WHAT DO YOU GET WITH THE 850 SP?
Lots of good stuff. The SP version
of the Sportsman 850 adds power
steering, engine braking with Active
Descent Control (ADC), aluminum
wheels, and painted bodywork to the
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The Sportsman 850 SP is $9999,
which is a very sensible price for a
nicely outfitted big-bore 4x4. It’s in
the same price range as 700 and
750 4x4s, so why not go for the extra
power? Can-Am’s Outlander 850 DPS
is $10,649. Yamaha’s Grizzly 700 EPS
SE is $10,299. The Kawasaki Brute
Force 750 EPS is $9999. The Suzuki
KingQuad 750 Power Steering Special
Edition is $9599. The base Sportsman
850 is $8499.
WHAT POWERS IT?
An 850cc, single-overhead-
cam, eight-valve inline twin with
78 horsepower. The two cylinders
are in line with the frame, and the
transmission sits behind the engine,
an arrangement that makes the 850’s
midsection unusually slim.
WHAT KIND OF TRANSMISSION DOES IT
A fully automatic, dual-range, belt-type continuously variable transmission
(CVT) with engine braking. Nothing
special there, but the 850 SP also has
Active Descent Control (ADC), a feature
activated by a third switch position on
the 2WD/4WD selector that supplies
engine braking to all four wheels and
automatically limits downhill speed.
Most 4WD systems provide engine
braking to the front and rear wheels
automatically when 4WD is engaged.
WHAT KIND OF 4WD SYSTEM DOES IT
Selectable 2WD/4WD with a quicker-acting version of the Polaris automatic-locking front differential. When you
switch to 4WD, the machine stays
in 2WD until the speed-sensing front
differential detects slip, at which point
it locks in less than a single wheel
rotation. It stays locked until 4WD isn’t
needed, then returns to 2WD. Thanks
to the Sportsman’s power steering,
there’s almost no increase in steering
effort when the front differential locks.
Some machines have manual front
differential-lock controls, and both
systems work well.
HOW FAST IS IT?
It’s a rocket. With 78 horses, the
850 SP has more power than an RZR
900, and it weighs almost 400 pounds
less, so you don’t have to wait around