King of the Mules

Gene Johnston Updated: 07/01/2014 @ 2:01pm On the scene at the 2012 Cattle Convention, Nashville

Kawasaki is calling its new entry into the side-by-side four-wheel utility vehicle market the King of the Mules. The Mule Pro-FXT builds upon Kawasaki’s original work vehicle, the Mule 1000, first introduced in 1988.

Perhaps most unique about the Pro-FXT is the trans-cab feature. At 64 inches wide, the front cab seat sits three people across easily. The machine also has a back seat that can seat three more. That back seat can be folded out of the way to allow for more cargo bed space if desired. In one-seat mode, the cargo bed is 43 inches long, and it dumps by hydraulic assist. In two-seat mode, the length of the bed goes down to 22 inches.

Converting from six- to three-passenger, or back the other way, is easy with a seat-fold design that Kawasaki calls the 1:1:1 system: 1 person, 1 trip around the vehicle, 1 minute or less.

Major workhorse
The new Mule Pro-FXT can be a major workhorse for the farm, ranch, or recreational use. The utility vehicle is powered by an 812-cc three-cylinder Kawasaki liquid-cooled gasoline engine that can generate up to 48 foot-pounds of torque in low gear. The Pro-FXT uses natural engine braking to help in descending slopes. The continuously-variable transmission is combined with an electrically selectable two-wheel- and four-wheel-drive system. “The Pro-FXT is built for decades of use, not years,” says Bret Snider, Kawasaki product manager. “It’s a tank.”

The engine is mounted in the rear, under the cargo bed, to balance weight. The machine has 10.2 inches of ground clearance, with 8.7 inches of suspension travel.

Kawasaki has designed more than 60 accessories for the Mule Pro-FXT, including a clamp-down gun case, a rugged ProVantage Snow Plow System, a front winch, brush guards, hard and soft cabin enclosures, heaters, and a bed extender.

Pickup pulling power
Perhaps the greatest indication of the toughness of the Mule Pro-FXT is its towing capacity. With an optional drawbar in the 2-inch rear receiver, it can tow up to 2,000 pounds (where permissible by law). The hydraulic disc brakes on all four corners, with dual-piston calipers in front, allow for this. “It’s unreal what it can do,” says Snider. “The Mule Pro-FXT tows better than most light trucks.” The machine can haul a maximum 1,000-pound load in the cargo bed.

The Pro-FXT comes in four models:

  • The nonelectric power steering (EPS) has standard steel wheels and two DC outlets in the cab for electronic devices. The MSRP is $12,999.
  • The EPS model is $13,999.
  • The EPS LE has LED headlights, aluminum wheels, a sun top, and two additional DC outlets in the rear seat. MSRP is $15,999.
  • The elite Realtree Xtra Green Camo model has the same MSRP as the LE. 

Kawasaki gives this new heavy-duty machine a three-year limited warranty.

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