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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/