Jul. 2016

Techno Box 08

Off-Road Utility Vehicle

MULE PRO-FXT

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Hit Series Gets a Full Makeover

Kawasaki’s off-road utility vehicle MULE is manufactured mainly for the United States market, where applications range from patrolling vast farms and ranches to recreational activities such as hunting. Since mass production began in the U.S. in 1987, the MULE has undergone four generational changes with steady improvements. The latest model in the series, the MULE PRO-FXT, was launched in June 2014 after a full model change intended to create the next generation of the MULE.
The development team went to the U.S. from the summer of 2011 and, with the help of local R&D staff, started conducting market surveys at farms and ranches. The product that resulted from these efforts is the PRO-FXT, which features upgrades in four major areas: durability and reliability, comfort, handling and stability, and power and torque feel.

While the engine’s displacement—812cc—is not large, the engine has been specially tuned to deliver approximately 1.4 times more torque and a maximum power of about 2.4 times that of the previous model. These enhancements create a perfect balance with the distinctive features of the chassis, including its short wheelbase (made possible by using a transmission mechanism) and wide tread. The result is a vehicle that provides a solid sense of security and excellent handling.
As for the Roll Over Protective Structure (ROPS) and seat belt attachments, a thorough analysis including plastic deformation areas has been conducted to ensure optimum safety.

*MULE/MULE PRO-FXT are trademarks of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Perfect Vehicle for
both Work and
Recreational Activities

The U.S. accounts for 80% of the market for off-road utility vehicles. While these vehicles cannot be driven on public roads, they are popular workhorses on farms, ranches and factory sites, and also for recreational activities such as hunting and trail riding.

01Ample Power Generating
Capacity and Powerful Headlights

The new engine produces a working current of 60.8A (at 2,000 rpm with the headlights on). This is more than enough electricity to comfortably operate such accessories as audio and heating equipment. The PRO-FXT is fitted with 55/60W headlights for more lighting power and clearer vision when working in the dark. Some models also offer LED lighting as standard.

02Double Wishbone Suspension

For suspension, double wishbone suspension units have been newly adopted for both the front and rear tires. These units offer excellent rigidity and greater contact with the road surface. With a wheel travel that is more than double the conventional length, the PRO-FXT ensures superior ride comfort and stability even on rough roads.

03Cargo Bed with Outstanding Capacity

Fitted with a powerful engine and robust chassis, the PRO-FXT offers a carrying capacity of 350 lb (158 kg) in six-passenger mode and 1,000 lb (453 kg) in three-passenger mode. A gas-assisted tilt function facilitates smooth unloading of cargo. The PRO-FXT also boasts a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 lb (907 kg).

The strength of
front CVJ axles
has been
nearly doubled!
Available in
various colors to
suit the application.
The Camo type is
popular
in the U.S.
Engine braking
enables smooth
deceleration for a
stress-free ride!
Kawasaki Technology

First 6 Seater in the Series. Unique Trans Cab Function is Now Easier to Use!

The PRO-FXT combines a wide body with a roomy interior to allow six adult passengers to be seated comfortably. The cabin is equipped with a unique convertible rear seat area, which enables the cargo bed to be increased by sliding the rear seats forward. The Trans Cab mechanism has been developed to enable one person to change the seating in just one minute by making one trip around the vehicle. The rear seats can be slid forward to create more flat space.

Kawasaki Technology

Uniquely Tuned 812cc Engine

The vehicle features a new 3-cylinder, DOHC, liquid-cooled engine. The intake and exhaust system has been specially tuned to deliver powerful torque throughout the rpm range. With a maximum speed approximately 1.8 times greater than the previous model, the PRO-FXT is ideal for a wide range of applications and is much more fun to drive. The engine truly represents the new generation of the MULE.

Kawasaki Technology

CVT for Smooth Acceleration/Deceleration

A Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) uniquely developed by Kawasaki works in perfect harmony with the engine to ensure a comfortable ride. The control of the driving sheave (pulley) and driven sheave coupled with a V-shaped belt has been optimized to deliver high power transmission at all speeds, enabling smooth acceleration and deceleration. The belt and pulleys have also been made far stronger to ensure excellent durability.

Commentary

  • Manager, Section 2
    Kazumasa Hisada (Left)
  • Manager, Section 4
    Gaku Yoshimura (Right)

Engineering Department 5, Research & Development Division, Motorcycle & Engine Company, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd.