I wanted to test out Kawasaki's new Teryx4 side-by-side and Brute Force ATVs, so I planned to run them hard to see what they could do at West Virginia's famous Hatfield-McCoy Trail System. While ATV-riding is its own thrill, the main event for me was to get familiar with Kawasaki's Teryx4, a four-person side-by-side.
I had ridden four-passenger side-by-sides before, and am often disappointed at the ride. I looked at the Teryx4 and thought, "Is this going to handle like a bus?"
It's a fact that manufacturers often have to stretch out the chassis to fit in the extra back seats. And a longer chassis means more bottoming out, and turning that feels like you're driving a limo. As if there should be a bumper sticker that says, "Wide Right Turns." Folks at Kawasaki were serious about turning this perception around.
The overall length of the Teryx4 is 125 inches, the width is 62 and the ground clearance is 10.8 inches. Those are all excellent numbers, especially for a four-person vehicle.
As a result, the Teryx4 handles much more like a two-seater Polaris RZR or Yamaha Rhino. Even with four people, you can pivot around tight trees and crawl rocks like smaller vehicles. It's a pleasant surprise.
It's as responsive as you'd hope. If you've ever been on a long ride in a vehicle that has a sluggish throttle, you'll know this feeling: When you step on the gas pedal, your body lunges forward in expectation of forward movement. When the fuel and air finally make it to the cylinders, then you get the acceleration, and it throws you back into your seat. Sure you could get used to it, but why bother?
Good outboards, good autos respond immediately to your desire for power. The Teryx4's high-flow, four-valve cylinder heads and digital fuel injection contribute to the rapid acceleration of the 749cc engine. Torque is there when you're crawling rocks, stomping on the pedal in the flats or looking for a mid-range boost to pass your buddy.
The Teryx4 may have an identity crisis. It sure has a similar feel to a performance side-by-side, like a RZR, but it is comfortable for driver and passengers, like an SUV. All seats are bucket-style, and the front seat are three-way adjustable.
The rear seats are actually a little higher than the front, which gives passengers a much better view than the back of their friends' heads.
DISLIKES: Driver's Leg Room
To me it was tight, and I don't even have long legs. But I spoke with several others who had tested the vehicle since then, and they said they were not cramped.
Would I give back any of the performance, or trade in a few inches from the 18- by 48-inch rear cargo bed to have more legroom up front? Yes.
LIKES: Made for Hunting
As a hunter, the Teryx4 has us in mind. The vehicles come in Realtree Green, have a 249-pound rear capacity cargo box, enough room for a medium-sized whitetail, and operate relatively quietly so every hunter and animals won't know you're in the area.
The T4 is excellent for carrying hunters to and from tree stands, blinds or other setups. You can talk about the hunt, and make plans on your way to the hunt. It might not be as comfortable as a 4WD truck, but you'll get deeper into the woods with this 62-inch wide vehicle than you would with an 80-inch-wide Ram 1500 or 97-inch-wide F150.
You could imagine how it would change your turkey hunting: You can cover many more acres when you are running and gunning. And in that game, more real estate means more opportunities for success.
You can pull brush cutters and food plot implements with the T4's 1,300-pound towing capacity.
Like any side-by-side, you can get all sorts of after-market accessories, like gun scabbards, camo seat covers, and tonneau covers for the dump bed.
Testing the Kawasakis was a pleasure. They make quality machines and seemed to have found the right combination of performance and comfort in their Teryx4.
There are a lot of hollows in West Virginia's Hatfield-McCoy Trail System but the mountains offer a few sweeping vistas as well.
Kawasaki teamed up with Realtree to offer the vehicle in Realtree Green.
All photos by Alphonse Palamina
2014's Teryx 4's all have power steering, which is good because you need power steering in any side-by-side, and especially a four-person vehicle.
4-Person Performance Vehicle
You have to admit, the T4's are aggressive-looking vehicles. But do they drive aggressively? They are more than capable of taming rock crawls, steep grades and mug pits. They are a performance vehicle that happens to carry four people.
Checking Under the Hood
The 2013 T4 has a 749cc engine. The new 2014 LE version is pumped up with a 783cc displacement engine.
Adjustable Rear Suspension
Seriously, even with three bubbas inside the cab, the T4 is still a blast to drive. The adjustable rear suspension allows you to adjust for more riders or fewer, more cargo or less.
OK, so it's not like turkeys or deer won't see you coming because your vehicle is in camo, but it sure looks cool to me anyway.
The floorboards drain well and electronics are kept high in the chassis so water can't get at them.
The overall length of the 2013 T4 is 125 inches with a 62-inch width and 10.8 inches of max ground clearance.
Torque is There
The 2013 Teryx 4 has a high-flow, four-valve cylinder head and digital fuel injection. Acceleration is immediate. Torque is there when you're crawling rocks, or stomping on the pedal in the flats or looking for a mid-range boost to pass your buddy.
What's your favorite part about the Teryx4? Share with us in the comments!