Polaris, the global leader in off-road vehicles has officially set foot in India. In a grand launch event held near New Delhi, the American off-road vehicle maker launched its entire range of ATVs, Side-by-side off-road jeeps and snow mobiles in the country. While the presence of ATVs in the Indian market has been limited till date, the entry of a global player like Polaris should see off-road vehicles such as ATVs become more popular. The Polaris product range is exhaustive, and boasts of ATVs ranging from a small 50cc ATV for kids to a full-sized, two-seater 850cc ATV. The Side-by-sides are sold under the Ranger brand, the range for which begins from a small 170cc, two-seater side-by-side to an 800cc utility vehicle that can seat, two, four or even six people depending the variant, apart from boasting of excellent load carrying capacities even in off-road conditions.
Globally, Polaris is the market leader in ATVs, and boasts of more than 25 per cent market share in the segment. Polaris has already appointed ten dealers in key cities across the country, and hopes to have as many as 25 dealers by 2012. The ATVs and side by sides will be imported directly at CBUs (Completely Built Units) from Mexico. Talking about the launch, Pankaj Dubey, MD, Polaris India Pvt Ltd said, "The ATV segment in the country is at a very nascent stage in the country right now, but we are keen on tapping the huge potential it has. Polaris is a global player in the ATV segment and will definitely make ATVs a lot more popular in the country than what they currently are."
At the launch event, OVERDRIVE got to sample the Sportsman 850 EFI ATV and the Ranger 4x4 500EFI, both of which were quick to impress us with their off-roading abilities. The Sportsman 850 EFI can be customised to either seat only the rider, or a pillion as well. It boasts of an 850cc, twin-cylinder four-stroke motor that develops an impressive 70PS of power, and is mated to an automatic transmission. It features power-steering, on-demand AWD (All-wheel drive) with high and low ratios, and disc brakes all around. Low-down torque is this off-roader's forte, and the 850 EFI is more than happy spinning its rear wheels in two-wheel drive mode on any surface. Brilliant engineering allows one to ride the ATV even through knee-deep water without having to worry about water getting logged into the brakes or engine. It also boasts of excellent suspension all-around with the front end sporting a MacPherson strut, while the rear has a dual A-arm type suspension. The suspension set-up feels stiff, yet comfortable on almost any surface.
The Ranger 500EFI can seat two persons comfortably and has a loading bay at the back that is good for carrying up to 225kg of weight. It sports a 498cc, single-cylinder four-stroke engine that develops 32PS of power and is mated to an automatic transmission. It has AWD on demand, disc brakes all around and also boasts of MacPherson struts upfront and dual A-arm type suspension at the rear. The Ranger 500EFI has a car-like feel while driving, and feels like a miniature SUV. The mechanical steering is surprisingly light, and making taking quick turns a breeze, but has massive play. Ride quality is firm, and aids handling, especially while in slushy conditions. The Ranger 500 EFI boasts of good low-down grunt, and is comfortable wading through water-crossings as well.
While final pricing is yet to be made available, the range begins from approximately Rs 2.5 lakh for the 50cc ATV, going all the way up to about Rs 20 lakh for the Ranger 4x4 800. Stay tuned for further details.