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TEST: KAWASAKI TERYX4 800FI EPS LE

October 5, 2017
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— Ever since Kawasaki introduced the Teryx4, a play on the predatory T. rex dinosaur’s nickname, we’ve been impressed with its capabilities on technical trails. With the same wheelbase and chassis as the Teryx 800, the four-seater is one of the most capable trail machines and rock crawlers available. Last year we got to test its capabilities in deep snow at Hatfield-McCoy. This year we got to spend a week with the 2017 Teryx4 at the Moab Rally on the Rocks, laying tracks alongside fossilized tracks laid 190 million years ago. Here’s what we experienced with the off-road limo at Moab, Utah.

Kawasaki’s 2017 Teryx4 Limited Edition is our weapon of choice for exploring technical trails, as it has one of the shortest wheelbases of any four-seat UTV. The double-X frame is upswept with a 79-degree approach angle and has upswept sides and rear for additional ground clearance.

 

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2017?

The Teryx4 800 gets Super Black livery, and the LE gets a new color choice (Candy Matte Burnt Orange), in addition to Candy Lime Green and Metallic Stardust White. Graphics changes round out 2017, as the Teryx and Teryx4 saw revisions in 2016 and 2014.

The Teryx/T-4 got a total makeover with a double-X frame and a 3mm-longer stroke in 2014, bumping displacement to 783cc. For 2016 the Teryx4 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 Teryx4 EPS has 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 got new valving for optimized ride quality and performance.

Width is 61.6 inches. Front travel is 8.0 inches, and the Teryx4 has a front torsion bar to fight body roll in turns. Only the camo and LE Teryx4s come with four LED headlights and a roof, and only the Limited gets 27×9-14 Bighorn 2.0 front tires on two-tone aluminum rims. Base and camo models have 26-inch 2.0s on steel rims.

 

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 the 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.

Rear travel is 8.3 inches, and Fox Podium X 2.0 shocks have 24-position compression adjusters. The Teryx has two rear storage bins and a 600-pound-capacity tilt bed, while the T-4 has a small bed behind the rear stadium seats with a 249-pound cargo capacity. Towing capacity is 1300 pounds, and the torquey V-twin can easily turn tires taller than the OEM 27×11-14 Bighorn 2.0s.

 

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?

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. Honda’s Pioneer 1000-5 is $16,399, and the Pioneer 700-4 is $12,099. The Polaris Ranger Crew XP 900 EPS is $13,699 to $15,499, while the new General 4 is $20,999. Can-Am’s Commander Max 800 DPS is $15,299, while the Defender Max HD8 DPS is $14,599 and up. The two XT packages start at $17,199.

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 with 10.7:1 compression, and four-valve Hemi heads are fed by two 36mm Mikuni EFI throttle bodies.

 

HOW FAST IS THE V-TWIN?

It’s quick enough to be fun, and the 50-mph top speed in high is ample for faster Moab trails. The long-stroke 783cc V-twin has a lot of torque (47 foot-pounds) for tough obstacles, and it puts out 26 percent more power than the original Teryx 750. It’s a great powerplant that is practically unstoppable in low range where top speed is 25 mph. Throttle response is quick yet manageable, and the two 36mm EFI throttle bodies sip gas. It gets up to 25 miles per gallon, making range almost 200 miles.

WHAT ABOUT THE DELIVERY?

It’s luxurious. Servos carry out 2WD/4WD/diff-lock commands quickly, and the gated range selector is nice and positive. The CVT has a centrifugal clutch for constant belt tension and long belt life, and it has a built-in Engine Braking System (EBS) and belt-protection sensors. The CVT and EFI response are well-matched for confidence on technical trail obstacles, and EBS slows all four tires on delicate descents. Also, we have never seen a Teryx break an axle.

The rear seats aren’t adjustable like the front two, but they do get the gripper seat covers and side bolsters. Rear passengers have a full-width grab bar and plenty of elbow- and legroom. Only the LE has color-matched seats.

 

HOW DOES THE TERYX4 HANDLE?

Like a sporty two-seat UTV. Only the Honda Pioneer 700-4 and 1000-5 have a shorter wheelbase, and the Teryx4 turns in easily and powers out with authority. It’s a blast to drift into turns in 2WD, and it slides predictably. On switchback trails, we also go to 2WD for a tighter turn and 4WD for traction on exit, and the switchover is instant. With short travel and a front anti-sway bar, the Teryx4 corners flat, but whooped-out straights have to be negotiated slowly.

WHAT ABOUT THE SUSPENSION?

It’s good but can be better. Kawasaki re-tuned the Fox Podium X 2.0 piggyback shocks for a smoother ride last year, and the 24-position compression adjusters are set in the middle of their range, so owners can increase or decrease compression damping as needed. Ride quality is good on most trails, but really rocky trails call for backing out adjusters. We’re sending our Teryx shocks to Shock Therapy for their Ride Improvement System upgrades.

We like the new dash with independent LED light controls, a gated shifter and easy-to-read instrument panel. The dash is designed to accept an accessory Jensen sound system with Bluetooth AM/FM radio and USB and AUX inputs. We listened to ride-suitable country music via smartphone and two compact 60-watt speakers for $599.99.

 

WHAT ABOUT ROCKS AND MUD?

They don’t faze the Teryx4, which is our weapon of choice for Moab’s slick-rock trails. The user-friendly low range, V-twin torque, throttle map and CVT tuning make it confidence-inspiring on technical rock sections. On Kane Creek, we had deep-water crossings and mud puddles, and the lined half doors and roof kept all the mud out. The airbox is high under the hood, as are the CVT ducts. Ground clearance is only 11.2 inches, so it’ll high-center on really deep mud ruts, but it’ll also turn taller tires.

HOW STOUT ARE THE BRAKES?

Kawasaki strong. The front hydraulic disc brakes have two-piston calipers and coated stainless-steel brake lines, while the rear brake is a wet, clutch-type multi-disc with parking brake. It’s impervious to mud and grime. The combination is ample for the stock Teryx4, especially on the slick rock with lots of traction, but adding a lot of weight and accessories taxes the Teryx brakes. Back them up with low range and EBS.

At 85.6 inches, the Teryx4’s wheelbase is almost 10 inches less than a Wildcat X’s. It’s agile in corners and very rarely requires two-point turns on mountain switchbacks. EPS mapping is excellent for control and a light feel at the wheel, and the quad LED headlights extend rides well into darkness.

 

WHAT ABOUT CREATURE COMFORTS?

They’re sophisticated and limo-like. The front seats are adjustable, and the tilt steering wheel is super comfortable. Control effort is minimal, and the new dash is well thought out with blanks for accessory switches and a Jensen audio system. Lined half doors and the plastic roof raise the trail-comfort quotient considerably. Rear seating is excellent, but the front-passenger hold-points are old school. The right-side cage loop is angled in for protection by the main cage, and the left-hand upright on the console has an oversized grip with flat top. We switch between gripping the top end (horizontal) and the grip (vertical) to prevent a sore wrist. Cab noise is the drawback of having such a nice roof and doors.

Our test unit was equipped with Kawasaki’s accessory Warn Provantage 3500S winch with a 3/16-inch synthetic rope ($659.95) and winch mount ($119.95), aluminum A-arm guards ($149.95) and a cargo box ($399.95). The Factor 55 FlatLink foldable winch shackle mount ($132.95) comes in five colors and is tested to 40,000 pounds.

 

WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?

We like the Teryx4 800FI LE as much on western slick-rock and forest trails as on eastern wood and mountain trails. It’s an excellent mount for exploring. It offers great power and torque, nimble handling, awesome trail comfort, good brakes and great looks. Build quality and fit and finish are the industry standard, especially with the Limited Edition. Upgrade to long-travel suspension, and the Teryx4 is the ultimate adventure UTV, no matter where you ride. Ask Ken, the Moab Cowboy who guided us on Fins-n-Things. 

 

Specs:

2017 KAWASAKI TERYX4 800FI 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 6 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 1,605-1,629 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/ 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 Super Black, Realtree Xtra Green, LE Candy

Lime Green, Candy Matte Burnt Orange,

Metallic Stardust White

Minimum recommended operator age 16

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

LE, $16,999

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

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