The Kawasaki Teryx 2-seater is substantially revised for 2014, with more power, more room, and several upgrades inherited from its 4-seater big brother. We spent two days testing it on West Virginia’s gorgeous Hatfield-McCoy Trails. Here’s what we found.
Photos by Alfonse Palaima
“Bigger” is a central concept here. The Teryx 2 is now built on the same larger, longer-wheelbase frame as the 4. This means plenty of room in the cabin as well as 48 gallons of storage behind the seats. This frame is also fully welded and structurally integrated with the Roll-Over Protection System (ROPS) for a chassis that Kawasaki claims is the stiffest in its class.
The engine, too, is bigger. Up from 749cc, the Teryx 2 now has the 4’s 783cc mill. According to Product Manager Bret Snider, this means that, “Relative to the previous Teryx 2, there’s a 26% increase in horsepower and 12% gain in torque.”
The 2-seater got other goodies from the 4’s closet. The best hand-me-down might be the purpose-designed Fox Podium shocks. More about those later. It also now has “automotive-style” doors, tall bucket seats, and standard Electric Power Steering (EPS).
The tilting cargo box is now rated at 600 lbs capacity, up from 500, and the tailgate now includes (yes!) integral cupholders.
Overall, it is billed as a bigger, more capacious and capable machine. That’s what we were looking for on the trail.
Kawasaki wanted this to be “a machine that’s automotively intuitive,” according to Snider, and they certainly achieved that. The Teryx is incredibly easy to use, with a huge performance envelope, big enough to give confidence to beginners but also let expert riders challenge themselves on tougher trails.
Of all the upgrades, we felt the suspension was the standout feature. The Fox Podium shocks provide an excellent balance between comfort, trail feel, and precision. With all the fine-tuning adjustability of the shocks, riders of any temperament should be able to find their ideal ride just a few clicks away. With the ultra-stiff frame, even small shock adjustments are quite noticeable.
The 783cc, 90-degree V-twin engine, paired with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), provides buckets of torque even when “High” gear is selected. A little more of the power in the mid- to high-rpm range would have been a plus, but for grunt work and most of the trail riding, we could hardly ask for more. The CVT also provides decent engine braking – we only really used the “Low” gear on the steepest descents. Gearing is selectable from 2WD, 4WD, and 4WD with locked front differential. The 2WD was surprisingly capable and sometimes more fun than the 4WD.
The EPS steering was video-game light – almost too light for our taste. It was great to have practically no arm fatigue after two long days and to not have the steering push back from rocks and bumps, but we would like a little more feel in the wheel.
Weight distribution is split 50-50 between the rear and front, and the engine and transmission are placed basically right between the driver and passenger. This helps balance the ride, and on really bumpy stretches it often feels like the vehicle is bouncing around you rather than bouncing you. The tall seat with side bracing also helps keep you in place. Adding a passenger hardly affected the ride at all.
Kawasaki did not disclose the vehicle fuel range, but on our second day we rode 64 miles and used less than a quarter tank of gas.