2000 Polaris 800 XCR
Once properly broken in, the Black Beauty held her own on the lake and trail
The Polaris 2000 Polaris 800 XCR is an arm stretching machine that would satisfy any horsepower junky. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to put this sled to the test.
My first experience riding the XCR resulted in a mediocre impression. We took it for a trail ride in southwestern Wisconsin and put on 120 miles.
The trail conditions were poor and the air temperature approached 40 degrees F. After the first corner, I was not impressed. The sled pushed through the corners and felt heavy. Granted the trails were wet and sloppy.
After the initial break in ride, I was ready to give the XCR another chance. We took the sled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and rode over 400 miles. My impression of the Polaris soon went from fair to excellent. The trail conditions were moderate, but the air temperature was about 20 degrees F. Compared to other snowmobiles, the performance and ride of the XCR increased significantly with the colder air temperatures.
I was able to give it a good performance and handling evaluation against many other sleds in its class. The XCR has incredible weight transfer. I found myself consistently ahead of the competition, even against sleds with studded tracks. The big triple triple, combined with the variable exhaust valves, worked like a charm and led the Polaris to many victories across the lake.
The XCR was also a fun sled to ride on the trails. In normal trail and temperature conditions, the sled bit well in the corners and had a great front and rear ride. I did bottom out the rear suspension a few times, but I also had the suspension set at a softer-than-recommended setting. I felt the sled was more comfortable to ride and also transferred better on the softer setting.
The XCR felt slightly heavy, but it did not affect the handling of the sled. After a few miles on trails in normal conditions, the weight did not bother me. The XCR's cornering agility was good, the steering was responsive, and overall feel was great. The powerband of the XCR is long, delivering smooth acceleration throughout. I felt like the motor was constantly begging for more throttle squeeze.
Ergonomically, the sled fit well. I was pleased with the seat position, handle bar feel and all of the controls. I did encounter an issue with the ignition key. While aggressive trail riding, my knee would come close to it. On two occasions my knee turned the sled off.
By The Numbers
I was able to put 1324 miles on the 800. The big triple averaged 10.4 miles per gallon. At first, the oil consumption was excessive at one quart per 6.7 gallons of gas, but after dealer tweaking, the season average was one quart per 10.57 gallons of gas. I feel these numbers are reasonable for a sled with incredible performance. I often found other riders in my group seeking a gas station before me.
As far as maintenance, I did nothing to the XCR but fill it with gas and oil. I think the oil level readability is something worth noting. The oil tank access was not a problem, but I found it difficult to read the oil level, as it's tucked behind the airbox.
Overall, I loved the Polaris 800 XCR. I wish the midwest snow conditions would have been more favorable to rack up more miles on the trails, but I always seemed to find a nice strip of hard pack on the lake to satisfy me.