Kawasaki’s diesel UTVs perform well in off-road test

Updated Feb 28, 2017
Kawasaki’s new Mule PRO-DX and PRO-DXT can maneuver through difficult terrain. Photo: KawasakiKawasaki’s new Mule PRO-DX and PRO-DXT can maneuver through difficult terrain.
Photo: Kawasaki

The Kawasaki Mule PRO-DX and PRO-DXT are made to get the job done with efficiency and comfort in mind – or so says the manufacturer. I had a chance to test those claims this week.

Out on a ranch in Boerne, Texas, I put the machines through their paces. From hauling to towing to plowing, the Mule PRO-DX and PRO-DXT proved they have the power needed for whatever a landscaper can throw at them.

The Mule PRO-DXT can switch from seating three to six people. Photo: KawasakiThe Mule PRO-DXT can switch from seating three to six people.
Photo: Kawasaki

Featuring a 993cc three-cylinder diesel engine, the PRO-DX and PRO-DXT can reach peak torque quickly at 2400 RPM. These UTVs also use a continuously variable transmission (CVT) instead of a hydrostatic transmission (HST). This enables them to respond faster and operate more quietly.

While the PRO-DX and PRO-DXT are fueled by diesel, making them more fuel efficient, they have the same chassis as the gas-powered Mule PRO-FX and PRO-FXT, which were released earlier this year.

While towing nearly the maximum 2,000 pounds, I felt almost no difference in the Mule’s performance. The ride was so smooth, it was easy to forget that you even had a trailer attached. It showed off its dependable braking system when going down a steep berm with the extra weight of the trailer behind it, slowing down but not completely stopping.

The Mule PRO-DX also wasn’t fazed when its large cargo bed was loaded close to its maximum capacity of 1,000 pounds.  The PRO-DXT, which is capable of transforming from a three-passenger vehicle to a six-passenger in about a minute, can carry 350 pounds of cargo when seating six.

It can handle extremely rugged terrain thanks to its front and rear independent suspension, which absorbed most of the bumps and dips it encountered out in the Texas Hill Country. The Mule also boasts of more than 10 inches of ground clearance and a 92.3-inch wheelbase.

The maneuverability of the PRO-DX EPS and PRO-DXT EPS models is outstanding. The electric power steering makes turning a breeze, even when hauling or towing.

Photo: KawasakiPhoto: Kawasaki

On the dashboard the user can shift from 2WD to 4WD at the flick of a switch and lock the rear differential for extra traction. There is an LCD display that shows the speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge, clock and more.

An interesting accessory landscapers can add on is a winch package with a 72-inch Warn plow. A hydraulic bed lift option also is available and can be used for dumping cargo at the touch of a button.

To check out the range of options on the Mule PRO, visit the Accessories section here.

There are three models of both the PRO-DX and PRO-DXT, including those with and without power steering, as well as the PRO-DX EPS LE and PRO-DXT EPS LE, which have power steering and upgrades such as LED headlights, a sun top and two extra DC power outlets.

The Mule PRO-DX and PRO-DXT will be available in December. Each comes with a three-year limited warranty.

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