SIDE-BY-SIDE TEST: KAWASAKI TERYX KRX 1000
Incredible ride quality, cabin comfort and durability By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Kawasaki put a lot of engineering and development into its Teryx KRX 1000 sport UTV, and we’ve put a lot of miles on the KRXs—from snowy Hatfield-McCoy trails to the mountains and forests of Idaho and Utah, all the way to the tip of Baja, Mexico—over four model years. The K-Rex is as tough as a T-Rex, as we only wore out the CVT weight arms in Baja. For this 2023 base KRX test, we spent two days at the King of the Hammers.
UPGRADES OVER THE YEARS
Sunbeam Red or Lime Green and Metallic Onyx Black are the 2023 color choices. New in 2020, KRX 1000s got a low-battery warning indicator. For 2021, a new Trail Edition was outfitted for adventure with a Warn VRX45 winch, bumpers, nerfs, a KQR roof and special graphics package. Also, a new Special Edition got the VRX45 winch plus a 600-watt, five-channel Hifonics AM/FM/Bluetooth audio system with 6.5-inch door speakers and 12-inch subwoofer.
New in 2022, the KRX 1000 eS added Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension (KECS) with Fox 2.5 Podium Live Valve IBP shocks and selectable three-mode semi-active damping system, KQR roof, TFT color instruments, and Sport front bumper. KECS is a six-axis control system that reads throttle position, wheel speed, gear selection and steering angle to constantly adjust shock damping to level the ride during acceleration, turning and braking.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The Teryx KRX 1000 is $23,199, the SE is $25,199, the Trail is $25,699, and the KRX eS with Live Valve Fox shocks is $25,699. Arctic Cat’s Wildcat XX is $23,199 (up $1900), the LTD is $24,199, the SE is $24,999, and the new Black Hills Edition is $27,999. Polaris’ RZR XP 1000 Sport is $21,899 (up $2400), while the Premium is $22,499, and the Ultimate is $24,599. Honda’s Talon 1000RS is $21,099, and the Live Valve Edition RS is $23,299. Yamaha’s YXZ1000R Sport Shift is $21,899 (up $1400) and the XT-R is $24,699. For those considering the family version, the KRX4 SE is $27,499, the eS is $28,499, and the eS SE is $29,999.
HOW FAST IS THE 999CC TWIN?
It’s fast, but you feel its weight. The stock 112-horsepower KRX tops out slightly above 70 mph in High and 32 mph in Low range, and 70+ mph in Sport drive mode, but it takes a while to get there. The 999cc inline twin has 92mm pistons with 11.5:1 compression, a stroke of 75.1mm, two 50mm EFI throttle bodies feeding eight valves, superbike XZ-10R intakes, and a Donaldson-style airbox. It makes 76.7 pound-feet of torque at 7000 rpm in Sport, but is seriously limited in Low power mode. We never use Low power mode, as we’ve experienced hard starting in Low.
WHAT ABOUT THE CVT/4X4 DELIVERY?
It’s as good as a CVT gets. The KRX has a centrifugal clutch between the crank and drive pulley to protect and extend the life of the CVT belt, and the final drive selector is a handy dial on the dash with servos quickly responding to commands. The locking front diff is great for rock crawling and mud, and KRX axles are bulletproof. The gated range selector is slick and positive, and the KRX has a mechanical parking brake and very effective engine braking system.
WHAT ABOUT TERYX KRX HANDLING?
It’s very stable. With a 98.8-inch wheelbase and 20 inches of travel, the KRX is great in whoops and over high-speed chop. The KRX has a width of 68.1 inches and 46/54 (front/rear) weight bias for great handling and turning predictability. We slammed the KRX hard into deep-rutted corners in Rattlesnake Canyon, and it cornered beautifully.
HOW IS THE SUSPENSION?
It has great ride quality. Front travel is 18.6 inches, and rear travel is 21.1 inches. Trick high-clearance A-arms, trailing arms and Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks with 24-position compression damping adjusters have great spring rates and damping control. Hardcore duners and racers will want stiffer dual-rate springs, though, as the shocks bottom in G-outs, even with the clickers maxed out. Only the KRX eS has the plusher internal bypass shock bodies for maximum ride quality.
WHAT ABOUT ROCKS AND MUD?
High-clearance A-arms, trailing arms and almost 15 inches of ground clearance, along with excellent power delivery, make the KRX a very capable rock crawler. Beadlock wheels allow airing down for added traction, with the Carnivore meats delivering plenty at the recommended pressure. The KRX full-length skid plate provides plenty of protection, too. It also is a very capable mud machine, but roost flung from the front tires lands inside the doors. Kawasaki has an accessory Wide Fender Flare kit ($631.95) to solve that, or go with the entire Mud Package ($4,194.95) of fender flares, KQR full windshield and rear panel, KQR tail box and premium roof, mud flap set, two tow hooks, windshield washer/wiper kit, and a Warn VRX45 winch.
HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
While they don’t have the bite pressure of a T-Rex’s jaws, the K-Rex’s hydraulic calipers clamp down on all four 10-inch (258mm) brake rotors hard. Front calipers have two 38mm pistons each, and rear calipers have one 32mm piston. They’re backed by mechanical parking brakes on the rear calipers and a very effective engine braking system. Tires are some of the best to come on a stock sport UTV – 31x10R15 8-ply Maxxis Carnivores on beadlock aluminum wheels, even on the base KRX.
WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
Ride quality and cabin comfort are outstanding. Full-sized adults have plenty of leg and elbow room, and the driver’s seat has plenty of adjustment. There is also a lot of storage behind the seats, which have gripper textured covers from the jet-ski division. The bucket seats have a lot of support and are very comfortable. The over-molded, tilting steering wheel is solid and comfortable, as is the adjustable passenger T-bar. Lined inner doors are comfortable with an arm-rest ridge and cup/fire-extinguisher holder on the passenger side. Our only discomfort is sharp edges on the center console; driver and passenger inner knees hit in rough terrain, but PRP makes console pads to solve that.
The glove box is large with a securely latching lid, and there is a cubbyhole for gloves or radios in the center, along with a latching cellphone cubby on top of the dash. Exhaust note and intake noise inside the cab are low, but not as low as a Wolverine X2. Well-tuned shocks and 31-inch tires have great ride quality over choppy terrain, and variable-assist EPS provides a light feel at the wheel. There are also six blanks for accessory switches on the dash.
Our test unit had an accessory tablet holder to replace the cellphone cubby, Kawasaki’s KQR Sport roof ($318.95), a lighted wide-angle rear-view mirror ($135.95), two 8-inch LED K-Glow light bars ($110.95 each, installation kit $187.95), and spare-tire assembly (black, $490.95). The sport roof is excellent and well worth the money; it can be installed or removed without tools, and it has mounts for up to six LED dome lights ($42.95 each).
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
Kawasaki provides a lot of bang for the buck with the Teryx KRX 1000, and it does everything well with good power, smooth delivery, excellent handling and ride quality, great durability, and unequaled trail comfort and build quality. It’s even winning the Normally Aspirated class at Best in the Desert and a championship in the Legends desert races. And, Kawasaki helps customize the base KRX with mud, cab, recreation, protection, lighting and entertainment packages.
2023 KAWASAKI TERYX KRX 1000 SPECS
Engine type Liquid/oil-cooled, 8-valve, DOHC, 4-stroke I-twin
Bore x stroke 92.0mm x 75.1mm (x2)
Compression ratio 11.5:1
Lubrication system Dry sump
Induction 50mm Mikuni EFI (x2)
Torque 76.7 lb.-ft. @ 7,000
Starting/back-up Electric push-button/none
Starting procedure Turn ignition key w/brake on
Type Pleated paper
Access Under cargo bed behind driver
Transmission Dual-range CVT w/ rev. & EBS
Reverse procedure Brake, move gearshift to “R”
Drive system 2WD/4WD w/ diff-lock
Final drive Shafts
Fuel capacity 10.6 gal.
Ground clearance 14.2”–14.8”
Claimed curb weight 1,896.3 lb; 1,898.5 lb (CA)
Bed capacity 350 lb.
Towing capacity 1,300 lb.
Frame Round tube steel
Front Dual A-arms w/ preload, X-over & comp.-adj. Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks/18.6”
Rear IRS 4-link trailing arms w/ preload, X-over & comp.-adj. Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks/21.1”
Front Twin-piston hydraulic 258mm discs/left pedal
Rear One-piston hydraulic 258mm discs/left pedal
Parking Locking lever on console
Front 31x10R15 8-ply Maxxis Carnivore on beadlocks
Rear 31x10R15 8-ply Maxxis Carnivore on beadlocks
Front High/low LED headlights
Rear Dual LED brake/taillights, Instrumentation Multi-function digital w/ bar-style tach, CVT temp and fuel; digi speedo; drive mode, gear, Eco, clock, odo, hour; icons for seatbelt, oil, engine check, water temp, neutral, reverse, park, EPS & CVT belt
Colors Sunbeam Red/Metallic, Onyx Black, Lime Green/Metallic, Onyx Black
Minimum recommended operator age 16
MSRP $23,199; SE $25,199; Trail $25,699; eS $25,699
Contact Kawasaki Motor Corp., (800) 661-RIDE
T-REX K-REX HIGHS
■ Torquey I-twin power with Sport/Low modes
■ Well-tuned Fox 2.5 shocks up ride quality
■ Roomiest sport UTV cabin is high on comfort
■ Great build quality and fit and finish
■ Highest sport UTV bed capacity
■ Kawasaki Strong three-year warranty
TERYX KRX 1000 LOWS
■ Hard-starting low-power mode
FACTORY FINANCING & INCENTIVES
■ 3.95% APR on 36-month financing,
$300 prepaid card