Polaris High Lifter ATV Review | Hunt or Shred

The Polaris Sportsman 1000 XP High Lifter is an infamous mud monster popular among thrill-seekers. So, what does this ATV score in every particular department?

ATV enthusiasts are heaping praise on the Polaris Sportsman 1000 XP for its engine power and transmission abilities to power this ATV through the toughest of terrains. 85 horsepower is certainly no joke for an ATV, making it one of the best quad-bikes for mud and snow trails. 

While hundreds of other ATVs can take on the mud trails, they lack something or the other. Some lack engine power to drag them out of sticky situations, and others lack the suspensions to sustain shocks and protect your ATV from wear. The Polaris Sportsman 1000 XP is the closest ATV having ample juice to power your ride and have the ability to bear loads that come along the way. However, if you want a powerful ATV that can conquer the most demanding routes without wear and tear, you should take the Sportsman 1000 XP High Lifter for a spin.

You might not have the means to try out this monster ATV without paying top dollar for it. Fortunately, I have had the pleasure of experiencing this beautiful yet beastly ATV and testing it at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area. This is one of the most challenging terrains near Shamokin, PA, consisting of deep mud, rocks, running water, and woods. The fact that I am writing this article proves that my experience with the Polaris Sportsman 1000 XP High Lifter was extraordinary. Below, I have reviewed the ATV to help you make a better buying decision.

Table of contents


What Makes It Special?

Before we move on to breaking down all areas of this Polaris ATV, let me tell you how this ATV is different from a regular Polaris Sportsman 1000 XP. While the engine capacity, transmission, and other basics are similar between both models, this vehicle is modified especially for rougher mud terrains.

Polaris has collaborated with High Lifter – a company that helps manufacturers modify their ATVs and UTVs for mud and snow-specific trails. Therefore, the name of the ATV is based solely on this collaboration. The result of this collaboration is a mud-specific ATV with upgraded tires, waterproofing, suspension, and a few exterior tweaks.

There are many mud-specific ATVs with highly aggressive attributes, but there are many factors that the Polaris Sportsman 1000 XP possesses that make it beyond aggressive. This is the first word that came to my mind before I even spun that throttle. One of the many things I adore about this bike is that although it is a specified mud trailing ATV, it doesn’t look lifted.

Many aggressive ATVs are stock-lifted, or riders have them lifted to have the maximum ground clearance. While this ATV doesn't have an unnatural lift, it has 13.5-inches of ground clearance, which is significant for terrains with demanding conditions. This specific feature is courtesy of the stiffer springs equipped in this vehicle that increase the ground clearance without increasing the gap between the tire and the bumper.

Let’s take a look at some individual specifications and how they perform in the toughest conditions.


As with any vehicle, the engine is the soul of the ATV. The Sportsman 1000 XP is power-packed with a 952cc liquid-cooled dual cylinder engine with an 85 hp turnover. Similar to other sportsman engines, this is also equipped with a fuel-injection system that helps the engine start effortlessly and gets the throttle going instantly. The intake is installed in a stock position. On the other hand, the combustion air intake is located at the front with two snorkel pipes. This helps to facilitate the waterproofing capabilities of the ATV.

Radiators are often the cause and the victim of water leakage leading to heat-ups and rusty metals. If you are unfortunate, this can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. This Polaris ATV comes with a unique rack supporting the radiator with a dual cooling fan placed under the rack to ensure you’re safe from radiator damage or water leakage.


Riding efficiently through sloppy mud takes significant power, and only a powerful engine is not enough to help you conquer demanding terrain. Also, the huge mud-terrain tires require more power to transit into a smooth motion. To help you excel with powerful pickups and the right amount of power, this mud-specific ATV has its gear ratio reduced down by 45%. A lower gear ratio compresses the engine power into smaller gears, exerts more power, and excels forward without compromising performance.

In comparison, shifting gears is like all other Polaris Sportsman varieties: from the right handle. You can also modify your transmission with the all-wheel-drive kit, which is abundantly helpful in deep, sloppy mud.


Suspensions are undoubtedly one of the main factors that make or break a good mud trail ATV. If the suspensions are not strong enough with the right flexibility, your whole ride will end up suffering the damages. To keep this ATV moving forward against huge rocks and bumps, High Lifters have equipped this ATV with dual A-arms at both ends, so it stays high above the ground and easily skips the obstacles in its way.

As mentioned earlier, Stiffer springs help the ride maintain high ground clearance without looking unnatural. These suspension springs also help the rider manage the huge mud-trail tires and keep them from damaging the bumpers. However, manufacturers still had to reduce the turning radius because even the stiffer springs couldn't keep the tires from contacting the bumpers if they stumbled upon a rock while turning. The limited turning radius is not a problem with slightly steering either way. However, you might need to put more effort into making a u-turn.

Overall, this ATV’s suspension is several levels above a regular ATV’s suspension due to the very specific modification by specialized professionals.

Wheel Circuit (Wheel, Tire, & Brakes)

When everything is on point in a mud-specific ATV, it will surely have a gigantic-looking tire set with huge lugs to claw its way through rigid and damp mud. The best thing is you don't need to spend a penny on new tires as this ATV comes with the High Lifter Outlaw II tires, which are 29.5-inches high! That's not all. The tires are mounted on beautiful black 14-inches high aluminum rims. So this wheel set offers extraordinary performance and good looks.

Due to the huge tire size and equally huge lugs, the ride was slow and felt like a tractor at first. As I crossed past 15mph, the ride was smooth with immense traction. However, the tires are mud-specific only, and they can easily pull out the roots in your garden. So keep the ATV off your lawn to ensure it stays green.

The brakes are much like other ATV brakes: A hydraulic brake system controlled by a handle brake at the left and a foot brake at the right.


  • 85hp ProStar Engine
  • High Mounted Air Intake
  • Lower Gear Ratios
  • Snorkeled Clutch and Engine Intake
  • 29.5" High Lifter Outlaw II Tires
  • Rack-mounted radiator with inverted dual fans
  • Electric Power Steering (EPS)
  • Close-ratio On-Demand All-Wheel Drive
  • Articulated Independent Rear Suspension (IRS)
  • High-Ground Clearance
  • Dual A-Arm Suspension
  • 3,500lb. Polaris Winch
  • Centered Handlebar-Mounted Mud Bar


Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, 952cc 4-Stroke Twin Cylinder DOHC
Transmission/Final Drive: Automatic PVT H/L/N/R/P; Shaft
Drive System Type: High-Performance Close Ratio On-Demand True AWD/2WD
Fuel System: Electronic Fuel Injection
Electronic Power Steering (EPS): Standard
Front Suspension: Hi-Clearance Arched Dual A-Arm 7.4" (18.8 cm) Travel
Rear Suspension: Hi-Clearance Arched Dual A-Arm, Rolled 6.7" (17cm) Travel
Front/Rear Brakes: Single Lever 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Hydraulic Rear Foot Brakes
Parking Brake: Park In-Transmission, lockable hand lever
Front Tires: 29.5 x 9.5-14; Outlaw
Rear Tires: 29.5 x 9.5-14; Outlaw
Wheels: 14" cast aluminum
Rear Rack Capacity: 75 lb (34 kg)
Fuel Capacity: 5.25 gal (19.9 L)
Ground Clearance: 13.5" (34.3 cm)
Overall Vehicle Size: 88 x 49 x 52" (223 x 124 x 132 cm)
Payload Capacity: 290 lbs (132 kg)
Seat Height: 39" (94 cm)
Wheelbase: 53" (134.6 cm)
Estimated Dry Weight: 974 lb (441 kg)
Cargo System: Lock & Ride
Hitch Towing Rating: 1,500 lb (680 kg)
Hitch Type: Standard/1.25" Receiver
Instrumentation: Analog, Speedometer, Tachometer, Digital Odometer, Two Tripmeters, Clock, Hour Meter, DC Outlet, Service Time, Diagnostic Indicator, Fuel Gauge, Gear Indicator, Hi-Temp/Low-Batt Lights
Lighting: Dual 50w Low Beam Headlights; Dual Brake Lights/Tail Lights
Winch: Polaris HD 3,500


The excitement of riding the Polaris Sportsman 1000 XP High Lifter soon shattered when I first spun the throttle on plain ground. It felt like riding any other high-powered ATV. However, as soon as I rode above the challenging terrain, it was then that this beasty ATV showed what the hype was all about. You should definitely get your hands on this ATV if you are all about mud trailing and extreme adventures. However, if your riding experience is usually on mediocre terrains, this mud-specific ATV is not the right one for your money.




29 years old. I'm from Texas. I've been riding ATV's for the last couple years here in TX. I'm learning a lot about this hobby right along side you.

Read More About Author Name