The 2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 750 4×4 4-occupant Side by Side, looks very similar to its predecessor, the Teryx 750 4×4, but its outer shell is just about the only thing that remained untouched. The 2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 750 4×4 is actually an all-new model, with an entirely different chassis and a totally new and more powerful engine. Also different is the fact that it is available with or without electric power steering; a first for team Green on this type of vehicle.
Trail riding can be an extremely pleasant and enriching experience and our time with the guys and girls from Team Green at the Brimstone Recreation Area, in Huntsville, Tennessee, was exactly that. With their successful RZR4, Polaris was first to come forward with this new concept of gathering friends or family into one recreational intended vehicle, to further heighten the fun inducing capacity of trail riding and nature exploration. The mere idea is very strong and meaningful, with the potential to revive interest in this therapeutic activity that is the responsible use of maintained trails. Another OEM joining in was something to be expected.
Kawasaki’s Teryx model has always pleased us with its fun-inducing performance and by adding two extra seats; the fun can now be shared with loved ones and that is just awesome news. It comes in a basic form, and two others offering a new level of ease and comfort, with Kawasaki’s Electric Power Steering (EPS) system. The LE model, which comes in rich and deep red or yellow, and graced with the addition of superb looking wheels and a roof, was the most stunning of the trio, when arriving at our beautiful ride site. The weatherman had called for rain, but since when do we care what the weather is like, when going out for some fresh air, to enjoy laughter inducing slow and easy obstacle conquering, or responsibly controlled speed runs through puddles of splashing brown liquid. Before I got out there to discover yet another new place of beauty to ride in, eh I mean drive in; the very first walk around an all-new model is always extra exciting and revealing.
The very first thing that pops to attention is the presence of doors, which is an improvement I have hoped to see on as many Side by Side models as possible. Take the doors off if you need to, but these should be present all the time, as it only makes the entire vehicle feel more reassuring in character, without the frequent branch whipping your legs. I just think it is more logical to consider them an integral part of such a family oriented vehicle, and the ones who don’t want them in the way when working, can easily remove them. I gave one a wiggle and no rattling was discovered, as was also the case with everything else. This family buggy is superbly easy to get in and out of. Once inside, you’ll notice a concentrated effort to position everything just right. Despite the fact that Kawasaki doesn’t fabricate cars, they gave this interior quite a bit of auto flair.
The seats are amazingly comfortable and shaped to cup each leg for a more solid bond between the vehicle and its occupants. Hold on a minute here! When I think about it, these would make for awesome car seats! I might just try and bolt a pair down in my vintage Supra. I would later discover them to be so well made, that they blended in perfectly with the suspension’s smooth yet very communicating feel to it. Combined, they rendered the whole trail riding experience smoother to enjoy than usual. A heightened level of class is also present, with a nicely drawn car-like gear selector that still feels like most other Side by Side versions in operation. Other items in the center console, which by the way shield’s heat like no other I have had the chance to stick to, like the hand operated park brake and cup holders that are close enough to reach with an arm stretch and deep enough to hold your water bottle down, even when things get interestingly rough, add to the comfort level of this cool new play safe and work hard machine. For now, I just couldn’t find anything with room for improvement. Sitting on a back seat impressed me even more, as my knees were a good inch away from the back of the front seat and I felt just as comfortable there as in the front. Remember that I am 6’3″ tall and weigh about …eh, well, you know what I mean.
So we were off. A fun and quick pace was reached without having to slam the pedal, and wait for things to happen, I love this Kawa already! Their trusted 749cc engine was entirely revised to provide 15% more power, and I felt it right away. The vehicle’s most magical element is, of course, the suspension. No use having loads of power, if the vehicle just bounces around without keeping a good grip on the ground. High-performance, compression damping and preload adjustable Showa single-chamber gas-charged shocks were installed, to take care of that business, and they really did a great job, in conjunction with those awesome seats we talked about earlier, to render our first 2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 750 4×4 experience surprisingly pleasant, and more about what the area had to offer all-around us, than how the vehicle was behaving. The stability of the vehicle on flatter grounds is also really good, with a few very logical geometric choices made by those talented Japanese engineers at Kawasaki.
Inspired by sport quads and their high needs in control and stability, they kept the width of the frame at both ends as narrow as possible, so that the lower suspension arms could be designed nice and long, to minimize camber changes during the course of the suspension travel. I was also pleased to notice the positive camber in the rear wheels of our fellow media guys up front. This provides a much better feel to the rear, as the tire patch remains at full efficiency, while negotiating turns. I guess I managed to get a few Kawasaki guys worried, when we got to an open and flat gravel area, and I started doing donuts, which of course, I am aware, is a highly non-recommended type of manoeuvre in any Side by Side, but it was important for me to find out just how stable this vehicle really was. First thing I did, was to simply slowly turn around in circles, to discover a very practical tight turn radius. Then, I gradually picked up speed, keeping the steering turned at the maximum, until the back-end started to slide out, instead of having the interior wheels look to lift off the ground. Absolutely perfect! Almost impossible to roll this thing, on this type of surface anyway, a bit like Honda’s Big Red.
Team Green engineers went back to the drawing boards, to figure out what was needed to create a safe and highly capable four-seat rec/utility Side by Side. This pretty much meant redesigning the Teryx machine from A to Z, with an all-new chassis capable of handling the extra load and the new 749cc V-twin engine with an output shaft connected to a centrifugal clutch, to better protect the engine’s components, as well as enabling the drive belt to stay constantly under tension. This significantly improves its function, while riding through rock-filled sections and extends the life of the belt.
Through precise computer-assisted analysis and lots of testing in the toughest conditions imaginable, they ended up with a totally new approach to Side by Side chassis design, using a double cross-beam configuration as the main part of the structure. The Double-X frame design provides much more torsional rigidity, than the ladder-style frame of the two-seater Teryx and most other Side by Side vehicles.
Choose 2WD, 4WD or even more traction with a simpler front differential lock, than all other Kawasaki’s, which are all equipped with manually controlled versions. Just a simple “turn like a key” style electric switch does away with the need to control the locking action with a lever. Short-turning radius, perfectly sealed rear wet brake, and front hydraulic disc brakes that stop you on a dime, sport-inspired suspension, good power, plus room for four. Suddenly the Teryx name takes on a whole new meaning! One that can be truly desirable for people looking to upgrade their old golf kart shaped multi-passenger off-road vehicle or newcomers to the activity who find ATVs too challenging to operate.
If you already own an RZR4 from Polaris, then this one might not be so appealing if you like the racy feel and performance of your current ride. If you are among those who wished for something that would fall in-between the Ranger Crew or John Deere’s new XUV 550 S4 and that extra sporty RZR4, this reliable Kawasaki blends the best of both worlds in a very effective way. You can really have fun with your gang and the next day, enjoy this helpful vehicle to push, haul, and transport a surprisingly huge amount of stuff. One thing I’ve been telling some friends thinking of switching from ATVs to a Side by Side vehicle is to consider a 4-seater, if they want to really go for adventure trips and bring a tent and all necessities for a cool and romantic camping trip.
What I am getting at is that I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes if you are a trail ride loving couple, looking to buy their first Side by Side. The new Wildcat is cool, Polaris has many new choices also, Can-Am Commander vehicles are selling like hotcakes with good reason, and the list of choices will surely keep growing. Can-Am will almost certainly also have a 4-seater to offer soon. If it can be of any help, it is sometimes more important to analyse your true needs, before you travel to a showroom. Make an informed decision and learn about a few different models that you think might fit your bill, and try to experience as many as possible, before you sign anything! Call your dealer and ask if they have a demo model to try. At the very least if you can’t ride it, sit in it anyway and do everything like you would, if you were heading out for a ride. Buckle your seat belt, see how it feels, how the seat feels, where your feet end up, is everything within reach and confortable to operate?
Even sway your body around and get a sense of what would happen to your body, while travelling on rough terrain. Is your shoulder hitting something? For me, the 2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 750 4×4, felt superb in every way and since we are concentrating our efforts on this new vehicle right now, let me outline the biggest advantages it can offer its owner. The balance that the mid-ship engine placement provides, the high-grade suspension and efforts made by engineers in positioning the chassis’ centre of gravity as low as possible. The maximized cornering stability with the front sway bar, the front-end conception with its long A-arm design and adjustment possibilities on both the front and rear shocks. Plus, last but not least, the precision control felt with the smooth operating Electric Power Steering. I think it is also important to mention that the non-EPS base model is still very easy to steer in 2WD and you will only maybe miss it if you have tried an EPS or LE model beforehand. Nicely done Green team!
As I always mention when talking about a vehicle, which is specifically designed for multi-occupant use, the safety of your loved ones should always stay your first priority. So, if you do find some eager passengers make sure they always, without any exceptions, all wear the recommended gear and that their seat belt is securely fastened. Don’t ever attack obstacles or turns with aggressiveness, just to show off the vehicles high performance abilities. Always brake, before you turn! It is a basic rule of thumb that you might remember from your driving course, which becomes all the more important off-road. This vehicle has excellent brakes and safety conscious stability built into it, so there is no reason why your trail riding experience would turn sour.
In conclusion, I have to admit being thoroughly impressed with the performances of this new family-oriented Kawasaki. There is only that front passenger’s hand-hold on the roll cage, which I don’t approve of. The stick shaped handle for the front passenger’s left hand is perfect though, and I would replace the one on the roll cage with one on the dash, to encourage whoever sits there to keep arms inside the vehicle, in case of a rollover. If you do ever get in a situation where you are passenger and the ride does fall on its right side, however unlikely if the vehicle is properly used, I would strongly suggest that you grab that interior stick handle with both hands. A wide bar across the back of the front seats offers hand holds for the rear passengers.
This might have been just a one day experience, but it was one that included very true to life trail rider challenges that attested to the vehicle’s maker’s confidence in its product, like one particularly tough climb with a tricky hook around a big tree right in the middle of it. The 2012 Kawasaki Teryx4 750 4×4 handled absolutely everything like a pro! We can’t wait to get a unit to play with it some more!
For more information on the above mentioned models, please visit the Kawasaki Website