Those of us who grew up with a world of Japanese ATVs and dirt bikes have been patiently waiting since 2013 for one of the “Big Four” to come out with a RZR-like SxS with the Japanese fit and finish and quality standards. Recently, Yamaha then Honda both gave us great machines, but not necessarily the simple, to-the-point CVT-driven machine we were expecting. However, Kawasaki finally did.
From a glance it looks like Kawasaki looked at the RZR XP 1000 and made every part of it bigger and stronger. Not that the RZR XP 1000 was a bad machine, because for years it put smiles on thousands of faces and put millions of dollars in pockets of the aftermarket selling hop-up parts for it. The whole RZR line can be credited for getting tens of thousands of people into off-roading. Now it’s time to talk about Kawasaki again.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
There’s is only one model of the Teryx KRX 1000, and it sells for $20,499. That’s $1500 more than Yamaha’s base YXZ1000R, but $500 cheaper than the Honda Talon 1000R. The 2020 Polaris RZR has an MSRP of $18,599
WHAT ENGINE DOES IT USE?
Kawasaki built an all-new twin-cylinder, fuel-injected four-stroke with 999cc for the KRX. It’s normally aspirated and produces 112 horsepower and 76.6 pound-feet of torque at 7,000 rpm. The aftermarket has a turbo in the works, and we have a feeling Kawasaki does, too. The powerplant is mated to a gear box using a huge CVT system. There are two power modes, and the front differential has an electronically locking front differential.
HOW IS THE POWER?
It’s on the mild side. If you are looking for jerk-your-head-back horsepower, you won’t find it here. It’s quick enough to be fun and smooth enough so that anyone can drive it. Kawasaki put a switch on the dash, which allows the driver to use low power mode. It drastically limits power for the first half of the gas-pedal throw. The idea was meant to help non-experienced riders modulate in tricky or rock-crawling situations. It works, but the power is limited too much that in severe rock crawling, the motor doesn’t have enough power get over tough obstacles. We would rather have a separate key that limited power for newbies. Otherwise, the standard position is low and tame enough that we don’t see people having issues with snappy power.
WHAT ARE THE CHASSIS DIMENSIONS?
Overall, it measures 68 inches wide, 130 inches long and 75 inches tall. It has a 99-inch wheelbase and weighs 1896 pounds. The Maxxis Carnivore tires are sized at 31/10-15 inches mounted on beadlock wheels using a 4/156-bolt (Polaris) pattern.
The rear cargo area is big enough to fit a 32-inch-tall tire laying flat. However, to tie it down, you would want to add Kawasaki’s rear bumper and use the Y-strap that you can get from the dealer. There is not a round harness (or accessory) bar behind the seats like you see on most UTVs, but Kawasaki did put tabs to mount the harness on a piece of square tubing hidden under the bodywork.
HOW MUCH DOES IT WEIGH?
At nearly 1900 pounds, the KRX is on the heavy side like the Wildcat XX. However, the extra weight is in strength and is not wasted. The skid plates are steel and the frame is robust. Also, aggressive 8-ply tires mounted on beadlocks add to the weight number, but will save you dollars in the long run. When you dig even deeper, you see that the A-arms and trailing arms are thicker than some aftermarket pieces, All the suspension mounting points are sturdy and double-sheared, and the axles look more like broom handles than toothpicks.
HOW IS THE COCKPIT?
It’s very roomy inside, and Kawasaki did a great job making sure any-size driver or passenger will feel comfortable. Both seats slide, and even when they are pushed all the way back, there is storage room behind them. You could easily fit tool bags, soft coolers, and jackets behind the seats and never fall out. You access the air filter behind the driver’s seat without tools. The seat bases pop out without tools, but the frames and backs require a socket to remove them.
Legroom is great, and five cup holders are available. The glove box could be bigger, but there is a center storage cubby that is useful, but it needs Kawasaki’s accessory netting to hold things in place.
HOW ABOUT SUSPENSION?
Thick double A-arms up front and Fox Podium 2.5 LSC shocks control 18.6 inches of wheel travel. Out back, a four-link trailing-arm setup again uses Fox’s compression-adjustable shocks that travel 21 inches.
The dual-stage springs have cross-over rings to fine-tune when you want your stiffer main spring to come into service. Plus, the top spring is not collapsed at ride height, so it can be used to soak up smaller initial chop. Rebound is not adjustable, but internal damping adjustments are so good, it never came to mind on our first ride. Sway bars are found at both ends.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
In one word—great. The long 99-inch wheelbase, 31-inch-tall tires and 20 inches of wheel travel will tame almost any trail. Bump absorption is excellent in deep whoops, and the car drives incredibly straight going through the chop. We only found bottom-out once in a big G-out, and that was when we had the compression clickers turned all the way to soft. At slow speeds we appreciate that Kawasaki gave the KRX dual-rate spring with crossover ring adjusters. The initial 6 inches of travel is plush over terrain from washboard to softball-sized rocks.
WHAT ARE OUR FINAL THOUGHTS?
If you are looking for a well-built, reliable car for the open deserts, rocks or wider mountain roads, The KRX can conquer all of that. New drivers won’t feel intimidated by crazy-fast power, shifting or suspension that needs major setup. It has room for any-sized rider and is a blast driven fast or slow. From our initial 100 miles behind the wheel, it’s easy to tell that this is a machine that will last for years and never leave you stranded even if abused.
2020 KAWASAKI TERYX KRX 1000
Engine type Liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder,
normally aspirated, DOHC, 4-stroke
Bore x stroke 92.0 mm x 75.1 mm (x2)
Compression ratio 11.5:1
Lubrication system Dry sump
Additional cooling Auto fan
Induction 50mm EFI (x2)
Torque 76.7 lb-ft @ 7,000
Starting procedure Turn ignition switch w/ brake on
Access Under cargo tray behind driver
Transmission Automatic CVT
Reverse procedure Brake on, move range selector “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ manual
diff-lock and EPS
Final drives Shafts
Fuel capacity . 10.6 gal.
Overall length/width/height 130.1”/68.1”/75”
Ground clearance 14.4”
Claimed wet weight 1896.3 lb., 1898.5 lb. (CA)
Bed weight limit 350lbs
Frame Steel round tube
Front Dual A-arm w/ preload and compression adj.
Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks/18.6”
Rear IRS 4-link trailing arms w/ preload and
compression Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks/21.1”
Front Hydraulic 258mmdiscs/left-side pedal
twin piston calipers
Rear Hydraulic 258mmdiscs/left-side pedal
single piston caliper
Parking Lever on console
Front 31×10-15 8-ply Maxxis Carnivore on beadlocks
Rear 31×10-15, 8-ply Maxxis Carnivore on beadlocks
DC outlet Console
Front High/low LED headlights
Rear LED brake/taillights
Colors White, green
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $20,499