HomeComparisonsKawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS

What is the best 1000cc Sport UTV? KRX: $23,899 - $26,399 / YXZ: $20,899 - $23,699

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These days, consumers are spoiled for choice in the UTV market. Every year we get new models added to the lineup, older models refreshed or updated, or at least some all-new plastic and paint colors. What is even more impressive, however, is the massive amount of uniquely-engineered platforms that are available to choose from. Here, we look at two sport UTVs engineered from very different perspectives, which also deliver very different experiences behind the wheel. Here are two of the best 1000cc non-turbo sport UTVs competing against each other, Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS XT-R. When you’re done reading this UTV Comparison, be sure to checkout the KRX1000 go head-to-head with the recently updated 2024 Polaris RZR XP 1000. 

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS

2024 Kawasaki KRX1000 Specifications

The 2024 KRX1000 is receiving one HUGELY welcome update: a $3,000 reduction in MSRP starting February 1st, 2024. The KRX looks great in Sierra Blue Metallic.

Engine & Drivetrain 

Cooling: Liquid
Cylinders Displacement: 999cc
Drive System Type: On-Demand 2WD/4WD with Diff Lock
Engine Braking System (EBS): Switchable
Engine Type: Liquid-Cooled, 4-Stroke Parallel Twin, DOHC, 4-Valves per Cylinder
Fuel System/Battery: DFI® with Two 50mm ETV Throttle Bodies
Horsepower: 116
Transmission/Final Drive: Automatic CVT with centrifugal clutch (H,L,N,R)

Dimensions
Bed Box Dimensions (L x W x H): 14.6 x 33.1 x 9.1 in.
Box Capacity: 351 lb.

Payload Capacity: 781 lb
Estimated Curb Weight: 1896.3 lb.
Fuel Capacity: 10.6 gal
Ground Clearance: 14.0 (Std. Preload)/14.4 (Max Preload) in.
Hitch Towing Rating: N/A
Overall Vehicle Size (L x W x H): 132.1 x 68.1 x 77.0 in
Wheelbase: 98.8 in.
Brakes
Front/Rear Brakes: 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Front Calipers and Single-Bore Rear Calipers
Parking Brake: Park In-Transmission, separate parking brake on driveline

Tires/Wheels
Front Tires: Maxxis Carnivore 31 x 10.00R15 8PR
Rear Tires: Maxxis Carnivore 31 x 10.00R15 8PR
Wheels: Cast Aluminum with beadlock

Suspension
Front Shocks: FOX 2.5 PODIUM LSC shocks with piggyback reservoir, fully adjustable preload, and 24-position adjustable compression damping
Front Suspension: Double wishbone, 18.6 in of wheel travel

Rear Shocks: FOX 2.5 PODIUM LSC shocks with piggyback reservoir, fully adjustable preload, and 24-position adjustable compression damping

Rear Suspension:  Trailing-arm rear suspension, 21.1 in of wheel travel

2024 Yamaha YXZ1000R SS XT-R Specifications

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS
Yamaha’s 2024 YXZ received some important revisions, namely a change from a 5-speed transmission to a 6-speed and the inclusion of self-shifting programming. Other updates include a new 1000 watt charging system and upgraded rear shock body covers.

Engine & Drivetrain

Cooling: Liquid

Cylinders Displacement: 998cc

Drive System Type:  On-Command 3-way locking differential; selectable 2WD and 4WD with diff lock; shaft drive

Engine Braking System (EBS): Full

Engine Type: 4-Stroke DOHC Triple Cylinder

Fuel System/Battery: Electronic Fuel Injection

Horsepower: 112 (not advertised, best estimate)

Transmission/Final Drive: Yamaha Sport Shift with Yamaha Auto Shift Technology and Auto Clutch; 6-speed sequential with reverse

Dimensions

Box Capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)

Estimated Dry Weight: 1676 lbs (760.2 kg)

Fuel Capacity: 9.0 gal (34 L)

Ground Clearance: 11.8 in (29.9 cm)

Hitch Towing Rating: N/A

Overall Vehicle Size (L x W x H): 128 x 64.4 x 68.5 in (304.8 x 163.6 x 173.9 cm)

Wheelbase: 90.6 in (230.1 cm)

Brakes

Front/Rear Brakes: 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc with Dual-Bore Calipers

Parking Brake: Separate parking brake on driveline

Tires/Wheels

Front Tires: Maxxis Carnage 29 x 9R-14 Radial Tire

Rear Tires: Maxxis Carnage 29 x 11R-14 Radial Tire

Wheels: Cast Aluminum with Beadlock

Suspension

Front Shocks: 2.5” Fox Podium RC2 with high/low speed compression, rebound, and crossover adjustment

Front Suspension: Independent double wishbone w/anti-sway bar, 16.2-in travel

Rear Shocks: 2.5” Fox Podium RC2 with high/low speed compression, rebound, and crossover adjustment

Rear Suspension: Independent double wishbone w/anti-sway bar, 17.0-in travel

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS
While the KRX and YXZ are within 4 inches of each other in terms of length and width, the KRX is a full 9 inches taller than the YXZ. That puts the YXZ’s seating position a few inches lower than the KRX’s.

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS

KRX Highlights:

  • Roomy, tall cabin with great visibility
  • Big suspension with big bottom-out control
  • Strong power steering system oozes confidence
  • Easy to drive fast in rough terrain
  • Fantastic ride quality over nasty stuff

YXZ Highlights:

  • Roomy cab – especially in the shoulders and footwells
  • Yamaha’s incredible 10,500 RPM inline three cylinder 
  • 6-speed trans with Auto Shift works almost flawlessly
  • Most raw, driver-focused experience available short of a Maverick R
  • One of the best platforms for extreme modification

The KRX and YXZ offer differing sonic experiences as well.  The YXZ’s engine looks like a piece of art displayed in the rear of the chassis.

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS

Engine: 

These two are very close in horsepower, but couldn’t be further apart in design. In our drag race testing, the 6-speed YXZ takes advantage of a very easy to use launch mode feature that can be accessed any time the car is stopped. Using launch control, the YXZ leaps out a full car ahead of the KRX on every launch and stays there until the KRX hits about 60 MPH, and then the YXZ keeps walking away until it hits its speed limiter around 75 mph. 

The Kawasaki uses a parallel-twin engine mated to a belt-driven CVT transmission to send power to the wheels. Kawasaki’s KRX engine makes good power and is extremely smooth, making it easy to feed in on trail. The KRX never feels upset by its own power, rather it just starts to pick up momentum. Throttle and transmission response are good, albeit not rushed, but the KRX jumps up out of the hole aggressively if you give it a bunch of throttle. The multiple clutch setup used in the KRX is more adept at low-speed throttle control and crawling than it is at on-off-on-off throttle maneuvers during high-speed driving, however the KRX’s engine makes plenty of twist to push it through rough terrain at high speeds. 

Yamaha makes its one liter of fury by giving the YXZ an inline three-cylinder engine that connects to a divorced 6-speed sequential transmission via a propshaft. The YXZ can be described as the opposite of the KRX’s power character: it’s snappy, high-revving, and incredibly responsive, with little of the drama filtered out. Yamaha outfits the YXZ with an analog tachometer and a programmable shift light, which comes on near 10,000 RPM to let you know to shift up if you have it in Sport Shift (manual) mode. Yamaha’s triple makes very unique sounds, and lots of them. If you are into the visceral side of off-road recreation, this car is right up your alley. Those who like a quiet, smooth ride need not apply. 

New for 2024, Yamaha has installed an extra gear and auto-shifting algorithms into the YXZ. All of the ratios were changed, and it makes the transmission better in every situation than the old 5 speed.

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS

Transmission/Drivetrain:


Kawasaki’s Continuously Variable Transmission in the KRX is good for ease of use and most off-roading situations that a wide variety of consumers will encounter. It is, however, the most basic form of transmission available in the UTV market, and shared by many manufacturers as the standard for easy-to-drive, accessible units. This opens up the market and allows about anybody to try driving one. New for this year, Yamaha also has an automatic transmission, no longer requiring the driver to shift themselves at all times.

Rather than use a belt-driven CVT, Yamaha employs a sequentially-shifted 6-speed manual transmission. Yamaha developed a host of computer controls for the clutch and shifting mechanism to allow the YXZ to shift itself up and down very efficiently, while still retaining almost full manual control for the driver should they desire it. New for 2024, Yamaha fitted rubber transmission mounts to the Sport Shift YXZ models for the first time, made to dampen some of the rifle-bolt click-clack noises that Yamaha’s [basically racecar transmission makes. It smooths the experience out slightly, but the big change comes from the addition of another gear and the Auto Shift programming. Read more about it in our 2024 YXZ Review here – we are still loving it. 

At extremely low speeds, the KRX is an easier car to crawl with than the YXZ, due to its smoother engagement. However, this 2024 YXZ’s first gear is so low that it will climb about anything, including vertical steppes with ease. It allows the driver to slow down during climbs without worry, something that the previous 5-speed YXZs all struggled with. One advantage the YXZ has over the KRX is that it does not need to be stopped to change from low to high gear. The KRX uses an internal wet clutch before the CVT to keep proper belt tension and eliminate belt slip, and the system works really well for climbing up and over big obstacles. 

Suspension:

The YXZ uses “A-Arms” at all four corners, however the rear arms are more of a triangulated trailing arm than an A-Arm. This allows the YXZ to squeeze out 16.2 inches of front wheel travel and 17 inches in the rear. Controlling that wheel travel are Fox Podium RC2 shocks, which are the most adjustable units available – high and low speed compression, rebound, preload and crossover adjustment come standard at all four corners. In its stock state of tune, the YXZ is set up low and extremely stiff. It refuses to bottom out even when jumped, but does not offer the most comfortable ride in the rough. 

Kawasaki’s philosophy with the KRX was a little more Western. Kawasaki uses a dual A-arm front suspension but a true three-link trailing arm rear, all with massive componentry. The Kawasaki’s suspension and driveline components make the YXZ look a whole class smaller, and it shows in the numbers. Kawasaki boasts 18.6 inches of front travel for the KRX, and a whopping 21.1 inches in the rear. With all of this extra travel, Kawasaki has set the KRX up with a much softer damping setup than the YXZ. It doesn’t keep the body as controlled, but it certainly eats up bumps more gracefully than the Yamaha. Kawasaki outfits the base KRX with Fox Podium LSC shocks, which only have low-speed compression and preload adjustability. 

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS
The YXZ is able to pull away from the KRX on twisty, smoother sections. Its cat-on-carpet handling and feverishly high-strung engine make short work of linking long, 4WD drifts together.

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS

Tires/Wheels/Brakes:  

The KRX rides on Maxxis Carnivore 31x10R15 8-ply tires all around. The YXZ’s staggered Maxxis Carnage tires are 29x9R14 front and 29x11R14 rear, a full two inches shorter than the KRX’s. The YXZ in our testing really responds well to a 30 inch tire, and we are building ours around running a 32-inch tire, which you will see in upcoming tests. Stock, the YXZ’s smaller tires find the holes in the trail a little easier, detracting from its ride quality again when compared back to back with the KRX. 

Both machines have fantastic braking manners, using large twin-piston calipers up front. The YXZ uses twin piston calipers in the rear as well, with the KRX using large single-piston calipers. Both machines stop quickly when you bury the brake pedal, and are set up well for trail-braking into corners. Both machines also feature factory beadlock aluminum wheels. 

Competition:

There are a ton of sport UTVs on the market within a pebble’s throw of these two cars’ asking price:

Honda Talon 1000X/1000R

Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000XX

Can-Am Maverick X3 DS Turbo

Polaris RZR XP1000

Segway Villain SX10

Recently, we paired the KRX up against the all-new Polaris RZR XP 1000. Check out that story here.

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS
The KRX takes the nod in big bumps, but the YXZ can often drive around them. Both of these cars offer an immeasurable amount of fun.

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS

Impressions:

These two UTVs represent parallel paths to the same destination. If driven at or near the limit of the car’s capability, these two deliver surprisingly close results on the test track. They each have their strong sections and their weak points, but they seem to average out to an almost identical time around our loop. 

The KRX absolutely kills the YXZ in small to medium bump compliance. When the trail is choppy, rocky, or just plain beat up, the YXZ’s stiff suspension starts to reveal itself. While you can spend some time with the shock settings and get the YXZ’s ride to soften up a ton (check out our shock setting guide here), it just cannot match the KRX’s mammoth suspension and tire size advantage. Plus, as they come from the showroom floor is how a lot of users will leave the car set up – and in that form, the KRX is a much smoother ride.

The pendulum swings back in the YXZ’s direction when things get twisty. There is no better gravel road weapon than the YXZ, as it exhibits levels of slot-car handling and agility that the KRX is too tall for. The KRX is an amazing-handling machine in its own right, but its slower steering rack and higher CG leave it feeling outgunned when hopping between both machines. The YXZ’s laser-sharp handling and quick steering ratio pair well with the new 6-speed’s Sport Auto programming, where the transmission keeps the triple cylinder on boil at high RPMs for maximum attack.

Both cars are roomy for larger drivers, with the YXZ having a wider cab and more shoulder room, and the KRX having a longer cab with more fore/aft seat adjustability. The KRX is in another league when it comes to storage capacity, as the Yamaha suffers from having its bed size cut in half. Clever accessories like the GYTR storage box and Fastlab UTV spare tire carrier on our long term unit are necessary for Yamaha owners looking to go on long trail rides. In the KRX, you can just strap your spare tire and tools down in the bed. 

If you are riding nothing but long, whooped out and beat up desert trails, or spending most of your time crawling around in the rocks at very low speeds, the KRX is a better fit for you. In general trail situations, it offers a more comfortable ride than the YXZ while being a quieter, more calming experience from the cab. Inside the YXZ, it’s all heavy metal and rev limiters. Yamaha does include an Auto program for the YXZ’s transmission that upshifts as early as it can to keep RPM’s and cabin noise down, but the YXZ still feels like it is one stab of the throttle away from a four-wheel drift. 

We set out to tell you which of these two UTVs was the better sport UTV for your $20k-ish investment, but after countless miles back to back, we ended up with more questions than we started out with. It turns out, the choice between these cars is not a matter of which is better, but rather what kind of personality you have. Are you a YXZ driver, who prefers to have full control over your engine and transmission, and appreciates a high-rpm, low-slung rally machine? Or are you a KRX driver, who prefers to cruise in absolute comfort, with room for their gear and a smooth-as-silk drivetrain? After our testing, all of our staff had figured out which driver they were. 

Kawasaki KRX1000 vs Yamaha YXZ1000R SS
The Yamaha YXZ1000R: if corner speed and rally-style driving are what you prefer, you have met your dream UTV.
The Kawasaki KRX 1000: Go anywhere, do anything with an amazing chassis and suspension designed to keep you comfortable at all times.
MACHINE:  2024 Yamaha YXZ1000R SS XT-R 2024 Kawasaki Teryx KRX1000
ENGINE PERFORMANCE: 5 4
TRANSMISSION: 5 4
ENGINE BRAKING: 5 3
SUSPENSION:  4 5
HANDLING:  5 5
RIDE COMFORT:  3 5
BRAKING:  5 4
WHEELS & TIRES:  4 5
ERGONOMICS:  4 4
MAINTENANCE:  4 4
INSTRUMENTATION:  4 4
FIT & FINISH:  5 4
OVERALL QUALITY: 5 4
CABIN NOISE: 3 4
CARGO: 2 5
PRICE: 5 5
TOTAL OUT OF 80: 68 69