2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 First Ride | ATV Rider

2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 First Ride

Kawasaki finally has a dog in the fight.

The 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 features suspension with massive components that should be tough enough to withstand the abuse that comes from driving off road.

The 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 features suspension with massive components that should be tough enough to withstand the abuse that comes from driving off road.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Kawasaki just released its all-new 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 and everyone is going crazy about it.

The sport side-by-side market has been dominated by the Canadian brands for more than a decade and, until recently, they have had little or no competition from the Japanese manufacturers. Now, Kawasaki has just dropped the new 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 into the mix along with the offerings from Yamaha and Honda which means the UTV arms race is officially on. The UTV market has been the fastest growing segment in the powersports history over the past 10 years and it’s reaching a boiling point with no less than a half-dozen manufacturers contending for your hard-earned money.


Related: 2019 Kawasaki Teryx


The 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 features suspension with massive components that should be tough enough to withstand the abuse that comes from driving off road.

The 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 features suspension with massive components that should be tough enough to withstand the abuse that comes from driving off road.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

While those crazy Canucks keep chasing each other in the battle for horsepower that correlates to dominance at the dunes, the Japanese brands have taken a more subtle approach that avoids the high-horsepower designs in lieu of providing sturdy platforms from which consumers can build the side-by-side to their liking. As a result we did not get a supercharged H2R-powered Teryx. Although that would have been great, we did get a well-engineered UTV with overbuilt suspension components and powertrain along with an engine with serious potential, all wrapped in a design that looks like a small Ultra 4 buggy that is ready to take on the roughest, toughest trails you can find.


Related: 2019 Kawasaki Teryx4 And Teryx4 LE


Storage capacity of the 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 is large enough for a cooler or a full size 32-inch spare tire. They included four steel mounting points to secure your tie-downs too.

Storage capacity of the 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 is large enough for a cooler or a full size 32-inch spare tire. They included four steel mounting points to secure your tie-downs too.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

As it sits now, the KRX 1000 is an awesome off-road machine. Everything Kawasaki did during the design phase culminated in the creation of a UTV that is at home in the roughest terrain. It offers 14.4 inches of ground clearance, 18.6 inches of travel up front, and 21.1 inches of travel in the rear. If that doesn’t get you over most obstacles, then a full-coverage skid plate should keep those vital parts safe from damage. The double wishbone front A-arms are burly, plus the four-link trailing arms are longer and thicker than “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s arms. Look closer and you’ll see that the radius rods are built from large-diameter round stock and are attached to the frame via two-point bosses that look thick and sturdy. Add into the mix the Kawasaki ROPS cage that features radiused front and rear main support beams that attach to the frame at eight separate points, and you have a UTV that looks like it’s built to withstand the abuse of rock crawling and trail riding right off the showroom floor.

Looks can be deceiving. While the 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 looks like a rock crawler, it feels nimble despite its height and weight.

Looks can be deceiving. While the 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 looks like a rock crawler, it feels nimble despite its height and weight.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

And that is exactly what Kawasaki was aiming for. Comfort, durability, and longevity are the name of the game when it comes to the new Teryx KRX 1000. The motto during the R&D phase was “Calm in the cabin” as the team tested every possible configuration of A-arm, trailing arm configuration, shock mounting angles, shock settings, and so on. After a day in the seat we have to agree they did a good job of creating a comfortable ride, and they proved it by sticking us on some rough and rocky trails for our first taste of the Teryx’s off-road chops.

A nice feature of the 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 is the engine-braking. When headed downhill the new Teryx keeps the speed down and eliminates the freewheeling effect.

A nice feature of the 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 is the engine-braking. When headed downhill the new Teryx keeps the speed down and eliminates the freewheeling effect.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The rider-friendly driving experience begins with the traditional automotive-style swing of the doors and the small ledge that serves as an armrest on the finished inside panels. There are latches to open on both the inside and out. The bucket seats are cozy and a massive amount of room accommodates passengers of all sizes thanks to a half foot of adjustability front to back. The steering wheel adjusts and the simple LED dash is mounted on the column so its always right in front of the driver. There is a lot of storage on the interior as well, including the glove box, a waterproof compartment on the dash, five cupholders, and if you are short, there’s a ton of space behind the seats.

It’s not impervious to body roll, as the deep ruts formed in a fast right-hander it did veer up on two wheels. But the event was predictable and the responsive power steering allowed for an easy save

It’s not impervious to body roll, as the deep ruts formed in a fast right-hander it did veer up on two wheels. But the event was predictable and the responsive power steering allowed for an easy save that kept us upright and moving forward.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Inside the new KRX, the cockpit feels spacious, comfortable, and open. The hood is stubby and steep which allows for a decent view of the trail ahead. Turn the key and fire up the big parallel twin and it comes to life with a rumble from its side-mounted exhaust. The transmission offers High, Low, Neutral, and Reverse with a parking brake positioned between the seats; there’s no Park setting in the tranny. It has on-demand four-wheel drive, high and low power settings, and front differential lock. The idea is that you will use the diff-lock, low power, and low gear to make rock crawling smoother and the combo works as expected. In practice it seems like a nice feature for less experienced drivers as they learn the nuances of crawling slowly over rough terrain. Throttle response is toned down so traction is at a premium as we crept our way over the various climbs and descents set for us. The transmission is set up to take advantage of the engine-braking when you are going downhill too. It’s nice that the CVT does not just release and cause a freewheeling effect like most of the competitors cars do.

Tall 31-inch Maxxis Carnivore tires provide awesome off-road traction in dirt, gravel, and, of course, rocks.

Tall 31-inch Maxxis Carnivore tires provide awesome off-road traction in dirt, gravel, and, of course, rocks.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

In the open desert we were able to stretch its legs a bit. From a dead stop the KRX accelerates strong, reaching almost 70 mph in a relatively short straightaway that ended in a 90-degree right-hand turn in a sand wash. Although the 10-foot wall of dirt was ominous at those speeds, this was a perfect point to experience the power and feel of the four-wheel disc brakes. The stopping power is impressive with a decent amount of feel as we shed speed in the gravel-strewn trail. Overall the naturally aspirated 999cc engine feels strong with the most power coming near the top-end. It does not leap off the line from a dead stop but it is having to put out some effort to get the 1,900-pound machine rolling at the start. Once it’s underway, the power delivery is smooth, linear and more than up to the task thanks to its 76.7 pound-feet of torque. In the meat of the power around 7,000 rpm, it has a deep growl from the EPA-friendly exhaust system and I am sure is going to be bitchin’ once the aftermarket pipes find their way onto these cars.

Rocky hill climbs are made about as easy as they can be when you deploy the differential lock and put the unit in low gear. For less advanced drivers, you can drop the engine power into low and smooth

Rocky hill climbs are made about as easy as they can be when you deploy the differential lock and put the unit in low gear. For less advanced drivers, you can drop the engine power into low and smooth out the power even more.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Our man-made course featured lots of sharp turns placed back to back so as we got comfortable taxing the suspension on both flat hardpack and race-rutted sand. It is clear this car is designed to haul ass. Body roll is present but predictable as the four-link trailing arms and double wishbone front end work with the Fox 2.5 Podium shocks to keep the KRX stable in the turns. It handles very well despite its tall stature, and that’s a testament to the engineering effort behind the design of the new KRX 1000 chassis.

I quickly got comfortable pushing the limit of the KRX and it handled everything I could throw at it during my short day behind the wheel.

I quickly got comfortable pushing the limit of the KRX and it handled everything I could throw at it during my short day behind the wheel.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The big Teryx proved that it belongs in the nasty, rocky, bumpy, and dirty terrain that most people will be playing in. Its bodywork does not extend beyond the front or rear tires so it can handle steep approaches to obstacles, while the body itself is tapered along the sides below the doors to reduce the overall footprint when making your way around tight obstacles. Two massive intakes with pre-filters on the front of the bed provide fresh, clean air for the engine and CVT which tips Kawasaki’s hand that the KRX was built to tackle the gnarliest conditions first and foremost. It should be right at home in the dusty deserts of the West Coast or the wet, muddy woods to the east.

LED headlights, running lights, and taillights are bright as heck and draw minimal power from the electrical system. Oh, they look great too.

LED headlights, running lights, and taillights are bright as heck and draw minimal power from the electrical system. Oh, they look great too.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

No matter where you plan to drive your KRX 1000, Kawasaki has a long list of accessories to help you build it to suit your needs. They include a Hifonics sound system ($1,099), front ($179) and rear ($255) bumpers, windshields ($679), cab heaters, poly roof ($499), nerf bars ($319), fender flares ($499), cargo box ($349), rear tire carrier, light bars ($105–$475), trailing arm guards ($179), and much more. Kawasaki is prepared to help customers configure the new KRX to their liking with six different packages—including I Want it All, Cab, Lighting, Mud, Protection, and Recreation—that feature various combos of all the available accessories.

The 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 features a 999cc parallel-twin engine that takes design elements from the Ninja superbike engines including polished exhaust ports and basically a five-angle valve job. It seem

The 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 features a 999cc parallel-twin engine that takes design elements from the Ninja superbike engines including polished exhaust ports and basically a five-angle valve job. It seems like they may be up to something here…

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Kawasaki also enlisted the help of multiple aftermarket companies including PRP seats, Warn winches, HCR suspension components, Rugged Radios, as well as an aftermarket turbo kit that is soon to be available from K&T Performance and which is rumored to bump horsepower near the 200 range. Kawasaki is all in with the KRX 1000, so we are excited to see how the car holds up over the long haul. It has the pedigree, the design seems solid, and dealers have been begging for this for years.

Industry-leading suspension travel helps set the tone for the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 to be an off-road monster. It clears obstacles, absorbs bumps, and provides a smooth ride. What more could you ask for

Industry-leading suspension travel helps set the tone for the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 to be an off-road monster. It clears obstacles, absorbs bumps, and provides a smooth ride. What more could you ask for?

Courtesy of Kawasaki

The front profile of the KRX 1000 is distinctive thanks to the angled LED headlamps and high fender profile. The radiator intake looks familiar though.

The front profile of the KRX 1000 is distinctive thanks to the angled LED headlamps and high fender profile. The radiator intake looks familiar though.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Remember that this is just the first version of the Teryx KRX 1000 too. It seems logical that Kawasaki would start with a naturally aspirated UTV because that’s going to appeal to a larger market and this is the way most of the Japanese brands prefer to do business. The KRX engine is a brand-new design built specifically for this model, so we would be remiss to believe the company does not have plans for it to evolve into other niche categories at some point in the future. We predict a four-seater next, followed by a more powerful version that may be turbocharged, and after that, who knows… It’s Kawasaki, so hopefully a supercharger makes its way into the equation too. Hey, we can wish, right?

The four-link rear suspension and massive trailing arms on the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 look like aftermarket hardware at first glance.

The four-link rear suspension and massive trailing arms on the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 look like aftermarket hardware at first glance.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

As it stands right now, the 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 exceeds our expectations for the first foray into the world of sport side-by-sides. It ticks many of the boxes consumers are asking for, and is built to withstand a serious beating, so we just have to wait and see how it holds up over time. It handles great, looks awesome, and offers something new for UTV enthusiasts to be excited about. All that’s left to do now is to climb in, hang on, and let the good times roll.

The 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 features double wishbone front A-arms and Fox 2.5 Podium shocks that soak up the roughest rocky roads you can imagine.

The 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 features double wishbone front A-arms and Fox 2.5 Podium shocks that soak up the roughest rocky roads you can imagine.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 Specifications

PRICE $20,499
ENGINE 999cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled parallel twin; 8-valve
BORE x STROKE 92.0 x 75.1mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 13.5:1
TORQUE 76.7 lb.-ft. @ 7,000 rpm
FUEL DELIVERY Digital fuel injection w/ dual 50mm throttle bodies
CLUTCH Centrifugal CVT
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE Automatic (H/L/N/R)/belt
FRAME Ladder-type tubular steel
FRONT SUSPENSION Double wishbone, Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks adjustable for spring preload, 24-position compression damping; 18.6-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION 4-link trailing arm, Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shocks adjustable for spring preload, 24-position compression damping; 21.1-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE 2-piston calipers, dual hydraulic discs
REAR BRAKE 2-piston calipers, dual hydraulic discs
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR 15-in. alloy w/ beadlocks
TIRES, FRONT/REAR Maxxis Carnivore; 31 x 10R-15
GROUND CLEARANCE 14.4 in.
WHEELBASE 98.8 in.
OVERALL WIDTH 68.1 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 4.4 gal.
CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT 1,896 lb.
WARRANTY 6 months
AVAILABLE October 2019
CONTACT kawasaki.com
Fully adjustable Fox 2.5 Podium shocks front and rear are more than up to the task of keeping the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 stable in fast, rugged terrain.

Fully adjustable Fox 2.5 Podium shocks front and rear are more than up to the task of keeping the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 stable in fast, rugged terrain.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Passenger comfort is the key to the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000’s success. The suspension is great and the cockpit accommodates people of all sizes.

Passenger comfort is the key to the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000’s success. The suspension is great and the cockpit accommodates people of all sizes.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Simple is the best way to describe the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 instrumentation. Located on the steering column, it is always front and center for the driver. You get a speedo, tach, fuel, clock, gear sele

Simple is the best way to describe the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000 instrumentation. Located on the steering column, it is always front and center for the driver. You get a speedo, tach, fuel, clock, gear selection, and even a CVT belt temperature gauge.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

According to Kawasaki, it has been working on the Teryx KRX 1000 project for more than five years now, and it finally feels it has a vehicle that is worthy to represent the brand.

According to Kawasaki, it has been working on the Teryx KRX 1000 project for more than five years now, and it finally feels it has a vehicle that is worthy to represent the brand.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

Underneath the 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 is full-protection skid plates including steel bulkhead that will prevent any particularly nasty stuff from poking through into the cab.

Underneath the 2020 Kawasaki KRX 1000 is full-protection skid plates including steel bulkhead that will prevent any particularly nasty stuff from poking through into the cab.

Courtesy of Kawasaki

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