Last year Kawasaki made a bold introduction to the sport side-x-side market with the Teryx. Featuring a powerful 750 V-Twin, sport suspension, and great ergonomics, the Teryx offered an excellent blend of sport and utility performance. The original Teryx was a fantastic machine but its Achilles heel was the old-school carburetor. Most other UTVs in it's class were fuel injected and we were surprised that the Teryx wasn’t also.
For 2009 Kawasaki has given us what we all wanted in the first place - EFI standard on all Teryx models. The Teryx also benefits from another year of development, resulting in a few new features and revised components. And to top it off the Teryx range has been expanded to include a new Sport model.
The Boulders OHV area just outside Phoenix AZ offered lots of desert terrain with gravel wash, steep climbs and descents, and plenty of whooped out trails to give the upgraded suspension of the Sport a thorough test.
New Styling for the Teryx
The most obvious change with the sport model is the new color and graphic package. In keeping with Kawasaki’s racing colors it is fitting that the Sport comes in a striking Kawasaki green. As with most Kawasaki’s '09 sport motorcycles and ATV’s, the Teryx Sport is available in a black and green Monster Energy color scheme. Keeping with the stylish performance-based theme, the Sport also comes standard with cast aluminum wheels that are polished on the green Sport and painted flat black on the Monster Energy model. The aluminum wheels add style and perform slightly better than steel wheels, as they are lighter, stronger and more rigid. Apparently offering aluminum wheels on a model is a big step for Kawasaki, as the company is a large manufacturer of steel ATV wheels, supplying wheels to some of their competitors.
Kayaba Remote Reservoir Shocks
The Teryx has a good suspension in standard form but Kawasaki has taken it one step further on the Sport with Kayaba aluminum body remote reservoir shocks. The shocks allow for the adjustment of compression, rebound and step-less preload. The rear shocks on the Sport look to have the same shock body as the standard unit but with added adjusters for compression and rebound. The front shocks on the Sport are very similar to the rear and much higher specification than the stepped preload internal reservoir shocks used on the front of the standard model. We noticed that the suspension was plusher on the Sport and although we didn’t play with shock adjustment, it does give the customer the option to improve the handling by adjusting the suspension to match the terrain.
That being said the added adjustment also offers the possibility for customers to make the suspension worse through wrong adjustments. We strongly recommend keeping a note of all suspension settings when making adjustments so that there is the option to take the settings back to where they were before if there is not an improvement. This applies to any vehicle that is equipped with adjustable suspension, whether it be motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile or side-x-side.
|Watch video by Dirt Sports Magazine editor, Scott Rousseau|
Fuel Injected V-Twin
The Teryx has always benefited from an excellent V-Twin 750 powerplant that is based on the proven engine from the Brute Force ATV’s. For 2009 the engine performance is even better with the addition of a digital fuel injection (DFI) system that replaces the carburetors used on the '08 model. The DFI system use two Mikuni 34mm throttle bodies that are controlled by a 32 bit CPU that is continually processing information coming from six sensors. These sensors measure coolant temperature, air intake temperature, throttle position, air intake pressure, vehicle speed and crankshaft angle. The DFI self-adjusts the fueling for changes in temperature and elevation, so thankfully no more changing carburetor jets.
We found the fuel injection made the engine accelerate smoother than before and the DFI is most noticeable when starting the machine as it makes the engine much easier to start. There is now no hesitation in starting that the old carbureted model had.
As in the previous model the engine performance is good, acceleration is on par with most other machines in this segment and top speed is electronically limited to a sensible 48 mph. Sliding the machine through corners is easy with good torque from the engine available throughout the power band. The electronic four-wheel drive system makes switching between two and four wheel drive as simple as pushing a switch on the dash. And for when things get really tough the front locker is easy to engage with a ratchet style lever located on the center console. On our ride we only needed to engage four-wheel drive a couple of times. Every time I am behind the wheel of a UTV I am amazed at the gnarly terrain these machines can cross with little effort. Steep descents in the Teryx are equally as controlled as climbing, with the electronic engine brake control keeping the machine at a reasonable pace.
Interior and Controls
All Teryx models now come standard with a digital display as opposed to only the premium models last year. Another feature passed down to the standard model for 2009 is the hydraulically-assisted tilt bed now standard on all models. Other updates to the '09 models include revisions to the airbox, cvt cooling, mudgaurds, and a additional engine shrouds for less cabin noise. The Teryx interior is well laid out and able to sit two full size adults comfortably.
The parking brake uses an automotive style footbrake with a release lever. As the footbrake is well out of the way it is easy to leave it on when driving. There is a warning system on the digital display but because the display isn’t right in front of you it is easy to miss. An engine cut-off built into the parking brake like Polaris uses would prevent the costly repairs that driving with the parking brake for long periods could cause.
We rate the footwell ergonomics as the best in the side-x-side class. Kawasaki has done a great job with the foot wells, ensuring that the driver and passengers legs stay in side the vehicle without the need for doors. In the event of a roll over it would be quite difficult to get your feet outside the vehicle. This is very important as it seems it is instinctive for some people to stick their feet out when the vehicle tips, causing injury to themselves.
We have said it before but will say it again, if you plan on using your UTV for aggressive sport riding you should seriously consider replacing the stock seatbelts with full four- or five-point harnesses. Harnesses make it more comfortable to drive through rough terrain as the jarring is spread to both shoulders with wider straps, unlike the standard car-style seat belt that can be painful on the shoulder. Safety is a big concern with all side-x-sides and owners should take care to make sure their machines are used safely and responsibly.
The 2009 Kawasaki Teryx is well-designed machine with a good engine, ergonomics, and suspension. In comparison to other side-x-sides on the market it is one of the most sport-orientated of the UTVs currently available. But even the Teryx Sport is more utility biased than the Polaris Ranger RZR, though more sporty than the Ranger XP and Honda's Big Red. The Teryx’s closest competition is the Yamaha Rhino and Arctic Cat Prowler. The Teryx should appeal to customers who want a versatile vehicle that is equally as capable at putting in a hard days work as it is at providing a thrilling ride off road.
For those looking for a more sporty ride with a bit more style, the Teryx Sport has special colors and graphics, alloy wheels, and fully adjustable front and rear suspension; all these features for a $11,899 (a $1,000 premium over the standard model). We really enjoyed the original Teryx and the addition of fuel injection and other refinements make the machine very competitive in the growing recreational side-x-side market.
Yamaha Rhino 700
Arctic Cat Prowler XTX
Polaris Ranger XP
What we like
V-Twin power, feel and sound
Well-tuned EFI system
What we don’t like
Insufficient parking brake warning system
Seatbelts are uncomfortable for sport driving
Go to PAGE TWO for Specs and Standard Features of each Model
The 2009 Teryx range consists of five models differing in level of trim, color and price. The table below shows the differences between the standard , LE, LE Camouflage, Sport and NRA Outdoors models.
2009 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Sport Specifications
|Engine:||Liquid-cooled, 90-degree, four-stroke V-twin|
|Valve system:||SOHC, four valves per cylinder|
|Bore x stroke:||85 x 66mm|
|Fuel system:||2 x Mikuni 34mm throttle bodies|
|Transmission:||Continuously variable belt-drive transmission with high and low range, plus reverse, and Kawasaki Engine Brake Control|
|Final drive:||Selectable four-wheel drive with Variable Front Differential Control, shaft|
|Frame:||Large diameter, thin-walled, high-tensile tubular steel|
|Front suspension / wheel travel:||Adjustable dual A-arm with aluminum-body gas-charged shocks with piggy-back reservoirs, fully adjustable preload, and adjustable rebound/compression damping / 7.5 in.|
|Rear suspension / wheel travel:||Adjustable Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) with reservoir-equipped gas-charged shocks with adjustable preload and adjustable rebound/compression damping / 7.5 in.|
|Front tires:||Maxxis 26x8-12|
|Rear tires:||Maxxis 26x10-12|
|Front brakes:||Dual hydraulic discs with 2-piston calipers|
|Rear brake:||Sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc|
|Overall length:||115.4 in.|
|Overall width:||58.7 in.|
|Overall height:||75.7 in.|
|Ground clearance:||11.7 in.|
|Lighting:||(2) 40W headlights, (2) 8W taillight, 27W stoplight|
|Cargo bed capacity:||500 lbs, 44.2 W x 32.7 L x 11.1 in. H|
|Towing capacity:||1300 lbs|
|Curb weight:||1380 lbs|
|Fuel capacity:||7.4 gal.|
|Instruments:||Multi-Function Digital Meter with speedometer, fuel gauge, clock hour meter, odometer, dual trip meter and parking brake, R/N/P/4WD, water temp and oil pressure indicators|
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. 9950 Jeronimo Road Irvine, CA 92618 (949) 770-0400