Inside The Polaris ACE: An In Depth Analysis
May 19th 2019
Thinking about getting the Polaris ACE one-seater side-by-side? Are you weighing the options between ACE models, comparing and contrasting the pros and cons of the ACE 325, the ACE 570, and the ACE 900 XC and 900 SP? If so, stick around, because in this post, we’re going to dig a little deeper into the Polaris ACE to identify what makes this awesome machine tick. We will also outline a few of the areas where each ACE edition excels, as well as explain a few drawbacks of the various Polaris ACE models. So let's get to it!
How Does The ACE Compare To The RZR?
Before we compare the four different Polaris ACE models, let's first draw some distinctions between the ACE and it’s bigger brother: the Polaris RZR.
When juxtaposing the ACE 900 XC and the RZR 900S, the differences jump out at you right away. The RZR 900S is capable of producing 75hp, while the 900 XC can crank out a whopping 78hp (that is, when it is properly upgraded and tuned with an integrated clutch, tuner, and exhaust). The RZR weighs around 1,200 pounds, whereas the Polaris ACE only weighs a little over 1,000 pounds. With more power and a lighter build, it would seem obvious that the ACE must be faster than the 900S, but that ultimately depends on the final gearing and the aftermarket accessories installed. Both vehicles use the same motor, but according to Polaris, the stock Polaris ACE SP can only produce 60 horsepower, which is considerably less power than the RZR 900 — especially in ground conditions like sand.
A good number of Polaris 900s (both RZRs and ACEs) use a single throttle body fuel injection system that is drive-by-wire. Consequently, there are huge gains to be had by switching to the older duel throttle body set-up, but some light fabrication is required to connect the throttle cable. There are a few other things required to complete that conversion as well, but we’ll digress for now so we can touch on the differences between the various Polaris ACE models.
The ACE 900 VS The ACE 570: Which Is Superior?
Like with all UTVs and other off-road vehicles, there is no clear winner between the ACE 900 and the ACE 570. The superior side-by-side is one that works best with your personal driving style and the conditions you ride. Do you creep through tight, technical, trails, or do you fly down open roads at high speeds? Are you looking for smooth rides and powerful bursts of acceleration, or something that can take you further on the same amount of gas — is it all about miles per gallon, or is a metric like smiles per gallon more important to you? All ACE models are dependable, sturdy, and reliable, but if you want an optimal machine for your particular area and driving preferences, it’s good to know the differences between similar UTV makes.
The trail edition ACE 900 XC, for example, uses significantly more fuel than it’s smaller-cylinder counterparts. The range in the 570cc ACE is about 130 miles, whereas you’ll likely get no more than 90 miles out of a single 900 tank. With an external Polaris ACE fuel pack, however, you can ride stronger for longer! The ACE 900 also generates a bit more cab heat than the ACE 570, which is why many ACE owners refrain from adding lower doors to their machines. Another way to combat heat in the ACE is to use machine-specific heat shields or simply install two small pieces of foam pipe insulation under the dash to help block engine heat.
If ride quality is your main concern, you may want to go with the ACE 900 XC. In the 900 XC, you can easily go 50-55mph in a sandy creek over 6" ruts and not feel much jostling. The 900 XC suspension soaks up a lot of the smaller stuff when going slow as well. So in addition to having more power and twin cylinders, the 900cc ACE has better suspension. But, like most things regarding UTVs, you can always upgrade non-XC ACE models with aftermarket shocks and springs for a plusher and more comfortable ride!
On a strictly horsepower basis, the Polaris ACE 900 is more powerful. But for many riders, the ACE 570 has more than enough power. Besides, you can only go so fast on windy trails anyways. Unless you plan on driving your ACE to work on the interstate, the top speed of the 570cc is likely sufficient. Because the ACE 900 is more powerful, however, it can easily handle a couple hundred pounds of aftermarket accessories and gear, steep inclines, bigger tires, and strong headwinds. On the flip side, the 900 ACE is more expensive and harder on fuel, so it all boils down to what you deem to be important. The extra horsepower of the 900cc ACE might be totally unnecessary, or it might make a day of cruising at 50-60mph easy and effortless.
ACE Wheelbase Widths: Does Size Really Matter?
Another key difference between the ACE 900 and the smaller ACE editions (the 570 and ACE 325) is the width of the machines. For 50” trails, the 570 will take you a lot deeper than the ACE 900 can. Furthermore, if you don't add 2" wheel spacers and offset wheels on the front and back, a tuned up 90hp ACE 900 SP can be a death trap. There’s just way too much power for that wheelbase and width. And if you do widen the wheelbase, the 900 SP will no longer be legal for all those 50” trails. Thus, many riders think its best to stick with the fuel efficient 570, which has plenty of power for the trails.
If you’re an insatiable speed daemon, though, and yearn for that acceleration-powered adrenaline rush, you might as well opt for the ACE 900 XC — which has the same motor as the 900 SP tuned for speed from the factory as well as front a-arms with the proper stance to accommodate that insane horsepower. For those that do choose to max out the horsepower on their ACE 900 SPs without widening the stance for more stability, we'd suggest running the best harnesses, helmets, fire extinguishers, and other safety accessories... you'll likely need them.
If you think you need a big ol' motor and are willing to pay more for the bragging rights, the ACE 900 is sure to impress. For many riders, however, the 570 ACE is more than enough to meet their needs. Some Polaris ACE owners would rather have the newer front end, but many prefer the old faithful strut system because they’ve been working and riding with it for so long that they're used to it. Most accessories work on all ACE models, so there’s not many differences when it comes to potential performance ad-ons and upgrades. At the end of the day, be it an ACE 325, an ACE 570, or an ACE 900, it doesn’t really matter what size ACE you have as long as you’re having a blast riding it!