Less than two years after the introduction of their trail loving Teryx4 Side x Side, Kawasaki has given it a round of updates designed to increase its performance, comfort, and curb appeal. After our first ride over some of the toughest terrain in Utah, we can say it was a success.
BIG CHANGES FOR 2014
As a trail machine the Kawasaki Teryx4 is outstanding. It’s precise, powerful and easily carves its way through the woods in a way no other four-seater, or for that matter, few two seat machines can match. As much as we liked the Teryx4 though, good wasn’t good enough for Kawasaki and they felt there was still room for improvement. Some of the big changes for 2014 include:
Larger displacement, 783cc, SOHC, four-valve-per-cylinder, digital fuel-injected, 90-degree V-twin engine delivering almost 10% more power and broader torque curve
New sound deadening material between engine and cab area
New FOX Podium shocks on all-four corners with remote reservoirs and adjustable spring preload and compression damping
Electronic Power Steering on all models
Slightly more ground clearance and wheelbase
Refined CVT transmission to match new engine power output and for even smoother shifts
In addition to the changes above, the LE (Limited Edition) Teryx4 gets even more changes, mostly designed for comfort and curb appeal including:
High Intensity LED headlights with broader spread and longer penetration
Lightweight Cast Aluminum Wheels
Handy Cab Roof/Sun Top for driver and passenger comfort
Premium Candy-colored Lime Green or Burnt Orange Bodywork with Automotive Quality Paint
Shock Springs and Suspension Arms are Color Matched to the Bodywork
3-tone High-Backed Bucket Seat Covers
We like the bodywork styling of the Teryx4 which not only looks great but has proven to be very durable and resistant to scratches. On the LE models, Kawasaki applies a fantastic looking automotive style paint which is very tough, but a highly durable camo pattern is available as well. All Teryx models come with side doors which close securely and offer good splash protection. At the rear Kawasaki gave the Teryx4 a cargo platform capable of hauling 250 pounds, with tie-down loops for fastening down your gear. Should you need to pull a trailer, the Teryx4 comes with a 2 inch receiver rated for 1300 pounds.
Four-seat machines are all about passenger comfort, and we’ve never heard anyone complain about the seats on the Teryx4. The Kawasaki seats are plush, thick, and wrap around to hold you firmly in place. For 2014 the Teryx LE models even get seats with colored panels sewn in to match the bodywork. It’s a nice touch adding to the overall appeal of the machine. Rear seating position is slightly raised for a better view, and between the seats is a pair of cup holders and a 12volt accessory outlet. There is also plenty of knee room even for passengers over six feet tall, and a handy grab bar to hang on to. Most importantly, the three point seat belts do a good job of holding everyone in place, and the belts even come with a small shock absorbing strap.
We like how the driver and passenger seats on the Teryx4 are adjustable, but it’s a little more complicated than pulling a lever. To adjust the seats on the Teryx, you’ll need to remove a couple bolts, and then thread them back in with the seat in the new position. While this system takes a little longer, we prefer it for one major reason: it doesn’t rattle around or feel loose on rough trails like sliding systems often do. On the dash is a multi-function digital display and the numbers are large and easy to read. The display features a speedometer, clock, dual trip meters, gear selector, diff-lock indicator, water temperature and fuel-injection warning lights, fuel gauge, hour meter, parking brake indicator, CVT belt warning, Neutral, Reverse, and low oil pressure warning lights. Down below is a second 12volt accessory outlet, and between the seats is the mid-mounted engine, the gear shift lever, a handhold for the passenger, a parking brake lever, and even a pair of cup holders. There’s even a good sized glove box in front of the passenger.
ENGINE UPGRADES and a ROCK SOLID CHASSIS
We’ve punished the Teryx and Teryx4 chassis over desert terrain and at times we’ve been amazed we made it back with all four wheels still attached. To say the Teryx4 chassis is tough is a huge understatement. Kawasaki calls the Teryx4 chassis a double-X design and all main chassis members are large diameter, thin wall steel tubing. X-bracing supports the engine and bridges each section, and an added benefit is the tubular steel structural members help protect the bodywork. On the trail it feels rigid but doesn’t beat you up thanks to the suspension. Kawasaki gave all Teryx4 models new FOX podium shocks for 2014, and the new shocks feature remote reservoirs, and both preload and compression adjustment. Both front and rear swaybars help control body roll during aggressive cornering as well. Dual A-arms are used at both ends, but most importantly for the protection of all on-board, the Teryx4 comes with a certified roll-over protective structure (ROPS).
We’ve always liked the Teryx4 motor, but we’re never going to complain about extra horsepower either. For the 2014 Teryx4, Kawasaki had three major goals with the engine: increasing and broadening torque, increasing fuel mileage, and reducing overall engine noise. To make more power, the air intake tract was altered, stroke length and the piston profile were changed, and displacement was increased to 783cc. The EFI was recalibrated to match the engine changes as well, and with more power output, the CVT transmission had to be updated also. We’ve always liked the sound of the smooth running Kawasaki twin cylinder engine, but to quiet things down slightly in the cab, Kawasaki installed a sound absorbing material under the engine cover. What it all adds up to is an extremely smooth, more powerful engine with less noise back to the passengers. Where all the changes come together, though, is on the trail.
Utah’s Paiute trail system is one of those “bucket list” places for ATV and Side x Side enthusiasts. The trail can be tough and demanding, but the rugged, natural beauty makes it an experience one won’t forget. Because of its wheelbase and maneuverability, Kawasaki’s Teryx4 is well suited to this type of terrain. In fact, it’s the only four-seater than can fit through the really tight spots. Our Paiute adventure would cover close to 200 miles over just about every type of terrain from wide, sweeping turns to rock infested climbs between Beaver and Marysvale, Utah. The trail would be tough, tight, and a great test of the new machine.
Heading out of town, it didn’t take long to realize the 10% power gain Kawasaki gave the new engine made a noticeable difference, even at our beginning elevation of 6000’. It wasn’t a huge difference at this elevation, but it was a nice upgrade any way you look at it. Just like previous Teryx models, the engine purred along smoothly with a nice rumble and the CVT system did a good job of keeping the motor in the powerband. Whether creeping through slow, rocky sections or flat out at maximum RPM, shifting was smooth and we were especially glad Kawasaki gave the Teryx a super durable, Kevlar impregnated belt. We surely didn’t want to make a mountainside belt change on this trip. In many places along the trail, we came upon obstacles or even marker posts that were so tightly spaced our tires scrubbed both sides. Here one of the best features of the Teryx4 really shined through -it maneuvers extremely well on tight trails. Despite its second row of seats and its slightly longer wheelbase, the Teryx4 can handle tight trails like no other four-seater. It has no problem carving between trees or boulders, or even climbing over them if needed. Thankfully, the super tough, tube steel chassis protected our underside through the rocks, and with just over 11 inches of ground clearance, there wasn’t much on the trail we hit anyway. At several places we entered woods dark enough to test the lights, and the new, high-intensity LED lights on the LE model are far brighter than the stock lamps. Thanks to the splash protection provided by the half doors, water crossings were no problem as well. About the only time we got wet was when the weather changed and storms rolled through the mountains.
We’ve been on quite a few adventure rides with Kawasaki and one thing we’ve noticed is they like to push the envelope on their rides. They’ve been the first to ride at night, the first to cover almost 250 miles in a day, and on this ride we would go higher than we ever had before. With the Paiute trail cresting at over 11,000 feet, it would be difficult to find any trail that could take you much higher, or a machine to get you there. That didn’t bother Kawasaki though, and despite the elevation that left everyone a little short of breath, the Teryx4 made it to the top thanks to its electronic fuel injection system. The long climb was not easy or smooth, but thankfully the Maxxis tires and cast aluminum wheels held up well, and the new FOX shocks did a good job of soaking up impacts. The best feature on a ride like this, however, is electronic power steering and every Teryx4 comes with it for 2014. It’s perfectly calibrated and after two hard days on the trail, we loved it. About the only shortcomings of the 2014 Teryx4 is a sometimes awkward throttle angle, and 50mph is as fast as you’re going to go. For the trails we normally ride, top speed matters little, but desert riders often have the opportunity to go faster. One feature every rider will love is the increased fuel economy and even climbing through the mountains we calculated our mileage was over 20mpg.
LIKE A ROCK
As much as we liked the previous model Teryx4, Kawasaki was on the gas with a nice round of updates for 2014. The core capabilities that made it one of our favorites on the trail before - rock solid durability, a smooth running, powerful engine, and passenger comfort - are still there. The Teryx4 is designed for maneuverability, durability, and reliability. It delivers on that and so much more.