Polaris Ranger 20th Anniversary

20 years ranger

20 Years of Innovation


polaris-ranger-timeline-lgTwo decades ago, the RANGER 6×6 vehicle was introduced and revolutionized the side-by-side category.

Mitchell Johnson, son of David Johnson – one of the founders of Polaris, remembers how the initial idea came to be. “We had talked from time-to-time about making a side-by-side ATV for a driver and passenger. One day, Edgar Hetteen [one of our founders] came to my office and said we should make a 6×6 in a side-by-side configuration, he loved the
machine but wanted to ride beside his wife Hannah.”

Four concepts were explored as two important features were debated – ride-in vs. ride-on and handlebar vs. steering wheel. Eventually, the shown concept (left) was selected, with a ride-in and steering wheel design, and ultimately, became the first RANGER.


The first Polaris RANGER side-by-side vehicle was purposefully made to be a 6×6 so it could readily be classified as an off-road vehicle, with a top speed faster than 25 mph.

Good speed, great ride and handling with excellent off-road capability, plus a greater payload than any other utility haulers on the market were all attributes this vehicle needed to have. Most of all, it needed to be a lot of fun to drive and ride like the already popular Sportsman® line.


The mid-2000s brought numerous changes and improvements to the RANGER vehicle.
Comfort was improved with the addition of a dual a-arm rear suspension, and electronic fuel injection became standard for increased convenience and overall ride. The powertrains were also built to be larger, making the RANGER more capable than ever before. Accessories also began to evolve with the introduction of Lock & Ride® box accessories.


After 10 years of RANGER®, the innovations kept coming. Dual a-arm suspension was added to the front of the vehicle and rider ergonomics were improved. Power and capability continued to improve as well with still larger powertrains introduced.




The next level of “Hardest Working. Smoothest Riding.™” came with the introduction of an all-new RANGER XP® 900 platform. The ride was significantly improved to produce the most progressive suspension and smoothest ride with 10″ of class leading travel. The ProStar® 900 engine was introduced with 20% more power. Re-designed ergonomics, an adjustable drivers seat, underseat storage, and a new engine placement made the seating and comfort of the RANGER® top notch. Lastly, with the introduction of the new platform came an unprecedented amount of accessory options, including a full flush-mount cab integration system with Lock & Ride® technology.



More than 100 owner-inspired improvements were made in the completely reimagined Polaris RANGER XP® 1000. It features a more rugged design, next-level in-cab comfort, 82 horsepower, and an industry-leading 2,500 lb towing capacity, 13 in of ground clearance and 11 in of suspension travel. Accessory integration was also taken to the next level with the introduction of the new, premium RANGER Pro Shield™ cab system – proven to have three-times better dust protection than competitive OEM offerings.





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