Polaris Ranger 150 Review: Is it better than the RZR 170?

Tomorrow, I’m driving to another state to pick up a Polaris Ranger 150.  I’m not yet an owner, so the views in this article are still going off my initial impressions and a review of the specs and such, but hopefully, it will be helpful.

So what’s my review of the Polaris Ranger 150?  The all-new Polaris Ranger 150 is–by far–the most appealing option for a youth UTV right now.  It blows every other option out of the water.  It has advanced safety options, is reliable by all reports, and can be purchased for about the same price as a dirt bike.  It is the ultimate machine for your kids and teens to enjoy the outdoors.

Read on for more details on this creative new solution to the youth UTV market.

What’s New in the Ranger 150?

The stand-out feature of the Ranger 150 EFI is the large digital panel in the center of the dashboard with safety and GPS controls.  This allows the parents to set a maximum speed via their phone app and then push the settings to the vehicle.  Parents can also set up a “geofence,” which means a mapped out specific area where the kids can’t go, or where you want their speed to be lower.

The other impressive feature of the Ranger 150, and why I believe it’s far superior to the Razor 170 is the adjustability.  The Ranger has seats that slide forward and back to accommodate your kids’ height as they grow, and also a steering wheel which manually tilts up and down to adjust for them.

Another nice feature of the new Ranger is that it has larger wheels.  The Ranger 150 has 22″ front and rear tires, while the tires on the RZR 170 are 19″ and 20″ (front and rear).  This improves handling and allows riders to go over bigger bumps.

Ranger 150 vs RZR 170

Benefits of the Ranger 150

  • Seats slide back and forth and steering wheel tilts up and down to accommodate growing kids
  • Has GPS, geofencing, and the RideCommander app to control the side-by-side’s max speed
  • Has larger tires (2 or 3 inches depending on which wheel)
  • Better ground clearance at 8 inches (20cm), compared to only 6 inches (15 cm) on the 170
  • Has a dedicated payload area with 50-pound (22.7 kg) capacity
  • Dual A-arm front suspension with 5.1 inches of travel, compared to the front single A-arm on the RZR with 5 inches travel
  • Has actual instrumentation!  Speedometer, odometer, trip meter, voltage meter, engine temperature, engine hour meter, programmable service interval, engine RPM, geofence status.  The RZR 170?  Yeah, it has a completely non-functional STICKER on the dash that looks like a speedometer!  This is a HUGE upgrade in my opinion.

Benefits of the RZR 170

  • $200 cheaper than the Ranger
  • Slightly faster with 20cc larger engine
  • Weighs 531 pounds (241 kg), compared to the Ranger’s 672 pounds (305 kg) weight
  • In my opinion, has a better roll cage
  • You have two color options (green and white for the current year).  You can pick any color Ranger you want, as long as it’s red.
  • The RZR has a more aggressive appearance, compared to the Ranger which looks more like a farm utility vehicle

Similarities of the RZR 170 and the Ranger 150

  • Both are 2WD
  • Both are electronically fuel injected
  • Both are 4 strokes
  • Both have 2.5-gallon gas tanks
  • Both have hydraulic disc brakes
  • Neither have power steering
  • Both have a safety rating for 10 years old and up.  One of the dealerships required I provide a birth certificate to prove my kid was old enough.  What!?!?  Heck no, I’m not violating my child’s privacy to jump through your bureaucracy, Polaris.
  • Neither come with a front windshield, roof, or brush guard
  • Both have daytime running lights and a single rear LED brake light

Safety

As mentioned previously, the digital display with GPS features makes this side-by-side much safer for kids.  I can set the speed limit in the BLM land of my house to be 22 miles per hour, but restrict the speed limit outside that area to whatever I want.  For me, I set the outside speed limit to 10 miles per hour.  This guarantees they drive slowly on the 1/4 mile stretch of street they have to drive before getting to the public land area.  When they leave the geofenced area, it doesn’t disable the vehicle, but slows it down.  It’s easy to disable the geofence for when you go camping or travel with it.

The Polarise Ride Command app is how parents set the settings.  I’ve heard a few reports of experiencing glitches, but in general, I’m hearing really good things about how the technology is implemented.  It’s also nice to have controls on the digital display so you can quickly change the speed limiter or geofence from in the vehicle when you’re in the vehicle to control things.

Polaris built this vehicle specifically for an improved safety experience in a youth ATV.  You’ll see that in every decision made in the vehicle’s design.  However, I feel they really missed the mark on one aspect of the vehicle’s safety.  The roll cage, in my uneducated opinion, seems inadequate on the Ranger 150.  I’m no engineer.  I guarantee they did lots of testing on it, but my personal view is that they could do a lot more to beef it up.  I would like to see some supports extending to the back of the cargo area and connecting to the top of the roll cage.  As a parent, I’m less confident in letting my kids “go for it” with the stock roll cage.

The fact that the roll cage doesn’t have an additional support extending to the cargo area may make it less able to “roll” and thus would make an impact more abrupt.  The RZR 170 has a full roll cage with supports extending diagonally to the back and I feel it was not wise to skip that support in this design, but again that’s just my personal and uneducated opinion.  That’s just a parent’s view on it.

Also, I wonder why Polaris doesn’t include a fire extinguisher with their side-by-sides?  In my opinion, that’s kind of a no-brainer.  There is always a slight risk of fire when riding these vehicles through brush and Polaris has had several fire-related recalls in the past.  Seems like including a mounted small fire extinguisher would be a nice safety upgrade.  Boats and RVs come with them.

Price and Available Accessories

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of this machine is $5,499 but you can talk most dealers down to about $4,900 which includes two helmets.

There are a number of optional accessories made by Polaris, and plenty more are sure to come onto the market from third-party companies over time.  Polaris does a good job of making their accessories available for the normal price on Amazon, so they are easy to buy.

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