NEW UTV OF THE YEAR
We’ve had seat time in the last of the 2020 UTVs, and now it’s time to name the best. Once a year we sit down and look back at all of the new and completely redesigned models and decide which is the best new UTV of the Year. Honda won with the Talon last year, and Textron won the year before that with the Wildcat XX.
This year, the New UTV of the Year award goes to—the Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000. Kawasaki took their time entering the high-performance market, and they did so by building one of the smoothest-handling, toughest UTVs ever built. It’s not the fastest by any means; in fact, it tops out under 70 mph. However, it’s rare, where 90 percent of the UTV owners we know don’t wish to go that fast. Most riding is typically done at 25–55 mph. See the new Trail and Special Edition KRX 1000 here: https://utvactionmag.com/2021-kawasaki-teryx-krx1000-trail-special-editions/ See all the Kawasaki UTVs here: https://www.kawasaki.com
For years we have been saying, if one of the Japanese manufacturers would just come out with a RZR copy, built a little stronger, they would have a winner. Under the somewhat unique bodywork, that’s what the KRX is. Compared to any RZR, the KRX has tons of head room, more leg room and extra storage room behind the seats.
At $20,499, the KRX comes with beadlock wheels as standard equipment and shod with 8-ply Maxxis Coronado tires. That tire and wheel package is something a normal customer would upgrade to anyway. Additionally, the suspension arms are built tough at both ends. While we don’t consider this a long-travel setup, it is wider than a Yamaha YXZ or standard Polaris RZR. It has huge Fox shocks with easy-to-use 24-position LSC adjustments. Travel is very respectable, with 18.6 inches up front and 21.1 inches out back.
Additional features like the steel skid plates, CVT temperature gauge and oil-sight window are unique to this machine. Its wider 68-inch stance is similar to the Honda Talon, and the nearly 99-inch wheelbase sits right between the Can-Am X3 and Polaris RZR Pro XP. So, for rough terrain, it’s hard to find a smoother-riding machine. It’s been proven tough and works very well on a variety of trails, all for a very reasonable price point. Those facts make it UTV Action Magazine’s New UTV of the Year for 2020.
The Polaris RZR Pro XP we mentioned earlier was a close runner-up in our selection for this year. The all-new redesign from Polaris has some great new cockpit features, motor upgrades and an updated chassis. However, it falls short, as the 30-inch tires it comes with stock allows it to bottom out in the rear more than it should. Also, we think the trailing arms actually look weaker than what is found on the older Turbo S. The 2020 RZR Pro XP is a good car; it’s just not great.
Honda’s Talon four-seater was also new this year. It’s a good machine as well. In fact, we like this machine better than the two-seat Talon X model. The extra wheelbase makes it a more comfortable ride.
On the bad side, its 28×15-inch tires make it very prone to flat tires. Finally, the fact that the R version is not available in a four-seater is our real reason for not choosing it as the best new UTV of 2020. Maybe next year.