Raptor vs Polaris RZR: Battle of the Desert Kings

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Can the Raptor Outduel a Polaris RZR On Its Own (Sandy) Turf?

We already know just how good Ford’s all-new Raptor is both on and off the road. But let’s face it, it’s a truck meant to work equally well navigating both rocky trails and grocery store parking lots. The Polaris RZR, on the other hand, is a purpose-built vehicle. Designed for one purpose, really: to conquer the most challenging of trails and put a huge smile on the driver’s face in the process.

But since little competition exists for the Raptor (at the moment) why not put one up against a RZR? Popular Mechanics did just that, and thankfully, they documented the experiment on video. They rounded up a brand spanking new 2017 Raptor and Polaris RZR XP 1000, then headed to Outback ATV Park in Laurinburg, North Carolina, for, you know, a highly scientific study. Or thinly disguised fun.

Raptor - RZR

It might seem easy to pick a winner between the two, but they’re more similar than you might think. Both have fairly even power-to-weight ratios, even though the Raptor out muscles the RZR 450 hp to 110. Both come with outstanding suspension travel, but the RZR wins that battle with 16 inches up front and 18 in the rear. The Raptor makes due with 13 inches up front and 13.9 out back.

On loose surfaces, the Raptor has a much harder time putting the power down. The RZR, on the other hand, would get smoked in a straight line on anything resembling a real road. So, Popular Mechanics chose something that gave the Polaris a fair shot: an 1/8th mile stretch with a good bit of sand — and some bumps thrown in for good measure.

In the end, the race is surprisingly close. Despite fighting for traction, the Raptor still emerged victorious, but not by a lot. Now we just need a rematch, but this time with the RZR XP Turbo, which pumps out 168 hp. Your move, Popular Mechanics.

Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other sites.

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