Kawasaki has given its entire Mule line of side-by-side utility vehicles a face lift for 2009.

The entire 10-vehicle family, from the compact 2WD Mule 600 to the flagship 4010 Mule Trans 4X4 Diesel, has all received upgrades for the new model year.

4000 Series

Kawasaki’s new 4000 Series Mules replace the previous generation 3000 Series and each features new truck-like styling and digital fuel injection (DFI). On each of the 4010s, Kawasaki has also included electric power steering (EPS).

The front end of the 4010 Trans4x4 has new styling for 2009.The front end of the 4010 Trans4x4 has new styling for 2009.

The bodywork is intended to draw comparisons to modern pick-up trucks. The changes are especially noticeable in the front end, which has a completely new bumper and looks less boxy. Panels are durable, color-molded plastic that help hide scratches. Pulling a dashboard-mounted knob lifts up the front hood to reveal a deeper storage space that is equipped with D-rings to help secure cargo.

Previously available only on the Diesel models, the EPS offers a more controlled ride by cutting down on steering effort at low speeds and harnessing the electric motor’s inertia to dampen some of the bump steer and kickback caused by impact to the wheels. An Electric Control Unit uses input from speed and torque sensors to determine the amount of assistance provided by the system. Kawasaki says the EPS does not create a power drain on the engine.

As for DFI, Kawasaki says the engine starts smoother and more consistent, offers better throttle response and reduces fuel consumption. For easier starting on cold days, the system incorporates an automatic fast idle speed control, eliminating the need for a manual choke.

Folding up the rear seat in the 4010 Trans4x4 allows you to epand the cargo bed.Folding up the rear seat in the 4010 Trans4x4 allows you to epand the cargo bed.

The Mule 4000, 4010 4×4, 4010 4×4 Camo, 4010 Trans4x4 and the 4010 Trans4x4 Camo are all powered by liquid-cooled, 617cc, 4-stroke V-twins. A liquid-cooled, three-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 38.3 lb-ft of torque at 2,800 rpm, powers the 4010 4×4 Diesel and the 4010 Trans4X4 Diesel.

The 4010 Trans models all feature a transformable cargo bed. Each comes with two rows of seats, but the rear seat can be folded down and the cargo bed expanded to carry a larger payload. The Diesel options have a payload of up to 1,100 pounds with two passengers and 400 pounds with four passengers.

600 Series

The 610 4x4 has new tires and a widended flap in the rear tire housing.The 610 4×4 has new tires and a widended flap in the rear tire housing.

Kawasaki’s entry-level Mule, the 600, hasn’t seen the big changes of the 4000 series. Like all the other 600s, it’s powered by a 401cc fan cooled, 4-stroke engine and can tow up to 1,100 pounds with Kawasaki’s optional draw bar. The tilting cargo bed can hold up to 400 pounds and it can also fit into the back of a pickup, which is not an option with the larger Mules.

About the only change on the new Mule 600 is the flap in the rear tire housing, which was widened slightly to minimize mud entering the engine area.

Kawasaki was also fairly light on changes for the Mule 610 4×4 and the 610 4×4 Camo. In addition to the widened flap, both vehicles feature 24-inch tires with a new tread pattern that Kawasaki says will improve off-road traction, ride quality and tire wear.

Kawasaki offers all Mule owners a variety of vehicle accessories, including an enclosed cab, cab heater, snow plow, winch and soft or hard tops.

Model Engine DFI EPS MSRP
600 401cc 4-stroke, air-cooled single No No $6,299
610 4×4 401cc 4-stroke, air-cooled single No No $7,099
610 4×4 Camo 401cc 4-stroke, air-cooled single No No $7,499
4000 617cc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, OHV V-twin Yes No $8,199
4010 4×4 617cc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, OHV V-twin Yes Yes $9,499
4010 4×4 Camo 617cc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, OHV V-twin Yes Yes $9,999
4010 Diesel 4×4 953cc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, three-cylinder, OHV diesel Yes Yes $10,599
4010 Trans4x4 617cc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, OHV V-twin Yes Yes $10,499
4010 Tranx4x4 Camo 617cc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, OHV V-twin Yes Yes $10,899
4010 Trans4x4 Diesel 953cc 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, three-cylinder, OHV diesel Yes Yes $11,599

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