A cross between a quad and a UTV by Polaris could offer a safer alternative to traditional machines.
This cross between a quad and a UTV — the Polaris Ace 570 HD — has the footprint of a quad but differs in that the rider sits in, rather than on, the machine, steers using a wheel, and accelerates and brakes by means of pedals.
The machine has a full ROPS frame.
The layout is good for a would-be traveller who can’t ride a motorbike, for a farmer having trouble throwing a leg over, or for people needing to tackle difficult terrain - low seat position lowers the centre of gravity.
And the Ace would suit orchards where overhanging canopies limit headroom.
You get aboard through full-width doors and find a comfortable, adjustable seat and steering column. A high-back bucket style seat, substantial side bolsters and a three-point seatbelt impart a sense of security.
Rider safety is further enhanced by limiting speed to 25km/h if the seatbelt is not locked in position.
Powered by a Polaris ProStar engine delivering 44hp, the 570 is no slowcoach, topping out where conditions allow at about 80km/h.
Speed/range selection is by a single, right side lever offering high, low, neutral, reverse or park lock. There are disc brakes on each wheel, and the front axle benefits further from twin-pot callipers.
Like other Polaris machines, on-demand true AWD is standard; the machine effectively uses 2WD until wheel slip is detected and AWD is engaged. This happens seamlessly and during our test we never looked like getting stuck. But in extreme conditions a diff-lock can be used to lock both axles together.
In rough conditions, 260mm of ground clearance gives the Ace great ability, and 240mm of rear wheel travel keeps the operator comfortable and the wheels planted.
Suspension layout takes the form of a HD double-A arm set-up, with HD front and rear anti-roll bars limiting body roll.
The Ace also carries several modifications for the Australasian market, including sealed ball joints, driveshaft splines and suspension bushes, which all serve to extend the service life.
First impressions of the Ace are of something different, and it is an option worth considering, showing that a manufacturer’s thinking outside the norm can pull an ace from up the sleeve to deliver a full house.