Is the All-Electric Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic Ultimate the Hunting UTV of the Future?
We put the UTV through the paces on a duck hunt in Missouri. Here’s how it performed
It was still dark out as we ripped through muddy dirt roads in relative silence. My guide Matt and I were in a Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic Ultimate Edition on our way to the blind at Habitat Flats. I was at the legendary duck lodge to hunt greenheads and test out several new Polaris UTVs, including the Kinetic, Polaris’s first legit all-electric utility vehicle geared toward hunting.
That morning, we reached the blind easily. The vehicle’s combination of torque and traction powered us through even the deepest mud handily, and because the engine is battery-powered and quiet, we minimally disturbed the nearby wildlife along the way. In the past, the guides at Habitat Flats say they used to get at least one pickup truck stuck on the way to the blinds each day. That all changed when they started using Polaris RANGERS. The Kinetic proved to be a very capable UTV and may just change the way hunters access their blinds and tree stands in the years to come. Here’s why.
Price: Starting at $29,999 (Ultimate Edition)
Person Capacity: 3
Battery Type: Lithium Ion, 29.8 kWh
Power: 110 horsepower
Torque: 140 pound feet
Estimated Range: 80 miles
Ground Clearance: 14 inches
Bed Box Capacity: 1,250 pounds
Hitch Towing Rating: 2,500 pounds
How I Tested the RANGER XP Kinetic Ultimate
In November, I traveled to Sumner, Missouri to test out the RANGER XP Kinetic, along with a small group of media folks. We put the UTV to the test in two ways: First, we used the vehicle in a practical hunting situation—to get to and from our hunting blinds. This involved traveling for several miles on gravel and dirt roads, including particularly muddy areas. Along the way, we used the vehicle’s bed box to store our guides’ gun dogs, our duck hunting shotguns, and blind bags.
I also put the vehicle through the paces during an afternoon driving session at a nearby property. I tested out its three drive modes: Eco+, standard, and sport. I also tested out its traction modes, which include AWD, 2WD, and VersaTrac Turf Mode. I gave it some gas on straightaways to see just how fast the vehicle would go, and I tested out its cornering on small crop roads. Finally, I drove the UTV up and down a small ravine to see if it really had the oomph for more extreme terrain. On the same course, I drove a brand-new Polaris RANGER CREW XP 1000 NorthStar Edition Ultimate, to quickly compare the performance of the all-electric Kinetic with a gas-powered alternative.
Low-Impact: The Kinetic, like most electric vehicles, is impressively quiet. Unlike gas UTVs, it doesn’t generate commotion when you drive through wild places, which is the main reason it will appeal to hunters. And it’s a good reason. In the Kinetic, you’ll be able to sneak into places without disturbing game you’re pursuing. This is especially important when pursuing noise-sensitive animals like turkey and whitetail deer. Additionally, the vehicle does not emit any gasoline fumes, making it especially undetectable compared with gas counterparts.
Speed: The Kinetic absolutely flies. Its 140 pound feet torque is much quicker than gas UTVs. The advantage of speed serves several purposes. For one, it’s pure fun. But more importantly, it means you can close long distances quickly, which can be extremely important while hunting—giving you more time in the field by getting you into position quicker.
Stability: One of the things I really loved about the Kinetic was that it was completely still whenever you stopped and didn’t shake like an idling gas vehicle. This would come in handy when you’re spotting from your UTV. I’ve gotten carsick trying to spot deer from an idling gas side-by-side before. On the road, the vehicle also offers an exceptionally smooth ride—a typical characteristic of a Polaris due to the brand’s emphasis on providing best-in-class ground clearance, top-quality tires, and generous suspension travel.
Capability: The UTV really holds its own when it comes to cargo storage and towing power. It can haul an industry-leading 1,250 pounds and tow up to 2,500 pounds—specs that match those of burly gas UTVs. True, the Kinetic’s range drops drastically when towing or hauling heavy weights. If you plan to use it for daily hauling, it’s probably not for you. But for recovering a deer or elk or launching small watercraft, it will do just fine.
Durability: Oil changes be gone. The Kinetic has an electric powertrain and few moving parts—which means less time spent in the shop. The folks at Polaris have torture-tested it in extreme conditions in Minnesota, where they’re based, and so far, it’s held up well. The company expects the battery to last the life of the vehicle. Each one comes with an exclusive 3-year electric powertrain coverage and 5-year battery coverage.
Comfort: The RANGER XP Kinetic Ultimate Edition is a plush rig. It comes with dual integrated glove compartments and six, yes six, oversized cup holders. There are 13.5 gallons of interior storage. Best of all, each one comes with RIDE COMMAND+ on a 7-inch screen that provides nifty information on vehicle health, range, and GPS location.
Customizability: Like all Polaris vehicles, the Kinetic is made to be tricked out. Its featured accessories include an array of Rhino-Rack ® mounts as well as winches and after-market lights. You can really tailor it to your hunting pursuits.
Limited Range: The Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic Ultimate Edition has a range of 80 miles under normal conditions (that number drops to 45 for the standard edition). The range is noticeably lower when you drive on extreme terrain and/or are towing. For most people, the 80-mile range is fine—Polaris says the average day-use of a UTV by its customers is 25 miles. If you’re hunting a private club or lease, where you know how far you need to go, the UTV has plenty of range. But the limited range—and inability to charge it in the field—means you really shouldn’t bring it far into the backcountry. Because of this, many hunters won’t even consider it until the range is increased as electric car technology develops further.
Availability: As of December 2022, all Polaris Kinetics are sold-out. The company plans to make a new batch available early in 2023 but expects it to sell out quickly as well. The brand is suffering from supply-chain issues for key battery materials like other electric vehicle manufacturers. They hope that these issues will clear up soon, but there’s no guarantee.
Charging Time: One of the drawbacks of an electric UTV is that it needs to be charged regularly. Your charging setup heavily influences how long it will take to fully charge it. Depending on your home charging capabilities it can take as long as 20 hours to get a full charge—or as little as fast as 5 hours with a 240V outlet.
Price: The Kinetic is expensive. There are no two ways around it. They’re not quite as pricy as the super-plush RANGER CREW XP 1000 NorthStar Edition Ultimate. Still, even the standard version, which starts at $24,999, is more than double the RANGER SP 570, a capable gas-powered two-seater. The ultimate version, which is the focus of this review, is nearly three times as expensive as a RANGER SP 570. For the price of the Kinetic, you could buy a nice used pickup truck. For many, the high price tag will put it out of reach.
The Final Word on the Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic Ultimate Edition
If you have a hunting property or lease where you know how far you’re going each day and where you can return to when you need a charge, it’s hard to beat the Polaris Kinetic. It’s a low-impact, high-performance vehicle that has plenty of torque to get you where you need to go quickly with all of your hunting gear in tow. The silence and stability of all-electric UTVs make them especially attractive to hunters—and are a big reason they will likely be showing up at a hunting camp near you one day soon.