KAWASAKI TERYX4 800FI LE

— Trail testing an affordable 4-seater UTV —

In a world where many four-seat UTVs cost $20,000 to $30,000, Kawasaki’s Teryx4 800FI delivers a lot of performance, good looks and family fun at a hard-to-beat price. While the basic design hasn’t changed in years, the Teryx4 does many things very well in stock form, and it enjoys a lot of support from the aftermarket, which can turn it into a long-travel, off-road limo. 

Kawasaki has two new color choices for the 2019 Teryx4 800FI Limited Edition; Metallic Carbon Gray and Candy Steel Furnace Orange join digital Matrix Camo Grey. LE and Camo models get four LED headlights with separate controls.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2019?

For 2019, Teryx4s get new graphics and color choices; new Metallic Carbon Gray and Candy Steel Furnace Orange join Matrix Camo Gray on Limited Editions. We got to see Teryx4s being built at the Nebraska KMC factory, and these UTVs have awesome build quality and unequaled beauty. We got a Metallic Carbon Gray LE for this 2019 test.

Since 2014, the Teryx has been powered by the Brute Force ATV’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, and output is 47 pound-feet of torque at 5600 rpm.

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 to $17,199. Yamaha’s Wolverine X4 850 EPS is $16,499 to $16,899, and the Special Edition is $17,249. Honda’s Pioneer 1000-5 is $16,899, the Deluxe is $17,899, and the Limited is $22,099, while the Pioneer-4 700 is $12,399 to $13,899. The Polaris General-4 1000 EPS is $21,299, 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 $16,999 for the Ranch Edition. Textron’s Stampede 4 is $15,699 to $18,199 for the 4X Hunter Edition.

Front brakes are twin-piston hydraulic calipers, while the rear brake is a multi-disc sealed in an oil bath with an integral parking brake. Only the Limited Edition gets the trick two-tone wheels shod with 27-inch Bighorn 2.0 tires.

HOW FAST IS THE 783CC V-TWIN?

Fast enough to be fun. The 783cc V-twin has a fairly short stroke for quick revs and is tuned for torque with a fairly aggressive throttle map, making it sporty and fun from turn to turn. We got 31 mph out of the Teryx4 in low and 52 mph downhill in high, as the Teryx4 has an electronic speed limiter set at 50 mph.

WHAT ABOUT THE CVT/4X4 DELIVERY?

It’s top-shelf. The Teryx4 has a dual-range CVT with belt protection and four-wheel engine braking, along with a centrifugal clutch applying constant belt tension for longer life and cooler running. The range selector is fairly slick, and shifter gates assure positive engagement. A dial switch on the dash selects 2WD, 4WD and 4WD diff-lock, and servos carry out commands instantly. We leave it in 4WD and switch to 2WD to bend around tight switchbacks or set up drifts into faster turns. It’s very user-friendly and efficient.

The faux carbon fiber dash has a digital instrument panel in the center, canted towards the driver, with easy-to-read speed, 2WD/4WD and fuel-level icons. Blanks for accessories pop out easily, and the circle is for an accessory Jensen audio system.

WHAT ABOUT T4 HANDLING?

It’s agile in turns yet stable at speed. With the introduction of the Honda Pioneer 1000-5 and Yamaha Wolverine X4, the Teryx4 is no longer the shortest-wheelbase four-seater, but the 85.6-inch wheelbase is much shorter than any four-seat Turbo or 1000. It’s easy to bend around mountain switchbacks and fun to drift, and it’s stable on fast straights, as long as the whoops aren’t too much for the suspension travel. The EPS assist map is also very well-tuned and speed-sensitive for a smooth, stable ride.

Between the fast servos controlling the front diff and very effective engine-braking system, it’s easy to bend the Teryx4 around forest-service trail switchbacks. Excellent torque and throttle response are great for uphill turns, too.

HOW IS THE SUSPENSION?

It’s tuned well for four-up fun. Fox Podium 2.0 piggyback shocks have 24-position compression adjusters, with factory settings in the midpoint of damping at 12 clicks out. Travel is 8.0 inches in front and 8.3 inches out back. The ride is good with four seats occupied, and a front sway bar fights body roll in turns yet allows articulation for rocks, roots and ruts. The Teryx4 has better suspension control at higher speeds than most of its direct competition, but it could use plusher low-speed ride quality. Shock Therapy has developed a Ride Improvement System that improves ride quality with re-valving and shock mods for $650, and the aftermarket has all sorts of long-travel kits and shock upgrades for turning the Teryx4 into an off-road limousine.

Even the base Teryx4 in Bright White gets the heavy-duty front bumper, but only Camo and LE models get the very effective and protective roof. Fox Podium 2.0 shocks deliver 8.0 inches of tunable front travel, and the Teryx4 comes with a mount for an accessory winch.

WHAT ABOUT ROCKS AND MUD?

We have conquered many trails at Utah’s Moab and Sand Hollow red-rock formations, and the torquey engine, great CVT and locking front diff make hard obstacles easier. Long travel makes it even more capable in rocks, but the stock suspension only delivers 11.2 inches of ground clearance. If mud ruts get any deeper than that, the Teryx4 gets high centered. Other than that, the Kawasaki is very capable in mud and the fenders, half doors and roof do a good job of keeping flung mud out of the cabin.

Rear travel is 8.3 inches, and the Fox shocks have 24 clicks of compression adjustment. The Teryx4 has 1300 pounds of towing capacity via a 2-inch receiver and carries 249 pounds in the non-tilting bed.

HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?

Strong enough, but adding several accessories adds weight that taxes the twin-piston front calipers and multi-disc rear brakes. This system is well-sealed against mud and water, and the four-wheel engine-braking system is very effective, especially in low range. Only Limited Editions T4s sport the 27-inch Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires, which also apply more forces to the brakes. We overheated the brakes on a long descent from high altitude and had to stop and let them cool.

Access to the pleated-paper air filter is tool-less, and the airbox and fuse panel ride high under the hood for deep water crossings. The fenders and roof do a great job of keeping water and flung mud out of the cabin.

WHAT ABOUT CREATURE COMFORTS?

They’re amongst the best of any four-seat UTV, whether sport or recreation. Stadium seating gives all four riders a good view and a secure seating position. The bucket seats have side bolsters and covers from the jet-ski division for great comfort, even in heavy rain. The plastic roof has channels to keep water from running into the cabin, and the half doors provide confidence and security. All controls are well-placed and deliver great control and feel, and we like the over-molded steering wheel and tilt steering. The digital instrument pod is in the center of the dash instead of over the steering column, as with many other UTVs, but it’s tilted towards the driver. The faux-carbon dash has four blanks for accessories and even an accessory Jensen audio system. Vibration and noise in the cabin are tolerable, but the Wolverine X4 is much more quiet. Also, the front passenger hand-holds are antiquated.

WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?

While there are many faster four-seat UTVs on the market with more suspension travel, the Teryx4 is a great all-around machine for family fun in the mountains, woods and valleys. It seats four adults more comfortably than newer machines aimed directly at the Teryx4, like the Honda Pioneer 1000-5 or 700-4 and the Yamaha Wolverine X4. It has great build quality and looks, handles well and is very durable. It’s backed by an unheard-of three-year Kawasaki Strong warranty and delivers a lot of bang for the buck. It remains one of UTV Action’s favorite go-to machines for family fun.

SPECS:

2019 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 1,628.8 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/ 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 

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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