The 2000s saw some of the most ingenious and impressive four-wheelers ever to grace the ATV landscape. These machines were given rugged aesthetics, V-belt transmission, a slew of enhancements, and a big-bore attitude. Such was the case for the Kawasaki Prairie 360.
The Kawasaki Prairie 360 4×4 is a utility ATV produced from 2003-2013 as a compact version of the Prairie 650. Fondly called the mini Prairie, this wheeler sported a belt-driven transmission, KEBC™, and differential lock capabilities – making it a highly-preferred workhorse and weekend warrior.
Along with its enhanced instrumentation, the rest of the vehicle’s upgraded features provided consumers and knowing aficionados a glimpse into the future of UTVs – EBS, long-travel suspension, and powerful, mid-sized quads that are all the rave in today’s ATV scene. Read on and revisit the humble beginnings of this dual-purpose, highly successful four-wheeler.
The Mini Prairie
With the Kawasaki Prairie 360, Team Green offered the capabilities of its more-popular flagship ATVs in a compact, mid-sized quad worth half the price. You could say it was a downsized, inexpensive version of Kawasaki’s V-Twin pioneers – the Prairie 650 and 700 4×4.
Superseding its big-bore predecessors was not an easy task, especially since its nomenclature gave off the notion that it had a similar engine (which it did not have – the Prairie only has a mono carb). The mini Prairie was also not as sophisticated as Kawasaki’s best-engineered off-road vehicles.
Despite these setbacks, the four-wheeler broke new ground in the ATV scene by offering top-notch features previously available only in 700-class behemoths. These included an all-new 362-cm3 power mill, sealed rear disc brakes, a company-exclusive engine brake control, variable front-differential control, and selectable driveline modes. Angular lines, rectangular headlights, and simplistic styling added to its rugged charm. Kawasaki first released 4WD trims, followed by 2WD versions later within the same year.
While the Kawasaki Prairie 360 reminded off-roaders of its larger-class sibling, it still held its own in terms of aesthetics and performance. Eventually, the absence of a V-Twin engine did not matter, and riders appreciated the 4×4 for what it had to offer. Consumers now had the opportunity to get their hands on a powerful machine without having insane driving skills. Similarly, adventurers loved the quad’s camo trims and low-range pull, making the vehicle an excellent hunting companion and a dream to ride.
Watch this video by Mainland Cycle Center as the presenter gives a brief but detailed overview and review of a 2011 Kawasaki Prairie 360 4×4 in Realtree® APG™ HD® camouflage trim:
Kawasaki Prairie 360 Specs & Features
Engine & Lubrication
There is a minor increase in power and torque output of the Kawasaki Prairie 360 compared to other Kawi 300-class machines. The 4×4 also utilized a Urethane foam air filter, which is different from its competition’s air filtration system. Although not a speed demon, the Prairie 360 was pretty quick for its size, reaching up to 55 mph given the right mods and treatment.
|Engine Type||4-Stroke SOHC|
|Cylinder Arrangement||Single cylinder|
|Engine Brand, Carburetion System||Keihin CVK34|
|Engine Cooling||Air cooling|
|Engine Fuel||Unleaded 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 Capacity||13.5 L or 3.6 US gal (reserve: 3.8 L/1 US gal)|
|Bore x Stroke Ratio||80×72 mm (3.15 x 2.83 in)|
|Displacement||362 cm³ / 22.1 in³|
|Maximum Power||21.1 hp/21.4 PS (15.7 kW @ 7,000 RPM)|
|Maximum Torque||26.1 Nm (2.66 kgf-m, 19.2 ft-lb) @ 4,500 RPM|
|Top Speed||45-55 mph (72.4-88.5 km/h) – owners’ claim|
|Lubrication||Forced lubrication (wet sump)|
|Engine Oil & Quantity||1.5 L (1.59 US quarts) w/ filter|
1.74 L (1.84 US quarts) w/out filter
2.3 L (2.43 US quarts) when completely dry
SAE 10W-40 w/ API grade of SJ meeting JASO T903 MA
SAE 10W-30, 10W-50, 20W-40, 20W-50 – depending on ambient temperature
A dual-range automatic CVT transmission that includes reverse (eventually called Kawasaki Automatic Powerdrive System (KAPS) for 2011 and beyond Kawi ATVs) handles the shifting. The Kawasaki Prairie 360 4×4 comes with a driveline switch that lets the rider choose between 2WD or 4WD.
The vehicle’s steering components are pretty rock-solid. But if steering gets too rough, you can replace broken tie rods with any aftermarket rod – preferably a race-type variant measuring 315 ± 0.7 mm (12.4 ± 0.03 inches).
|Kawasaki Prairie KVF300B||Kawasaki Prairie KVF360A/C, 4×4|
|Clutch||Wet shoe, automatic, centrifugal type|
|Transmission Type||CVT w/ 2-speed plus reverse & KEBC™|
|Drive System||Shaft drive/Belt converter, 29-31 mm||Shaft drive, 2WD 4WD Belt converter, 29-31 mm|
|Final Drive Ratio||4.375 (35/8)|
|Overall Drive Ratio||48.474 – 9.859 (high); 75.619 – 15.380 (low); 63.016 – 12.817 (reverse)|
|Transmission Gear Ratio||High – 3.548 (30/26 x 29/18 x 21/11)
Low – 5.536 (36/20 x 29/18 x 21/11)
Reverse – 4.613 (16/12 x 18/16 x 29/18 x 21/11)
The quad has an electronically advanced DC-CDI ignition with an electric starter system and an auxiliary mechanical recoil starter. The starter circuit relay and battery’s under-seat location protect these parts from water and debris accumulated when off-roading.
|Ignition||DC-CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition)|
|Ignition Timing||10° BTDC @ 1,300 RPM – 30° BTDC @ 5,000 RPM|
|Spark Plug||NGK DPR8EA-9, 0.8-0.9 mm (0.031-0.035 in.)|
|Alternator Type||Three-phase alternator|
|Rated Output||25 A, 14V @ 8,000 RPM (regulator/rectifier)|
36-54V @ 3,000 RPM (alternator)
|Fuse||30 Amp (main); 20 Amp (fan/oil cooler); 5 Amp (auxiliary, belt switch)|
|Battery||12V 14 Ah, YB14A-A2 battery formats|
|Battery Dimensions (L x W x H)||5.31 x 3.50. x 6.94 in (134 x 89 x 176 mm)|
Tires & Brakes
Front and rear tubular wheels are equipped with Dunlop tubeless tires, which provide ample grip and more efficient engine braking. But if you do serious mudding or rock-crawling, Carlisle All Trail ATV Tires (view on Amazon) or GBC Grim Reaper Radial ATV Tires (view on Amazon) will be perfect replacements for your stock tires.
|Kawasaki Prairie KVF300B||Kawasaki Prairie KVF360A/C, 4×4|
|Front Tire, off-road/road air pressure||Dunlop KT121 AT25 x 8-12, tubeless
Tire Pressure: 35 kPa (0.35 kgf/cm2, 5 psi)
|Rear Tire, off-road/road air pressure||Dunlop KT405C/KT127A AT25 x 10-12, tubeless
Tire Pressure: 35 kPa (0.35 kgf/cm2, 5 psi)
|Front Brake Type||Dual hydraulic discs|
|Rear Brake Type||Sealed, oil-bathed multi-disc||Enclosed wet multiplate disc|
When cleaning brake parts (except the disc pads and hydraulic discs), use only DOT 3/DOT 4 brake fluid, isopropyl alcohol, or ethyl alcohol. Never use gasoline, engine oil, or any other petroleum distillate, as these will cause deterioration of the rubber parts of your machine’s brake system. Additionally, oil spills are difficult to wash off.
The Prairie has the same suspension system as the Brute Force 650. Since this machine’s chassis is patterned after its big-bore sibling, this should come as no surprise to riders. Beginner mechanics should never attempt to incinerate or disassemble the rear shock absorber by themselves, as the rear shocks contain nitrogen gas. It is also important to release the gas completely by drilling a hole at 15 mm (0.59 inches) up from the cylinder’s bottom when scrapping rear shocks.
|Frame Type||Tubular, double-cradle|
|Caster, Trail||2.5°, 15 mm (0.59 in)|
|Turning Radius||3.1 m (10.17 ft)|
|Front Suspension Type, Travel||MacPherson Strut, 170 mm (6.7 in)|
|Rear Suspension Type, Travel||Aluminum swingarm w/ 5-way adjustable spring preload, 180 mm (7.1 in)|
Rack and trailer weight capacities have considerably increased when comparing Prairie 360 versions with other quads in its category. The seat height was also made to sit taller riders comfortably.
|Length||2,065 mm (81.3 in)|
|Width||1,205 mm (47.4 in)|
|Height||1,175 mm (46.3 in)|
|Seat Height (Unloaded)||890 mm (35.04 in)|
|Ground Clearance||195 mm (7.7 in) – rear axle; 250 mm (9.8 in) – center of frame|
|Wheelbase||1,250 mm (49.2 in)|
|Track (F/R)||890 mm (35.04 in) / 895 mm (35.24 in)|
|Dry Weight||274 Kg (604 lbs); 272.5 Kg (601 lbs – U.S.)|
|Carrier Capacity (F/R)||88 lbs / 154 lbs|
|Trailer Weight (including cargo)||499 Kg (1,100 lbs)|
Instrumentation was greatly improved on the Kawasaki Prairie 360, although U.S. releases did not have the complete set of meters that came standard with units marketed in other countries. Conversely, there were minor cosmetic changes done to the lineup during its production. 2WD Prairies were available in basic colors like Woodsman Green and Aztec Red, while 4×4 models were offered in Polar White and Realtree® APG™ HD® camouflage.
|Speedometer||Standard, except U.S. models|
|Trip Odometer||Standard, except U.S. models|
|Engine Stop Switch||Standard|
|Indicator Lights||(neutral, oil pressure & temperature, reverse, drive belt check indicator, 4WD indicator)|
|Headlight||Semi-sealed beam, 12V 30W/30W x 2|
|Brake Light/Taillight||12V 18W/5W x 2|
If you have a non-U.S. trim, you can toggle the LCD to view the odometer or trip meter by briefly pushing the mode switch found on the bottom center of the speedometer. You will know you are in “Trip meter” mode with the presence of a decimal point next to the “tenths” digit (the odometer does not have decimal places).
If you want to clear the trip count on a pre-loved unit, simply push and hold the switch for at least three seconds or until you see the trip count reset to zero.
How Much Does It Cost?
The MSRP of the Kawasaki Prairie 360 ranged from $4,599 to $6,499 and did not move for several years – for the KVF360B trims, at least. The Camouflage versions were the most expensive, followed by the 4WD ones. In the below table, you will find a complete list of all Prairie 360 models and their respective prices (Source: Nada Guides and Kelley Blue Book):
|Year – Trim – Model Number||List Price||Retail/Trade-In Values|
|2003 -2004 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-A1/A2, 4×4||$5,499||$1,400 – $2,565|
|2003 – 2008 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-B1 to B8F||$4,599||$1,160 – $3,155|
|2003 – 2004 Kawasaki Prairie 360 (KVF360-C1/C2), 4×4 Camouflage||$5,799||$1,460 – $1,985|
|2005 – 2008 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-A3 to A8F, 4×4||$5,199||$1,540 – $3,400|
|2005 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-C3, 4×4 Camouflage||$5,499||$1,625 – $2,140|
|2006 – 2008 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-C6F to C8F, 4×4 Camouflage||$5,549||$1,800 – $3,400|
|2009 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-A9F, 4×4||$5,349||$2,270 – $3,520|
|2009 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-B9F||$4,799||$2,005 – $3,195|
|2009 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-C9F, 4×4 Camouflage||$5,699||$2,410 – $3,520|
|2010 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-AAF, 4×4||$6,049||$2,665 – $3,505|
|2010 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-CAF, 4×4 Camouflage||$6,399||$2,795 – $3,680|
|2011 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-ABF, 4×4||$6,149||$2,725 – $3,585|
|2011 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-CBF, 4×4 Camouflage||$6,499||$2,865 – $3,770|
|2012 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-ACF, 4×4||$6,199||$2,805 – $3,690|
|2013 Kawasaki Prairie KVF360-ADF, 4×4||$6,299||$2,875 – $3,780|
When it comes to auction listings, the resale value of a used Prairie falls between $715 and $3,425. 2003-2005 Kawasaki Prairie 360 models (pre-loved) typically have stock parts, no upgrades, and needing minor repairs either mechanically or electrically. Conversely, 2006 Kawasaki Prairie 360s (until ’08 trims) are in good working condition, heavily modded, and with tons of practical aftermarket parts.
Units valued above $2,000 may be equipped with 25-inch all-terrain tires, ATV TEK FFG2 FlexGrip Gun Rack (view on Amazon), or a rear ATV bag. Pricier resale units would have accessories like a front snow plow base/push-tube mounting kit or a 25-gallon tank sprayer (view on Amazon) attached to the rear cargo, which would indicate that the vehicle has seen many days of hard work.
Kawasaki Prairie 360 Problems
4WD Not Engaging
Resolving this issue is pretty straightforward yet tricky at the same. Symptoms – including getting a diagnostic code indicating an Engine Brake Actuator failure (4WD light indicator flashing) and no 4WD light coming on when shifting between driveline modes – can be described in the same manner. While Ohm readings may give you figures within spec, testing the speed sensor may give you a different set of results – throwing off even experienced mechanics and owners.
Luckily, a Kawasaki Prairie 360 manual can help fix the problem. You see, the pink wire from the actuator controller (terminal 5 in the wiring diagram) ties into the vehicle’s speedometer and speed sensor (green leads), as they are linked electrically. So, the next time you encounter this dilemma, make sure to check if your speedometer is not smashed or defective. Fixing your speedo alongside replacing your broken actuator controller is guaranteed to engage your 4WD again.
Idling issues usually happen to machines with a gummed-up Kawasaki Prairie 360 carb or those that have sat unused in the garage or barn for a long time. Simply adjusting the jets and valves would not cut it – you will need to perform basic engine troubleshooting to determine the problem source and get rid of it.
Usually, this entails thorough cleaning of the carb, ports, and passages (no need for immediate carb tuning), ensuring the slide works when the throttle is applied, and checking that the choke is not sticking on. Bad O-rings around the float bowl are sometimes a culprit, too – made evident by frequent hesitation and a frequent need to use the choke.
One other thing worth observing is the timing of the idling problem. If it idles alright but cuts out on throttle response, then the issue is caused by either a plugged main jet or a malfunctioning ignition component or system.
Overheating can signify a lot of potential problems with your wheeler. In some cases, it points to a defective fan. Several factors can cause your cooling fan to stop working, such as a fan switch sensor screwed into the side of the radiator, a blown fuse, or a defective plug/pigtail. If you want to figure out which one is the trigger, you will need to isolate each component by attaching them to a working unit. Mostly, a faulty plug turns out to be the main culprit.
This list is not exhaustive. Other issues observed by owners include slipping converter belts, worn front shocks and suspension bearings, and an unsatisfactory top-end. The Prairie 360 also tends to be tippy due to its bulky frame. Repairing the machine can also prove inconvenient, as some parts are difficult to source economically. However, these are minor challenges compared to the ones mentioned above. Furthermore, most of these issues are either self-inflicted or due to the age of the quad.
Here is a video by Everything ATV-UTV-Reviews of another known Prairie 360 issue. The presenter demonstrates the proper way to clean, lubricate, and fix a KEBC™ actuator (applies to all Prairie and Brute Force models):
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., maker of the Kawasaki Prairie 360, is famous for its signature off-road vehicles, side x sides, and watercraft. The Japanese firm is well-known for being one of the pioneers of 4WD ATVs and Enduro-style motorcycles. With its slew of contributions to the all-terrain vehicle industry, enthusiasts, riding experts, and regular consumers can only expect great things from the company’s product lineup. At present, Kawasaki continually introduces ground-breaking innovations to the public through its massive production of aerospace and energy systems, hydraulic machinery, motorcycles, and off-road vehicles.
Conclusion – Kawasaki Prairie 360 Review
Even today, the charm and capabilities of the Kawasaki Prairie 360 still make it one of the off-roading community’s favorite utility machines. Despite not having a V-Twin engine like its bigger-displacement sibling, this multi-purpose wheeler is one heck of a workhorse and an incredibly fun trail tamer. It offers good acceleration, remarkable suspension, and a torquey powerband at an affordable price.
The Kawasaki Prairie 360 4×4 has everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors. Who could ask for more?