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By: Tim Donaldson

Kawasaki Seeks to be King and Devour the Competition
with the Release of the New Teryx 750 4x4 RUV

Kawasaki Teryx Video
Kawasaki Teryx Video
File Size: 6.0 megs, Format: .WMV

The word teryx (pronounced:  “ter-iks”) when combined with the Greek prefix - archaios - yields the name of a prehistoric, winged beast from the Jurassic period - the Archaeopteryx or, in simple translation, the “ancient wing or feather.”  In an effort to limit further digression to paleontology from my ill-fated parallel to another prehistoric beast, Kawasaki’s Teryx will likely be pronounced “T-Rex” by consumers. Kawasaki marketing managers, hoping to capitalize on this anticipated misnomer, are seeking to devour the UTV competition with the introduction of the new, 2008 Teryx 750 4x4 RUV, as the once-feared predator would its prey. Since “Rex” literally translates into “king,” would it be safe to presume that the 2008 Kawasaki Teryx 750 4x4 RUV will be “king” of the side by side market?, along with other members of the media, had an opportunity to examine the Teryx to find out if there was anything to these majestic proclamations.  Situated near St. George, Utah, our trial venue was located at the Sand Hollow State Park. The scenic surroundings of this high desert made it difficult to focus on the task, though we were able to rise to the challenge. “Stunning” is the only word that can describe the beauty of the area where we encountered high speed sand washes, suspension wrenching rocks to crawl, wide-open desert, and dune areas that made for fantastic launching platforms. We were able to put the Teryx through a gamut of tests.

About the 2008 Kawasaki Teryx 750 4x4


The Teryx is available in 3 models: Standard, Luxury Edition (LE), and NRA OUTDOORS. Each model features a 749cc liquid-cooled, 90-degree, four-stroke V-twin engine. This is the same engine that has been proven in Kawasaki’s Brute Force 750 4x4, giving the Teryx 750 a displacement and V-twin torque advantage over its contemporaries. The V-twin engine provides smooth, continuous power with high torque. Coupled with the CVT transmission, the Teryx delivers instantaneous acceleration and decelerates the engine braking system. Since the V-twin engine delivers high compression, there is added comfort in controlling descents down steep grades. New on the Teryx, an aluminum CVT cover has been implemented to act as a heat sink for better CVT cooling. Typically, belt inspection for Kawasaki ATVs is recommended after 100 hours of operation. With the improvements made to the Teryx transmission, the recommended inspection interval has been pushed to every 200 hours.


Offering fantastic stability in all conditions, the front chassis features a long-travel front suspension with gas-charged shocks. With a narrow chassis and longer a-arms, the wheels have less camber, providing improved ride handling. In the rear, an IRS with gas-charged reservoir shocks is standard, aiding in its performance and increasing driver/rider comfort. Long-travel, front and rear independent suspension provides superior controllability through difficult terrain. With 11.3 inches of ground clearance, the suspension easily absorbed jumps over the dunes and easily straddles rocky obstacles.  Conforming to one of Kawasaki’s primary design features, the Teryx will fit into the back of a full-size truck at 58.3 inches, making transportation of the unit easier.

Front Differential Control

As with the suspension and transmission, many of the Teryx’s attributes are flagship features of other Kawasaki products. Known already by Kawasaki ATV consumers, the variable, front differential control is no stranger to the Teryx, either.  Essentially, the front differential control allows the rider to lock the front axle on the fly.  Differing slightly from the ATV’s in its functionality, the Teryx does not require a variable pressure to be applied to a trigger. More appropriately, a lever is pulled to preset, incremental stops and released by pressing a button and returning the lever. This feature came in handy through the sandy terrain and would be equally effective in the mud.


Another Kawasaki staple, making an appearance on the Teryx, is the sealed rear brake system. A clutch pack bathed in oil, the sealed brake system offers an outstanding service life. Since the braking mechanism is sealed from the outside environment, there is virtually no opportunity for mud and dirt to penetrate wear surfaces or for rocks and other debris to create impact erosion. Dual front discs are featured on the front. Both front and rear brakes combined to make stops consistent and precise.

Other Features

  • High/Low beam headlights
  • Cab frame is ROPS (Roll-Over Protective Structure) Certified
  • Spacious room for two passengers
  • Bucket seats
  • 3-point restraint for driver and passenger
  • 2-inch receiver hitch
  • 11.3” of ground clearance
  • 26” Maxxis Tires – custom designed
  • Winch Ready – A winch can be easily installed
  • Full line of accessories which have been developed over the past two years; customizable to suit individual preferences
  • 200 mm of inboard foot protection; keeping Teryx occupants inside

Personal Thoughts

I am extremely impressed by the Teryx. Designed with aggressive performance in mind, the Teryx fits a niche market that is only on the horizon of development – the recreation-use vehicle (RUV) segment.  Positioned between the fully sport-oriented Polaris Ranger RZR and the work-exclusive utility vehicles such as Kawasaki’s own Mule, the Teryx delivers great engine speed, throttle response, and handling while not neglecting the work aspects of life. Plus, there are enough after-market products available to make this a strictly, sport-oriented vehicle.

Compared to a top speed of about 25 mph for the work-exclusive Mule, the Teryx tops out at approximately 48 mph--limited only by the engine governor. Kawasaki engineers have worked hard to maintain a low center of gravity (CNG) to avoid tipping or flipping of the vehicle at higher speeds, complimented by a narrow chassis and long a-arms for an overall width of 58.3”. Paired driver and rider have enough space to avoid constantly bumping into one another with a vehicle of this width.  Vibration through the steering is effectively dampened, and the Teryx effectively absorbs terrain obstructions.  However, at the current width, most of the public access trails where I live will be inaccessible, due to maximum width restrictions. With a machine that performs as impressively as the Teryx, its recreational use will be limited by available land areas that will allow or accommodate this size of recreation vehicle.

One of the biggest questions about the Teryx is why it utilizes a carburetor-driven fuel delivery system, rather than fuel-injection.  When asked, Kawasaki responded that they were very confident in the proven performance of the Keihen CVKR-34s.  Developing the fuel injection system would have delayed the release of the Teryx for many months, possibly years. Kawasaki assured us that fuel injection will be something we can expect to see on the Teryx in the coming years. For now, we can be confident in the performance of the carbureted system. Kawasaki does offer a range of after-market jetting options for specific altitude demands.

The work aspects of Teryx include a metal-lined dump bed that rivals the space of Kawasaki’s Mule. With the detachable safety net, cargo can be safely transported anywhere. The LE version has the gas-assisted cylinder which is a worthy add-on for dumping those heavy loads. Kawasaki engineers have also made the Teryx winch- ready. In other words, the routing for cables and placement of electrical hardware components have been pre-established for an easier installation. If you have ever installed a winch, you’ll know why I’m a big fan of this feature.

To be honest, I had to be very critical to find any fault with the machine.  Straining for an objective criticism, I did point out to Kawasaki that the emergency brake system felt somewhat awkward to use. The brake pedal had to be pressed by foot while reaching beneath the dash to grab the release lever. Really, it wasn’t extremely cumbersome, but it didn’t feel ergonomically natural. Kawasaki’s response:  any placement of the e-brake in a more natural position would result in drivers performing power slides; a recipe for rollover. You know what? I never thought about that, and Kawasaki is probably right!

Also, at first glance, the Teryx’s styling reminds me of the Rhino.  Conversely, it is certainly a different machine, so I’ve learned to never judge a book by its cover.  When it is compared to the competitors (Yamaha, Polaris, Arctic Cat, and Honda), the Teryx boasts more power, torque, stability, and mass to engine ratios. Given the features and quality of the dump bed, 2-inch receiver, and 1300-pound towing capacity - this is really a cross-over vehicle that can perform a variety of tasks and suit many diverse needs.

So is Kawasaki Teryx king of the UTV market? As we all know, kings are not elected, they are crowned. Time will reveal how consumers respond. Until then, Kawasaki appears to be hungry and on the prowl, so competitors look out! They have the UTV to beat, but don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself!  For more information about the Teryx, please visit:

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