Sure, you can kill a flee with a hammer, but beware of the damage on the desk.
Using KVM will imply having to set up ways to move data between the host and the guest, because it's an all or nothing virtualization layer. Citrix made a good job at providing such things over their remote desktop layers to get e.g. seamless copy/paste, but it becomes more and more complex.
While with translators you can choose to virtualize only the network, and not files, or vice-versa, etc.
Hardware support outside disk/network is quite a bit left behind, yes, because it's important to have something interesting to do with it before supporting it, and support can be handled through driver glue layer.
Now, yes, there is utopia in the Hurd project. So what? As mentioned in the article, working on it helped us quite a bit with other, non-utopia things. Working on a utopia project can thus still be a win. And if the utopia can actually get true, all the best.