Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4 Specs and Review

One of Kawasaki’s most-loved supporting vehicles is the Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4. Considered a niche quad, it catered to off-roaders and nouveau riders who preferred to enjoy the outdoors on a practical, no-shift wheeler with tons of power.

The Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4 is a rec-utility vehicle that was introduced to the public in 1999. Designed to supplement its bigger-displacement siblings, it featured a fully-automatic V-belt transmission, impressive hauling capabilities, and 2WD/4WD modes with a limited-slip front differential.

Aside from these features, the Prairie 300 was also known for its hardy stance, dependability, and rugged aesthetics – qualities that avid Kawie followers loved. Read on and learn about the specs, features, and other endearing attributes of this uncomplicated, no-nonsense four-wheeler.

Red 2001 Kawasaki Prairie 300 ATV

About the Kawasaki Prairie 300

The Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4 was launched alongside the successful Prairie 400 – from 1999 to 2002. The idea behind this 300-class machine was to offer big-bore features to enthusiasts and general consumers who preferred something smaller that was not gear-driven but could still function as a rec-utility vehicle.

The Japanese manufacturer introduced the 4×4 to the public as one of its value ATVs to increase its market share in the industry’s largest sales segment.

Often compared to the Bayou 300, the Prairie 300 used a similar 290-cm3 4-stroke SOHC engine, chassis, tire-wheel system, and suspension components. Its drive system consisted of the same belt drive torque converter (later called Kawasaki Automatic Powerdrive System or KAPS in 2011) as in the Prairie 400 but tuned to specifically match the quad’s power output. Shared features with its siblings include front and rear composite game racks and full-time 4WD with a lockable front differential.

Revamped Version

Despite having a short production run, the Prairie 300 left such an impression with the off-roading community that Kawasaki ended up releasing a revamped version of the vehicle – the Kawasaki Prairie 360. 

This machine sported K-EBC™, a bigger engine displacement, and improved top-end speed while retaining its predecessor’s other rock-solid features. For many, the 360-cm3 vehicle seemed to be a compact version of the V-Twin behemoths. But for knowing Kawie riders, it was more reminiscent of the Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4.

Kawasaki Prairie 300 Specs & Features

Engine

The 4×4’s engine is powerful and has a fuel capacity that is not very far from the tank capacity of its 360-class successor, given the difference in engine displacement.

Like other Kawasaki ATVs, the machine requires a fuel stabilizer mixed with gasoline, especially when storing the Prairie 300 for long periods, to prevent fuel oxidation and gummy deposits.

Engine Type4-Stroke SOHC
Cylinder ArrangementSingle cylinder
Carburetion SystemKeihin CVK34
Engine CoolingAir cooling
Engine FuelUnleaded gasoline of at least Antiknock Index/PON 87 or RON 91, containing < 15% MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether)/TAME/ETBE, < 10% ethanol, or < 5% methanol w/ cosolvents & corrosion inhibitors
Fuel Capacity12 L/3.2 US gal (reserve – 2.7 L/0.71 US gal)
Bore x Stroke Ratio76×64 mm (2.99 x 2.52 inches)
Compression Ratio9.0:1
Starting SystemElectric/recoil
Displacement290 cm³ / 17.7 in³
Maximum Power21.1 hp/21.4 PS (15.7 kW @ 7,500 RPM)
Maximum Torque22.4 Nm (2.3 kgf-m, 16.6 ft-lb) @ 6,000 RPM
Top Speed35-42 mph (56.3-67.6 km/h) – owners’ claim
LubricationForced lubrication (wet sump)
Engine Oil & Quantity2.4 L (2.5 US quarts) w/ filter; 2.6 L (2.7 US quarts) w/out filter
2.8 L (2.96 US quarts) at disassembly SAE 10W-40 w/ API grade of SJ meeting JASO T903 MA
SAE 5W-30, 10W-50, 20W-40, 20W-50 – depending on ambient temperature

Drivetrain

A dual-range fully automatic CVT transmission, inclusive of reverse, allows for a no-shift operation of the vehicle. Selectable 2WD/4WD driveline modes (for the KVF300-A model) and on-the-fly front differential lock lend to improved handling and overall maneuverability. Throttle controls and the front brake lever are on the right side of the handlebar. 

The starter button, override, and light/dimmer switches are on the left. When operating the machine, remember to halt before shifting transmission. Otherwise, doing this while in motion may lead to engine damage.

ClutchWet shoe, automatic, centrifugal type
Transmission TypeCVT w/ 2-speed plus reverse, automatic
Drive SystemShaft drive, 2WD 4WD/Belt drive torque converter
Primary Ratio4.2-0.81
Final Drive Ratio4.333
Overall Drive Ratio (Top Gear)54.675 – 10.541 (high); 76.266 – 14.708 (low); 65.320 – 12.597 (reverse)
Transmission Gear RatioHigh – 3.003; Low – 4.190; Reverse – 3.589

Ignition

The fuses and battery are under the driver seat, which gives these components mud/dirt and splash protection. YTX14AH-BS battery formats work perfectly with the quad. But YB16CL-B (view on Amazon) variants are suitable replacements and would fit later-year Prairie 300 models.

When connecting electronic accessories or aftermarket headlights to your four-wheeler, do not go over those rated higher than 60W to prevent your battery from becoming discharged.

IgnitionDC-CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition)
Ignition Timing10° BTDC @ 1,300 RPM – 30° BTDC @ 4,000 RPM
Spark Plug, GapNGK DPR8EA, 0.6-0.7 mm (0.024-0.028 in.)
Alternator TypeThree-phase alternator
Fuse30 Amp (main); 5 Amp (auxiliary, belt switch)
Battery12V 14 Ah, YTX14AH-BS battery formats
Battery Dimensions (L x W x H)5.31×3.54×6.57 in (134 x 90 x 167 mm)
Green 2001 Kawasaki Prairie 300 ATV

Tires & Brakes

Dual hydraulic disc brakes (front) and sealed multi-disc brakes (rear) provide the Kawasaki Prairie 300 stopping power in any situation.

Front Tire, off-road/road air pressureDunlop KT121A AT25 x 8-12, tubeless
Tire Pressure: 35 kPa (0.35 kgf/cm2, 5 psi)
Rear Tire, off-road/road air pressureDunlop KT125 AT25 x 11-10, tubeless
Tire Pressure: 28 kPa (0.28 kgf/cm2, 4 psi)
Front Brake TypeDual hydraulic discs
Rear Brake TypeEnclosed wet multiplate disc

Suspension

Except for its turning radius, the Prairie 300 shares the same suspension components as the Prairie 360 4×4. The suspension and wheel travel for front and rear are pretty decent by yesteryear’s standards. Still, the front-drive feels restricted due to the lack of spring preload adjustment.

Frame TypeTubular, double-cradle
Caster, Trail2.5°, 15 mm (0.59 in)
Turning Radius3.5 m (11.5 ft) – KVF300-A; 3.4 m (11.2 ft) – KVF300-B
Front Suspension Type, TravelMacPherson Strut, 170 mm (6.7 in)
Rear Suspension Type, TravelAluminum swingarm w/ 5-way adjustable spring preload, 180 mm (7.1 in)

Dimensions

Because the Kawasaki Prairie 300 is slightly shorter than the Prairie 360, minimum clearance is closer to the ground and may not always be ideal for steep, rock-crawling sections.

A quick remedy to this dilemma is getting a 2-inch lift kit (view on Amazon) or a full skid plate to protect the underside of your quad.

Length2,065 mm (81.3 in)
Width1,205 mm (47.4 in)
Height1,145 mm (45.1 in)
Seat Height (Unloaded)850 mm (33.5 in)
Ground Clearance163 mm (6.42 in) – rear axle
Wheelbase1,250 mm (49.2 in)
Track (F/R)880 mm (34.6 in) / 890 mm (35.0 in) – KVF300-A
890 mm (35.0 in) / 900 mm (35.4 in) – KVF300-B
Dry Weight274 Kg (604 lbs) – KVF300-A; 256 Kg (564 lbs) – KVF300-B
Carrier Capacity (F/R)88 lbs / 154 lbs
Vehicle Load Capacity Limit205 Kg (452 lbs) – cargo & rider weight
Hitch Tongue Weight40 Kg (88 lbs)
Trailer Weight (including cargo)499 Kg (1,100 lbs)
ColorsHunter Green, Firecracker Red

When carrying cargo, make sure to evenly distribute and centralize the weight (1/3 up front and 2/3 at the back). Avoid carrying loads that extend beyond the rear-end of your vehicle.

Exterior

It has a double-cradle steel frame and plastic body available in two color options. The four-wheeler comes standard with hand grips, front and rear fenders, composite utility racks, handlebars, and full floorboards.

Trail Tech 712-118 Black Striker Speedometer Digital Gauge Kit with Volt Meter (view on Amazon) is an excellent accessory to have. It will provide you needed instrumentation that is missing in the quad.

SpeedometerStandard – KVF300-A
Indicator LampsStandard
Trip OdometerStandard, embedded w/ speedo
Fuel GaugeStandard
Engine Stop SwitchStandard
Oil Temperature SwitchN/A
HeadlightSemi-sealed beam, 12V 30W/30W x 2 – KVF300-A
Semi-sealed beam, 12V 25W/25W x 2 – KVF300-B
Brake Light/Taillight12V 27W/8W
Speedometer LightN/A
Indicator Lights(neutral, reverse)

Kawasaki Prairie 300 Pricing

The table below shows the MSRP of all Kawasaki Prairie 300 models and trims released from 1999 to 2002:

(Source: Nada Guides and Kelley Blue Book)

Year – Trim – Model NumberList PriceRetail/Trade-In Values
1999 Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4 (KVF300-A1)$5,299$450 – $2,975
1999 Kawasaki Prairie KVF300-B1$4,499$260 – $2,375
2000 Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4 (KVF300-A2)$5,399$500 – $3,100
2000 Kawasaki Prairie KVF300-B2$4,599$300 – $2,625
2001 Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4 (KVF300-A3)$5,399$640 – 3,255
2001 Kawasaki Prairie KVF300-B3$4,599$485 – $2,825
2002 Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4 (KVF300-A4)$4,999$1,005 – $2,435
2002 Kawasaki Prairie KVF300-B4$4,399$925 – $2,005

Auction listings for 2WD and 4WD Prairies value between $700 and $3,000 with only minimal scratches. Some require minor repairs or a battery replacement. They typically have over 2,500 hours (those with less than 600 hours on them quite rare).

You will find that most good shape units have been exclusively used in the farm or for enforcement patrol. They have fresh tires and come complete with front and rear cargo racks. Some have sturdier aftermarket drop baskets (view on Amazon).

For those who already own a Kawasaki Prairie 300 and are in the middle of a build project, you can find old quads online being sold for parts for $300 or less.

Kawasaki Prairie 300 Problems

Red 2000 Kawasaki Prairie 300 ATV

Carb Issues

Secondhand wheelers usually carry this problem, which manifests through different symptoms. Some owners may notice that their vehicle is not turning over or idling erratically. Others may experience fuel leaks and abrupt power loss while riding or after releasing the throttle.

While this problem can affect any pre-loved quad, Prairies with engines that are either modded or swapped out (for a variant meant for a different ATV make and model) and those that have sat for a while have a higher tendency to experience it.

If you suspect having this dilemma, there are a few things you can check to narrow down the problem source:

  • Does your machine rev freely without being in gear? If so, the problem might be CVT-related. Pull off the clutch cover and inspect if your belt is in good shape.
  • Has your vehicle had a lot of frequent use? If so, check on the primary clutch spring, ramps, and weights of your quad, and see if these Kawasaki Prairie 300 parts are correctly functioning. 
  • Do you have any fluid in the floats? To answer this, you will need to check if your machine’s float adjustment is according to spec (so that fuel does not overfill), especially if it has gone through a carb rebuild.

Knowing whether the vehicle was stored with fuel inside the tank or not would tremendously help in this situation, too. This would involve a complete disassembly of the Kawasaki Prairie 300 carburetor, removing all jets and internal components, thoroughly cleaning these parts with a tested carb cleaner and a fine copper wire (to unclog the circuitry above the pilot jet and behind the air screw). If the steps above don’t solve the issue, then the probable cause is likely a compression issue.

Flooded Engine

Resolving a carb issue sometimes leads to this problem, which leaves Prairie owners perplexed since they have just done a thorough cleanup of their carb and its components.

Unluckily, the thing with Kawasaki Prairie 300 carburetors is that they do not have a replaceable float needle valve seat. Hence, any scratches or erosion on the valve seat may lead to flooding. Either that or the small clip that fits on the float tang and connects to the needle valve is not installed the right way.

It is also possible that the float and float needles themselves are severely worn, or the float tang has been bent when working on the carb.

Misfiring

There are cases when fixing a flooded engine is not enough, and the issue with your Prairie 300 turns into misfiring/backfiring. While we all easily conclude incorrect valve timing or a poorly tuned carb to be the issue, the fix could just be to replace the spark plug.

Bear in mind (with any ATV) that a spark plug with spark is not guaranteed to work properly. Checking if the spark plug gets wet when starting the vehicle will tell you this. Otherwise, you may want to check your fuel valve, filters, and carburetor float level all over again. By this time, you may need a different set of eyes to help you diagnose the problem.

Steering Knuckle Issue

Kawasaki voluntarily recalled about 155,000 units of Prairie 300/300 4X4, Prairie 360/360 4X4, Prairie 400/400 4X4, Prairie 650 4X4, Prairie 700 4X4, and Brute Force 650 4X4 (2001-2005 models) due to an assembly flaw affecting the front wheel of the ATVs. The ball joint of recall-affected models tends to separate from the steering knuckle, resulting in loss of steering control and potential rider hazard.

A total of 39 warranty claims and three personal injury claims are related to the said issue. As a fix, dealers nationwide replaced the ball joints and steering knuckles on KVF300A/B and KVF400A/B versions and the ball joints, steering knuckles, and lower A-arms for all other models.

About Kawasaki

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. is a globally-renowned maker of class-leading off-road vehicles like the Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4 and a recognized leader in the ATV industry.

Founded in 1878, this Japanese firm began as a parts supplier for shipping businesses, eventually ventured into other transport industries, and has not looked back since.

Today, Kawasaki produces quality aerospace and energy systems, hydraulic machinery, motorcycles, side x sides, and personal watercraft and introduces tech innovations to the market.

Conclusion – Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4 Review

The Kawasaki Prairie 300 4×4 is living proof that one does not need a tech-heavy four-wheeler to explore the outdoors. This mean machine provides only the basics – selectable driveline modes, utility racks, ample suspension system, and ground clearance – and yet, has never felt lacking or restrictive. It had held its own and earned itself a loyal following while supporting its larger siblings and providing more options to consumers.

Two decades ago, the Prairie 300 was simply a machine that gave the off-roading community a glimpse of Team Green’s future product offerings. Now, it has become a representation of present-day standard features such as an on-the-fly front differential lock and a fully-automatic transmission. Indeed, the rugged charm and straightforward functionality of the Kawasaki Prairie 300 transcends hobbies and generations.

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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