• Polaris Sportsman MV 850 TerrainArmor Edition

LISTEN 03:57

Polaris has been supplying the U.S. Armed Forces with innovative ATV and LT-ATV transportation since the 1980s, and formed the Polaris Defense military division in 2005. The guys down at the factory designed the Sportsman MV 850 “TerrainArmor” Edition as a single-seat addition to their already extensive product line, which includes the Dagor ultra-light combat vehicle. Like the Dagor, the 850 is only available for purchase by the U.S. military and her allies.


Polaris Sportsman MV 850 TerrainArmor Edition Exterior
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The factory espoused a ’form follows function’ mentality when they set up this ride. Now I’m not saying that it’s ugly, just saying that aesthetics were not high on the list of design priorities. This pragmatic approach leaves us with a decidedly utilitarian vehicle that looks kind of like a single-seat version of the old Jeep M38 and M38A1a (any M.A.S.H. fans out there?), with its boxy looks and cargo arrangement. One could consider this ATV to be a mule of sorts, capable of carrying one man (maybe two if one is on a litter) plus cargo fore and aft on the cargo decks, over terrain that would tax a mountain goat. A keyless ignition system allows for convenient use by multiple drivers without the hassle and aggravation of keeping up with extra keys.


Polaris Sportsman MV 850 TerrainArmor Edition Exterior
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While creature comforts took a back seat during design, the factory did not completely neglect the driver. The dual A-arm front suspension limits the steering kickback felt by the driver, and a variable-assist power-steering system eases the control inputs necessary to keep on track. Together, these systems add up to reduced rider fatigue at the end of the day. Carrying capacity is impressive at a total of 600 pounds — 200 up front, 400 in the rear — and it’s sure to carry as much gear as will physically fit onto the decks. A 3,000 pound winch in the front guard gives you the option of winching yourself (or someone else) out of tight spots. My favorite feature has to be the tires. Polaris designed the airless TerrainArmor tires to resist everything from rough terrain to enemy fire. According to Polaris, this tire design is so tough, it precludes the need for carrying a spare, even under the nastiest conditions.


Polaris Sportsman MV 850 TerrainArmor Edition Exterior
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Polaris used its 850 cc, four-stroke, twin-cylinder SOHC engine to power this beast over hill and dale (and valleys and rocks.....you get the picture) with power to spare. In a move calculated to further reduce fatigue as well as the requisite off-road skills needed to handle the machine, the factory used an Active Descent Control (ADC) and Engine Braking System (EBS) that monitors and assists downhill braking at speeds below 15 mph. Plus the automatic transmission eliminates the need for clutch coordination and the on-demand AWD/2WD system gives riders the traction and flexibility they need to navigate the harshest of terrain.

He Said:

“This is a REAL ATV folks, much tougher (and tougher looking) than even the most robust civilian models out there. I live in four-wheeler country, and I would like one of these just to watch my neighbors drool in envy. Hey Polaris, how about a test ride, and paint it with RealTree camo before I pick it up, please!”

She Said

My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "When I saw the Dagor, I said I wanted one. Now that I’ve had a look at this little ATV, I’ve decided I really want this instead. It’s all military, so it is meant to be an animal. Those airless tires are amazing. I think I’d have to pull some stumps with this whether I needed to or not."


Engine Type: Four-Stroke SOHC Twin Cylinder
Displacement: 850 cc
Fuel System: Electronic Fuel injected
Fuel Type: Gas
Transmission/Final Drive: Automatic PVT P/R/N/H; Shaft
Drive System: On-Demand True AWD/2WD
Engine Braking System: Standard/Standard
Active Descent Control: Yes
Front Suspension: Dual A-Arm with 9 Inch Travel
Rear Suspension: Dual A-Arm, Rolled 10.25 Inch Travel
Front/Rear Brakes: Single Lever Four-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Hydraulic Rear Foot Brake
Parking Brake: Park in Transmission/Lockable Hand Lever
Front Tires: 26 x 9-14; TerrainArmor non-pneumatic tires
Rear Tires: 26 x 9-14; TerrainArmor non-pneumatic tires
Wheels: Stamped Steel
Dimensions and Capacities:
Wheelbase: 57 Inches
Dry Weight: 978 Pounds
Overall Vehicle Size (L x W x H): 94.5 x 47.3 x 60 Inches
Ground Clearance: 11.25 Inches
Seat Height: 37 Inches
Fuel Capacity: 5.25 gal (19.9 L) + 6.5 gal (24.6 L) reserve
Bed Box Dimensions (L x W x H): N.A.
Front/Rear Rack or Box Capacity: 600 Pounds
Towing Capacity: 1,500 Pounds
Payload Capacity: 850 Pounds
Hitch Towing Rating: 1,500 Pounds
Unbraked Trailer Towing Capacity: 1,914 Pounds
Hitch/Type: Two-Inch Receiver
Cooling System: Liquid
Cargo System: Polaris Metal Racks
Enclosed Cab Capable: No
Lighting: Triple 50w High Beam, Dual 50w Low Beam Headlights; Dual Brake lights/Taillights
Electronic Power Steering: Standard
Instrumentation: Analog Speedometer, Digital Odometer, Tachometer, Two Tripmeters, Hour Meter, Clock, Service Indicator, Diagnostic Indicator, Gear Indicator, Fuel Gauge, AWD Indicator, Hi-Temp/Low-Batt Lights, DC Outlet
TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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