After many years of waiting for Kawasaki to enter the High Performance UTV market, we finally had our chance to drive the all-new 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000, and there was no better place to evaluate it. Moab, Utah is an off-roader’s Mecca and if you haven’t been there, you’d be wise to elevate it to the top of your bucket list. We spent two full days of testing in Moab. The first day was on the 7-Mile Rim trail, which features high-speed straights, technical corners, steep climbs and deep sandy whoop sections. The second day of testing was on Poison Spider, which was all about the rock crawling. This is one of Moab’s more popular trails and it’s full of challenging obstacles, awkward ledges and incredible views. Here’s our review of the all-new 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000.
2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 Review
Long wheel base & long travel suspension
Centrifugal clutch & smooth acceleration
One-the-fly electrically selectable
4WD & diff lock
Full & Low Power Mode
Front & Rear Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks
31 in. Maxxis Carnivore tires on
15 in. beadlocks
Full highly durable skid plates with steel inserts
Powering the 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is an all-new 999cc 4-Stroke parallel twin that cranks out 76.7-foot pounds of torque at 7,000 rpm and produces around 112 horsepower. Fuel is fed via Kawasaki’s Electronic throttle valve system (ETV) which utilizes dual 50mm throttle bodies. The engine is mated to a three-speed transmission with options for Forward High, Forward Low and Reverse.
Power is smooth, but tame. Its definitely not as exciting as the Turbocharged class, obviously, but it’s more than enough power for the majority of off-road enthusiasts. The twin cylinder’s deep growl keeps you engaged and the torquey power was confidence inspiring. The top speed is a tick below 70mph, which is a slower than all of its non-turbo competitors, but it’s quick to get there and super smooth throughout the ranges. It truly was a blast to drive.
There are two power modes, controlled by a switch on the dash, that allow the driver to set power delivery based on preference or trail conditions. The Low Power mode basically tames down the normally snappy throttle response to help you navigate through technical terrain. It’s a neat concept and will be beneficial to newer drivers, but we rarely felt the need to use it.
Unlike Honda and Yamaha, Kawasaki opted to use a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) in their high-performance sport UTV, but unlike Can-Am and Polaris, the KRX 1000’s CVT utilizes a centrifugal clutch. The centrifugal clutch is located between the crankshaft and CVT drive pulley and helps eliminates the shock of belt engagement and significantly increases belt life.
This is one of the best CVTs ever built and it worked flawlessly on the 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000. The belt temperature gauge was a nice addition, although we wish it showed the actual temperature instead of a bar, but you don’t need it on this machine. The belt stayed cool all day long on the high-speed trails of 7-Mile Rim, as well as the steep and technical rock crawling on Poison Spider.
Engine braking was phenomenal in both high and low range. It literally felt like we were driving a manual transmission. Steep down hills felt incredibly safe because you could drop it into low, take your foot off of the brake and creep down at 2-3 miles per hour.
The new Teryx KRX 1000 also features an on-the-fly electrically selectable 4WD and front differential lock. The system was super easy to shift between drive modes and the full-time 4WD drive worked amazing. The system made tackling difficult obstacles a breeze. There was barely a need for the front differential lock, but it was nice to know it was there.
2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 Review
The 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 has an impressive stance. It sits at 68.4 inches wide and has a 99-inch wheelbase! It’s double A-arm front suspension uses massive FOX 2.5 PODIUM LSC shocks and offers 19 inches of wheels travel. Outback is a four-link trailing-arm rear suspension with FOX 2.5 PODIUM LSC shocks and offers 21 inches of travel. The new Teryx also has 14.4 inches of ground clearance.
The high-performance, single-chamber gas-charged FOX 2.5 PODIUM LSC (Low Speed Compression) shocks feature adjustable preload and 24-way compression damping. They have dual-rate coil-over springs, piggyback reservoirs and stainless-steel sleeves in the rear. The shocks also feature crossover rings for more adjustability and there are front and rear sway bars.
The ride was plush and comfortable. The 99-inch wheelbase and 31-inch tires really smoothed out the KRX on the whoop sections and on the rocks. With a little more speed, this machine could be a real threat in the desert. We’ll see how many of these will be at King of the Hammers.
Kawasaki’s Teryx KRX 1000 comes standard with 31-inch Maxxis Carnivore tires mounted on 15-inch aluminum beadlock wheels. The Carnivore tires are 8-ply rated and the wheels use the Polaris bolt pattern (4/156). These tires are a bit aggressive sliding around in the desert, but they will get better and better as they wear down. However, they’re super sticky with tons of traction on the rocks.
The heavy 1,896-pound KRX rides on four huge 258mm disc brakes and stops on a dime. The front uses 32mm twin-piston calipers, while single-piston calipers with 38 mm pistons clamp the rear discs. As the brake pedal is pushed, the front brakes engage first followed by the rear brakes which gave the KRX a very linear feel and excellent control. The front bias helped with cornering. You can tap the pedal to lower the front end and lighten the rear end. It almost works like downshifting a manual transmission. There is also a lever-action mechanical parking brake that locks up both rear wheels.
INTERIOR & EXTERIOR:
The KRX’s long wheelbase gave the KRX a nice and spacious cockpit and it was very ergonomically-friendly. There is also a good amount of storage space behind the passengers. Plenty of room for a couple backpacks or tool bags. The cockpit stayed cool and it wasn’t too noisy. We were able to talk to our passenger, except when hammering at high speeds. The high-backed bucket seats are probably the most comfortable stock seats on the market. Plus, both seats are lever-adjustable over a six-inch forward-rearward range in half-inch increments. The tilt steering column offers 47 degrees of motion and the passenger gets a wide, adjustable T-handle grip. The gate-style shift lever is well-built. Unlike some brands, there are five cup holders – four in the center console and one in the passenger door. Plus, it has full doors! We have no clue why this isn’t a standard feature on every UTV.
There are convenient storage spaces built into the dash, a water-resistant storage container above, an easy-access pocket in the center console, and a huge passenger-side glovebox. There is also a 120-watt DC socket integrated into the dash. No, it doesn’t have USB ports. Please somebody put USB ports in these UTVs! Lastly, the digital gauge is integrated into the top of the tilt-steering wheel with a full range of features; including an Economical Driving Indicator (informs driver when throttle setting is optimizing fuel consumption) and a CVT belt temperature gauge.
The exterior of the KRX looks tough and aggressive. The hood is low and the front corners curve in so you can actually see your front tires while driving. The LED headlights include high and low beams, as well as line-type LED position lamps. The large cargo bed holds up to a 32-inch spare tire and has a 351-pound load capacity. Kawasaki already offers a huge collection of genuine accessories; including a Protection Package, Cab Package, Lighting Package, Recreation Package, Mud Package and an I Want It All Package. More on these at utvoffroadmag.com.
This is a solid first sport UTV from Kawasaki. They tested and dissected their competitor’s models and did their best to match or excel in every category. Naysayers will critique the horsepower numbers, which is fair, but the motor has potential for more and there are already Turbo systems in the works. Quality is top-notch, and there really isn’t a need for any aftermarket upgrades, at least for now. Team Green is one of the most competitive OEMs, period, and you can guarantee that this model will be followed up in the near future. We can’t wait to get ours and see what we learn after we really start putting miles on it. Stay tuned!