Extreme ATV Enthusiast
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Phoenix AZ/Luna NM
Here's what I think about the two quads your considering.
I have had two 2008 Grizzly 700s and one 2009 with ESP I have had one 2009 and three 2011 Polaris 850 XP ESP. I'm sharing my thoughts on how I see them and how I think they compare.
SEAT: The XP 850s seat is as plush as the Grizzly seat and they say that it's very narrow and it is and I like it better, both are very comfortable but I would say that the XP 850 is better. Winner: XP 850
BRAKES: If your a novice then you would probably like the XP 850 brakes better and there just as good as the Grizzlys only different. But if you've rode motorcycles and know how to use your brakes there's nothing like being able to control you bike the way you want too, at least when your in two wheel drive. But once you put the Grizzly in 4X4 and hit the front brake only hard it will also lock the rear!! because its in 4X4 or try just hitting the rear when its in four wheel drive and it will also lock the front wheels. So you loose your independent front and rear braking when its in 4X4. As far as stopping power goes they're both very strong and I would think the Grizzly 700 would have a shorter stopping distance from 50 mph because of it's lighter weight. I think the Grizzly 700s way of doing things is more physiological than any real advantage. Winner : TIE
Engine braking: The XP 850 has great engine braking. When they say you can get off and walk next to it going down hill they're right. I went down a 25 degree hill about 150 feet long without brakes only engine compression slowing me down at about 3 mph. Same hill on the Grizzly 700 low gear no brakes was about 10 mph and both were in four wheel drive. Does that make the XP 850 better? I don't think so unless you don't know how to use your brakes. Same hill on the Grizzly 700 with just a little brake applied and you can go any speed you want. Once again the engine braking on the XP 850 is far stronger than the Grizzly. Winner: XP 850
4X4 system: If you have never had a 4X4 truck before you will probably think the Polaris is best system because when you put the switch in the 4X4 mode everything is automatic and when its working properly its great.You don't need too know anything about pushing the 4X4 buttons on the Yamaha, on the other hand if you know how too use the buttons on the Yamaha you already know it's a better more reliable system. On the Polaris when you put it into 4X4 it will lock automatically when the rear wheels slip, if the plastic roller cage it the front diff doesn't break. I guess Polaris thinks It's a good idea, but It's a piss poor design!! And no special oil is needed in the Yamaha front diff. So like most of us know the Yamaha has the best trouble free 4X4 system compared to the Polaris XP 850. Winner: Grizzly 700
HEAD LIGHTS: Polaris hands down has the best head lights with three 50 watt lights and all three will stay on at the same time. Winner: Polaris XP 850
FOOT WELLS: There both plastic but at least Yamaha has a steel cleat you can put your foot on. Winner; Grizzly 700
POWER: The Grizzly 700 is very snappy of the bottom and feels faster to me and it is to about 50 mph. The XP 850 feels very lethargic off idle but at about 30 mph really starts to come on. My Grizzly 700 will go 65 mph and the XP 850 will do 70 mph. I have only raced them to 50 mph so I don't know if the XP is that much faster to 100 yards or not. Based on 70 mph by the XP 850 you would think it would be the winner but in real world riding on the trail 70 mph means very little. They both have great power on the trail. Winner: TIE
MOTOR/VIBRATION/SMOOTHNESS: Nothing really needs to be debated here the XP 850 is hands down the smoothest quad I have ever been on. Winner: XP 850
RIDE QUALITY: Both ride very well at trail speeds but I have to give the edge to the XP 850. Winner: XP 850
GAS TANK FILLER: The XP 850 is easy to get to but if you over fill it the gas runs down your automotive painted finish fenders. We all know how much better the Grizzlys tank is with it's automotive type click when tight cap and if you do over fill on the Grizzly 700 it runs down the over flow tube to the ground..The roll over valves on the Grizzlys has been fixed since 2009 so no more pressure build up in the gas tanks. Winner: Grizzly 700
MILAGE: Grizzly gets about 18-22mpg every tank. XP850 has got 14mpg on my first 3 tanks. Winner: Grizzly 700
GROUND CLEARANCE: They both have very good ground clearance but I like the Grizzly's radius a-arms better, but I don't think it makes much difference on the trail. Winner: TIE
GEAR SHIFTER: The Grizzly 700s shifter is OK and the XP 850 is only OK also which to me means they both suck!! in there own way. But on the XP 850 when going down hill and you slide forward a little bit on the seat with the tranny in high you will hit your knee on the shifter ouch!! And the bell-crank from the shifter to the transmission break rather easy on the XP 850s. Winner: Grizzly 700
DRIVE BELT SYSTEM: With the XP 850s 5000 mile belt one would think it would be pretty close but we all know that it is just Polaris propaganda. Some have had many failures and some get many miles. I had 1400 miles on my 2009 XP 850 and it was still going strong but I never ride in mud and I use first gear when riding slow. I would say you were doing good if you got 3000 miles out of your Grizzly, and would think that it would be nothing to brag about. Tell me when you have 6000 miles on it and I'll remind you to start to carry a spare just in case. Winner: Grizzly 700
ELECTRIC POWER STEERING: Grizzly 700 has great power steering as everyone that has one knows but the XP 850 has even easier power steering. It steers so much easier at slow speeds, with even less kick back at the handlebars than the Grizzly 700. Winner: XP 850
EXHAUST SOUND: You can tell when the Grizzly's motor is running, but it sounds like a dog and cat fighting. On the other hand, when the XP 850 is running it sounds more like Taylor Swift (SWEEEEET!!!) The hands down Winner: XP 850
HITCH: The XP 850s 1 1/4 receiver is Mickey Mouse And the Grizzlys is also stupid. Why can't they just put a 2" receiver hitch on them? Winner: NONE
PAINT: I guess this only holds true for the XP 850 but the paint looks better on my wife's 1986 Yugo that still has the original paint. The only time I've seen that much orange peel before was when I was on a field trip to an orange juice factory in Florida. I'll have to say the paint is much better on my 2011 XPs Winner: I don't think so!!!!
RACK SYSTEN: The racks on the Grizzly 700 is nice and fairly strong and to mount the factory box on it it has to be removed which is OK but it takes 10-15 minutes to remove the rack and install the factory box. On the XP 850 they have flat plastic trays to mount there lock and ride system to which I like and it's very easy and quick to install and remove your box. For convenience I like the XP 850 system better. I don't think one is better that the other just more convenient. Winner: TIE
STORAGE: I like Grizzlys front fender storage it's very handy and easy to reach. The XP 850 has it's storage in the rear between the exhaust pipes and right above the muffler it's not handy at all, but it does double as an easy bake oven. We put our hot dogs in there on long rides and by lunch time there ready to eat, what more could you ask for. Yea that's a joke but it does get very hot in there. Winner: Grizzly 700
WHEELS: The 14" on the XP 850 work great as do the 12" on the Grizzly 700. But when it comes to finding tires at a good price I think the 12" would be a better choice. But no real Winner: TIE
DIGITAL DASH: The only thing better about the XP 850s dash is the tach otherwise it's no better that the Girzzly 700. Winner: TIE
WEIGHT: Yea, the XP 850 is about 180# more than the Grizzly 700 but on the trails where we ride most is only slightly noticeable. My wife thinks it's more stable feeling to her and I think most people with novice skills would think the same. The only time I think it feels heavier is when you punch it around a corner to try to pitch it side ways and slide around the corner. It's harder to do because of it's slow throttle response. The Grizzly slides much easier. So if you like to race then the Grizzly 700 will feel much better, but if you like to ride trails at a fast pace you will not notice much difference because of the extra weight. Winner: TIE
JUMPING: I didn't buy a utility quad to jump, but catching a little air off water bars from time to time can be fun. Back to the extra weight thing, I do notice the extra weight of the XP 850 when jumping. Winner: Grizzly 700
ACTIVE DECENT CONTROL: Most people think it has to do with a computer controlled engine compression braking system, and that may be the case on older Polaris models but not on the XP 850s. When you switch to the ADC mode it puts it into diff lock, just like on the Grizzly when its switched to diff lock all four wheels lock in. It has nothing to do with some sort of electronic engine compression braking like some of the older Polaris models may have had. The Grizzly 700 gives you the option of two, three and four wheel drive. The XP 850 only has two and four wheel drive. How does that make the Grizzly 700 better?
After 2400 miles on the four XP 850s that I've owned some of my opinions have changed. I don't think it has the reliability of the Grizzly but it sure rides smoother and the step over clearance on the seat is much lower on the XP and I like the narrower seat on the Polaris better also. I will always keep a Yamaha so when the Polaris breaks down I'll have some thing to tow it home with.
Who offers the best extended factory warranty? You can get a factory warranty from Yamaha that starts after your 6 month runs out for four full years so 4 1/2 total years with "zero" deductible for under $400. The Polaris extended warranty starts the day you buy your quad so there four year is really only 3 1/2 years plus your factory 6 mounth to give you four years and comes with a $50 deductible and run about $700....Winner: Grizzly 700
THINGS THAT HAVE BROKE: My 2009 XP was trouble free till the day i sold it with 1400 miles on it. Ya the ball joints and a-arm bushings were shot but it still drove just fine. But one of my 2011 XP 850s (280 miles)has the problem of sucking oil into the air box and the other one (480 miles) the air box is still dry but the map sensor was not plugged in when it was delivered to me new.The third one has 300 miles has been trouble free and no oil in air box...Out of the three Grizzly 700s and the four Rhino 700s that I've had, with a about 7500 miles total if you add them all up, I have never had a problem with any of my 700s. WINNER: YAMAHA!! TOM
2014 XP850 Red
2009 Red Grizzly 700 EPS
2009 Silver Rhino 700
2010 Haulmark 28' race trailer