KAWASAKI TERYX LE TEST

— A great machine at a lower price —

Kawasaki’s Teryx has long been a favorite of UTV Action for its off-road capabilities, durability and rugged good looks. Add long travel, and the Teryx becomes even more off-road-capable to the point of conquering the King of the Hammers UTV race, as Sara Price did in 2017. For 2018 all Teryx models get a $1250 price reduction, making the deal even sweeter. Let’s strap into the 2018 Teryx Limited Edition and take a spin.

New for 2018, the Kawasaki Teryx LE (and Teryx4 LE) is available in Matrix Camo Gray. The Teryx is a great exploration and adventure UTV that does almost everything well and has excellent build quality and durability.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2018?

For 2018 the Teryxs get new color choices—Bright White for base models and new Candy Plasma Blue and Matrix Camo Gray for Limited Editions.

The Teryx/T4 got a total makeover with a double-X frame and a 3mm-longer stroke in 2014, boosting displacement to 783cc. In 2016 the Teryx/T4 got another styling upgrade. The tilt hood was replaced by more aggressive fenders and a removable hood panel for airbox and battery access, and a new, replaceable fender brace was added. This bar was required because the Camo and Limited Edition got quad LED headlights with separate high/low toggles on the dash and 20.4-watt high- and 10.2-watt low-beam output. The base EPS Teryx had outer-halogen 35-watt lights and blank housings for optional upgrades. A larger steel-tube front bumper protects the more stylish front end, and the Fox Podium X 2.0 piggyback shocks got new valving for optimized ride quality and performance.

Since 2014 the Teryx has been powered by the Brute Force 750’s V-twin with a 3mm-longer stroke, boosting displacement to 783cc but with UTV-specific tuning. Twin 85mm pistons ride on a 69mm stroke, and Hemi heads are fed by two 36mm Mikuni EFI throttle bodies. Compression is 10.7:1.

Base and Camo models have 26-inch Bighorn 2.0 tires on black, steel, 12-inch wheels, while Limiteds upgrade to 27-inch Bighorns on two-tone, cast-aluminum, 14-inch wheels. A roof comes on the Camo and LE models. The cabin got a majority of the attention with tool-less, three-position driver’s seat adjustment; infinite-position tilt steering; and a tool-adjustable passenger seat. The steering wheel is over-molded for better grip and comfort, and the dash has centrally located controls and a multi-function digital display tilted towards the driver. There are four blanks for accessory switches in the two-piece dash with textured plastic.

The rear transfer case got new bevel gears, and the multi-disc wet-pack rear brake has a manual parking brake on the center console, which also has a rear-facing, 12-volt outlet for powering a sprayer or other accessories. The double-X frame is upswept with a 79-degree approach angle and upswept sides and rear for additional ground clearance. The Teryx has two rear storage bins and a 600-pound-capacity tilt bed, while the Teryx4 has a small bed behind the rear stadium seats with a 249-pound cargo capacity.

The faux-carbon fiber dash has a digital instrument panel tilted towards the driver and plenty of blanks for accessories, including a Jensen stereo system. The glove box is large as well.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?

The base Teryx EPS is $12,999, while the Camo Teryx with a roof is $14,299, and Limited Editions are $14,999 (Candy Plasma Blue) to $15,199 (Matrix Camo Gray). Kawasaki’s Mule Pro-FXR EPS is $14,999. Honda’s Pioneer 1000 EPS is $15,699, while the Pioneer 700 Deluxe is $12,099. The Polaris Ranger XP 900 EPS is $13,299 to $13,999. Can-Am’s Commander 800R DPS is $13,149, while the 800R XT is $15,499 to $15,599. The Defender HD8 DPS is $13,099 to $13,899, while the HD8 XT is $15, 699 to $15,799. Textron’s Stampede 900X is $14,799, while John Deere’s Gator XUV835 with EPS is $15,625.

Dual-piston hydraulic calipers with braided-steel lines slow the front Bighorn 2.0s in a hurry. Limited Editions sport 27-inch tires on 14-inch aluminum rims, while the base and Realtree Camo Teryxs have 26-inch rubber on 12-inch steel rims.

HOW FAST IS THE V-TWIN?

Fast enough to be fun. The 783cc V-twin doesn’t rip like a RZR 900, as it’s tuned more for torque (47 pound-feet at 5500 rpm). The engine has a fairly short stroke and 10.7:1 compression, and it accelerates smoothly with no surprises. Top speed is limited to 52 mph, which is plenty for most conditions and trails. It’ll drift into turns and is a predictable slider on harder soils. Top speed in low is 28 mph. Also, the addition of quad LED headlights (Camo and LE only) with dual controls allows higher trail speeds on night rides.

WHAT ABOUT THE DELIVERY?

It’s as good as it gets. The CVT has a centrifugal clutch that keeps constant belt tension for instant throttle response and long belt life. Plus, it delivers four-wheel engine braking, unlike the RZR 900. Engagement is super smooth, which builds confidence is tricky sections. EFI tuning is matched very well with the CVT, and we really appreciate the EBS on steep descents. Best yet, the Teryx is backed by a Kawasaki Strong three-year warranty.

The width is 61.6 inches, and Fox 2.0 Podium shocks and stout A-arms deliver 8.0 inches of travel. Quad LED headlights have separate off/low/high switches for extending rides into the night, and the brush guard is heavy duty and coated with a durable crinkle finish.

HOW DOES THE TERYX HANDLE?

Deliberately. The short 85.8-inch wheelbase and variable-assist EPS make it easy to flick the Teryx into turns, and it has the response to maintain slides in most conditions. It’s very nimble on tight trails and great on mountain switchbacks. Although it doesn’t have the suspension travel to gobble big whoops, the rigid X-frame chassis contributes to good straight-line stability. It also has a front torsion bar to fight body roll in turns.

WHAT ABOUT THE SUSPENSION?

It’s good and can be made better. The A-arms are stout, and they work with Fox Podium 2.0 shocks with 24-position compression damping. Front travel is 8.0 inches and rear travel is 8.3 inches. The Fox shocks are set at the factory at 12 out. This setting resists bottoming on water bars and other G-outs but transmits impacts with rocks and roots through the chassis. Backing out on the clickers improves ride quality on trail garbage but increases bottoming. We had Shock Therapy re-valve our 2017 Teryx, and the result was great ride quality with more bottoming resistance for $650.

Rear travel is 8.3 inches, and the dumping bed with two-latch tailgate holds 600 pounds. Towing capacity is 1300 pounds, and we regularly drag dirt driveways with the workhorse Teryx. Also, we’ve never heard of a Teryx breaking an axle.

WHAT ABOUT ROCKS AND MUD?

It conquers both. Great EFI and CVT tuning keep the Teryx hooked up on rocks. A high seating position makes it easy to pick lines, but off-cambers make us feel a bit nervous—compared to UTVs with lower seats. Low range and EBS make it sure-footed on rocks, and the half doors add confidence. The doors also keep mud out of the cabin, as does the roof on LE and Camo models. The Teryx conquers mud with great torque and can turn taller tires than the 27-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0s (base models have 26-inch 2.0s). Big fenders also keep mud out of the cab, but mud ruts deeper than 11.2 inches will make the full skid plate drag.

HOW STOUT ARE THE BRAKES?

Plenty stout. Front rotors are squeezed by twin-piston hydraulic calipers, while the rear brakes are sealed, oil-bathed multi-discs. They are also backed by a mechanical parking brake on the rear driveshaft and the CVT’s engine-braking system.

A large pleated-paper air filter rides under the removable hood and in front of a large fuse box. Both are well-sealed from high-water crossings. The radiator cap and coolant reservoir are also easily accessible.

WHAT ABOUT CREATURE COMFORTS?

The Teryx is an off-road limo. The seats are very comfortable and provide good support. The driver’s seat is adjustable to three positions, with tools. The passenger seat isn’t adjustable. Tri-color seat covers come from the jet-ski division. Noise and vibration in the cabin are low, and the roof is awesome. It channels water to the sides. Half doors and the textured floorboard with drain holes provide security. The over-molded steering wheel is great but doesn’t tilt, and the EPS assist map is spot-on. The controls are light and user-friendly, but the range selector could be slicker. The dash has blanks for accessories and a large glove box, and the digital instrument panel is easy to read. We also really like the large storage bin where the rear seats ride on the Teryx4. It has two large side compartments big enough to hold a backpack or full-faced helmet, and the center is designed for strapping down a small cooler.

Turning is excellent on the Teryx due to a short wheelbase, great balance, low center of gravity, front torsion bar, versatile tires, EPS assist and power. We also like the over-molded tilt steering wheel.

WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?

While the Teryx hasn’t been updated since the 2014 and 2016 makeovers, it’s a very capable trail machine that does everything well. It has great power and EFI/CVT tuning, crisp handling, good suspension and brakes, and top-shelf creature comforts. The build quality and looks are awesome, and the ride quality is good. EPS tuning and four-wheel EBS make the Teryx agile and sure-footed. The steeper and tighter the trail, the better the Kawasaki works.

SPECS:

2018 KAWASAKI TERYX 4X4 LE

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION

Engine type Liquid/oil-cooled, 8-valve, SOHC,

4-stroke V-twin

Displacement 783cc

Bore x stroke 85mm x 69mm (x2)

Compression ratio 10.7:1

Lubrication system Semi-dry sump

Induction 36mm Mikuni EFI (x2)

Starting/back-up Electric push-button/none

Idle adjustment N/A

Air filter Pleated paper

Access Remove hood and six airbox clips

Transmission Dual-range CVT w/ rev. & EBS

Reverse procedure Move gearshift to “R”

Drive system 2WD/4WD w/ diff-lock

Final drive Shaft

DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS

Fuel capacity 7.9 gal.

Wheelbase 85.6”

Overall length/width/height 125.4”/61.6”/77.8”

Ground clearance 11.2”

Claimed curb weight 1,569.2 lb.

Bed capacity 600 lb.

Towing capacity 1,300 lb.

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Tube steel Double-X

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arms w/ prel-, comp.-adj. piggyback

shocks/8.0”

  Rear Dual A-arms w/ prel-, comp-adj. piggyback

shocks/8.3”

Brakes/actuation:

  Front Twin-piston hydraulic discs/left pedal

  Rear Oil-bathed multi-disc/left pedal

Parking Locking lever on console

Tires:

  Front 27×9-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0

  Rear 27×11-14 Maxxis Bighorn 2.0

DETAILS

Lighting:

  Front Quad 20.4W/10.2W LED headlights

  Rear Dual 21W/5W brake/taillights

Instrumentation Multi-function digital meter

plus indicators

Colors Bright White, Realtree Xtra Green;

LE, Candy Plasma Blue, Matrix Camo Gray

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $12,999; Camo, $14,299;

LE, $14,999–$15,199

Contact Kawasaki Motor Corp., (800) 661-RIDE

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