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Polaris has done it again. The all-new 2024 Polaris Ranger XD 1500 is here, and it’s hard to miss. To simplify this machine by calling it a “big Ranger” isn’t wrong, per se, but it’s certainly leaving far too much on the table to be considered an adequate description on its own. However, for your purposes of imagining the machine while reading this, dear reader, You’d not be wrong to imagine a really big Ranger. But it’s not just big. The all-new Polaris Ranger XD 1500 is an entirely new kind of UTV that could probably replace your truck. Yeah, it’s really like that. 

What is the Polaris Ranger XD 1500? 

Polaris went all out on its new Ranger. Again, the XD 1500 is not just bigger. This new machine has a 1,500CC three-cylinder engine, making a stout 110 hp and 105 lb.-ft of torque. While the engine is an engineering achievement, the magic piece of the dirt-eating puzzle is the delightfully sophisticated steel-belt CVT gearbox. One of the few complaints I have about some other Polaris machines is that I struggle crawling obstacles slowly due to the lurchy nature of the CVT. This problem has been solved with the beefy new Ranger. Polaris also put boosted disc brakes around all four wheels to help with braking while towing heavy loads.

I spent some time mashing around in the Ranger XD 1500 on the Three Forks Ranch on the border of Wyoming and Colorado. We did a roughly 60-mile loop. While we only covered a tiny sliver of the 230,000-acre property, we climbed mountains, traversed valleys, ran tight trails through aspen forests, and opened our machines up across miles of open prairie land. Although the Ranger XD 1500 tops out around 60 mph, the size and capability of the Ranger kept this speed limit full of excitement. 

The most surprising part of the drive wasn’t the towing ability, rock crawling, or even the comfy cabin. The thing that really stuck with me was that even though this was the large work machine offering from Polaris, it could boogie. The three-cylinder provided pep and long legs, while the CVT delivered quick “shifts” that kept the power on without much thought for the driver. The Ranger XD 1500 is a delightful thing to drive.

Despite my heavy-footed foolishness, the machine’s intended use repeatedly cracked me between the eyes. While Polaris has yet again delivered a machine that is truly difficult not to enjoy driving, this hulked-out Ranger was built to work.

How much can the Polaris Ranger XD 1500 tow? 

The 2024 Polaris Ranger XD driving in a field near the base of the mountains.
2024 Polaris Ranger XD 1500 | MotorBiscuit: Peter Corn

The 2024 Polaris Ranger XD 1500 is a stout beast of burden in a tight package. The Ranger XD 1500 can pull 3,500 lbs and can handle 1,500 lbs of that in its little bed. The Polaris will be most effective for towing in its Tow/Haul driving mode. This mode will limit your speed to 30 mph. However, the Ranger XD 1500 also gets Standard, Comfort, and Sport driving modes for when you are free from your trailer. 

Could the Polaris Ranger XD 1500 really replace a pickup truck? 

If these numbers seem strangely truck-like, it’s because they are. The Hyundai Santa Cruz base model also tows 3,500 lbs. Hell, the Ford Maverick in its base form can only tow 2,000 lbs. When properly equipped, it maxes out at 4,000 lbs. The Toyota Tacoma can only carry 1,650 lbs in its six-foot bed. Granted, the big Ranger can’t compete if you are doing some heavy lifting, but compared to many farm and ranch trucks, the Ranger can hang. 

The Ranger is strong. There is no denying that. But 3,500 lbs isn’t enough for all jobs. The thing that makes the Ranger a real contender on the farm or ranch is that it takes the best parts of pickup trucks and mashes them together with the best parts of UTVs. 

The 2024 Polaris Ranger XD 1500 is much bigger than the Ranger 1000. In fact, the XD is bigger than the Ranger 1000 in any dimension. It has more ground clearance, it’s wider, it’s longer, and it’s heavier. It rides on a single-piece steel chassis, keeping everything ridgid where you need it. Inside the Ranger XD NorthStar Edition tester, the cabin offered a quiet, comfortable, roomy space with air conditioning. From the Bluetooth stereo system from Bose to the power windows, I wouldn’t blame anyone for forgetting they were in a UTV. 

How much is the 2024 Polaris Ranger XD 1500? 

The tailgate of a red 2024 Polaris Ranger XD
2024 Polaris Ranger XD 1500 | MotorBiscuit: Peter Corn

OK. OK. But can it replace your truck? Obviously, the Ranger isn’t road-legal. So this is a strictly work truck replacement scenario. With the current truck market, if you can even find the truck you want to buy, you will pay a king’s bounty for it. Trucks have gotten expensive. Who wants to take their $45k Ford F-150 on the ranch or farm for it to get thrashed to death? And that’s just the cheaper example. The Ranger XD 1500 starts at $29,999 and will do most things you’d need from a regular farm truck without tearing up a proper pickup. The Ranger was made to bomb tight trails, run the mud holes, scrape fence posts, etc. 

There is also the added bonus of its ride height and stance. This little truck was easy to get into and out of. Full-size farm trucks can get annoying to crawl in and out of over and over. Polaris also decided to keep the suicide doors after customers preferred them for getting in and out many times, as one does when setting a fence line or other such jobs. 

To be clear, I’m not advocating for you to ditch your truck. However, the strides Polaris has made with this machine are such that if you wanted to, you could. While the Ranger XD 1500 wouldn’t cover all your truck uses, it’ll cover enough for how much you’ll grin while driving it when you’re not working.


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