KAWASAKI MULE PRO-MX EPS LE
— Testing an affordable, compact size UTV —
The new Mule Pro-MX is a 60-inch-wide two-seat machine with a compact 78.9-inch wheelbase. Full-size Pro-Series Mules are 64 inches wide, seat three or six, and have a 92.5-inch wheelbase.
HOW ARE ITS WORK CREDENTIALS?
Full size. The Pro-MX’s cargo bed can carry 700 pounds, and the machine can tow 1500 pounds. The cab floor and cargo bed floor are steel.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The Mule Pro-MX EPS starts at $11,999. Our test machine, the Pro-MX EPS LE is $12,499. The Pro-MX EPS Camo is $12,649. The larger Mule Pro-FX EPS starts at $13,099. Honda’s Pioneer 700 starts at $10,799. The Polaris Ranger 570 starts at $9999.
WHAT MAKES THE LE SPECIAL?
The Mule Pro-MX LE comes with a roof, aluminum wheels and Firecracker Red bodywork. The base model has steel wheels and Timberline Green bodywork. All Mule Pro-MX models have power steering, a tilt wheel and LED/halogen headlights.
WHAT POWERS IT?
A 695cc, single-overhead-cam, single-cylinder engine. Vibration-reducing mounts and a well-silenced intake make the single nearly as smooth as the 812cc, three-cylinder engine in the larger Mule Pro models.
WHAT KIND OF TRANSMISSION DOES IT HAVE?
A fully automatic, belt-type continuously variable transmission with a centrifugal sprag clutch on the primary clutch. The sprag clutch protects the belt and provides smooth four-wheel engine braking in 4WD.
WHAT KIND OF 4WD SYSTEM DOES IT HAVE?
Selectable 2WD/4WD and a lockable rear differential. The rear differential unlocks to make tighter turns easier and to protect turf. There’s no front differential lock.
HOW FAST IS IT?
It’s impressively quick for a utility-focused 700cc UTV. Top speed is over 40 mph, and the 700 has more than enough muscle for trails with steep climbs.
HOW IS THE POWER DELIVERY?
The Pro-MX has the smooth, tractable throttle response that’s important for negotiating tough terrain while carrying cargo. The 700 makes strong, even low-rpm power, and it keeps pulling hard as the revs build, so there’s enough acceleration and speed on tap to cover wide-open spaces in a hurry if you want to. Like other Pro-Series Mules, the Pro-MX is impressively smooth and quiet, so long rides are more enjoyable, and it’s easy for the driver and passenger to talk to each other.
HOW IS THE SUSPENSION?
Double-A-arm front and rear suspension with spring preload-adjustable shocks offer 8.6 inches of front suspension travel and 9.1 inches in the rear. That’s quite a bit of travel for a utility/recreation rig, and it shows in the Kawasaki’s smooth ride and its ability to calmly soak up unexpected rocks and ruts. The threaded preload adjusters on the shocks are more precise but less convenient than stepped adjusters.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
The Pro-MX has easy, agile handling and excellent stability. This Mule’s lighter weight and more compact size give it a more sporty, athletic feel than the larger Mule models. There’s less body roll in hard cornering, and the sculpted seats offer more support than the flat bench seats on bigger Mules. We were very comfortable in the Pro-MX on challenging trails and when driving aggressively.
HOW IS IT FOR HILLS?
It’s a confident climber. The 700 has the power to make tough hills worry-free, and the machine’s stability lets you relax on steep, off-camber and rutted routes. What goes up must come down, and the Pro-MX is well-prepared for descending steep grades with predictable engine braking and powerful four-wheel disc brakes. The parking brake is separate from the transmission range selector, so the selector can’t bind on hills like the kind that use a park position as a parking brake.
HOW IS IT IN WATER AND MUD?
Very capable. The Pro-MX has 10.6 inches of ground clearance, and the engine and transmission intakes are high and under the hood. The 4WD system has a lockable rear differential but not a locking front differential. We never missed the locking front diff, but we wouldn’t complain if Kawasaki added it.
HOW ARE THE DETAILS?
Some are better than the bigger, more expensive Mule Pro-Series UTVs. The range selector isn’t quite as slick as on the larger models, and the single-cylinder 700 is a shade less silky than the big Mules’ triples, but the Pro-MX is loaded with things we like. The sculpted bench seats feel more secure than the big Mule’s flat bench seats in rugged terrain, the engine braking is outstanding, and the engine and transmission intakes are higher. The Pro-MX also has nice new touches like the slight rearward tilt to the bed floor that makes it easier to rinse out. Kawasaki also offers more money-saving accessory packages for the Pro-MX than other Mules. There’s the Utility package, the Open Range package, the Adventure package, the Sportsman package, the Soft Cab package and the Hard Cab package.
It’s a little strange that one of the lower-priced Mules has some of the coolest ideas, but the Pro-MX is the newest machine in the series, and it shows Kawasaki is pushing to make the already nicely refined Pro-Series UTVs better.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
Kawasaki’s new Mule Pro-MX is shorter, narrower and more maneuverable than other Pro-series Mules, but it’s not short on the comfort, refinement and hauling capacity that have made the full-size Pro-Series Mules so popular. It also has some cool new features and options more expensive Mule models don’t.
KAWASAKI MULE PRO-MX EPS LE
Engine type Single cylinder, liquid-cooled, SOHC, 4-valve
Bore x stroke 102mm x 85mm
Compression ratio 9.5:1
Lubrication system Wet sump
Fuel metering 44mm EFI
Starting procedure In neutral or any gear with
Air filter access Remove access cover and 4 clips
on airbox lid
Transmission Dual range fully automatic CVT with
reverse and EBS
Reverse procedure Move range selector to “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD with lockable
Final drives f/r Shaft/shaft
Fuel capacity 9.5 gal.
Overall length/width/height 110”/60”/74.4”
Ground clearance 10.6”
Wet weight 1594 lb.
Towing limit 1500 lb.
Bed capacity 700 lb.
Frame Steel tube
Front Double A-arms w/ preload-adj. shocks/8.6”
Rear Double A-arms w/ preload-adj. shocks/9.1”
Front Hydraulic discs
Rear Hydraulic disc
Parking brake Dash mounted hand lever
Front 25x9R12 Duro Radial
Rear 25x9R12 Duro Radial
DC outlet Waterproof automotive-style plug
Front Two halogen headlights, two LED headights
Rear Dual tail/brake lights
Instruments Multi-function digital meter with indicators
Colors Firecracker Red
Suggested retail price $12,499
Contact Kawasaki, (800) 661-RIDE
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