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2015 Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT EPS Preview


by Guillaume Rivard ,

Kawasaki’s new flagship side-by-side utility vehicle, the PRO-FXT, maintains the durability Kawasaki Mule workhorses are famous for, and adds increased engine performance, improved handling, and greater functionality to significantly boost its outdoor enjoyment potential. Expect more comfort, too!

Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT EPS 2015
Photo: Kawasaki

Discover the 2015 Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT EPS
A wide-body chassis and dual-bench seating enable this side-by-side vehicle to comfortably seat up to six adults (the front bench sits three, and the collapsible rear bench can accommodate three additional passengers), giving the Mule Pro-FXT a broad range of applications. By the way, that rear bench is slightly raised to offer occupants a better view of what lies ahead.

For more versatility, Kawasaki’s Trans Cab system offers the ability to maximize cargo capacity with the extended cargo bed in 3-person mode or maximize passenger transportation in 6-person mode. The company promises the switch can be done easily, by one person, in under one minute.

The cargo bed in the rear can haul up to 1,000 lbs (453 kg) in 3-person mode and 350 lbs (158 kg) in 6-person mode. What's more, the gas-assisted tilting mechanism facilitates emptying the payload or
accessing the engine in either mode (the hard top on LE models is hinged, allowing the roof to fold out of the way when tilting the bed in 3-person mode).

As for towing, the 2015 Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT EPS has a capacity of 2,000 lbs (907 kg), and the standard 2” tow hitch receiver is compatible with a wide range of accessory hitches.

Handling and performance

Making its debut in a Kawasaki Mule, the new 3-cylinder gasoline engine offers significant performance gains over earlier models including a higher top speed. This potent, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 812cc, DOHC, inline triple churns out significantly more power than the Mule 4000 Series models (more than double the output of the gasoline-powered models, and even double that of the diesel models) along with ample low-end torque.

Meanwhile, the smooth CVT provides reassuring engine braking when descending slopes (an N7-grade belt ensures top-level durability). Riders can also choose between 2WD, 4WD, and 4WD Lock.

Out on the trail, the new 2015 Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT EPS is aided by a relatively short length and wheelbase which enhances manoeuvrability, while the wide track contributes to vehicle stability. A front and rear independent suspension adds to ride comfort. Combined with the Pro-FXT’s ground clearance (260 mm), the short wheelbase also contributes to a more favourable breakover angle (30o), which reduces the chance of bottoming out when cresting a ridge or riding over a fallen log. Don't forget the high approach and departure angles (78o and 63o, respectively).

With the electric power steering (EPS), assistance is greatest at slow speeds or when stopped; it is reduced as vehicle speed increases to ensure stable handling. EPS also enhances ride comfort and control by acting as a damping system: The inertia of the electric motor significantly reduces bump steer and kickback to the steering wheel caused by shocks to the wheels.

Other 2015 Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT EPS highlights
Kawasaki Mules are not known for their good looks, but they sure are rugged and solidly built. A steel front bumper and aggressively treaded 26” tires are part of the Pro-FXT package, while newly designed cast aluminum wheels and standard LED headlights add a high-quality touch to EPS LE models.

For the first time in Mule history, door panels are a standard feature on all Pro-FXT models. There's also a multi-function, digital information centre in the middle of the dashboard.

The 2015 Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT starts at $14,299 in base trim. Add $1,700 for EPS, and another $1,600 for the LE.