2015 Ranger Diesel 4Ă—4: First Drive

Updated Sep 16, 2014

New diesel, new chassis make for nicer work days with Polaris’ Ranger 4×4

Four years ago Polaris tossed their heavy duty UTV hat into the ring with the introduction of the Ranger Diesel — a Ranger XP 800 with the EFI gas engine replaced by a 904cc Yanmar Diesel.

The resulting package has done well competing against the Kawasaki Mule. But the 2015 model should do even better.

This year Polaris took the ride, handling and power to an even higher performance level with the adaptation of a Tier 4 compliant 1,024cc Kohler diesel to the Ranger XP 900 chassis and transmission.

Adding nearly five inches to the wheelbase and slightly increasing suspension travel gives the 2015 Ranger Diesel 4×4 a smoother ride than the previous model, while the environmentally-friendly Kohler’s 110-amp alternator doubles the electrical output of the old diesel.

Polaris also added another inch of foam to the seat cushions and increased both under-seat an in-dash storage. The new Ranger also has a larger 10-gallon fuel tank for increased operating time.

With a foot of ground clearance, all-wheel-drive with one-wheel “turf” mode, a higher performance transmission and belt system, and a wide-range of accessories that fit the XP 900 line, the 2015 Ranger 4×4 Diesel can easily fit into a wide-range of work applications.

One aspect of great interest to landscapers and utility companies is the new Polaris PRO-FIT cab system that utilizes special-formed ROPs cab cage supports that make window, roof and door seal tight to the weather.

Polairs also offers special discounts on “ship-thru” winter cab systems to companies that purchase 10 or more Rangers. The winter cab packages include the premium windows, in-cab heater, and a number of other accessories ideal for snow-removal and winter work. 

The 2015 Ranger Diesel 4Ă—4 still retains its 1,000-pound bed payload and 1-ton towing capacity while safely seating three adults. I saw a top speed in excess of 35mph during my short ride time.

I found the new Ranger’s steering lighter and the new diesel to be quieter with a little more grunt than the out-going model. The feel of more power is most likely due to the more efficient belt-drive of the XP 900 transmission system.

The power delivery is smooth and the dash-mounted shifter is handily located, although still a bit notchy in gear selection. The automatic 4Ă—4 system works fine, providing drive power to the wheels that keep the unit moving forward in slippery conditions.

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The adjustable tilt-steering wheel and flat floor made it easy for occupants to get in and out, and the flip-up seat cushions provided fast access to the large storage compartments beneath.

Moving the instrument cluster in front of the driver instead of to the right of the console cleans up the dash and improves functionality.

Overall, Polaris has made significant improvements to their diesel 4×4 for 2015. It’s a noticeable move up from the workhorse they introduced getting into this market.