KAWASAKI TERYX4 800 FI LE

UTV TEST

— The Teryx4 has a good combination of cornering prowess and stability at higher trail speeds —

Although it has more competition now with Yamaha’s Wolverine X4, Kawasaki’s Teryx4 remains one of our favorite four-seat UTVs, both in stock and modified forms. The versatile Teryx4 works very well on both coasts and everywhere in between—from tight woods to majestic mountains—and it has great handling due to its short wheelbase. It comfortably seats four adults, while the Honda Pioneer 1000-5’s convertible rear seats aren’t that comfortable for larger adults, making the Honda’s 5.4-inch-shorter wheelbase a little less desirable. We got a chance to test the 2018 Teryx4 Limited Edition at the SxS Adventure Rally held at Utah’s Sand Hollow State Park.

Only two four-seat UTVs have a shorter wheelbase than the Teryx4, and only one of those has rear seating room for adults like the Teryx4. Turning is excellent in the Teryx4, no matter how tight the conditions.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2018?

For 2018, Teryx4s get new color choices—Bright White for base T4s 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 3mm-longer stroke in 2014, boosting displacement to 783cc. For 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, plus a new, replaceable fender brace. 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 Teryx4 had outer halogen 35-watt lights and blank housings for optional upgrades. A larger steel-tube front bumper protects the new front end, and the Fox Podium X 2.0 piggyback shocks gets new valving for optimized ride quality and performance.

The dash has blanks for accessories like the Jensen AM/FM audio system ($599.95 if not ordering the Recreation Package with two 3-inch, 60-watt speakers and USB/AUX and Bluetooth connectivity. The glove box is large and roomy, but the passenger hand-hold grip is old school and limits grip options.

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. 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 toward 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 12V 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.

Here are the air and fuse boxes under the hood of a Candy Lime Green LE, and the cross-frame support for the four LED headlights is replaceable if need be. The Teryx4 is backed by a Kawasaki Strong three-year limited warranty, and there are three Protection Plus plan options.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?

All Teryx models got a $750 price reduction for 2018. The base-model Teryx4 800 EPS is $15,799. The Realtree Xtra Green Camo Teryx4 is $16,299, and the Limited Edition is $16,999 to $17,199. Yamaha’s Wolverine X4 850 EPS is $15,999 to $16,899, and the Special Edition is $17,249. Honda’s Pioneer 1000-5 is $16,699. The Deluxe is $17,699, and the Limited is $21,899, while the Pioneer-4 700 is $12,299 to $13,499. The Polaris General-4 1000 EPS is $21,299. The RZR S4 900 EPS is $18,499, and the Ranger Crew XP 900 EPS is $15,499. Can-Am’s Defender Max HD8 DPS is $14,699 to $15,499. Kawasaki’s Mule Pro-FXT EPS is $14,899 to $16,199.

The mountain-man Teryx4 has a 61.6-inch width and 8.0 inches of front travel with adjustable and rebuildable Fox Podium 2.0 piggyback shocks. Our Candy Plasma Blue LE sported Kawasaki’s Recreation Package ($2,941.40) with brush guard, LED light bar, light-bar harness kit, half windshield, cargo box, Warn ProVantage 3500-pound winch, winch mount, front and side skid plate kits, front A-arm guards, rear-view mirror and Jensen audio system.

HOW FAST IS THE V-TWIN?

Fast enough to be fun. A long-stroke 783cc V-twin has a lot of low-to-midrange torque (47 foot-pounds), and it tops out at 50-plus mph in high and 25 mph in low. Although it doesn’t accelerate as hard as most sport UTVs, it maintains spirited trail speeds, and the two 36mm EFI throttle bodies sip gas. It averages 15.7 miles per gallon, but can get up to 25 miles per gallon, extending range to almost 180 miles.

Rear travel is 8.3 inches, and the Teryx4 will tow 1300 pounds. The wet multi-plate rear brake also has a parking brake lever on the console, and our test unit also had a rear bumper ($349.95) and rear A-arm guards ($149.95). The cargo box includes a removable toolbox with strap that is trapped by the cargo-box lid.

WHAT ABOUT THE DELIVERY?

It’s top-shelf. The Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) has a centrifugal clutch to keep the Kevlar CVT belt engaged and a belt-protection system. It also has an automatic Engine Braking System (EBS) that predictably slows all four wheels in 4WD. A quick-reacting EFI throttle map and CVT clutching provide a sporty feel while inspiring confidence on slow-speed obstacles. The 2WD/4WD/diff-lock switch is simple and quickly carries out orders via servos.

HOW DOES THE TERYX HANDLE?

It’s agile. With a wheelbase of 85.8 inches, the Teryx4 has a good combination of cornering prowess and stability at higher trail speeds. Yamaha’s Wolverine X4 turns a little tighter with a 2.9-inch-shorter wheelbase, but the Teryx4 is in the hunt. Engine braking sets up slides going into turns, so we switch to 2WD for switchbacks and other tight turns and then back to 4WD. Speed-sensitive EPS also helps bend it around turns and eliminates kickback through the steering wheel when impacting rocks and roots.

Kawasaki let us check out a fully accessorized Teryx4 Candy Plasma Blue LE at Sand Hollow State Park’s SxS Adventure Rally. The Teryx4 remains one of the highest-performing four-seat UTVs, as it shares its X-frame chassis, wheelbase and suspension with the Teryx 800FI.

WHAT ABOUT THE SUSPENSION?

It’s good but not great. The Teryx4 only has 8.0 inches of front and 8.3 inches of rear travel, while the Mule Pro-FXR and Yamaha X4 have a tad more at 8.7 inches and 8.9 inches, respectively. The Fox Podium 2.0 shocks have 24-position compression-damping adjusters, and they’re set at 12 clicks out at the factory. This provides plenty of bottoming resistance for water bars and G-outs, but the ride quality over trail junk could be plusher. Backing off to 20–24 clicks out improves ride quality but increases bottoming. We had Shock Therapy re-valve the shocks on our 2017 Teryx4 (February 2018) and were impressed with ride quality and control.

WHAT ABOUT ROCKS AND MUD?

The Teryx4 is a rock monster. The torque and delivery make it an all-time favorite for Moab, and the front torsion bar allows articulation for off-camber rocks. The centrifugal clutch and EBS make it sure-footed in rocks, and long-travel suspension makes it a rock limo. Ample torque also helps in deep mud, until the ruts get deeper than 11.2 inches; then it drags. The Teryx4 has power to turn taller tires than the stock 27-inch Bighorn 2.0s, and the bodywork does a great job of keeping splashes and mud roost out of the cab.

Since 2014 the Teryx has been powered by the Brute Force 750’s V-twin with a 3mm-longer stroke, boosting displacement to 783cc. 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.

HOW STOUT ARE THE BRAKES?

Pretty stout. Twin-piston hydraulic front calipers and a multi-disc rear brake are backed up by the excellent EBS. They’re great in most situations, but adding a bunch of weight in accessories can tax them over time.

WHAT ABOUT CREATURE COMFORTS?

They’re limo-like. Camo and LE Teryx4 and Teryx models come with a hard roof and quad LED headlights, and the EPS-assisted, over-molded steering wheel is awesome. The driver’s seat has three-position tool-less adjustment, and the passenger seat can be adjusted on its base with tools. Seats are well shaped for comfort and security, and they have covers from the jet-ski division. Controls are user-friendly and well placed, and the dash has blanks for an accessory Jensen sound system and toggle switches. The hand-holds are old-school, and the engine noise in the cab could be lower, but the overall cabin comfort is excellent.

Twin-puck front hydraulic calipers are backed by a multi-disc, oil-bathed rear brake, and Kawasaki carries eight Warn winch options, from 2000 pounds ($249.95) to the ProVantage 3500S ($659.95), with the Recreation Package getting the ProVantage 3500 steel-wire winch with roller disc brake.

WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?

Although the Teryx4 hasn’t changed in two model years, it still is a very effective and versatile four-seat UTV that does everything well. There are still some 2016s and 2017s with discounts at dealers, but we really like the looks of the 2018 Candy Plasma Blue LE we drove at Sand Hollow and the new Matrix Camo Gray option. The fit and finish, creature comforts, power, delivery, suspension and handling are all excellent, and the seating for four adults is hard to beat. We’ll see how the Teryx4 stacks up against the Wolverine X4 at a later date.

SPECS:

2018 KAWASAKI TERYX4 800 FI 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:

  Type Foam

  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 1,628.8 lb.

Bed capacity 249 lb.

Towing capacity 1,300 lb.

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Tube steel Double-X

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arms w/ preload-, comp.-adj.

piggyback shocks/8.0”

  Rear Dual A-arms w/preload-, 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 Lime Green, Candy Plasma Blue,

Matrix Camo Gray

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $15,799; Camo, $16,299;

LE, $16,999–$17,199

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

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