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Story by Seth Fargher, photos by Adam Campbell and Kawasaki

Kawasaki Motor Corp.

2012 Kawasaki Teryx 4 Side-x-Side 1st Ride Review

Brimstone Recreation facility near Huntsville, Tennessee

2012 Kawasaki Teryx 4 750 4x4

2012 Kawasaki Teryx 4 750 4x4 rear floor space

2012 Kawasaki Teryx 4 750 4x4

Innovation is the name of the game in the side by side market these days and manufacturers seem to be upping the ante with each new release.  This past week our friends over at Kawasaki invited us out to Brimstone Recreation facility near Huntsville, Tennessee to spend some time in their all new Teryx 4 side by side.

Kawasaki is no newcomer to the utility vehicle market considering their original Mule predates any of today’s top selling side by sides, however the Mule lacks the sport and performance aspect offered by most of the UTV’s of today.  The original Teryx was Kawasaki’s ticket into the performance side by side market, but with the increasing popularity of UTV’s, the need for more passenger room is being recognized by all manufacturers.  Kawasaki is among the first of the manufacturers to do something about it.  Enter the Teryx 4.

2012 Kawasaki Teryx 4 cargo area

2012 Kawasaki Teryx 4 750 4x4 center console

2012 Kawasaki Teryx 4 750 4x4

2012 Kawasaki Teryx 4 750 4x4 rear seat space

Going into the event we weren’t really sure what to expect.  Was this going to be just a beefed up version of the Mule?  Or perhaps a stretched out version of the original Teryx where overall weight and performance would be sacrificed in an attempt to accommodate a couple more passengers.  Nothing could have been further from those assumptions.

Kawasaki did much more than just make a few changes and add a couple of seats in fact, they completely redesigned it from the ground up.  From an all new engine to a completely reconstructed and innovative frame, the Teryx 4 has raised the bar in the multi passenger side by side class.

At the heart of the beast is an all new and improved powerplant that produces around 15% more horsepower than the original Teryx. The added power comes in handy considering the carrying capacity doubles and in the event you find yourself riding without any passengers, well then, more horsepower never hurt anybody!  The Teryx 4 didn’t hesitate to climb anything we pointed it at all day.  Brimstone offers a wide variety of terrain and there was a good amount of standing water on certain parts of the trail.  The Teryx 4 handled everything we threw at it with ease and while we tested in both 2 and 4 wheel drive, we found 2 wheel drive to be more than sufficient for nearly every situation.

The inclusion of a centrifugal clutch paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) keeps the power delivery smooth and precise.  Starting from a dead stop or manipulating the throttle ever so carefully around tight trees and rocks was amazingly precise.  Some side by sides are either on or off in terms of the throttle and can be very jerky at lower speeds when you just barely touch the gas pedal but we were pleased to have immediate yet smooth throttle response any time we stepped on the gas.  In one particular off camber, downhill situation we were unable to navigate around a tight S-curve and were forced to make a two-point turn to get through.  We pointed the rear of the machine in the right direction and applied the throttle without the least bit of wheel spin.  Needless to say we were very impressed; it was like rock crawling in reverse!

The Brimstone Recreation facility was the perfect testing ground for the Teryx 4.  While its only in class competitor, the Polaris RZR 4 excels in the dessert and sand dunes, it would have been no match in the tight trails and hilly terrain offered by Brimstone.  Despite adding two additional seats (comfortably I might add) the Teryx 4 maintains a relatively tight turning radius and was quite at home on tight trails.  We made a few two point turns throughout the day but that was mostly because we were following a 2 seater Teryx for the better part of the day and tried taking its lines.  After witnessing our small hiccup, the Teryx 4’s following along behind us made it through nearly every situation without a problem.  Chalk that one up to operator error.

We actually managed to get all four wheels off the ground a couple of times and were pleasantly surprised to not be jarred to death upon returning to earth.  The suspension soaked up rocks and bumps with ease, however at high speeds you’ll be able to feel some of the bigger bumps.   Some of the more sportier side by sides geared towards performance would win in a suspension comparison but then again, most of them only have room enough for two.

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