14 PXT
Front Lighting: 3 – 50w High Beams Dual 50w Low beams
Rear Lighting: Dual taillights / brakelights
Instrumentation: Digital Speedo, Odometer, Tachometer, Dual Trip Meters, Hour Meter, Fuel Level, Gear, 4WD, Diagnostics, Clock, Service time
Colors: Black Pearl Metallic, Polaris Pursuit Camo, Matte White, Titanium Matte Metallic LE