Polaris Ranger XD 1500 is the side-by-side you buy instead of a Ute

The first full weather protection side-by-side has been released by Polaris and it has the potential to face an identity crisis

The Polaris Ranger XD 1500 is the first side-by-side to offer the combination of a 3-cylinder engine with 81kw (110hp) that is mated to an automotive grade sealed steel belt transmission for smoother and more durable performance

Unless another all-terrain vehicle manufacturer comes out quickly with a side-by-side with doors and full panelling and enclosed roof protection, the Polaris Ranger XD 1500 will have to convince the market that it’s a viable alternative to a no-frills Ute that costs about the same.

Billed as an extreme duty all-terrain vehicle the Polaris Ranger XD 1500 would look good in the shed and no doubt with its ability to cart up to 6 passengers and do a whole lot of jobbing work would be a handy ride.

The only roadblock for most prospective buyers will be a price range that offers three seats starting at US$29,999 for the XD 1500 premium, and US$39,999 for the higher speced NorthStar premium.

While the model that large-scale operations will want, the six-seater has a starting price of US$44,499 for the NorthStar premium, while the most fancied NorthStar ultimate will set you back the equivalent of US$49,499.

If the current season holds off the threat of developing an El Niño event that could reduce grain crop production by as much as a third for season 2023-24, many growers could easily afford a Polaris XD 1500 and buy one simply for man-toy status.

The Polaris Ranger XD 1500 is equipped with a spacious cab that offers increased leg and shoulder room making it easy to enter and exit the vehicle along with a fully adjustable and heated seat and a telescopic steering wheel

And once you have one in the farm fleet, it could be difficult to work without it.

The Ranger XD offers many firsts for an all-terrain vehicle. It has all the power you need with a 3-cylinder engine that purrs out 81kW (110hp) with a force of 142Nm of torque at 4800rpm and has successfully mated it with a SteelDrive CVT transmission that would usually be found in a compact car.

This transmission thrust takes away any guesswork by the driver as it runs through the surety the steel CVT belt offers. And as far as maintenance is concerned, the transmission is built to work 10,000km before it needs a simple oil and filter change.

With the transmission upgrade comes a different way of controlling the Ranger XD, don’t expect to see a traditional high/low range lever, instead look for the rotary dial to the left of the steering for the tow/haul mode.

This dial is the key to setting all drive modes, AWD/2WD/Turf/Ultra Turf, as it lets you switch between sport, comfort, and standard while also controlling everything from throttle response to shift points.

The Ranger XD can hold 680kg in the cargo box that by the way has an electronic lid lift and is wired with a 12V power port and provides a nearly 50% increase in capacity.

As you prepare to mount the Ranger XD 1500 it’s about now you realise how much this model has moved away from a conventional side-by-side. There is extra bulk built into every corner.

The chassis is a sturdy single piece made from high strength steel that sits 380mm (15-inches) off the ground courtesy of high-clearance arched A-arms to overcome large obstacles. This build also gives the Ranger XD 1500 a dry weight starting at 1270kg for the entry level three-seater and up to 1507kg for the six-seater.

And just when did all-terrain vehicle designers decide a farmer needs a fully enclosed cab on their side-by-side. Because that’s just what you have with the XD 1500.

Farmers never have to get their pinkies wet ever again as the NorthStar Edition comes with a fully enclosed ProShield cab with doors, and complete sealing to keep dust and water out while also locking the temperature inside the climate-controlled cab with a multimode HVAC system.

And to soften the price entry blow, the cab is equipped with power windows in automotive styling and is simply big and comfortable with the choice of three trim levels, premium, NorthStar premium, and NorthStar ultimate.

Add to that list fully adjustable heated seats, a first on a side-by-side from the factory and a telescopic steering wheel that allows all drivers to find the perfect fit.

To pad things out further, consider the 178mm (7-inch) waterproof touchscreen display powered by Ride Command technology with an in-built backup camera, ride with the confidence of GPS navigation regardless of broadband service, and keep entertained with Bluetooth streaming capability.

In addition, drivers can keep tabs on their vehicles directly from the Ride Command Polaris App and access critical vehicle information such as location, maintenance reminders, and vehicle diagnostics.

And we are now at the point of realising the Ranger XD 1500 is not an all-terrain vehicle that has been offered previously. This is a different class of vehicle and has taken go-anywhere side-by-sides into farm Ute and Utility tractor territory.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a weak El Niño and be able to dodge a positive Indian Ocean Dipole that can also suppress spring rainfall over much of Australia and potentially exacerbate the drying effect of an El Niño event.

And if successful, go out and order a Polaris Ranger XD 1500. See more on this link.

Polaris Ranger Crew XD 1500 NorthStar Edition Ultimate specs