The Kawasaki Mule is credited for starting the modern side-by-side segment, so how has it held up after all these years?
We got our hands on a 1993 Mule and 2017 Mule PRO-FX LE and took them for a little joy ride to see how they compare. The classic Mule is dead simple and effective, and while it won’t win any races anytime soon, this machine has over 1100 hours on the clock.
1993 was the first year that Kawasaki installed a more-powerful liquid-cooled 617 CC V-Twin engine in the Mule along with 4-wheel drive, heavy-duty carrying capacity and a tilting cargo bed. A few other new features for 93′ included a high-mounted air intake, fan-cooled belt converter and self-adjusting hydraulic brakes.
The 2017 Mule uses a 812cc triple-cylinder fuel-injected engine to provide power, capable of towing up to 2,000 pounds and hauling up to 1,000 pounds in the bed. Ground clearance has also been significantly improved over the years, with the 2017 Mule offering a total of 10.4-inches of clearance.
A small river crossing was enough to show us the clear differences between old and new, and we probably don’t need to tell you that the new Mule is miles ahead of the old model in terms of capability.
But for the sheer fun factor, riding in the 93′ as it kicks and climbs its way up the riverbank is definitely more enjoyable.
Watch the video to see it for yourself!