KAWASAKI KRX 1000 LONG TERM TEST

KAWASAKI KRX 1000 LONG TERM TEST

In the year since Kawasaki released the new KRX 1000, we have driven it in all kinds of terrain all across the country. We like it so much, we named it the New UTV of the Year for 2020. Its strength, ease of use and unique features are a few of its biggest assets.

KAWASAKI KRX 1000 LONG TERM TEST

To round out our Kawasaki KRX 1000 long term test, we took it on a week-long adventure down the Baja Peninsula. This is a great way to put a lot of miles on a machine in a very short period of time. Along the way, we took notes about the things we liked and didn’t like, and what worked.

KAWASAKI KRX 1000 LONG TERM TEST
The rear springs started to sag once we passed the 1000-mile mark during our Kawasaki KRX 1000 long term test. We added about an inch of preload to get our ground clearance back up to around 14 inches.

Our test unit was nearly stock and featured a spare tire, a set of PRP knee pads and behind-the-seat storage bags. The knee pads prevented our knees from hitting the corner of the center console area that sits forward of the shifter. This was one of our initial complaints the first time we drove the KRX. We also installed a set of Kawasaki accessory fender flares prior to the trip.

KAWASAKI KRX 1000 LONG TERM TEST
We filled the KRX up with gas at least twice a day during our long-term trip. On average, we ended up getting about 15 miles per gallon. On a wide-open throttle day, the car did start to starve for fuel after 110 miles. Electronically, power was limited to 50 mph, then to around 30 mph until we topped off again.

The ride we went on was part of a Go Baja Riding tour (www.gobajariding.com). We tagged along with six other cars and drove about 200 miles a day. The trip finished up 1111 miles later in the southern part of Baja in the town of Todos Santos. Our Teryx now has 1600 miles on it.

KAWASAKI KRX 1000 LONG TERM TEST
After the oil turned darker, it was harder to read through the oil-sight glass. It was still, however, easier than searching for a dipstick.

Before the trip, we changed the oil, oil filter and air filter with OEM parts. We also made a list of every tool it takes to work on the KRX and brought those along in a tool bag strapped in the cargo area. We also brought our UTV survival kit (www.utvactionmag.com/build-your-own-survival-kit/), a small scissor jack and a tow rope.

This cubby was a waste of space on our trip. Kawasaki does make a rubber netted panel that goes on here to keep items intact. We now have one on order.

SOUTH-BOUND

Right away, we noticed something about the Kawasaki we hadn’t felt in the first 500 miles of driving it. Any time we were on a smooth, high-speed trail with perfect traction, we could feel drivetrain vibration at speeds above 50 mph. It was faint but noticeable. It felt like the driveshaft was out of balance, but without removing a bunch of interior bodywork or the skid plate, we couldn’t check the phasing. Luckily, it never got worse, even after driving for hours at over 50 mph.

At about the 700-mile mark, the rear end started sagging a little bit, so we started losing ground clearance. We started bottoming the rear end when hitting G-outs and on rutted trails. Using our scissor jack, we took the weight off the rear end and added an inch of spring preload to each shock. That put the ride height back to where it was when we started—around 14 inches. The extra-thick Kawasaki Genuine Accessories UHMW skid plate out back was taking a beating but actually held up very well.

We started with the shocks on full soft for the trip down the peninsula. We ended up cranking the rear compression up to a few clicks from full hard. The adjustment helped keep the rear skid plate from bottoming.

While we ran the shocks in the softest setting for most of the trip, this car would be a good candidate for the IQS setup, which you can adjust from inside the cab. We expect this feature to be added soon.

The view from our office this week was incredible. Several towns along the Baja trip were so remote, the locals looked at us like we were aliens as we slowly drove though.

We had one slow leak in the left rear tire. We aired it up twice, but the tires made the entire 1111-mile trip and looked as though it could have gone another 1000 miles easily. The 31-inch-tall Maxxis Carnivores did a great job rolling over the varying terrain. Whether we were in deep sand, rock or hardpack, we were happy with them. To avoid flats, we ran the tires with 18 pounds of air in them.

For this test, we were the guests of Go Baja Desert Tours on a trip from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. They are changing their rental fleet over to the KRX, which we agree is a smart move. Book a trip through www.gobajariding.com.

EASY OIL CHECKS

It was easy to check the oil each day, as the engine side case has an oil-sight window. At one stop, the oil seemed a little low, so we added about a 1/2 quart, but later down the road, the oil level looked a little high. You do want to make sure the car is on perfectly level ground when you check it. Stop the engine and wait a few minutes before checking the oil level.

Giant Loop’s gas bag was our safety net on the trip since we weren’t sure what kind of mileage the KRX would get. We seat-belted it into the passenger seat, although it would fit behind the seats, but we thought it’d be better to keep a close eye on it while driving.

The top speed of our KRX went from 65 mph early in the trip down to 62 mph. We assumed that was due to the CVT belt wearing out. The belt did hold up well, and we never had to change it. The CVT clutch felt like it was working perfectly the entire trip. The more time we spent in the car, the more we could feel the clutch shifting. From time to time, under acceleration (around 5000 rpm), we could feel the clutch upshifting and the rpm would drop slightly. On a few occasions, at around 4000 rpm under deceleration, we could feel the clutch downshifting.

Another KRX on this trip had a hot setup we thought we’d share. This guy had a fanny pack zip-tied behind the instrument panel. It was perfect for smaller items like sunglasses, maps and medication.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We sure got a lot of use out of PRP’s behind-the-seat storage bags. The front netted part held our tools to change the belt, and within the bags, we stored our jackets that we took on and off during the full-day rides. One thing we didn’t like was how warm our water bottles got sitting in the cup holders all day. We expect the aftermarket will come up with some added insulation for that area.

A great feature we came to rely on was the dome light attached to the Kawasaki Accessories rear-view mirror. The Assault Industries device holder was another product we used constantly throughout the trip.

Our next step will be to change the oil again, and possibly the CVT belt, to see if we can get that top speed back. Then, you will probably see us heading down the Baja Peninsula again. It was that much fun, and the Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 was a great UTV to do it in.

See the new 2021 KRX 1000 eS with suspension that’s  adjustable on-the-fly here: https://utvactionmag.com/new-kawasaki-krx-1000-es-long-travel-t2-t4-s/

 

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