The Kawasaki Teryx may not be the top choice to blast through the desert at high speeds or sling sand at the dunes, but it is one of the best trail-trekking UTVs on the market. Kawasaki decided to make some improvements for 2016 in cosmetics, comfort and function. The front end of the Teryx got a needed makeover, which includes a second set of headlights for its LE and camo models and a redesigned dash. The suspension was tuned on all of the Teryx models, starting with the $12,999 base model.
The biggest improvement on the new Kawasaki Teryx has to do with redesigning the whole front bodywork with a new aggressive styling, a different hood and the addition of a second set of LED headlights. The base model won’t come with two sets of lights, but the LE models have them, and each set of lights has its own high, low and off setting switches in the cab of the Teryx. The ability to run high and low beams at the same time is always a plus. The hood went from being the whole front end’s plastic that swung open on a hinge to an easy-to-remove center section that houses the fuse box, tool-less air filter box and coolant overflow tank.
The Kawasaki’s cockpit also gained some improvements to the dash, steering wheel and glove compartment. The dash now has centrally located controls that are easier to reach, extra spaces for accessory switch banks and molded areas for their Jenson audio system that can be purchased as an accessory with the Teryx. The glove box now has a handle latch system to open and close it easily and securely. The steering wheel now has a rubber over-molding to make it more comfortable and provide good grip, and the steering wheel has a tilt function. The last major plus to the cockpit is the fact that the driver seat can now be adjusted without tools.
The 2016 Kawasaki Teryx shares most of the same parts as the 2015 model, which includes the 783cc, liquid-cooled, V-twin cylinder, OHC, four-stroke engine. This powerplant has direct fuel injection via two 36mm Mikuni throttle bodies. The torque delivery is the most noticeable when you are driving this machine. It has a solid low-to-mid-end power range that is very capable in steep and tricky terrain. The transmission is an automatic CVT style, which means it’s belt-driven. It has a low, high, neutral and reverse gear. The engine is centrally mounted in the machine, which helps give the Kawi a 50:50 weight distribution. Having the engine be in the center of the machine makes it a bit loud in the cockpit.
Kawasaki designed the Teryx transmission with an Engine Braking System (EBS) that works very well. In the high drive mode, the EBS kicks in as soon as you let off of the throttle, slowing you down decently, and more often than not you won’t need to use your brakes depending on the terrain. In low gear the EBS is strong and lets you creep down the steepest of trails. We drove the Teryx in West Virginia’s Hatfield-McCoy trail system, which has anything from simple slopes to tricky and technical trails that beginners should never attempt. During our test we spent most of the ride in the snow, and the EBS helped out a lot by slowing the machine down and not needing brakes. The more the brakes are used in snow and ice, the easier it is for a machine to slide rather than grab traction.
The Teryx comes with a selectable 4×4 system that can be switched to two-wheel drive, four-wheel-drive and has a front locking differential. The locking front differential wasn’t needed frequently but it’s great to have for steep climbs and rocky situations. Another nice improvement Kawasaki made for 2016 was redesigning the gears in the rear differential. They went from a straight gear design to a helical gear that reduces chatter in the rear end and lets the gears mesh together tighter and smoother.
HOW IT HANDLES
When it comes to handling, one of the best features on the Teryx is the steering. Every Teryx comes with Electronic Power Steering (EPS). The EPS is very smooth, and you don’t get a lot of feedback from what you are traversing over. Even when the front differential is locked, the steering doesn’t get too much heavier. Independent A-arm-type suspension comes on all four corners of the Teryx, with Fox Podium 2.0 reservoir coilover shocks that have preload- and compression-damping adjustments. The front Podium shocks have 8 inches of wheel travel, while the rears have 8.3 inches of wheel travel. One of the Teryx’s main class competitors, the Honda Pioneer 700 and 700-4, does not come with piggyback reservoir suspension and comes without EPS.
The base-model Teryx comes with stamped-steel 14-inch wheels, while the LE models come with 14-inch cast-aluminum wheels. Maxxis tires come on all four corners of the Kawasaki, sized 27×9-14 front and 27×11-14 rear. Gaining traction is important, but not as much as having good brakes. The Teryx has two piston-caliper hydraulic disc brakes in the front with a sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc rear brake. The steel brake lines help give the brakes a solid pedal feel, but in some steep situations the brakes could be stronger.
GETTING THE JOB DONE
A great aspect of the Kawasaki Teryx is that it is a recreational utility vehicle, so it works well around the job site or on the farm. For starters, it can tow up to 1300 pounds out of a rear 2-inch hitch receiver. A tilting cargo bed that is capable of holding 600 pounds also comes standard on this machine. Cargo space is impressive with two large bins that hold up to 48 gallons of equipment. To get in and out of tight spots, the turning radius is 16.7 feet, and the Teryx can run for hours off of a 7.9-gallon fuel tank. Kawasaki offers a multitude of accessories, like front bumpers, windshields, enclosure systems and more.
We have logged hours riding the Kawasaki Teryx in the desert, woods, sand and muddy terrain. The place it shines brightest would be wooded areas and slick terrain. While it can tackle many different types of riding, these are where it excels. The Teryx has a ground clearance of 11.2 inches, which is very close to its competitor, the Yamaha Wolverine, at a clearance of 11.4 inches. It doesn’t tend to get hung up on a lot of rocks or fallen trees. The 4×4 system works very well, and the diff-lock offers the extra traction in the front end when needed.
One of our biggest gripes about the Teryx is its suspension. While the Fox Podium 2.0 shocks work decently, another 2 inches of wheel travel all around would greatly benefit the Kawi. At slow speeds the ride can be a little rough, and around 25 mph it feels best at factory settings. With a little adjustment, the suspension can be tuned a bit better for your riding style. The seats of the Teryx are comfortable and hold you in place decently, while the driving position is also comfortable. The passenger has two handholds in case the going gets rough.
Kawasaki’s 2016 Teryx received updates that made the machine look better and increased function in some areas. They added new colors to the line with the $12,999 white base model, $14,299 camo model, and $14,999 Candy Lime Green and Metallic Flat Raw Graystone models. Kawasaki also improved the same parts on their Teryx4 model that holds four people without the cargo space and a smaller non-dumping bed. That machine starts at $15,799. The Teryx is a great trail machine with good utility functions. It comes at a reasonable price, with EPS coming standard on each model. You can pick one up at your local Kawasaki dealer or go to www.kawasaki.com for more information on where to purchase one.
Engine……………OHC, V-twin, 4-stroke
Bore and stroke………….85mm x 69mm
Fuel capacity………………………… 7.9 gal
Front……………………… Dual A-arm/8.0″
Rear……………………… Dual A-arm/8.3″
Ground clearance…………………….. 11.2″
Claimed weight…………………….1578 lb.