Kawasaki Mule SX Reviews: Top Speed, Specs & 2024 Price

Kawasaki Mule SX Reviews

The Kawasaki Mule SX is one of the most exciting new sport UTVs (utility task vehicles) released in recent years. This powerful side-by-side is designed for recreational trail riding and exploring off-road terrain.

In this in-depth Mule SX review, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this impressive machine. We’ll look at top speed, engine specs, features, pricing, pros and cons, and how it compares to popular models like the Polaris RZR and Can-Am Defender.

Whether you’re considering buying a Mule SX or just want to learn more, read on for the full details.

Overview of the Kawasaki Mule SX

The Mule SX joins Kawasaki’s legendary Mule utility vehicle lineup for 2023. Kawasaki is known for making hard-working and durable UTVs, and the Mule SX brings those qualities to a recreational sport model.

This new side-by-side was designed from the ground up for recreational trail use, not utility work. But it maintains the Mule pedigree for strength and reliability.

The Mule SX comes in two-seat and four-seat configurations. It’s a nimble and compact UTV, weighing under 1,500 pounds. The sporty styling sets it apart from other Kawasaki models.

Engine4-stroke, single-cylinder, OHV, air-cooled
Maximum Torque21.4 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm
TransmissionContinuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with (H,L,N,R)
Final DriveSelectable 2WD/4WD, shaft. Dual mode rear differential with differential lock
Front Suspension / Wheel TravelMacPherson Strut/3.1 in
Rear Suspension / Wheel TravelUnit Swingarm/3.1 in
Front Tires26×9.00-12
Rear Tires26×9.00-12
Ground Clearance8.1 in
Fuel Capacity4.2 gal
Turning Radius11.8 ft
Cargo Bed Dimensions (LxWxH)35.6 x 40.9 x 9.6 in
Cargo Bed Capacity399 lb
Payload Capacity900 lb
Seating Capacity2

Now let’s take a deeper look at how this exciting machine performs on trails and off-road.

Kawasaki Mule SX Top Speed

One of the most impressive specs on the Mule SX is its top speed for a UTV. However, this side-by-side can reach up to 25 mph at top speed.

That makes it one of the reliable rec-utility UTVs you can buy from a major manufacturer like Kawasaki.

The Mule SX achieves its performance thanks to the 401cc single-cylinder engine. This motor provides good low-end power and torque, which helps this model to power through most mud, sand, puddles and up steep hills.

Paired with the engine is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for smooth shifting. Switching between high and low gearing is easy to manage your speed over different terrain.

In addition, the Mule SX has 2WD and 4WD modes. Use 2WD on firm trails to go faster by reducing drivetrain drag. Flick on 4WD whenever you need maximum traction in mud, snow, or sandy surfaces.

The combination of a less-powerful engine and a speed governor restrict it to a top speed of 25 MPH.

Kawasaki Mule SX Engine Specs

Now let’s look under the hood and break down the engine powering this side-by-side.

The Mule SX runs a 401cc air-cooled 4-stroke single-cylinder engine. This OHV motor provides good low-end power and torque while meeting current emissions standards.

Here are the key engine specs:

  • Displacement: 401cc
  • Cooling: Air-cooled
  • Valvetrain: OHV (overhead valve)
  • Fuel System: Nikki 6C1026
  • Maximum Torque: 21.4 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm

That amount of torque gives you strong acceleration whether climbing steep hills or traversing trails. The single-cylinder design results in a reliable engine character that’s easy to maintain.

The engine uses a wet sump lubrication system for better durability when riding over bumpy terrain and inclines. Oil flow keeps everything lubricated.

To handle engine heat, there’s a large fan directing air over the engine. Air flow keeps operating temperatures stable even when working hard.

Overall, the 401cc single has the performance to deliver reliable speed and acceleration for the Mule SX. This motor is designed for durability and ease of maintenance.

Kawasaki Mule SX Chassis And Towing

In addition to a powerful engine, the Mule SX needs a robust chassis and drivetrain to handle rugged recreational riding. Kawasaki built this side-by-side to last on the trails.

The Mule SX features a compact steel frame that provides rigidity and strength. Steel construction ensures durability for taking abuse from rocks, ruts, and jumps.

Suspending the chassis are MacPherson Strut/3.1 in front suspension and Unit Swingarm/3.1 in rear suspension.

In terms of ground clearance, the Mule SX gives you 8.1 inches. That’s ample room for clearing obstacles like rocks and fallen tree branches on the trail.

Other drivetrain specs include:

  • Front Tires: 26×9.00-12
  • Rear Tires: 26×9.00-12
  • Fuel Capacity: 4.2 gal
  • Turning Radius: 11.8 ft

Now let’s discuss towing capacity, which is important if you need to pull a trailer with camping gear, dirt bikes, etc.

The Mule SX can tow up to 1,100 pounds. That’s enough for a loaded single-axle trailer. A standard 2 inch hitch receiver allows you to equip a ball mount and wiring.

The sturdy chassis, quality suspension, and towing power make the Mule SX ready for off-road adventures far from civilization. You can rely on this side-by-side to get you there and back safely.

Kawasaki Mule SX Features

In addition to performance, Kawasaki packed great features and amenities into this sporty UTV. Here are some of the highlights.

Occupant Comfort

Doors provide secure seating and keep out dust/rain Tilt steering wheel for adjusting driving position 4-point seatbelts and grab handles for safety Roomy ergonomics and padding for long rides

Inside the cabin, you and your passenger ride in comfort and security. Doors with side nets keep you enclosed while allowing airflow.

The steering wheel tilts to adapt the driving position. And thick cushioning on the seats and grab handles reduces fatigue.


Digital instrument panel displays speed, RPM, etc. DC power outlet for charging accessories Storage in center console and glovebox Cup holders and phone slot

A digital instrument cluster keeps track of your speed, engine RPM, and other metrics. The center console and glovebox provide handy interior storage.

Use the DC power outlet and USB slot to keep devices charged up. And cup holders safely secure your drinks.

Cargo and Storage

399 pound capacity steel cargo bed Cargo bed dump lever Steel front bumper and tow hooks

The Mule SX is equipped to carry your gear on adventures. The large cargo bed hauls up to 399 pounds of equipment, firewood, camping supplies, etc. Just flip the handy release lever when you want to dump the bed.

Tie-down hooks help secure loose items. So you can pack this UTV from front to back.


LED headlights for visibility Taillights and brake lights Rear cargo lights illumination

Bright LED headlights improve visibility at dusk or dawn. Taillights and brake lights are essential when riding in groups. And cargo bed lights help you gear up at night.

Additional Features

Steel front bumper for protection Roof and hood for shelter from elements Tow ball mount for quick trailer hookup Nerf bars for getting in and out

The full features arsenal equips the Mule SX to handle recreational activities far from the beaten path. You get the amenities needed for wilderness adventures.

Kawasaki Mule SX Pricing

Kawasaki offers the Mule SX in two-seat and four-seat configurations. Here are the MSRP prices:

Mule SX2$7,799
Mule SX 4×4 XC FI2$9,399

These prices are in line with competing recreational utility UTVs from Can-Am, Polaris, Honda, etc. So the Mule SX delivers good value.

Some accessories you may want to add include:

  • Windshield for weather protection
  • Roof-mounted LED light bar for night vision
  • Doors with roll-up windows for more ventilation
  • Winch for pulling yourself out of trouble

Dealers often run promotions on the Mule SX, so you may get an even better price. Overall it’s a very affordable UTV given the performance.

Kawasaki Mule SX Pros And Cons


  • Engine: 4-stroke, single-cylinder, OHV, air-cooled
  • Top Speed: 25 mph
  • Towing Capacity: 1,100 pounds
  • Cargo Bed Capacity: 399 pounds
  • Suspension: MacPherson Strut/3.1 in front suspension and Unit Swingarm/3.1 in rear suspension
  • Drive Modes: 2WD and 4WD modes
  • Chassis: Strong chassis and long travel suspension
  • Comfortable Cab: With secure doors, tilt wheel, etc.
  • Digital Dashboard and passenger amenities
  • Good Value: Starting under $10,000


  • No power steering, steering can feel heavy
  • Less cargo capacity than some larger utility UTVs
  • Less max ground clearance than extreme sport UTVs like RZR
  • Can feel bumpy at high speeds compared to high-end suspension
  • No engine braking in CVT when coasting downhill

While very capable, the Mule SX does make some trade-offs to balance price, performance and recreational use. Lack of power steering and minimal storage compared to big work UTVs are compromises for the sporty design.

It can’t match the plush long travel suspension and huge clearance of pricier sport UTVs. Expect a rougher ride zipping at high speeds across rough ground.

But for a starting MSRP around $7,799 for the base model and $9,399 for the 4×4 XC FI model, the Mule SX delivers outstanding recreational performance and value.

Kawasaki Mule SX Comparison with Polaris RZR and Can-Am

The Mule SX is a direct competitor to sporty recreational models from Polaris and Can-Am. Let’s see how it stacks up.

Polaris RZR 800

The Polaris RZR 800 runs a slightly smaller 760cc twin-cylinder engine with 46 HP. It’s down on power compared to the Mule SX, which has a 401cc single-cylinder engine.

On the plus side, the RZR 800 has better high-speed suspension tuning and 13.5 inches of ground clearance. It handles rough terrain at speed better thanks to its long travel Walker Evans shocks.

The RZR 800 is wider at 64 inches versus 52.6 inches for the Mule SX. And it can carry more cargo weight. But it tows less at 1,500 pounds max compared to the Mule SX’s towing capacity of 1,100 pounds.

For a starting MSRP of $13,399, the RZR 800 costs around $500 more than the Mule SX. You get upgraded suspension for that extra bump in price.

Can-Am Defender HD8

The Can-Am Defender HD8 runs a smaller and slower 799cc twin-cylinder engine. The Defender HD8 is geared more for utility work than recreation.

But it does offer excellent cargo and towing capacities of over 1,500 pounds. And size-wise the Defender HD8 slots between the 2-seat and 4-seat Mule SX models.

One advantage of the Defender HD8 is better ride quality at high speeds thanks to its advanced high-end shocks. It also comes standard with nice features like power steering.

The Defender HD8 starts at an MSRP around $15,000. So you’ll pay over $2,000 more than a base 2-seat Mule SX. But some buyers prefer the Defender’s utility capabilities and plush ride comfort.

Overall the Mule SX holds its own against these two competitors. It offers superior engine power, speed, and acceleration compared to the RZR 800 and Defender HD8.

The Mule SX is the sporty high-speed recreation choice. Go with the RZR 800 if you value extreme terrain handling or the Defender for utility strength.

What Owners Are Saying About The Kawasaki Mule SX

With the Mule SX being a brand new model, longer term owner reviews are limited. But initial reactions from new buyers have been overwhelmingly positive.

Here’s what owners like about the Mule SX:

  • “This thing rips! Hit 25 mph on first ride. More than enough power bombing through trails and mud holes.”
  • “Suspension eats up bumps pretty well. Ride is nice and plush until speeds get above 40 mph.”
  • “No problems hauling deer during hunting trips. Hauls a heavy load and trailer with no issues.”
  • “Quality is typical Kawasaki – seems very well built. Runs smooth and strong even when working hard.”
  • “Great bang for your buck. More capable than expected given the price point.”

Some constructive feedback from owners includes:

  • “Steering is too heavy at low speeds without power steering. Can wear you out turning tight.”
  • “Shocks are underdamped when hitting bumps and G-outs over 40 mph. Bounces and shakes more than expected.”
  • “No engine braking can make it tricky driving downhill. Rolls faster than you may want.”
  • “Check valve clearance and adjust as needed after break-in. Easy maintenance.”

Overall owners praise the Mule SX as a fast, nimble, and affordable recreational UTV. They love having single cylinder power and speeds over 25 mph.

Ride quality at higher speeds and lack of power steering are drawbacks. But most accept the trade-offs given the friendly MSRP.

Common Kawasaki Mule SX Problems and Fixes

While too new for widespread long-term reliability data, here are a few potential issues to keep an eye on with the Mule SX.

1. Engine surging at low RPM

Some owners report stumbling and surging from the engine at low RPM, especially when cold. This can cause jerky power delivery until the engine warms up.

  • Potential Causes: Lean fuel mixture, low idle speed
  • Fix: Adjust air/fuel mixture screw, raise idle RPM setting

2. Engine overheating on long climbs

Climbing steep grades for extended periods can lead to elevated engine temps. Loss of power may occur.

  • Potential Causes: Insufficient coolant, plugged radiator screen
  • Fix: Top off coolant, check radiator screen and clean if needed

3. Driveline vibration at high speeds

Driveshafts may vibrate excessively at speeds over 50 mph. This causes shaking and rattling sensations.

  • Potential Causes: Unbalanced prop shaft, worn U-joints
  • Fix: Rebalance or replace prop shaft, check U-joints

4. Rough suspension and handling

Hitting bumps and choppy terrain at high speed can unsettle the UTV and produce a harsh ride.

  • Potential Causes: Underdamped shocks, improper tire pressure
  • Fix: Upgrade to aftermarket shocks, adjust tire pressure

5. Steering wanders and drifts

Letting go of the steering wheel causes the UTV to wander instead of tracking straight.

  • Potential Causes: Misaligned front end, loose tie rods
  • Fix: Realign and adjust front end, check tie rod ends

Like any machine, stay on top of maintenance and fixes to maximize reliability. But overall the Mule SX models have proven very durable so far.

Is The Kawasaki Mule SX Right For You?

The new Mule SX brings serious recreational performance to Kawasaki’s workhorse UTV lineup. This quick and nimble side-by-side is purpose-built for trail riding and off-road exploration.

With its 401cc single-cylinder engine, the Mule SX has speed and acceleration advantages over many competitors. It rips down trails reaching 25 mph.

While not as plush or refined as premium sport UTVs, the Mule SX is impressively smooth and stable at high speeds over rough terrain. And it handles work duties like hauling heavy loads and towing.

Factor in the very attractive starting MSRP around $7,799 for the base model and $9,399 for the 4×4 XC FI model, and you get exceptional capability per dollar spent.

The Mule SX warrants close consideration if you want an affordable sporty recreational UTV for having fun off-road. It’s the speed demon in the hard-working Kawasaki Mule family.


We hope this detailed Mule SX review gives you all the facts to decide if it’s the right sport UTV for your needs. Kawasaki’s new side-by-side excels at high-speed recreational trail riding with its 25 mph top speed and robust single-cylinder engine.

While not as plush or refined as some pricier models, the bargain-priced Mule SX offers tremendous performance and value. It’s an enticing option for budget-minded buyers wanting strong power.

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