Kawasaki 4010 mule test
Kawasaki’s latest utility vehicle is a Mule 4010 lives up to the brand’s reputation of offering solid strong, reliable workhorses
- Simple, easy-to-operate, smooth CVT transmission
- Powerful and economic diesel engine
- Great carrying capacity and plenty of storage
- Roof and window offers some shelter
I tested the Kawasaki over two months in some very wet and muddy conditions on the flat while towing multiple trailers, as well as on steeper hill country, and the Mule 4010 proved to be well up to both tasks.
Towing and carry capacity
When requiring a machine to transport a trailer load of tools, fencing gear and one or two workers safely, the Mule, with its grunty diesel engine, has plenty of torque for the job, providing ample power in both high and low ranges.
The dual-range transmission towing capacity of 740kg, and rear cargo tray capacity of 500kg, makes it an appealing option on the farm.
Originally designed to provide farmers with the combination of ute-like carrying ability with four-wheel bike size and manoeuvrability, the Mule has grown in size to a dry weight of 725kg.
Although not quite as manoeuvrable as a quad bike, the 4010 Mule still has a turning radius of 3.8 metres, and being about three metres long and just under 2 metres wide, it is a remarkably nimble machine that is much less prone to rollover than a quad bike.
Under normal working conditions I managed to get 91kms from a fuel fill of 16.5 litres. For the size of the engine and the work load, I thought this was quite good. The Mule can also do about 9.5 hours for a tank full, which I find gives me at least two days between fills. I do find the fuel gauge under the tank a little annoying, and, with no reserve tank, it does need to be checked before heading off to work in the morning
Having come from a four-wheeler background, it took a bit of getting used to the torque converter disengaging when going downhill, providing no engine braking, but the dual hydraulic brake drums (front and rear) provide excellent stopping power. The Mule also comes with a very good mechanical drum, automotive-style handbrake located to the left of the operator, and it’s a whole lot less fiddly and easier to use than some four-wheel, handlebar mounted systems.
This machine has had the standard tyres changed for more aggressive Kenda Bear Claws. I found these to be good, self-cleaning tyres, performing on both slippery, wet hills and boggy flats, after heavy rain and stock tramping.
Comfort and safety
The Mule doesn’t make a safety issue out of dropping a worker off or taking a visitor out on the farm, thanks to a comfortable bench seat that provides space and seatbelts for two, and it still manages to handle pretty well with the extra weight. With its heavy tubular-steel, ladder-type chassis, independent MacPherson front suspension and De Dion overload-style rear suspension, the 4010 Mule has been designed as a work horse, while still providing a good ride in all but the very worst cattle-pugged tracks. However, it is not as smooth and sporty as some models, like the Kawasaki Teryx.
Despite no available adjustment for the steering and seating, I found the setup to be good for someone of average height. The Electric Power Steer (EPS) helps to remove some of the bumps, with the power steering acting as a dampener, making the front end responsive and keeping the operator in control, even over rough ground.
Another of the machine’s added extras is the TraxEquipment roof and window, including windscreen wiper.
There is a huge bonnet toolbox, double gloveboxes at easy reach from the driver’s seat, a small shelf between the two halves of the bench seat, and a large rear carry tray with plastic liner.
Despite lacking dual trip metres, digital speedos, clock and fuel gauges on display, the Mule 4010 does have a dial speedo showing mph and kph, and an odometer showing miles covered, along with a digital hour metre so you can see when the machine is next due for a service. Kawasaki have also extended the warranty on the Mule to 24 months, providing it is given its first service at 10 hours and serviced every 100 hours after that.
I’m impressed with the Mule’s performance to date. It has proven to be a strong and able workhorse, well capable of coping with a mountain of tasks. Its ease of operation and simplicity of controls is great for busy operators, and as a strong and efficient machine, the Mule will help you and your staff get the daily jobs done.
See the Kawasaki Mule for sale.
Engine type 4-stroke, 3-cylinder OHV diesel
Bore and stroke 72 x 78mm
Top speed (governed) 40.2kph
Fuel system Fuel injection
Transmission Belt converter, dual-range
Drive system 4x4/2x4 selectable
Front tyres Tubeless 23x11-10
Rear tyres Tubeless 23x11-10
Brakes Front/Rear hydraulic drums
Min turning radius 3.8m
Load capacity 740kg
Cargo bed capacity 500kg
Towing capacity 740kg
Fuel capacity 24.2 litres
Dry weight 725kg curb mass