2014 Kawasaki Teryx First Ride 0
For 2014, Kawasaki decided to revamp its entire lineup of Side by Side vehicles. Kawsasaki started with the Teryx4 (T-4), which included revamping the Teryx4 with styling improvements, Fox Podium shocks and an increase in engine displacement (read more in the 2014 Teryx4 First Ride). The 2-seat Teryx was also completely overhauled with a host of improvements, including a new chassis, the same increase in displacement as the T-4, and styling changes, among many other things.
Kawasaki started with a clean sheet of paper when designing the 2014 Teryx (T-2). It wasn’t that the 2013 was a bad vehicle, but the boys from Team Green thought it would take advantage of what they have learned with the Teryx4. One of the first changes you’ll notice is the longer wheelbase on the T-2 that was somewhat adopted from the T-4. I say “somewhat” because they don’t share the same exact frame, but both designs are based on Kawi’s tried and true double-X design. This frame, coupled with the ROPS roll cage, provides the upmost in rigidity and dependability when hauling big loads or mashing the gas through tight trails.
Another aspect of the new Teryx that’s immediately noticeable is how well Kawasaki incorporated storage solutions into the vehicle. Not only does the Teryx still include its sizeable passenger glove box, but it also incorporates two brand new storage bins, which sit in between the front seats and the rear cargo dump bed. These storage boxes, which are dust and water resistant and made to hold an incredible amount of your favorite trail items (48 gallons to be exact), are the most innovative and handy storage solutions we’ve seen in a long time. We also appreciated that all of our extra clothes, helmets, and ice chests could fit in these sturdy containers when we were enjoying our snow-filled trip on West Virginia’s Hatfield-McCoy Trails system. Awesome idea, Kawasaki! The T-2 also includes the ultra-bright LED headlights found on the T-4, newly revised cockpit with raised cupholders for ease and convenience, and restyled bodywork that complements the new cage design.
Just like the new-for-2014 Teryx4, Kawasaki included the upgraded engine in the 2-seat Teryx – with the 783 fuel-injected cc’s now providing 26% more horsepower and 12% more torque. On the Hatfield-McCoy Trails, the motor and transmission combo was one of our favorite aspects of this new machine because it feels as if every single horsepower gets delivered to the ground. Helping this process is the impressive centrifugal clutch, which keeps the belt tight and delivers confidence-inspiring performance.
Putting the increased power to the ground is accomplished via the undeniably-awesome Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires. These tires can hold up to almost anything, and we love how they perform in so many terrains with their aggressive tread pattern and great mud-clearing capability.
We spent most of our time aboard the LE model Teryx, which, like the other Teryx models, now comes with Fox shocks and power steering as standard equipment. The LE-spec features a snazzy, candy lime green or candy burnt orange paint job with color-matched shock springs and A-arms, a solid roof to provide top protection and shade, cast-aluminum wheels, and an additional front bumper attachment that makes the front of the Teryx really look vicious – in a good way. The LE also includes custom three-tone seats that set off the paint job and really make you notice this vehicle.
Driving any of the Teryx models through the Hatfield-McCoy Trails was equally awesome, fantastic, and just plain FUN! When you combine a machine that goes through almost any terrain with this style of trail-ridden environment, it makes for one heck of an adventure. Let’s go through why we think this is one of the best Side X Side vehicles on the market right now…
First of all, you might think that the increased wheelbase detracts from the “fun-factor” a little. We’re here to tell you that this is definitely not the case. The increased wheelbase – only a 9.8 inch increase making the new wheelbase total out to be 85.8 inches – only betters the T-2 and lets it float across the rough stuff with ease. Even more impressive are the Fox Podium shocks, which offer up 8 inches of travel up front and 8.3 inches out back. We adjusted the compression clickers several times to achieve what we thought was the ideal “ride quality” in this environment. Kawasaki hit the nail on the head when including Fox shocks on the Teryx lineup, and we think that these give you the ideal amount of adjustability without being over-complicated for the simple-minded rider. These shocks also enable the driver to take advantage of the Teryx’s perfectly balanced, 50:50 weighted chassis.
Rocks disappear, ruts are easily traversed, and the sand is one heck of a fun environment to play in with the new Teryx. It has plenty of pulling power for those long ascents; and, for the extended descents, the engine braking is spot-on with its good feedback and ample amount of stopping power.
Speaking of stopping power, the brakes on this vehicle are excellent with the dual disks up front and the sealed brake in the rear. We spent two hard-charging days in our Teryx and we couldn’t get the brakes to fade, not once. The only thing we were concerned about was, with this particular brake setup, if you somehow break a CV then the Teryx would lose stopping power to that tire. But, to be honest, we don’t think that is ever going to be an issue as the CVs that Kawasaki uses are straight out of a truck, so you know you’re getting components that are built way stronger than they need to be for this type of vehicle.
The last things we noticed that really made this Teryx stand out was the power steering and the ability to haul extra items in the dumpbed. While we initially thought the EPS system could be sped up a bit for sport riding, we realized that it struck the ideal weight when driving slow or pushing hard around the trails. The driver won’t even notice hitting logs or rocks because the power steering takes away almost all the feedback from hitting items in the trail. 4-wheel drive is easily managed as well, and we didn’t feel a “pull” that is commonly associated with 4×4 being engaged.
Along those lines of easy steering, we appreciate the fact that the power steering makes it easier to handle larger loads in the Teryx. Rear dump bed capacity has been increased to 600 pounds (even with those awesome new Fox shocks!), and the bed itself is now made out of a polypropylene (hardened plastic) material that saves almost 30 pounds when compared to the old dump bed material. This weight savings, along with the gas-charged bed lifts, make it easier to haul items in the bed, and there are plenty of integrated tie down points so you can stack a bunch of hay or take your favorite camping gear along the trail with peace of mind knowing your stuff will stay in the bed. The only thing that we didn’t like about the bed was how we could hear a slight rattle coming from it as we traversed bumpy sections on the trail. This might have just been our specific vehicle, but it was annoying at times. Otherwise, it was built with a solid feel and secure latching system. Below the bed, you’ll find a standard two-inch receiver that allows the Teryx to tow up to 1300 pounds. That’s a lot of “stuff”, and the term “getting work done” comes to mind when we think of how versatile the T-2 is.
Couple all of these great things together and you have one awesome Teryx that carves out tight corners effortlessly and has enough power to tackle any task. This vehicle provides the ideal combination between ‘sport’ and ‘utility’ when it comes to Side X Side vehicles. Starting at $12,999 MSRP for the Vibrant Blue Teryx 800 FI 4×4 EPS, the Teryx also provides the consumer with a good value prospect when compared to other machines in its class. And, you can opt for the upgraded camo ($14,299 MSRP) or LE models ($14,999 MSRP) if you want several more creature comforts included with your buy. And Kawsaki prides itself on the Teryx’s durability, backing up that fact with a three-year, fully-transferable warranty.
The 2014 Kawasaki Teryx helps bring both the sport and utility side of UTV’s together in one unique and highly-capable package.