Wide Open Spaces was fortunate enough to test out the Polaris GENERAL XP 4 1000 Pursuit Edition, and we feel like it's a frontrunner for "Ultimate Hunting Machine" title.
After spending several weeks with the brand new model, arranged by the folks at Polaris and assisted by the Polaris Fun Center in Bastrop and Bryan, Texas, I can confidently say this side-by-side would make hunting easier, more fun, and eventually more fruitful.
We'll go over some of the general specs while making a few points about the capabilities and accessories, then I'll follow up with more thoughts of my own that I had during the testing process.
GENERAL XP 4 1000 Pursuit Edition
First off, everyone wants to know what's under the hood. The 100 horsepower ProStar 1000 4-Stroke DOHC Twin Cylinder engine is just what the doctor ordered, and the On-Demand True AWD/2WD/VersaTrac Turf Mode drive systems make driving and operating this side-by-side more than enjoyable, even when your mind is on the hunt and not the ride.
The GENERAL XP 4 1000 is a four-seater with 13.5 inches ground clearance and four Pro Armor tires on 15-inch cast aluminum wheels. The 115-inch wheelbase ensures it's wide enough to stay stable while loaded down, but narrow enough to make it through tight spots.
The hitch towing rating reaches 1,500 pounds, and the overall vehicle size is 150.2 x 64 x 77 in (L x W x H). The Bed Box dimensions are 27.5 x 43.1 x 11.6 in (L x W x H).
The Pursuit Camo pattern that's splashed across the frame, seats, and bed box is exclusive to Polaris, and the 1,100-pound payload capacity ranks among the tops in the industry. The front suspension includes a High Clearance Dual A-Arm with Stabilizer Bar, providing 14 inches of travel, and the same goes with the Long Travel High Clearance Dual Arm IRS with Stabilizer Bar that makes up the rear suspension. There are Walker Evans Velocity Series Shocks in the front and rear as well.
Perhaps most notably, the new Rear Box Rack adds a stacking element to the back bed storage, and there's a Kolpin Gun Mount & Boot to secure your firearms through any conditions, be they rough weather or gnarly terrain.
The instrumentation is eye-pleasing with its Dual-sweep Analog Dials w/ 4" LCD Rider Information Center.
The versatility factor is multiplied when you add in the Polaris HD 4500 LB Winch, the Pro Armor 11" Light Bar, the Sport Low Profile Color-Matched Front Bumper, and the Rockford Fosgate Stage 1 Audio system.
Without a doubt, if you're going to purchase a side-by-side to use primarily as a hunting vehicle, you're going to want it to do certain things.
Anything I'd ask of a hunting vehicle of my own, the Polaris GENERAL seemed to satisfy. The ride was unbelievably smooth, especially compared to the older Polaris models I've driven, which spoke to the stellar suspension system and shocks. They're continually improving upon an already great ride.
There were never any situations that had me wondering if the GENERAL would tip, even in some of the more hardcore sections of the off-road trails I rode it on.
The room for friends or family and serious gear storage was fantastic, and I was hard pressed to think of any other side-by-side with that kind of capacity that stayed so comfortable and roomy to drive and ride in.
The hunting uses are pretty clear cut with a side-by-side already, but the Pursuit Edition made them even more obvious.
If you're covering lots of ground, like you do on so many of the large ranches here in Texas, a GENERAL Pursuit is the ideal way to do it. I envisioned cruising from peak to peak, using the various high spots on a swath of land to glass for game animals. The time would be severely cut down if you're hitting the gas on this machine to get you there.
I couldn't leave the front bumper section out of my overall thoughts, because together, the light bar and winch are essentials for a sportsman looking to take full advantage of hunting season.
Lighting up the scene when recovering or field dressing a harvested animal after dark makes a huge difference, and the LEDs performed spectacularly. I can see it really applying to a waterfowl hunt, too, when predawn decoy setups are on the schedule.
The importance of the winch can't be understated: if a big animal needs to literally be dragged out of a tight situation, you'll count your lucky stars you've got such a powerful tool to help you out.
To get a couple negatives out of the way, we'll start with this: the GENERAL XP 4 1000 Pursuit Edition is not a covert, perfectly camouflaged, silent vehicle that will allow you to sneak up on game in close proximity. That's not what it's for, clearly, but if anyone was led to believe that's what a "hunting vehicle" should be able to do, they'll be sorely mistaken.
Another of the few drawbacks I noticed was the new Rear Cargo Bed Rack, and though it's meant to add more utility, I couldn't help but think it would get in the way of hauling what this machine seems to be truly meant for: big game carcasses.
If you're trying to toss an elk, or even large deer in the back to carry it out, I'd just assume not have the Cargo Bed Rack at all. It would be extra tough lifting something so heavy up that high, and though it fits a cooler nicely underneath, the tradeoff isn't big enough for my tastes.
I know the Rack system can be removed, which led me to believe I'd prefer it off more than not.
Besides those nitpicks, I really couldn't find much not to love with the GENERAL XP 4 1000 Pursuit. The sound system was a really nice touch, as were the adjustable driver seat and easy tip-dump back bed.
Despite fear of repeating myself, I'll say it again: you're going to want a hunting machine to do certain things. Sometimes, that means you pay for it. It shouldn't come as a surprise for those familiar with today's off-road recreation vehicles, but the MSRP on a GENERAL XP 4 1000 Pursuit Edition is eye-opening if you're not.
Pricing starts at $25,999, but that includes all the features and upgrades we've mentioned. If you're going to buy what you know you want, then it's an understanding that this is what it's going to cost, and it's a more than fair price.
In our opinion, this UTV makes a serious case for earning the top spot in the race for "Ultimate Hunting Machine."