The 2019 Polaris Indy EVO is designed for newer riders and offers an accessory kit to get more power and performance when you are ready for it.
Engine Type:Horizontal In-line
Valve Configuration:Reed Valve
Displacement:544 / 33.2
Turbocharged:NoView Full Spec
The 2019 Polaris Indy EVO answers serious questions every snowmobile manufacturer faces: How do you reinvigorate the marketplace? How do you entice new riders into the sport? How do you grow the sport?
Currently all sled makers ask the questions but face the reality of maintaining market share by adding faster, more powerful and more profitable models in the key segments of deep snow and high performance. You don’t really think that the new 850 Patriot powered Polaris models and the turbocharged Yamahas and Cats were designed with the beginning rider in mind, do you?
Those sleds create the image of high performance riding. Create the excitement. The Indy 550s, MXZ 600s and Arctic Cat Lynx 2000s exist as gateway sleds: relatively low priced, low-end performers with minimal profitability margins compared to a Thundercat, SRX, 850 Switchback or 850 Renegade X-RS. But, if the sport is to grow, it needs these “starter” sleds. Better yet would be a starter sled that a rider can literally grow into.
With attention to maintaining sales of its most profitable models, Polaris marketing came up with a solution to the gateway conundrum that is patently brilliant. The 2019 Polaris Indy EVO is a worthy beginner sled for both new and returning riders who want to get back into the sport as inexpensively as possible while assuring themselves of real on-trail capabilities. The EVO is a tactical success as it borrows heavily from the existing 550 Indy, yet is sufficiently “down-sized” to be extremely “newbie”-friendly. And, best of all, when the EVO rider gains confidence and wants more performance, there’s a kit to add that performance and increased handling they grew into.
Let’s be up front here. The Indy EVO is not a 550 Indy. The EVO design deliberately fits lighter and more diminutive riders. We suspect the design parameter read something like: Height about 5’ 8”; Weight about 150. That would be the ideal in our estimation. Double the weight and stretch the height to six feet fits the 550 Indy. The EVO can certainly handle the bigger rider, but it’s like trying to squeeze a big fella into the back seat of a Colorado extended cab. You can fit, but you won’t want to ride that way for any extended length of time.
The 2019 Polaris Indy EVO ergonomics are excellent if you are within the size and weight parameter. The seat itself, while it may mimic the 550 Indy seat, is a specially lowered EVO seat that allows this size group to comfortably reach the floorboards. The revised EVO front suspension lowers the sled’s front ride height with suspension arms that create a narrow 39-inch ski stance, versus the wider 42.5-inch stance of the 550 Indy. The one drawback may be the limited travel that maxes out at 4.1 inches, three inches less than the 550 Indy and even slightly less than the Arctic Cat ZR 200’s 4.5 inches of travel.
In checking other Polaris models, we noted that the Voyageur has an adjustable stance that can be narrowed to the same 39 inches as the EVO, but the utility Indy has different skis and longer travel even if the arms may be similar.
You’ll note that Polaris created a plastic ski specifically for the EVO that retains grip while affording lighter steering effort. The entire Pro-Ride front end reflects confidence building as the skis, springs and RydeFX MPV shocks have been tuned in concert to maximize on-trail stability. When turning into a corner you’ll notice the handlebars are narrower and flatter to enhance rider leverage for control.
The EVO rear suspension reflects 550 Indy tuning with RydeFX MPV shocks to control the ride’s 9.1 inches of rear travel. The parallel rail design mimics the proven Indy rear design and assures a competent ride for the sled’s intended performance.
That performance comes from the same Fuji-built 544cc two-stroke twin that Polaris leans on to power its entire line of “value” Indys. There are some differences. In EVO trim the 550’s top speed peaks at an electronically controlled 50 miles per hour. The full wide-open EVO throttle goes about two-thirds of the way, again to limit performance. While these two limitations work to the newbie’s benefit, the EVO still enjoys the essential low-end torque and grunt to mid-range as a full-fledged 550 Indy. That did surprise us. When we crammed the throttle to the bar, the EVO moves out. The low end and torque are there even if the top speed quits at 50 mph. And quit it does! All of our riders noted how the EVO could get smoothly to top speed but wouldn’t exceed it.
After riding the 2019 Polaris Indy EVO for a time, we kept thinking about how it could be better. That’s why Polaris offers a “kit” for the sled that will eliminate the electronic speed control, open up the throttle to full on and replace the front suspension pieces with the 550 Indy spec. That will add performance, speed and handling. But, the seat remains lower and the handlebar stays flat and narrow. This is how Polaris built in a growth factor for the EVO rider. Pretty clever.
As noted the 2019 Polaris Indy EVO shares mechanically with the 550 Indy. The 550cc twin powers through a similar CVTech Powerbloc 50 drive with Invance driven. This is a no-nonsense proven system. The braking system reflects Polaris’ confidence in its RMK-style hydraulic brake, which should be especially effective given the tame performance levels of the EVO.
The EVO hood may look racy on the showroom floor, but bold north riders may want to consider something taller and more effective for serious winter riding. Hand and thumb warmers are standard as is electronic push button reverse. The base model is pull start only, with electric start standard on the ES version.
As with most Polaris models you can add storage bags, windshields and even a custom wrap to make the EVO distinctly yours.
The 2019 Polaris Indy EVO is a tactical masterpiece that allows Polaris to provide a cost-effective option for beginning riders that didn’t require reinventing the bogie wheel. The EVO drivetrain and suspensions are proven, which minimizes consumer concerns. All in all, the Indy EVO ticks all the boxes for “gateway” sled. Plus, if you are within the size and weight parameters, the EVO is a delight to ride. We’ll tell you the EVO is still fun to ride even if you exceed the design size criteria.