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Maybe I’m not ready to trade in my full-sized pickup for an electric vehicle, but it’s not like I’m totally EV ignorant. My mother-in-law has a golf cart and I once saw a Tesla charging station up around Louisville. I stopped and took a picture of it to show my buddies back home.  

Still, when I picked up a new Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic to review, I was skeptical. I towed it home with my Toyota Tundra and moved my diesel tractor out of the way, so I’d have a spot to park it. Then I spent a while staring at it, wondering what could I use it for? I mean, if I’m worried about a daily-driver EV leaving me stuck on the side of the road in the sticks with dead batteries, or being too underpowered to pull my boat, how would this thing work out in the places where I normally use a UTV? The thought of having to call a buddy to pull me out of a mud hole on the trapline because my electric four-wheeler got stuck and died made me shiver. I’d never live that down. But, it was my job to give this UTV a tough test and a fair shake, and so that’s what I did, on my own hunting property in western Kentucky. Here how it fared.

Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic UTV Specs

The new electric Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic Ultimate UTV. Polaris

The new XP Kinetic comes in two versions, the XP Kinetic Premium and the XP Kinetic Ultimate. I tested the latter, so here are the spec for that model.

  • Engine Type: Interior Permanent Magnet AC Motor
  • Horsepower: 110 hp
  • Torque: 140 ft-lb.
  • Power: Lithium Ion, 29.8 kWh Nominal
  • Drive System: High Performance On Demand True AWD/2WD/Versa Trac Turf Mode
  • Dry Weight: 1,982 lb
  • Seating Capacity: 3
  • Ground Clearance: 14 inches
  • Payload Capacity: 1,500 lb.
  • Hitch Towing Rating: 2,500 lb.

Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic UTV Test Results

For those of you who like the bottom line near the top, I’ll cut to the chase: Despite my initial skepticism, the XP Kinetic grew on me—so much so that I didn’t want to send it back at the end of the review. In fact, after reviewing a half-dozen Polaris Ranger and General UTVs over the years, I can confidently say this “charge-em-up-hippie” model—which is how my 9-year-old son described it—is my favorite one yet, and if I had an extra $30,000 burning a hole in my pocket, I’d buy one. Instead, I sent it back with a fond farewell and some crusty fish guts stuck on the tailgate.  

Physically, the XP Kinetic looks a lot like a standard gasoline-powered Ranger XP-1000, with an 81-inch wheel base, 14 inches of ground clearance, 3-person bench seat, and camo finish. The XP Kinetic has the same 2,500-pound towing capacity as the XP-1000, too, but packs more horsepower—110 hp in the electric model vs. 82 hp in gasoline. The XP Kinetic also sports 140 foot-pounds of torque, something you can really feel if you sit in the driver’s seat and really hit the gas, er, battery, pedal, as if peeling out of the Baptist Church parking lot. The XP Kinetic will reach 40 miles per hour on a dirt road in a hurry—as quickly as I want it to and then some—and has an advertised top-end speed of 55 mph. It has both high- and low-end ranges, along with 4-wheel-drive. Shifting into forward or reverse is easy and smooth, and done with a thumb switch atop the shifting handle. It has other bells and whistles, too, like a radio and back-up camera.    

The author used the new Ranger XP Kinetic to do some spring food plot work, among other things. Will Brantley

I tested the XP Kinetic on my farm in western Kentucky over the month of March, when the temperatures ranged from well below freezing to nearly 80 degrees. I used it almost every day for cutting trees in a timber-improvement project, hauling seed and fertilizer, pulling a 5-foot cultipacker, conducting a prescribed fire, and fishing at the pond with my kid. No, I didn’t take it on any endurance rides or torture test it offroad, but I did use it for all of the usual things that I’d need a side-by-side for in the off-season, and in terrain where 4wd was mandatory. It did everything I’d expect a gasoline Ranger would do, but silently—and with a little more pep to boot. Given the time of year, I didn’t take it into the field to hunt deer or waterfowl, but I don’t have the slightest doubt that it would everything you’d need it to in-season without a hiccup.

What about battery life? I ran the XP Kinetic for multiple cumulative hours on multiple days. I plugged it into a standard 110 outdoor outlet at night most nights, but even with fairly continuous use, the charge never dropped below 75 percent, even when the machine kicked into a battery-saving mode on cold mornings. As noted earlier, the XP Kinetic is available in two versions: The Premium, which has an advertised range of 45 miles with a 14.9 kWh lithium ion battery, and the Ultimate, which has a 29.8 kWh battery, 80 miles of range, and a bigger price tag. I tested the latter version.

Although the charging requirement would be problematic during an extended backcountry trip, I’d feel 100 percent confident in using the machine for a full weekend at an off-grid deer or turkey camp, and charging it when I got back home. The dash display clearly shows how many miles are left on the charge, so you can plan ahead without getting stranded.

Final Thoughts on Polaris’s New Electric UTV

Speaking of turkeys, it’s turkey season now, and this thing would be a game changer for quietly slipping around a large property and listening for gobbles without giving yourself away with the sound of an engine. Of course, it’d be great for zipping to and from a deer stand, too. It’s not much louder than an electric bicycle, but it can haul three people and 1,250 pounds of cargo in the bed. Probably more than my mother-in-law’s golf cart.  

Of course, EVs aren’t cheap. The XP Kinetic Ultimate has an MSRP of $37,499, while the Premium model goes for $29,999. By comparison, a 3-seater XP-1000 starts at $20,299—and you can get a pretty decent compact 4-wheel-drive pickup for $30K. But my time with the XP Kinetic wasn’t spent dwelling on what it costs. It was to determine whether it’d be useful for a hunters like me—and the answer to that is a definite “yes,” and then some.