The UTV industry is constantly evolving and innovating. Several machines now have 20+ inches of suspension travel, GPS navigation, mesh networks to connect you to other riders and almost 200 hp. If you are into this sport it is a great time to be alive because you can go readily pick one up at your local dealer and hit the trails or track with little to no work needing done due to the high build quality. But things were not always that way. If we look back to the 2004 Yamaha Rhino which was the first sport/utility with its 660cc engine that produced about 24 hp and had a whopping 7.3 inches of suspension travel you can easily see why they were compared to golf carts. Step forward to the first Polaris RZR in 2008 and improvements were already being made. They hit the market at 52 hp and 9.5 inches of suspension travel but looking inside one you would call the interior “sparse” at best with only 2 switches for 4×4 and headlights and a single center mounted multipurpose gauge.
With the latest release of the 2020 Polaris Pro XP sporting 181 hp, 22″ of suspension travel, steering wheel controls for the electronic suspension, and an in-dash entertainment system that rivals many high end luxury automobiles you could say these are all set right out of the box. Where you used to be limited to where you could go by the machine, now you are more limited by the skill and nerve of the driver. At only 16 years old the industry is young by all standards. The automobile industry started in the late 1800’s and Ford came into the picture at roughly 20 years into the game with the Model T. I only bring this up to say, If we have come this far in only 16 years think of where will we be in another 20 years, 50 years, 100 years? Its an exciting time to be in the sport and I can say with confidence “The times they are a changin”.