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ATV Review: Kawasaki Teryx4 750 4X4 EPS LE

http://ak.c.ooyala.com/dpc28wYzquek07x-8rf1R8QK-hj_gVuD/Ut_HKthATH4eww8X4xMDoxOjA4MTsiGN

2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 750 4x4 EPS LE
MSRP: $15,199 –Sunrise Yellow/Aztec Red

Over the past several months, the 2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 750 4x4 EPS LE has served me well as a steadfast adventure rig.  Racking up about 300 miles on the odometer, I’ve used the Teryx4 to cart my kids and gear on several epic fishing adventures; I transported my parents and son on some outrageously technical trails that made my Mom swear at me; and I utilized the Teryx4 to handle various  yard chores with my M101 military trailer in tow. 

The impressively engineered chassis, stout power plant, agile handling, and excellent comfort left me thoroughly impressed with Kawasaki’s first foray into the sport-utility four passenger market.  While other manufacturers have tailored their four passenger SxS’s towards either the sport or utility segment of the market, the Kawasaki Teryx4 is equally capable of excelling at both.

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION/DRIVETRAIN:
Key Features

- Powerful V-Twin:  Kawasaki’s legendary 90 degree four stroke V-twin is tuned for a 17% increase in power over the standard Teryx models.  The power increase is needed to compensate for the extra weight of four passengers and the added girth of the Teryx4’s chassis.
- Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT):  Redesigned for the Teryx4, it's the industry’s first CVT to utilize an integrated centrifugal clutch.  Located between the crankshaft and the CVT drive pulley, the centrifugal clutch helps make the transmission’s response to throttle input more precise at slower speeds.
- Selectable four-wheel drive and differential lock:  With a simple but effective rotary knob mounted on the dash, transferring power from two to four wheels is instantaneous.
- Redesigned air box and snorkel:  300% larger than a standard Teryx airbox, it reduces intake noise while also feeding the engine more clean air.  Plus, the air filter is serviceable without tools.

Performance:
I was impressed with the power and torque produced by the V-twin, especially with four adults on board.  The new centrifugal clutch makes for a  smooth throttle response, particularly when taking on tricky terrain that requires precise throttle modulation, like rock crawling.  Whether meticulously crawling my way through tight trees, tearing across a corn field with the throttle pinned, or bouncing down a sloppy trail, the Teryx4 performed well.

In two wheel drive, it was exhilarating to drift the Teryx4 through corners, rally-car style.  With a twist of the dash-mounted rotary knob, selecting four-wheel drive or four-wheel differential lock was painless when the trail became too difficult to negotiate in two-wheel drive.  

Hits
- New centrifugal clutch helps provide stellar throttle control, especially at low speeds.
- V-twin power plant has gobs of low end torque and is nearly vibration-free
- Smooth shifting transmission
- Easy to use dash-mounted 4x4/diff lock selector
- Digital Fuel Injection provides crisp starts and instant throttle response

Misses
- The combination of a potent V-twin, heavy curb weight, and cabin full of passengers makes this Teryx4 a glutton for fuel.

CHASSIS/SUSPENSION:
Key Features
- Electric Power Steering (EPS):  reduces steering effort and bump steer, which adds a level of safety and minimizes driver fatigue.
- Short Wheelbase:  At 86”, the Teryx4 is only 10” longer than the standard two-seat Teryx.  This contributes to the Teryx4’s nimble handling and tight 16.7’ turning radius.
- New Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Exoskeleton:  protects the passengers while also providing extra frame rigidity.
- Sport-Tuned Suspension:  Designed for high-performance riding with the weight of four passengers, the suspension offers a smooth ride in even the gnarliest terrain.  The compression and rebound adjusters make the shocks very tunable.
- Sealed, oiled-bathed multi-plate rear brakes:  the compact design of this atypical brake system helps to create 10.7” of ground clearance in a nearly maintenance free design, resistant to mud and muck. 

Performance:

In years past, traversing the tight woods in a SxS capable of hauling four adults didn’t exactly sound like my idea of fun.  The Teryx4 has forever changed my opinion.  With the tight wheelbase, I was able to wind my way through trails I could never negotiate with many of the other multi-passenger SxS’s on the market.  The EPS worked very well at both minimizing the steering effort and reducing steering wheel kickback after smashing into rocks and stumps.

Fortunately, I never put the Teryx4 on its roof to test rollover protection, but the tubular exoskeleton from the cage also runs underneath the Teryx4 and did a great job of protecting the undercarriage from rock damage. 

The Showa piggyback reservoir shocks with both compression and rebound adjustments were plush at low speeds and sucked up the big hits at high speeds.  Piggyback reservoirs keep the shock oil cool to help resist fading on long rides or tough trails.  Brake response was impressive, with large dual front discs and a sealed multi-disc enclosed wet brake on the rear.

Hits
- Exoskeleton provides rigidity and helps protect the passengers as well as the undercarriage.
- Turning radius is the tightest in the class, allowing this four-seater to negotiate trails others in the class simply cannot.
- Showa shocks provide a smooth ride at low speeds while retaining the ability to suck up large hits at high speeds. 
- Maintenance free sealed wet multi-disc rear brakes provide years of maintenance-free service.  It’s also hydraulically actuated, providing much better pedal feel than the cable actuated versions used on Kawasaki ATV’s.

Misses
- The front end has a tendency to push at slower speeds.

ERGONOMICS
Key Features

- Stadium-style rear seats: sitting a bit higher and offset slightly to the center, the seats give rear seat passengers an unobstructed view over the front passengers.
- Massive passenger compartment:  provides plenty of shoulder and leg room, even for tall people. The form fitting front bucket seats can be adjusted, but require tools to do so.
- Drink Holders for each passenger:  long adventures with the family require lots of liquid.  These drink holders are each large enough to carry a gigantic bottle of water. 

Performance:
I spent a lot of time sitting in each of the vehicle's seats, including the rear stadium seats, and they were all very comfortable.  At 6’2” tall, I still had plenty of room for my long legs.  The front passenger seat has two handles and the rear seats have a crossbar that makes entry, exit, and “holding on for dear life” easy.

From the driver’s seat, accessing the four wheel drive knob is easy, even with muddy gloves.  Gear changes are simple, since the engine and transmission sit between the two front seats, with the notched shifter easily within reach.

On adventures with my family, we carried a cooler in the rear storage compartment to house food and drinks. Front and rear 12-volt accessory ports work nicely for powering GPS devices or recharging batteries on the run.

Hits
- Rear stadium seats provide an unobstructed view for rear seat passengers.
- Grab handles located up front and in the rear cabin section help keep passengers firmly planted in the seat.
- Sufficient room in the back seats to comfortably fit tall passengers.
- Two 12-volt accessory plugs

Misses
- Tools are required to adjust the front seats
- No tilt steering wheel
- Rear seats are not adjustable

FIT/FINISH:
Key Features

- Forward tilting hood: allows quick access to the radiator, airbox, and front suspension.  This simplifies cleanup and air filter maintenance.
- Four standard doors:  They do a phenomenal job of keeping body parts in and debris out.  The doors also help to enhance the vehicle's style.
- Standard steel front bumper:  Designed to protect the machine's vital parts up, the steel construction also makes a great tie-down location for securing a trailer.
- Steel skid plates:  Located under the engine and drivetrain, steel plates help protect vital parts more effectively than cheaper, plastic skid plates.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE:

I love the four “slammable” doors. For me, they triggered something in my brain to immediately buckle my seat belt, which I find incredibly important when operating any SxS, and they're good for keeping body parts in and other crud out. A rogue tree root I encountered on a trail ride one afternoon gave rise to my only criticism. Jutting out of a bank horizontally, the root nearly ripped  off my front driver side door. The attractive looking doors give guys like me one more thing to accidentally destroy.

Bouncing down a rocky trail on an adventure with my parents and son aboard, the back end of the Teryx4 made heavy contact with a rock the size of a giant beach ball, which had been partially buried in the ground. The collision tore the rock from soil’s grasp and blasted the Teryx4’s rear end skyward nearly three feet. I thought for sure I’d find the rear end in pieces scattered about the trail. Upon further inspection, the steel skidpan was badly bruised from the incident, but it did a fine job of protecting the rear differential. Had the plate been plastic, it would have definitely been an ugly situation.

I am a maintenance freak. I pressure wash my machines after every ride.  The tilting front end on the Teryx4 made it easy to spray mud and debris out of the radiator and front suspension components.

The standard Maxxis Bighorn 2.0’s are not only premium tires, they’re one of my favorite SxS and ATV tires on the planet.  They  had excellent traction and resisted punctures in the rocky terrain where I typically test.  I very rarely put 250-300 miles on a demo machine without a flat, but the Bighorn 2.0’s held up to the abuse.

Hits
- Standard Maxxis Bighorn 2.0’s mounted on stylish cast aluminum wheels
- Minimal interior gauge layout is simple but functional
- Four hinged doors are attractive and functional

Misses
- Steel skid plates offer great protection, but add weight
- Cargo area is large enough to haul a giant cooler, but won’t perform well hauling yard debris or mulch.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
The Teryx4 is comfortable, fast, nimble, and incredibly capable. Given the LE’s MSRP of $15,199, there is no doubt you could purchase a car capable of swallowing a family of four to embark on a typical vacation for that type of coin. However, for off-road enthusiasts interested in owning the ultimate family-friendly adventure rig with the capability to reach even the most secluded vacation destinations, the Teryx4 750 EPS LE is currently the best solution on the planet.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Engine: Liquid-cooled, 90-degree, four-stroke V-twin
Valve system: SOHC, four valves per cylinder   
Displacement: 749cc
Bore x stroke: 85 x 66mm
Compression ratio : 9.3:1
Fuel system: Digital Fuel Injection, 2 x Mikuni 36mm throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI w/ electronic advance
Transmission  Continuously variable belt-drive transmission with high and low range, plus reverse and wet centrifugal clutch
Final drive: Selectable four-wheel drive with locking Front Differential, shaft
Frame: Double-X reinforced design using large-diameter, thin-walled, high-tensile tubular steel
Front suspension/wheel travel: Dual A-arm with fully adjustable, gas charged, reservoir shocks / 7.8 in.
Rear suspension/wheel travel: Adjustable Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) with fully adjustable, gas charged, reservoir shocks / 8.2 in.
Front tires: Maxxis 26x9-12
Rear tires: Maxxis 26x11-12
Front brakes: Dual hydraulic discs with 2-piston calipers
Rear brake: Sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc
Overall length: 125.2 in.
Overall width: 62.0 in.
Overall height: 79.4 in.
Wheelbase: 86.1 in.
Ground clearance: 10.8 in.
Lighting: (2) 35W headlights, (2) 8W taillight, 24W stoplight
Cargo bed capacity: 249 lbs., 47.6 W x 17.9 L x 8.7 in. H
Towing capacity: 1,300 lbs.
Curb weight: 1627.3 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 7.9 gal.
Instruments: Multi-function Digital Meter with speedometer, fuel gauge, clock hour meter, odometer, dual trip meter and parking brake, CVT belt, R/N/P/4WD, water temp and oil pressure indicators
Colors: Sunrise Yellow, Aztec Red
Warranty: 6 Months

 

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