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Side-by-sides have completely changed the off-road world forever. It used to be that you had to crawl in a Jeep Wrangler over some sketchy boulders or flog a Ford Bronco through a mud hole or risk sinking it forever. These days the 2021 Polaris RZR Trail S 100 premium is here, and it seems to simply go in any direction you point it in without question. 

2021 Polaris RZR Trail S Sport ripping through a wooded trail
2021 Polaris RZR Trail S | Bryan Campbell

The 2021 Polaris RZR Trail S Is all-new

I spent a weekend with the new Polaris RZR Trail S 1000 – color me blown away. Polaris has clearly been hard at work with its new line of power equipment. From the Ranger to the RZR, Polaris has updated and improved nearly every facet of these trail buggies. 

The 2021 Polaris RZR Trail S sports all-new styling and design. The Trail S has a 60-in width and a 79-in wheelbase, making it sporty and nimble but a bit touchy if you step it out of line. 

2021 Polaris RZR Trail S Sport ripping through a wooded trail
2021 Polaris RZR Trail S | Bryan Campbell

Polaris has also given the new RZR the highest power-to-weight ratio in its class. Our tester had the 100-hp 1000cc in a cart that only weighs 1,323 lbs dry. According to Polaris, It rocks 12.5-inches of ground clearance and can tow 1,500 pounds which is more than its dry weight. 

It also leads its class in turning radius and fastest RWD to AWD switching. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but with this type of gear, you might find yourself needing all four in a hurry, and Polaris delivers. 

Specs are nice but how is it on the trail? 

The all-new 2021 Polaris RZR is too much fun – and I might mean that literally. I had a hard time focusing on my objective feelings about the thing. Before I could finish a thought, the RZR was sideways on a narrow trail at 30 mph, getting slapped by saplings. 

The intensity and ferocity with which this thing delivers fun is astounding. Its little four-stroke 1000cc motor is eager to turn up at a moment’s notice.

2021 Polaris RZR Trail S Sport ripping through a wooded trail
2021 Polaris RZR Trail S | Bryan Campbell

However, the acceleration isn’t really what the Polaris RZR Trail S is all about; it’s the cornering. Even though it never lets you forget its short wheelbase, the RZR can handle so much more cornering force than feels possible. 

After many hours of riding, I know for a fact that I only ever neared its limits a time or two. The AWD system pulls it around corners with enough ease that it can even at times lull you into a false sense of security, that is, until you catch some unexpected traction and you pick up a couple of wheels. 

Can the 2021 Polaris RZR rock crawl? 

If you decide to traverse a slower, more craggy pass, the Polaris RZR will almost embarrass any normal off-road driver. The RZR is far more capable of mountain goating over boulders and downed trees than it feels like it should be. The only hard part here is doing this with any kind of grace. 

2021 Polaris RZR Trail S Sport ripping through a wooded trail
2021 Polaris RZR Trail S | Bryan Campbell

The CVT makes crawling a bit jumpy at times. Applying just a touch of the throttle can be somewhat difficult and, for me, resulted in a couple of violent jumps sideways into narrow tree gates.

Although the execution wasn’t always pretty, there was nothing I couldn’t point the Polaris RZR at that it wasn’t eager to overcome. 

How much does the 2021 Polaris RZR Trail S 1000 cost? 

The base model RZR Trail S starts at a modest $17,799 and goes up depending on configuration and options. The performance output for the financial input is astounding.

However, it does beg the question, “what is the RZR really good for?” The answer is almost nothing other than virtually uninhibited off-road fun. 

UTV buggy racing through the woods kicking up a ton of dust
2021 Polaris RZR Trail S | Bryan Campbell

Top 5 ATVs of 2021

I found myself jonesing for another lap in the trails even after a weekend full of it. The ferocity of the cornering, the stubbornness of its rock climbing, and the ease at which it does its thing was nothing short of intoxicating. 

This is a product that makes “objective” journalism tough to do. I’m sure there are some technical aspects (outside the jerky CVT) that I missed. However, I honestly can say whatever flaws it may have; I couldn’t be bothered to notice them.