2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 750 4x4 Review

Jun. 05, 2012 By Rick Sosebee

For the family man, there is nothing more enjoyable than being able to take out the entire family for a day of sightseeing in one vehicle. What Kawasaki makes possible with its new 2012 Teryx4 is the ability to do this without ever hitting a section of pavement! Kawasaki brought this new off-road vehicle to the trails for everyone in the house to enjoy, and it’s packed with creature comforts that rank only second to your grocery wagon. Barring excuses, the Teryx4 provides all that you need to take the wife and kids to the mountain trails.

Kawasaki’s all-new 2012 Teryx4 is a direct reflection of Kawasaki’s tagline of “Let the good times roll.” With four seats and a tank full of gas, we just had to dig in deep and see what the Kawi engineers had in store for the ride. Grabbing the door handle and slipping into the front driver’s seat felt just like getting into a pick-up truck.

Room for the whole group, the Teryx4 seats four.

The seats are very comfortable and seemed to fit larger drivers really well. After taking in the comfort of the high-back seating, the driver will notice the command center is ergonomically designed to have all the controls within reach and are easily accessible. From the gate-style shifter to the automotive-style parking brake lever, each control is placed well within reach. 

The 2012 Teryx4 is available in four colors.

Right to the left of the steering wheel is the key switch and just beside it is the differential locking switch. This switch allows the driver to select 2WD/4WD or full differential lock. The dash has a digital screen mounted centrally to provide the driver with a wealth of information at a glance from speed to distance or trip meters, 2WD/4WD indication and fuel levels. There are even a few dummy lights that let the driver know the engine is hot or if they forget to buckle the ever-important seatbelt.

The doors offer great protection for all passengers, and the color panels are removable for tight trails where tree and branch contact will occur.

Close any of the four doors and you’ll notice the safety factor increasing. The doors not only look good but they also keep your lower extremities in the vehicle on the trail and protect driver and passengers from trail branches, rocks, etc. Speaking of the doors on the new Teryx4, you’ll notice the outer covers, or skins, are customizable and can be removed if you think it might get a little too rough in the tight stuff. The plain black door, however, can and should be left in place to keep you safe.

Speaking of safety, the rollover protective structure (as Kawasaki calls it) has high-tensile steel A-pillars. This framework extends outside the normal designs and has an exo-skeletal look to protect the plastics of the machine as well.

Kawasaki re-tuned its engine for the Teryx4 to increase peak horsepower.

One twist of the ignition switch and the fuel-injected 750 V-twin of the Kawasaki Teryx4 roars to life. The motor has been tuned to not only gain a better top end speed but for overall performance as well. The new fine atomizing fuel injectors and the revised valve timing and intake ports help accomplish the improvement, and the exhaust tubes have been cut to equal lengths to help the engine’s performance even more. All of this translates to a smoother running and capable heart for the machine to haul you and three of your besties through the trails.

With the added weight and stress on the motor due to the extra passengers, the cooling system was also upgraded on the Teryx4. The radiator went from the stock Teryx2 size of 320mm x 308mm to a whopping 400mm x 358mm. The fan was increased dramatically as well to improve cooling. Kawasaki also added a fan to the channel in which the engine sits under the plastics since the engine sits in a bit of a cocoon and this will kick on to provide extra cooling if temperatures rise. We never did hear this fan kick on but an indicator light was added right next to the ignition switch so you will know when it is running.

The 2012 Teryx4 offers a high level of fun factor on the trails for single riding or with a full group of passengers.

Kawasaki also changed a few things in the transmission to make the shifting and overall operation of the big Kawasaki T4 more like your automobile. The gate-style shifter slips in and out of any selection very well. From the first time you step on the pedal to the initial movement of the Teryx4 the vehicle operation is very smooth and hardly noticeable. This is a direct reflection of the centrifugal clutch that Kawasaki has added to the belt-driven, or CVT (Constant Velocity Transmission), transmission. This allows a lot smoother engagement and makes the driver smile even bigger with precise throttle control. The Teryx4 has the standard low, high, neutral and reverse selections on the console gate shifter.

With the addition of the two rear seats you would think this new Teryx4 would be significantly longer than the previous model, but the chassis has a seemingly short wheelbase of 85.7 inches. With 10.8 inches of ground clearance and the independent rear suspension the ride in the Teryx4 is also comfortable. The shocks on the rear of the Kawasaki Teryx4 are high-performance, single-chamber, gas-charged piggyback shocks designed with a sporty-like focus. These rear shocks are the same on each Teryx4 models, but if you want the more performance-oriented shocks on the front as well you’ll need to opt for the Electronic Power Steering model or the LE version of the T4.

The independent rear suspension provides over 8 inches of travel on the Teryx4.

By now you are probably wondering just how well the 2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 performed. The initial ride in the Teryx4 was at the Brimestone recreation area near Knoxville, Tennessee. This terrain is very mountainous and the trails can be treacherous. We fired up the Teryx4 in the cool of the morning, loaded three willing passengers in and headed out for a day of fun. The transmission shifts smooth and the throttle control is also smooth like butter. The Kawasaki V-Twin has plenty of power for the T4 when it’s loaded down, and understanding that this machine is built for comfort as well as enjoyment I had to lay aside my racing thoughts for the ride. The Teryx4 can hold its own very well, but it’s just not meant as a competitive vehicle.

The centrifugal clutch helps provides smooth operation for the Teryx4 on the trails.

Slipping back into the rear seats gives any rider a feeling of safety, and being able to see the trail in front of the machine is a big plus. The grab bar that goes all the way from left to right gives the passengers plenty of room, and the seats in the front are up far enough to give personal space to the back seat drivers. Being a larger rider I did not have any issues riding in the rear of our Teryx4 and actually enjoyed being chauffeured around in style. The electronic power steering made navigating the tight rocky sections of BrimeStone a cinch, and to be honest, we really wouldn’t consider getting this vehicle without it, especially when spending a lot of time with the differentials locked. The only thing that I would add to the ride would be front fender protection, as mud can cover the driver and passengers pretty easily in the messy stuff.

The 2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 is a new and very different way to enjoy the outdoors with family or friends. This machine gave us a day full of fun and no regrets. We hope to spend even more time in the cab of a Kawasaki Teryx4 real soon! For more information on the new Teryx4, visit Kawasaki.com.

Engine: Liquid-cooled, 90-degree, four-stroke V-twin, 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: 77.3 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: 1616 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 indicator #
Colors: Sunrise Yellow, Sunbeam Red, Scout Green, Blue

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