The Ultimate Do-It-All
Creating An All-Terrain 2021 Polaris RZR Pro XP 4
Words and Photos: Jason Stilgebouer
It’s straight-up mind boggling what UTVs are capable of these days, from rock racing to running the pace of Unlimited Trucks in the desert. Years ago, if you told anyone we would see these accomplishments, you’d be admitted to the asylum.
Undoubtedly, UTVs have come such a long way in very little time, becoming arguably one of the most versatile off-road vehicles to date. Throughout the years, enthusiasts have developed their own micro-niches in this already unique sect of the powersports community. There are those who rep intentionally built rock crawlers, mud slinging machines, trail blazers, and long distance adventurers.
Then, there are those who build UTVs to exclusively rip in the sand dunes. In order for each of these UTVs to be extremely good at one thing, it compromises the other aspects of the capability to some degree. When it came time to build our Polaris RZR Pro XP 4, we were mindful that variety is the spice of life (in the practical sense of course), so we focused on building a UTV which could tackle whatever we threw at it with some grace.
Is any all-purpose vehicle ever the absolute best at one thing? No. But will it hang with those other specifically designed UTVs? Absolutely. We partnered with some incredible companies whose products are preceded by their reputation. Our goal was to craft a Polaris RZR Pro XP which can do just about everything, while maintaining reliability and practicality, deeming it the ultimate memory-making adventure mobile. Whether it was rock crawling in Johnson Valley or ripping the sandy beaches of Baja California with the family, this Polaris needed to do it all and bring us back home to talk about it.
So, how did it work out? It can be said without a doubt this is hands down our best build yet. We started with a 2021 Polaris RZR Pro XP 4 Ultimate, and for a few reasons, these side-by-sides have earned the honors of being one of the most capable and versatile vessels of its kind. From the ergonomics and design to the precision and performance, it’s the gift that keeps on giving even if you only ask a little.
In terms of aesthetics, we kept it simple and true to Polaris’ styling. Not too wild, but accentuating the factory design. A look which wouldn’t scream look at me but would still challenge your ability to look away. That in mind, we knew the factory doors were a must, and Polaris’ Matte Titanium Metallic color would continue to subtly dazzle in the sunlight. But everything else was fair game.
Once we had the green light, we stripped it down to its bones. First to bolt up was the Lone Star Racing roll cage and mid-travel suspension kit. This added five inches of width per side while retaining the original wheelbase. This kit includes a front upper shock mount to improve front-end shock geometry while utilizing the stock Fox Live Valve shocks. Win-win. To complete the package, we partnered with Zollinger Race Products to add their amazing Pro Series 7075 capped billet aluminum knuckles, front and rear. A cool factor sure, but they also offer the peace of mind that these impressive bearing carriers will be handling all the extra weight when things go sideways.
We share some deep roots in rock crawling, so in curating a list of essential upgrades, the list of ass day-saving requirements was healthy. Armor, recovery equipment, tool storage, and true beadlock wheels were a must. Pro Armor Halo Milled wheels wrapped in Kanati/GBC 35-inch Terramaster tires complemented the vehicle’s new aggressive 74” wide footprint. Upfront was an IQ Equipment bumper outfitted with a Warn AXON-55S winch and Factor 55 Ultrahook – two products from companies who are legends in the industry for developing simple, effective recovery products and, most importantly, reliable when it matters most.
But details make all the difference. And few aesthetic eye-catching features were all the shiny billet mounts and accessories. The majority is thanks to the Axia Alloys products strapped to virtually every square inch of the car. Attachments were key to this build, and these mounts kept everything where they belong – no matter what. Developed using 4 Axis CNC technology, these high-grade aluminum mounts are 100% Made in the USA. As if 65 mounting blocks weren’t enough, we also opted for their innovative radius modular roof rack.
The design allows it to match nearly any width, length, and even radius roof. Ours holds the Savage UTV belt case, AGM Product Electric Jack and hovers over a 105-Watt Sunflare flexible solar panel. Yes, a flex solar panel adhered directly to the roof! Is it going to charge the battery from completely dead? Perhaps not, but at least we can have access to at least a slow trickle throughout the daylight hours.
Of course, there are many rack mounted lighting options, but we wanted to try something different. We fastened six KC HiLites Flex Era 4 LED light pods in a lightbar orientation. Utilizing even more Axia Alloys mounts, the FE4s were individually secured. The combination has superior light output and durability ensuring we always had light ahead of us. We added their multi-function 28” chase LED light bar in the rear in between the Bluetooth Gorilla Elite HD LED Whips. Gorilla certainly knows how to brighten up a situation, so we added in over 16 feet of strip lighting and eight rock light pods, just to prove darkness is no reason to stop the fun!
Because this RZR is a Jack-of-All-Trades, we thought: Why not dabble in the overland scene? Those over-build rigs lined up at Starbucks really look like they have it figured out… No, but seriously, the installation of our ARQ4WD 5.5ft awning was a game-changer. Expanding over eight feet off the side of the car and rotating up to 270 degrees, it provided substantial shade over the cargo area. Direct sunlight is a problem no longer, finally solved by some durable materials and clever engineering. Pull up to the lake or desert, pull out the awning, then sit back and relax. Today, we’re here to chill.
But what build is complete without a touch of performance? The dual turbo-back HMF Racing exhaust simply has the best-sounding note, volume, and black-out appearance. Having tested their products for years, it was a clear choice in our book. They also included the DynoJet programmer to make sure we kept fuel and air mixed perfectly. The only other interference to the factory drivetrain we added was an S&B Filters Particulate Separator. A must-have for ALL UTVs, no questions asked.
When you take a look inside, you’ll see all the components which benefit passengers and add to the functionality of the interior at its core. The Pro Armor GForce Pro suspension seats are the only Pro XP offering still allowing use of the stock rear fold down flat storage. Other integrations include front and rear door SSV Works speaker pods. Working with SSV, we were able to pair the Ride Command control with not only the door pods, but the speakers and kicking 10” subwoofer in the dash, as well as the loud 8″ pods out the back. This super sound emits a vibe at epic proportions. And you can’t be the true hero of your adventure if you can’t play your theme song (full blast), right? So, SSV generously helped us belt it out there.
By far, the crowning jewel was the in-house customized center console insert eliminating the storage hole and (sorry Polaris) awkward switch panel. We knew we were going to run a Switch-Pros RCR Force 12, so that switch panel had to go anyway. However, this space was perfect for the Switch Pros and our AiM Infrared Belt Temperature System display. A great stress reliever since we were running bigger tires, and with these updates, we could monitor belt temps and know whether it’s appropriate to hammer down or take it easy on the EPI Performance Pro Series clutching and Severe Duty Drive Belt.
Mounted immediately below that in the same insert was our PCI Race Radios trio of awesomeness: the radio, the Trax Plus intercom, and the variable speed control for our RaceAir Boost Quad. It’s no secret Arizona becomes hellishly hot and dusty, so a fresh air pumper was key to a clear, safe ride. We hid it away underneath the seat in a stealth-mounted airbox to keep it out of the way with one less thing dangling from the roll cage. A small element which makes a big difference when you’re on the go.
Last but certainly not least, you just can’t miss the Viper Machine billet shifter. It looks so good, and at the same time, provides so much functionality – creating a gated shifter to easily toggle between reverse and low. This is important to any rock crawler, eliminating the worry of accidentally slamming it into Park while navigating technical climbs.
Overall, our Polaris Pro XP has an attention to detail which would surprise most. This was, without a doubt, our favorite build here at UTV Sports. And we finished just in time to use it all summer long. We couldn’t have done it without the incredible partnerships we’ve developed over the years; it truly is the most brilliant gem in our garage. And this flagship build isn’t just pretty. It empowers us to go anywhere at any time, just like Polaris intended. With only a few easy additions, the Pro XP 4 platform could cover all the adventure bases, handle the field, and never lose our love of the game. More importantly, we always made it back to the shop to tell the next story.