2010 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Review

Teryx receives tweaked styling and improved reliability

Story by Rick Sosebee, Photography by Fonzie, Nov. 04, 2009

The still young world of side-by-sides seems to be in a constant state of change and progression. Kawasaki, which only joined the segment with its Teryx in 2008, is a perfect example of that. Less than a year after first introducing the Teryx, Kawasaki made big changes in 2009 and with the release of its 2010 lineup the progression continues.

During a trip with Kawasaki to the Badlands Off-Road Park in mid-western Indiana we had a chance to see exactly what the minds at Team Green were up to.

The engineering of the Teryx has brought a great competitor to the side-by-side market, but will it be able to sustain the consistent onslaught of recreational utility vehicles that are being dropped in by boat daily? I think so, but letís take a look at the 2010 Teryx and you be the judge.

With the word change comes a hint of expectation, but for the model year 2010 the change to the looks of the Teryx for me can be distracting. The biggest physical change for 2010 is a less rounded and more angular hood. Also, the roll cage is now black on all models, where it used it used to match the color of the body. I cannot say wholeheartedly that I will not grow into the new looks but I definitely need time to think about it. The now ďold schoolĒ Teryx appeal had set itself apart in its stance and overall aggressive styling and I guess Ė at least for now Ė I really like that look better.

You can see the more rounded hood and red roll cage on the 2009 model on the left, while the 2010 Teryx on the right has a more angular look.

The colors for 2010 will remain as only sunbeam red and super black are offered in the base model. Many aftermarket companies will provide additional colors for those who choose to change them.

A bigger radiator fan offers improved cooling for 2010.
The gear selector and Diff lock are located in the center console.

While we are in the front of the RUV there is a new feature that is advancing the way we can service our ride. The 2010 Teryx has a forward lifting nose that allows easy access to the radiator as well as the front suspension. While this isnít rocket science it is a first for the Teryx. There are also some interesting changes hidden there as well. The radiator fan has been increased in size for better cooling in the tight stuff. Also, larger-diameter hoses now supply the radiator liquid to the engine, which will help assist in the cooling process. Additionally, the catch tank for the radiator has been relocated to the under hood area for easy service. All this means better reliability.

Seating in the Teryx remains unchanged in 2010. The same plush, spacey seating is as in previous years returns and there is plenty of room for riders of most every size. Seatbelts are three-point style and have adjustments to make each rider feel protected. We would like to see the seat belt shoulder height be adjustable, however, to make the shoulder belt ride a bit lower for refined comfort for smaller riders. The floor area has deep footwells that assist in keeping legs inside the vehicle as well as keeping trail obstacles out. As far as controls go the gear selector knob is placed well within the driverís grasp and with the new digital dash pod reading whatís going on with the Teryx equipment is as simple as glancing forward to the dash. The differential locking mechanism is also located right in the center console and is easily operated with one hand.

Propelling the 2010 Teryx to its destinations is the 749cc V-Twin that has proven itself to be very reliable. Fuel injection was added to this mill in 2009 and itís been carried into 2010. These V-Twin powerplants have four valves per cylinder, single overhead cams and produce very usable power. Kawasaki mounted the engine centrally in the Teryx, which balances RUV for aggressive riding and those expected or unexpected launches skyward in the trail.

Speaking of propelling the Teryx, we have to look into the CVT (constant velocity transmission) that Kawasaki offers in the Teryx line. The belt-driven transmission, like the engine, is geared towards reliability. According to Kawasaki, the belt has 200-hour service life, which is tested under actual riding time. This just reinforces the fact that Kawasaki wants you on the trail and not in the garage!

One feature on the Teryx I find quite helpful is how the onboard computer monitors the engine rpms through a TPS (throttle position sensor). If for over two seconds under load the wheels do not turn the engine will reduce its rotation to insure the CVT belt isnít trashed. Just another Kawasaki feature thatís worth noting as it relates to reliability.

Delivering the power through the belt and out to the heavy-duty CV axles is the next step. These axles take a beating and with the stress of a large RUV the CV joints have to be tough. The beefy CV joints and shafts themselves are geared to severe duty with reliable steel materials making this possible. The boots covering the joints also have to be tough and Kawasaki has developed a different approach to this as well. The CV boots are made of a plastic style material instead of the typical rubber compounds. Kawasaki claims this material is tougher and helps resist punctures or tears better. We all know that the outer CV boots take a lashing so this is a step in preventing damage. Finally, the brutal power of the 749cc V-Twin makes its way to the 26-inch Maxxis tires mounted on 12-inch rims.

Ride Impressions

So with the basic tour behind us we decided to get out onto the trails at the Badlands Off-Road Park and give the Teryx a proper test. The terrain at the Badlands features a small but sufficient sandy, duneish style arena and miles of wooded trails that feature many creek crossings. This was a very good place to get to know our Teryx.

The 2010 Teryx likes to play in the water and on the rocks.

Rocky ledges lend to our testing the heavier cooling capacity as we spent hours crawling up and down the tough rocky faces. Crawling up and over the rocks also gave us an opportunity to test the Diff lock handle, which provides a gradual amount of differential lock. This is unique system and is a great feature, but I generally prefer flipping a switch to initiate the Diff lock.

The feeling inside the Teryx was one of comfort and control. Pushing the machine faster helped show off its stable yet nimble handling. The powerful engine made its point as the dust settled and the wide open trail seemed to last forever.

With nearly a foot of ground clearance and a stable handling, the Teryx is a blast to throw around the rocky trails.

Suspension in the 2010 Teryx is the same as 2009 with only a rumor of a repositioned upper front shock mount change. Ground clearance still lends itself to stump crossing and rock dodging in the trails. Like on previous model Teryxs, Iím of the impression that a stronger front spring is needed. However, the Teryx I drove seemed to have a bit better preload and this could have cured the issue. While crossing deeper sections of the creeks we had no trouble with belt slippage, which means the seal held up just fine. The CVT intake and exhaust are located high just for this purpose.

Overall, the 2010 Teryx has not changed a great deal but the changes that were made give the Teryx an edge that is a key in the area of reliability. This reliability is all important to loyal owners of the product and it really doesnít matter what it looks like. Does it?

Comparable Vehicles: Yamaha Rhino 700 FI 4x4, Honda Big Red MUV, Polaris Ranger 800 XP, Arctic Cat Prowler 700 H1 EFI.

2010 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Specs
Engine: Liquid-cooled, 90-degree, four-stroke V-Twin
Valve system: SOHC, four valves per cylinder
Displacement: 749cc
Starting system: Electric
Bore x stroke: 85 x 66mm
Compression ratio: 8.8:1
Fuel system: 2 x Mikuni 34 mm throttle bodies
Ignition: Digital DC-CDI
Transmission: Continuously variable belt-drive transmission with high and low range, plus reverse, and Kawasaki Engine Brake Control
Final drive: Selectable four-wheel drive with Variable Front Differential Control, shaft
Frame: Large diameter, thin-walled, high-tensile tubular steel
Front suspension / wheel travel: Adjustable dual A-arm with gas charged shocks / 7.5 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Adjustable Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) with gas charged, reservoir shocks / 7.5 in.
Front tires: Maxxis 26x8-12
Rear Tires: Maxxis 26x10-12
Front brakes: Dual hydraulic discs with 2-piston calipers
Rear brake: Sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc
Length / Width / Height: 116.4 in / 58.5 in / 75.8 in
Wheelbase: 76.0 in
Ground Clearance: 11.6 in
Lighting: (2) 40W headlights, (2) 8W taillight, 27W stoplight
Cargo bed capacity: 500 lbs, 44.2 W x 32.7 L x 11.1 in. H
Towing capacity: 1,300 lbs
Curb weight: 1,395 lbs
Fuel capacity: 7.4 gal
Instruments: Multi-Function Digital Meter with speedometer (mph or kph), fuel gauge, clock hour meter, odometer, dual trip meter and parking brake, R/N/P/4WD, water temp and oil pressure indicators
Colors: Sunbeam Red, Super Black
MSRP: $11,699

Related Reading
2010 Kawasaki Mule and Teryx Lineup Preview
2009 Kawasaki Teryx 750 4x4 Sport Review
2008 Kawasaki Teryx 750 4x4 Review

 
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