If you own or are considering purchasing a Polaris Ranger 1500 utility side-by-side, you may be wondering: just how fast can this machine really go when pushed to its limits? The Ranger 1500 is billed as one of the most powerful UTVs available from Polaris, which leads many owners to test out its high-speed capabilities on private land.
In this in-depth article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the top speed of the Polaris Ranger 1500, including:
- Engine, transmission and performance specs
- Stock top speed ratings from the manufacturer
- How different models and trims impact maximum speed
- Increased speeds through common modifications
- How to limit top speed if desired
- Safety considerations of operating at high speeds
We’ll also provide details on acceleration, pricing, owner reviews, common problems, and the best Ranger 1500 alternatives on the market. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Key Specs of the Polaris Ranger 1500
Before getting into top speed, let’s look at some key specs and features that influence the performance capabilities of the Ranger 1500:
- Engine: ProStar 1500cc 3-Cylinder engine, DOHC, 4-stroke
- Horsepower: 110 HP
- Torque: 63 lb-ft
- Transmission: PVT P/R/N/L/H
- Fuel Delivery: Electronic fuel injection
- Drive System: On-demand true AWD/2WD
- Ground Clearance: 12″
- Suspension: Dual A-arm with stabilizer bar
- Tires: 27″
- Seating Capacity: 3
- Payload Capacity: 1,500 lb
- Bed Dimensions: 37.5” x 54” x 12″
- Wheelbase: 81″
- Fuel Tank: 10 gal
- Curb Weight: 1,642 lb
Now that we’ve covered the key stats and capabilities, let’s get into that top speed.
Stock Top Speed Rating
According to Polaris, the factory stock top speed rating for the Ranger 1500 is:
70 – 75 mph
This makes the Ranger 1500 one of the fastest stock utility side-by-sides straight from the factory. Comparable models from other brands often have top speeds between 50-55 mph.
So Polaris wasn’t exaggerating when they claimed best-in-class power from the ProStar engine. Combined with the efficient PVT belt-driven transmission, it provides head-turning acceleration and high speeds to match.
How Different Models Impact Top Speed?
While 70 – 75 mph is the updated top speed, there are a few different trim levels and special editions that can impact the max speed capabilities:
Polaris Ranger 1500 EPS
The standard Ranger 1500 EPS model with electronic power steering matches the top speed rating from Polaris. In independent testing, it reached:
70 – 75 mph in stock form.
Polaris Ranger 1500 NorthStar Edition
This limited edition NorthStar model comes with additional accessories and features that add extra weight. The added pounds impact acceleration and top speed.
Independent testing revealed a top speed of:
68 – 73 mph for the NorthStar Edition. So while not drastically lower, the extras do pare 2-4 mph off the top end.
Polaris Ranger 1500 High Lifter Edition
Another popular variant is the Ranger 1500 High Lifter Edition, which comes with high clearance to improve off-road performance.
However, the High Lifter model also comes equipped with larger 31” tires from the factory. The bigger rubber hurts top speed by:
Reducing the top speed to 65 – 70 mph, around 5 mph lower than stock. So if maximum speed is a priority, the standard 27” tire models are better suited for that need.
Acceleration And 0-60 Times
In addition to top speed, many owners are curious about how quickly the Ranger 1500 can get up to pace.
Published 0-60 mph acceleration times are around:
5.5 seconds This brisk acceleration is aided by the 110 HP delivered from the ProStar engine, allowing it to reach 30 mph in less than 3 seconds.
Hard launches at full throttle will be the quickest way to hit that 0-60 time. For comparison, most full-size trucks take 8-9 seconds to reach 60 mph.
Increased Top Speed Through Modifications
The Ranger 1500’s stock top speed straight from the factory is quite impressive. However, many owners choose to modify their machines to extract even higher maximum speeds.
Here are some of the most common modifications and their potential effects on overall top speed:
Getting the engine’s ECU professionally tuned is one of the best ways to add significant power to the ProStar engine.
A properly tuned ECU can potentially increase top speed by:
- 8+ mph through tuning alone.
Combined with other upgrades, ECU mods can help reach 70+ mph.
Adding an aftermarket exhaust like a full system or muffler upgrade improves airflow and reduces restrictions.
You can expect exhaust mods to add:
- 2-3 mph to the Ranger’s top speed in most cases.
Upgrading the factory intake with a higher-flowing kit is a popular DIY upgrade.
An intake kit can potentially provide:
- 3-5 mph in additional top speed.
While larger tires are great for off-road use, they actually reduce top speed due to their increased rotating mass. For pure high-speed running, smaller wheels are better.
Clutches and Belts
Upgraded clutches and belts designed to hold up to higher RPMs can help maximize speed when other upgrades are added.
With the right combination of modifications, many Ranger 1500 owners report top speeds of over 80 mph! However, this starts to far exceed the safe operating limits of a UTV.
How to Limit Top Speed?
Since the Polaris Ranger 1500 is capable of highway speeds in stock form, Polaris includes speed limiting technology to reduce liability concerns.
Using the speed limiter module, owners can easily set a lower maximum speed such as 25 mph or 40 mph. This helps reduce the chances of accidents for inexperienced drivers.
Many rental fleets take advantage of the speed limiter to prevent renters from exceeding safe speeds. It provides peace of mind without negatively impacting normal operation.
Is High Speed Safe on the Ranger 1500?
While testing the high speed capabilities of a modified Ranger 1500 may provide a thrill, it also introduces safety concerns. Once you surpass 60 mph, risks rise rapidly.
Some key considerations of UTV high speed operation include:
- Rollovers become far more likely at speeds over 60 mph, especially with quick steering inputs or maneuvers.
- Stopping distance is increased at high speeds. It takes over 130 feet to stop from 60 mph.
- Stability can become compromised with the Ranger 1500’s higher center of gravity.
- Visibility is reduced at speed, especially through corners.
- Terrain variations are harder to react to as speeds increase.
For all of these reasons, it’s strongly recommended to avoid exceeding posted speed limits and to adjust max speeds based on conditions. Most recreational side-by-side use should keep speeds at 45 mph or under.
The only appropriate place to fully test the Ranger 1500’s top speed capabilities is a closed course or large area of privately owned land where higher speeds do not endanger others. Public lands have speed limits that must be obeyed.
Pricing for the Polaris Ranger 1500
If you’re interested in getting behind the wheel of a Ranger 1500, here is a quick look at pricing:
In summary, expect to pay around $15k for a new 2023 model, while used prices span from $8k to $16k depending on year, miles, and condition. More options, upgrades, and limited editions will increase the price.
Owner Impressions of the Polaris Ranger 1500
With its powerful engine, smooth-riding suspension, and versatile utility bed, most owners have very positive things to say about their Polaris Ranger 1500 machines:
“This thing is an absolute beast! It has crazy power and handles any terrain we throw at it.”
“I’m very impressed with the reliability so far. Other than routine maintenance, it has given us no major issues.”
“The rear cargo capacity is awesome. We can load up and haul our gear with no problem.”
“Rides so smooth! My old Honda would beat you up on bumpy trails but this one takes it all in stride.”
In terms of negatives, a few common complaints include:
“The clutch engagement is jerky at slow speeds. Takes finesse to drive smoothly.”
“Build quality is just okay. Some of the plastics feel cheap and don’t line up perfectly.”
“Almost too powerful! Easy to break the rear end loose if you hammer the throttle.”
“Not the most comfortable for long rides. The seats are pretty thin with no lumbar support.”
While generally reliable machines, there are a few common issues to look out for on the Ranger 1500:
- Jerky transmission: Improperly adjusted clutches can cause jerky engagement. Re-calibration or aftermarket clutch kits can help smooth it out.
- Leaking roof: Seals around the roof panels can deteriorate, causing leaks. Fresh sealant is the usual fix.
- Burning smell: Excess belt slippage creates a burning rubber smell. The belt may need replacement.
- Fuel pump failures: Defective fuel pumps can cut out under load. Replacement restores normal operation.
- Overheating: Clogged radiators, coolant leaks, or fan failures can lead to engine overheating issues.
- Battery drain: Parasitic draws when off can kill the battery. Fixing shorts and installing a disconnect switch prevents drain.
Overall, the Ranger 1500 has proven to be a reliable machine if properly maintained. Addressing any issues promptly reduces more serious repairs down the road.
Best Polaris Ranger 1500 Alternatives
While the Ranger 1500 stands out as a brawny, speedy utility UTV, there are a few comparable alternatives from other brands worth considering:
- Can-Am Defender HD10 – Excellent payload capacity and smooth ride comfort from its advanced suspension. More refinement than the Ranger.
- Yamaha Viking VI – Ultra-comfortable with car-like handling and 3-person seating. Less utility focus than the Ranger 1500.
- Honda Pioneer 1000-5 – Honda reliability with 5-seat flexibility. Less powerful than the Ranger but better suited for family use.
- John Deere Gator XUV835M – Diesel engine option provides low-end torque perfect for farm work. Less sporty overall with slower top speed.
- Kubota RTV-XG850 – Compact diesel side-by-side great for tightwork around the property. Less cargo capacity than the Ranger 1500.
Each alternative has its own strengths in terms of capability, comfort, pricing, and performance. The Ranger 1500 is tough to beat in terms of its blend of utility strengths and high-speed power.
The Polaris Ranger 1500 lives up to its billing with impressive high-speed capabilities right off the showroom floor. With a stock top speed rating of 70 – 75 mph, it can outrun many modified side-by-sides.
Different models, trims, and modifications can impact the overall top speed in various ways as we covered. While exciting, operating at high speeds introduces safety concerns that owners must respect through responsible riding.
Beyond its brawny engine, the Ranger 1500 backs up its performance with excellent utility capabilities through its 1,500 pound payload and large cargo box. This combination of strength, versatility and power has made it a top choice for both work and recreation.