With the dawn of the new century came some amazing four-wheelers to bestow honor to the ATV market. These vehicles are equipped with a slew of enhancements, V-belt transmission, a big-bore attitude, and rugged aesthetics. And the same was the case with the Kawasaki Prairie 360 4*4. As a compact version of the Prairie 650, it is a utility ATV produced in the decade 2003-2013. Lovingly called the mini Prairie; this beasty machine did support KEBC, a belt-driven transmission, and differential lock capabilities, which make it a weekend warrior and highly- preferred workhorse.
Moreover, the rest components of the vehicle with enhanced instrumentation provided riders with a glimpse of the future of UTVs. For example, long-travel suspension, EBS, and mid-sized, powerful quads that are common in today’s ATC were once the features of the mini Prairie. Let’s learn about this dual-purpose and high-end 4-wheeler, revolutionizing the market.
A Quick Look at the Prairie 360
The Kawasaki 360 was an excellent effort by Team Green to offer its flagship and compact quad even at lower prices. It would not be wrong to say that it was the affordable version of Kawasaki’s V-Twin pioneers, the Prairie 700 and Prairie 650. Excelling its predecessors was surely challenging, especially since its makers claimed a similar engine powers it. Furthermore, it was also not as sophisticated as Kawasaki’s best-engineered off-road models. Despite these shortcomings, the 360 surprised the market by offering high-end features that were once part of the 700-class behemoths. To name a few, variable front-differential control, a company-exclusive engine brake control, sealed rear disk brakes, an all-new 362-cm3 power mill, and selectable driveline models.
Besides that, rectangular headlights, angular lines, and simplistic styling added to its beauty and grace. Kawasaki first came with 4WD trims, altering it with 2WD versions within a year. When it comes to performance and aesthetics, the Prairie 360 held its name. Even the riders forgot the absence of a V-Twin engine and praised what Kawasaki KVF360 offered. With this model, the riders could enjoy the ride on this powerful machine without having awesome driving skills. In addition, people also liked its low-range pull and camo trims, making the 360 a dream to ride and a superb hunting companion.
What Comes with the Kawasaki 360: Specs and Features?
Some of the most prominent features of Kawasaki Prairie 360 are mentioned below
The mother company amazingly bettered the instrumentation of the 360. However, those released in North America did not come with a complete set of ingredients that were the standard in other countries. That was why minute alterations were done during its manufacturing. The 2WD was available in basic colors such as Aztec Red and Woodsman Green.
On the other hand, the 4*4 vehicles featured in Realtree APG HD camouflage and Polar White. And if your model has a non-US trim, you can switch the LCD to visualize the trim meter or odometer by just pushing the mode switch on the bottom center of the speedometer. The presence of the decimal point next to the “10th” digit can tell you are in “trim meter” mode. And by just pushing and holding the switch for at least three seconds, you can clear the trip count on a pre-loved unit.
The Prairie and the Brute Force 650 share a similar suspension system. Because the former has the same chassis as its predecessors had, this should not surprise riders. Since the rear shocks have nitrogen gas, the beginner mechanic should not try to disassemble or incinerate the rear shock absorber by themselves. Moreover, they should also release the gas completely. For this, drill a hole 15 mm from the bottom of the cylinder while scrapping rear shocks.
Brakes and Tires
Dunlop tubeless tires feature rear and front tubular wheels, which ensure a more efficient braking system and ample grip. But if you enjoy doing serious rock-crawling or mudding, replacing these tires with GBC Grim Reaper Radial ATV Tires or Carlisle All Trail ATV Tires is ideal. This model features a dual hydraulic disc braking system for the front and an enclosed wet multi-plate disc for the rear. Use only ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or DOT 3/DOT 4 brake fluid when you clean brake parts. Don’t use engine oil, gasoline, or any other petroleum distillate because they will deteriorate the rubber parts of the braking system. What is more, it is hard to wash off oil spills.
When you draw a comparative analysis between the Kawasaki Prairie 360 and other 4*4 in this category, you realize that trailer weight and rack capacities have significantly enhanced. The seat height also makes it possible to enjoy a comfortable ride. Dimensions of this model are as follows:
- Heights: 1175 mm
- Width: 1205 mm
- Length: 2065 mm
- Seat height: 890 mm
- Wheelbase: 1250 mm
As far as the ignition system is concerned, the quad accompanies an upgraded DC-CDI ignition with an auxiliary mechanical recoil starter and an electric starter system. The battery’s under-seat location and starter circuit relay guard these parts against debris and water accumulated while riding.
Lubrication and Engine
As compared to the other Kawasaki class-300 models, the 360 features enhanced torque and power output. Unlike its competitors, who use an air filtration system, the Kawasaki Prairie 360 uses a urethane foam air filter. As far as speed is concerned, it can touch 55 mph. Though not a beast, it does more if you consider its size. The specs include a 4-stroke SOHC, single-cylinder engine with a compression ratio of 8.3:1.
Since the Kawasaki 360 features a driveline switch, the riders can choose between 4WD or 2WD. Moreover, a dual-range automatic transmission, which includes a reverse KAPS system, does handle the shifting. Pretty solid are its steering parts. There is also an option of replacing the steering if it gets too rough. You can replace it with a broken tie rode with any rode, most preferably a race-type variant. Its measurement should be 315 ± 0.7mm.
Shortcomings of the Kawasaki Prairie 360
As everything has shortcomings, so has the Prairie 360, which are as follows:
Overheating means a lot of issues with your vehicle. Usually, what it refers to is a defective fan. However, numerous other factors, such as a defective pigtail/plug, a blown fuse, or a fan switch sensor screwed into the side of the radiator, can cause this problem. Isolate these parts by attaching them to working units if you want to diagnose the problem. Most of the time, the main culprit is the inadequate plug.
Problems with Idling
Idling problems are usually common with those machines that have had a barn for a long time or have been unused in the garage. Adjusting the valves and jets would not solve this issue. You need to perform basic engine troubleshooting to diagnose the main culprit and do away with it.
Not Engaging 4WD
Getting rid of this problem is tricky as well as simple simultaneously. Symptoms can be the 4WD light not coming on when shifting between driveline modes and a diagnostic code indicating an engine brake actuator failure.
What We Decree
Even with these shortcomings, the Prairie 360 4*4 still charms riders with its power and utility. Despite having no V-Twin engine, this wheeler is one of the favorites of adventurous riders. It ensures remarkable suspension, good acceleration, and a torquey powerband at an amazing price. If you want a courageous ride, this wheeler is what you should prefer.
Rand Frankey is OffRoadsCare freelance Content Editor. He loves offroad Travelling and bikes, jeeps, and dirk bikes. He will explain all his experience with dirt bikes and offroad vehicles which helps you to make a decision like which vehicle is right for you.