The spring here in Michigan has been a little extra cold and rain- and snow-filled compared to past years. When the phone rang and the guy on the other end asked if I wanted to travel to the Hatfield/McCoy Trail System in West Virginia to ride Kawasaki’s Teryx 4 UTV, it didn’t take a whole lot of thinking on my part to agree to it.
The Teryx 4 is a sport-oriented, four-seat UTV. It’ll work, but it’s also a lot of fun to ride. It has a 749cc , V-twin engine that will push you to the rev-limiter topped at 50mph pretty quickly. I was more impressed with the torque when climbing up rutted, rocky, muddy trails in the West Virginia mountains. That’s not to say that when we dumped out onto the road system and drove into town, I didn’t appreciate the speed. In the Hatfield/McCoy area, the towns are ATV-friendly and you can ride on the streets and on the road connecting the towns. Of course, when you’re in traffic coming around tight corners and semi-trucks hauling coal come whipping around isn’t really fun. You do feel safe, however.
Safety is a big deal on the Kawasaki. The steel roll cage completely wraps around the riders. There are comfortable three-point seat belts for the driver and passengers and grab handles for everyone too. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times! The seats are comfortable and supportive and the back seats are elevated slightly, so the passengers aren’t trying to see out around the front seat passengers.
The ride is smooth, thanks to dual-A-arm suspension with piggy-back reservoir shocks. There are almost eight inches of travel in the front and over eight inches in the rear. Combined with 26-inch Maxxis Bighorn tires all around and you get almost 11 inches of ground clearance. Use up that ground clearance and there are full steel skid plates the full length of the chassis. Trust me, I tested both the ground clearance and the capacity of the skid plates to take a pounding. That was one of the nice things about doing the test ride. It wasn’t my machine so I abused it, and Kawasaki wanted me to do just that. It’s a hard job, I know.
Ergonomics are pretty good. I’m not a small dude, but there was plenty of room for me. The foot-box area with the gas and brake pedals was a little cramped for my size 13s, but I did ok. The only time it was an issue was on long downhill sections. Making the transition from gas to brake was a little troublesome with my big feet. Again, this was only noticeable on the longer downhill sections. The instrument cluster is to the right of the driver. This took some getting used to as you have to divert your eyes to the side to check speed. The cluster itself is very good. There is an indicator of your drive status and speed. The key is next to the switch for 2wd/4wd and low range. I don’t know how many times I turned the machine from 2wd to 4wd when I was trying to turn the engine off. It took me a few to get used to it. Shifting from park to drive is just like driving a car with an automatic transmission. Even the parting brake is the same. I did manage to bump the parking brake on during one high-speed uphill run. I bumped it enough to engage it, which causes a warning light to come up and your speed gets interrupted.
Driving the Teryx 4 is fun and I could do it all day long. Equipped with electronic power steering, there is not even the slightest hint of bump-steer. You can pound down through ruts and rocks and never have the wheel ripped from your hands. The turning radius is decent. It takes a little getting used to to realize that you can power through turns, but once you get the hang of it, it’s great. The frame is sturdy and built for long life. Kawasaki uses what they call a “Double-X” frame design which gives the frame a ton of rigidity.
The Bighorn times are really aggressive. Kawasaki went with them because they have been one of the top replacement tires consumers are buying for UTVs. They are tough and always grabbed traction. We had a big group of riders on a lot of machines and only one managed a flat from the jagged rocks.
So to haul two extra passengers what do you have to give up? You guessed it–cargo capacity. The cargo area is small, but it is well thought-out. There are tie-down supports at each corner and the box area is made with a non-slip material to keep what you put there where you put it. You’re not going to fit many decoys there, but you could haul out a deer. There is a two-inch receiver hitch for hauling a trailer and the Teryx 4 has a 1,300-pound towing capacity.
I’m fixing to get my hands on one again this fall to see how well it’ll haul a trailer full of decoys and three of my hunting buddies out into the cut fields when it comes time to chase honkers. For waterfowlers, who would probably need a trailer anyway due to all the decoys and gear, the Teryx 4 is a good choice with the ground clearance, towing capacity and room for four, big hunters. My test machine was decked out in Realtree AP Green camo too, which looked extra cool. There are lots of optional accessories too, including gun scabbards, cab enclosures and more.
If you’re in the market for a UTV and want one for fun more than work, and you want to haul four people, the Teryx 4 is a great choice. It’ll get the work side of things done too, but it is really at home being driven for fun. It has plenty of power and can tackle extremely tough terrain, but lacks some in the cargo capacity area. That is really the only downfall I came away with, that and the price. It isn’t cheap, by any means, with an MSRP of $15,299 as tested. It’s comparable to other sporty, four-seater UTVs however. For waterfowl hunting, which is my bread and butter, I think it is a great choice. You can haul four guys and since you’re going to need a trailer anyway, it makes a lot of sense. Why not ride in comfort and style, which the Teryx 4 has plenty of?
Check out footage of my ride at the Hatfield/McCoy Trail System in the video below.
Images by Alfonse Palaima