If you’re searching for the best utility side-by-side for work applications, Kawasaki Mule UTVs should be at the top of your list. The Kawasaki Mule has built a reputation over the last 30+ years as the most reliable, customizable, and rugged UTV that can conquer tough jobs and off-road terrain.
This in-depth Kawasaki Mule review covers everything potential buyers need to know about the full lineup of these rugged utility vehicles. You’ll find detailed overviews of the most popular Mule PRO models, key specs and features comparisons, top speeds, pricing, pros and cons, and what actual owners have to say about the real-world performance of these side-by-sides.
After reading this comprehensive Kawasaki Mule review guide, you’ll have all the information you need to decide if one of these versatile and hardworking UTVs is the right fit for your off-road work needs.
Table of Contents
Kawasaki Mule PRO Series Overview
The Mule PRO series from Kawasaki represents the pinnacle of their utility side-by-side offerings. Available in two-, three-, and four-seat configurations, the Mule PRO models are packed with features optimized for hauling cargo and tackling tough jobs in rugged terrain.
They share high payload capacities up to 2000 lbs, steel cargo beds with durable powder coating, independent suspension for better ride comfort, powerful V-twin or triple cylinder engines, and Kawasaki’s reputation for bombproof reliability.
Let’s take a closer look at the most popular Mule PRO models:
Kawasaki Mule PRO-FXT
The Mule PRO-FXT is built extra-tough to handle intense daily use. With its ultra-sturdy build, this workhorse can haul up to 2000 lbs in its steel dump bed. The cargo bed tilts for quick unloading and a standard 2″ hitch receiver allows towing up to 2000 lbs as well.
Inside the cabin, buyers will appreciate the comfortable high-back bucket seats, tilt steering wheel, and automotive-style dash. This is one of the brawniest and most capable Mules that can conquer tough jobs and technical terrain all day long. It can accommodate 3 to 6 passengers.
Kawasaki Mule PRO-FXR
The PRO-FXR is a Mule engineered for heavy-duty work demands. It shares the same muscular architecture as the PRO-FXT including the 812cc fuel-injected V-twin engine, selectable 4WD, and multi-mode rear differential.
With seating for up to 3 adults, this side-by-side offers plenty of room for employees, tools, and cargo in its steel tilting dump bed. The PRO-FXR comes well equipped but also has a huge range of accessories so you can customize it for specialized jobs. It can accommodate 3 to 6 passengers.
Kawasaki Mule PRO-DX
For tight access jobs, the nimble PRO-DX is a compact model in the Mule PRO lineup. Its smaller footprint lets it maneuver through narrow paths while still hauling 1000 lbs of cargo and towing 1100 lbs.
The 617cc twin-cylinder engine provides plenty of low-end grunt for technical trail riding or crawling over rocky terrain all day. And with its dual-mode differential, you get enhanced traction in 4WD when navigating mud or slippery hills. It can accommodate up to 3 adults.
Kawasaki Mule PRO-FXT/DX/FXR – Spec Comparison Table
|Cargo Bed L x W x H
|41.1 x 54.5 x 10.4 in
|33.9 x 53.5 x 10 in
|41.1 x 54.5 x 10.4 in
|Up to 45 mph
|Up to 40 mph
|Up to 45 mph
Top Speeds of the Kawasaki Mule PRO UTV Lineup
When reviewing UTVs, one spec that buyers want to know is – how fast do they really go when you hammer the throttle?
Here are the top speeds you can expect based on the Kawasaki Mule PRO model:
- Kawasaki Mule PRO-FXT: Up to 45 mph
- Kawasaki Mule PRO-FXR: Up to 45 mph
- Kawasaki Mule PRO-DX: Up to 40 mph
- Kawasaki Mule 4010 4×4: Up to 25 mph
Keep in mind speed governors limit the top speed on most models to maximize stability when hauling heavy loads. But there’s still enough get-up-and-go power to drive safely on trails up to 45 mph.
Acceleration and Handling
The Mule PRO models strike an ideal balance between acceleration and stability thanks to their powerful V-twin and triple cylinder engines.
For example, the 812cc three-cylinder engine in the PRO-FXT and PRO-FXR churns out 48 HP and 45.6 lb-ft torque, giving these Mules plenty of low-end grunt for quick acceleration even when loaded down with cargo or employees.
The PRO-DX reaches 30 mph in 6.5 seconds thanks to its muscular twin-cylinder engine. While not designed for high-speed recreational trail riding, Mule PRO UTVs have smooth acceleration for merging onto roads and responsive throttle when navigating technical off-road conditions.
In terms of handling, the independent front and rear suspension provides a smoother ride over bumpy terrain and good stability when cornering or braking at higher speeds. The steering does require more upper body strength than UTVs with power steering. But the precise steering response gives drivers excellent control and maneuverability in tight spots.
Key Features of the Mule PRO Series
Now that we’ve covered the specs and performance, let’s look at some of the standout features that make the Mule PRO lineup the most capable and customizable side-by-sides for work applications:
- Strong Steel Cargo Beds – Mules live up to their reputation for ultimate durability thanks to their thick steel cargo beds with rugged powder coating that stands up to dings and corrosion.
- Powerful Engines – Large V-twin and triple cylinder powerplants provide excellent low-end torque perfect for towing equipment up to 2000 lbs or hauling payloads of 1000-2000 lbs.
- Smooth Independent Suspension – Dual A-arms and adjustable shocks smooth out the bumps and ruts when traversing rough terrain all day.
- Selectable 4WD – Switch between 2WD and 4WD modes depending on traction needs. 4WD with differential lock conquers mud and hills.
- Tilting Dump Beds – PRO-FXT and PRO-FXR beds tilt for quick cargo unloading. The standard cargo hook assists in dumping material.
- Roomy Cabins – Comfort-tuned bench seats, tilt wheel, sealed floorboards and automotive-style dash provide comfort when working long days.
- Custom Accessories – Outfit your Mule PRO for specialized jobs using the industry’s largest selection of accessories like winches, roofs, doors, and so much more.
Pros of Owning a Kawasaki Mule PRO UTV
After learning about their impressive capabilities and features, it’s easy to see why the Mule PRO models are considered the ultimate side-by-side workhorses. Here are some of the biggest benefits owners enjoy:
- Proven Reliability & Durability – Mules are legendary for their rock-solid dependability thanks to robust chassis, overbuilt drivetrains, and rigid cargo beds. They can endure years of hard use and keep going.
- Powerful Performance – Large V-twin and 3-cylinder engines provide excellent acceleration whether empty or loaded down with cargo or tools.
- All-Day Comfort – Plush seating, tilt wheel, and sealed cabin allow drivers to ride comfortably for long workdays.
- Towing & Hauling Capabilities – With up to 2000 lb towing and payload capacities, you can confidently haul equipment, feed, building supplies, etc and pull heavy trailers.
- Customization – Transform your Mule PRO into a specialized machine by choosing from snow plows, winches, roofs, audio, and hundreds of other accessories.
- Safety Features – Speed limiters, steel cargo beds, dedicated parking brake, and sealed drivetrain give owners peace of mind.
- Stable Handling – Independent suspension, dual-mode differentials, and precise steering provides excellent control on uneven terrain.
- Excellent Value – Mule PRO UTVs deliver impressive capabilities and performance at a mid-range price point compared to other commercial-grade side-by-sides.
For owners who depend on a UTV daily to accomplish heavy-duty work, the PRO-Series Mules check all the boxes in terms of reliability, customization, and user-focused design.
Potential Drawbacks of the Kawasaki Mule PRO
While we’re big fans of the Mule PRO side-by-sides, it’s important to understand the potential downsides compared to full-size recreational sport UTVs. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Price – With MSRPs ranging from $13,000-$18,000, the Mule PRO models are more expensive than entry-level recreational UTVs. But they offer better value than other commercial-grade UTVs.
- Limited Leg Room – The compact size that’s great for navigating tight access areas also means less stretch-out room than larger UTVs.
- No Power Steering – For low-speed maneuvering, the manual steering takes more upper body strength than power steering. EPS is optional on some models.
- Less Comfort Features – Buyers looking for premium features like air conditioning, Bluetooth, and plush seats should consider a sport UTV model. Mules prioritize utility over creature comforts.
- Not for High-Speed Riding – With top speeds of 40-45 mph and no sporty suspension, Mules are designed for work tasks rather than dune running or wide open trail riding.
So while the PRO models don’t excel at high speed recreation, no other UTV can match their capabilities as rugged, customizable, and affordable commercial workhorses.
Mule PRO Series Pricing & Buying Advice
One of the most common questions from potential owners – how much does a Kawasaki Mule PRO cost? Here is a breakdown of MSRP pricing by model:
Kawasaki Mule PRO-DX
- Starts at $19,599 MSRP
Kawasaki Mule PRO-FXT
- Starts at $18,999 MSRP
Kawasaki Mule PRO-FXR
- Starts at $17,099 MSRP
Of course, final purchase prices can vary by dealer. We recommend getting quotes from multiple local dealerships to negotiate the best out-the-door price. You can often save 10-15% off MSRP on select Mule PRO models if you shop around.
Kawasaki offers financing options including low APR deals to make owning a Mule more affordable. The Mule PRO lineup represents an excellent value for UTV buyers who prioritize capability, customization, and proven reliability over recreational features.
What Owners Are Saying About the Kawasaki Mule PRO
Current and past Mule owners praise these side-by-sides for their ruggedness, customization options, handling, and daily usability. Here are some examples of positive owner reviews:
“I use my Mule PRO-FXT daily on my ranch for chores, feeding cattle, pulling equipment, and just getting around the property. After two years it runs like new with zero problems.” – John S., Texas
“Being able to customize our Mules with different beds, doors, lighting, etc has made these UTVs perfect for our hunting and farming needs. They handle great on trails.” – John D., Michigan
“I outfitted my Mule PRO-DX with a winch and it has been unstoppable. I use it to haul tree logs, construction materials, you name it. So much power in a compact machine.” – John M., California
Some less positive owner comments focused on the lack of power steering, seats not being as plush as recreational UTVs, and tires wearing quicker with heavy use:
“The steering takes more effort than our Polaris Ranger which has power steering. But it’s easy to get used to and handles well off-road.” – Sam D., Iowa
“I wish the seats were a little more comfortable but the PRO-FXR has gotten more seat time because it’s so capable for work.” – Brian C., Ohio
“The OEM tires that came on our Mule wore out quicker than expected. But that’s the tradeoff for heavy daily use hauling cargo.” – Mark S., Oregon
Overall, if you prioritize reliability, customization, and real-world utility over creature comforts, current owners praise the Kawasaki Mule PRO lineup for outperforming other UTV options as hardworking side-by-sides.
Common Kawasaki Mule PRO Problems and Fixes
While Mule UTVs have a stellar reputation for durability, they can still experience occasional issues like any machine that gets used hard:
- Overheating – Heavy hauling in hot climates can lead to overheating issues. Upgrading to an aftermarket clutch fan helps circulate more air over the radiator.
- CVT Belt Wear – The continuous variable transmission belt that transfers power from the engine to wheels wears out over time. Replacing the CVT belt every 3000-5000 miles prevents failure.
- Leaking Radiator – The plastic end tanks on the radiator can crack over time causing coolant leaks. Replacing with an aftermarket aluminum radiator prevents future leaks.
- Wheel Bearing Wear – Mud, sand, and dirt ingress can wear out wheel bearings prematurely. Packing bearings annually and installing rubber seals minimizes wear.
- Battery Drain – Parasitic battery drain is common after installing electrical accessories. Adding a battery cut-off switch disables draw when parked.
- Tire Chunking – Aggressive turning on pavement can chunk tires prematurely. Rotating tires frequently and installing different compounds for pavement extends tire life.
Fortunately, most common Mule problems like these have affordable DIY fixes. And by following proper maintenance procedures, owners experience very few major repairs even after years of rough use.
Top Alternatives to the Kawasaki Mule PRO
For utility UTV buyers considering other models beyond the Mule lineup, here are a few top alternatives to consider:
- Polaris Ranger – The Ranger offers similar capability and customization as the Mule PRO models. The Ranger XP 1000 is comparable to the Mule PRO-FXT in terms of price, performance, and utility.
- John Deere Gator – The Gator RSX860i is another close competitor to the Mule PRO in terms of heavy hauling and ruggedness. The Gator FX850 is a durable lower-cost option.
- Honda Pioneer – The Pioneer 700 and 1000 models match the Mule’s reliability reputation while appealing more to recreational riders. The Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe is close in pricing and utility to the PRO-FXR.
- Can-Am Defender – For buyers wanting more comfort and trail performance along with utility, the Can-Am Defender XT HD10 is a compelling option with excellent towing capability.
While the Mule PRO models stand out as the most proven and task-focused commercial UTVs, the Polaris, John Deere, Honda, and Can-Am UTVs mentioned above are excellent alternatives depending on your specific needs and budget.
Conclusion – Who is the Mule PRO Designed for?
After reviewing the full Kawasaki Mule PRO lineup, it’s clear that these versatile UTVs live up to their reputation as hardworking side-by-sides ready to take on any job or adventure.
Farmers, ranchers, hunters, contractors and anyone needing an ultra-reliable vehicle for hauling cargo, employees, and equipment will appreciate the PRO-Series Mules.
Their brawny engines provide plenty of power for towing and traversing rugged terrain all day. Customization options allow owners to tailor their Mule PRO for specialized jobs. And the proven durability of these UTVs ensures they’ll keep running strong season after season.
While the recreational side-by-side market is flooded with flashy models boasting speed and premium features, true utility users need more than that. The Kawasaki Mule PRO lineup focuses on the essentials – ruggedness, towing/hauling ability, real-world ergonomics, and all-day endurance.
So for off-road work applications, it’s hard to beat the value, customization, and reliability the Mule brings to the table. If you rely on a UTV daily to accomplish tough jobs, the Mule PRO-Series delivers everything you need – and nothing you don’t.