2017 Kawasaki Mule SX Preview

Lucas Cooney
by Lucas Cooney
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2017 kawasaki mule sx preview

Kawasaki has added to off-road lineup for 2017 with the new Mule SX family of compact UTVs.

Compact Mule starts at $7,299

According to Kawasaki, “the S stands for small; the X stands for strong.” This Mule is designed for those looking for an affordable machine that can help get the work done without the size and speed of its big brothers.

Six new models are part of the introduction of the new series, each of which is small enough to fit in the back of a pickup truck and backed by Kawasaki’s three-year warranty.

  • Mule SX
  • Mule SX 4×4
  • Mule SX 4×4 SE
  • Mule SX XC
  • Mule SC 4×4 XC
  • Mule SX 4×4 XC Camo
  • Mule SX 4×4 XC SE

2017 Kawasaki Mule SX 4x4 Engine

The Mule SX is powered by a 401cc engine that produces a claimed 21.7 lb-ft of torque at 2400 rpm.

Kawasaki outfitted each new Mule with a 401cc, four-stroke, OHV, air-cooled engine that forgoes the expense of electronic fuel injection for a carburetor.

2016 Kawasaki Mule Pro-FX EPS Review Air enters the engine through a snorkel intake that is routed through the tubing of the ROPS (Roll Over Protection Structure). From there, air travels through the air cleaner box and finally into the engine. Each Mule SX model has a top speed restricted to 25 mph.

Mule SX models come with a lockable rear differential, which is designed to allow the rear wheels to have equal transfer of power to improve traction. Kawasaki says ground disturbance is minimal when the rear axle is unlocked.

Models with four-wheel drive feature a dash-mounted switch on the right of the steering wheel to move between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive.

A belt-driven automatic transmission features a Hi-Lo dual-range transfer case, giving the driver the control to best handle the terrain at hand.

2017 Kawasaki Mule SX 4x4 Tilt Bed

You can carry up to 400 pounds in the tilting rear cargo bed.

As for storage, the Mule can carry up to 400 lbs in the rear cargo bed. The bed features a diamond-pate design and textured, scratch-resistant black surface to help keep things in place. A two-level release system is found on the tailgate for easy opening and closing. The bed also tilts, providing access to the engine.

Like the bigger Mule Pro Series, integrated cargo bed rails come standard on the Mule SX, providing more tie-down points. As well, the rail is compatible with optional accessory mounts.

Further adding to the Mule’s ability to work is its 1,100-pound towing capacity.


Mule SX models are built around a ladder-type tubular steel frame. Rack-and-pinion is standard on all models and electronic power steering is not available. Independent MacPherson strut front suspension doles out a conservative 3.1 inches of travel, as does the swingarm rear suspension.

Kawasaki increased the preload on the front suspension for a flatter front-rear balance. Softer rear settings are designed to increase ride comfort.

2017 Kawasaki Mule SX 4x4 Rear

The MacPherson strut front suspension and swingarm rear suspension control 3.1 inches of travel.

The Mule SX rides on 22-inch tires, while the SX 4×4 and SX 4×4 SE feature 24-inch tires wrapped around 10-inch wheels.

Another cost saving feature are front and rear drum brakes rather than more expensive disc brakes.

Skid plates cover the front differential, engine and rear differential. An optional trailer hitch is available for the Mule SX 4X4 and 4×4 SE models, but comes standard on the SX 4×4 XC SE. Further protection is provided by a large tube steel front bumper, fender flares and mud flaps.

All Mule SX XC models come standard with four-wheel drive, larger 12-inch wheels and 26-inch tires. A camouflage option is also available. The flagship of the Mule SX family is the Mule SX 4×4 XC SE, which features aluminum wheels, sun top, underseat compartment and four LED headlights.

2017 Kawasaki Mule SX 4x4 XC SE Wheel

Step up to the SX XC Special Edition model for features like aluminum wheels and 26-inch tires.

Ground clearance is 6.1 inches on the SX two-wheel drive models, 6.7 inches on the SX four-wheel drive models and 8.1 inches on XC models.

Each Mule SX model has a hood, front grill and headlamp design borrowed from the Mule Pro Series and compact headlights similar to those on the Kawasaki.


Inside the cockpit you’ll find a thick-gripped steering wheel and automotive-style dash. The gear shifter is found on the right side of the dash. Also found on the dash are accessory switches and removable blank spots to fit further accessories, including a spot for an accessory radio.

2017 Kawasaki Mule SX 4x4 Dash

Kawasaki left room for plenty of accessory switches and even a radio in the automotive-style dash.

A digital hour indicator is sits below the dash-mounted digital fuel gauge. Tilt steering comes standard on all Mule SX models and offers up 29 degrees of movement.

A whopping 16 gallons of storage space is found in the front, which features a removable lid for easy loading and unloading.

Other cockpit features include retractable seatbelts, cargo screen and weather-resistant seat material.

2017 Kawasaki Mule SX 4x4 Front Storage

Ample storage space is found up front for items you’d like to keep close at hand.


More than 50 Kawasaki Genuine Accessories are available for new SX Series. Visit Kawasaki.com to see the complete list.

2017 Kawasaki Mule SX 4x4 XC SE
2017 Kawasaki Mule SX Specs

Engine Type401cc, 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, OHV, Air-cooled
Bore And Stroke82mm x 76mm
Maximum Torque21.7 lb-ft @ 2400 rpm
Fuel SystemNikki 6C1026
IgnitionMagneto and transistor
Alternator17 amp
TransmissionSingle-speed, automatic, reverse
Final DriveShaft-driven selectable 2-wheel drive, dual-mode rear differential
Front SuspensionMacPherson strut/3.1 in
Rear SuspensionUnit swingarm/3.1 in
Front BrakesHydraulic drum L&R
Rear BrakesHydraulic drum L&R
Front Tires24×9-10 Duro bias
Rear Tires24×11-10 Duro bias
Length106.7 inches
Width52.6 inches
Height70.1 inches
Wheelbase70.1 inches
Ground Clearance6.1 inches
Curb Weight967.6 pounds
Fuel Capacity4.2 gallons
Turning Radius10.8 feet
Cargo Bed Dimensions (L x W x H)40.9 x 35.6 x 9.6 in
Cargo Bed Capacity400 lbs
Load Capacity926 lb
Seating Capacity2
Lighting(2) 35 W halogen headlights, (2) LED (optional), 5.0/21 W tail/brake lights
InstrumentsFuel gauge, hour meter, oil temp light, parking brake light
Available ColorsTimberline Green, Dark Royal Red
MSRPMule SX, $7,299; Mule SX 4X4, $8,099; Mule SX 4X4 SE, $8,299; Mule SX 4X4 XC, $8,399; Mule SX 4X4 XC Camo, $9,049; Mule SX 4X4 XC SE, $9,399
Lucas Cooney
Lucas Cooney

I have been working exclusively in digital media since 1997. I started out with TSN.ca, spending nearly nine years creating and editing content on Canada's leading sports website. I left to join VerticalScope, Inc., one of the world's largest online publishers, to start a number of powersports publications. While at VerticalScope, I've helped create and oversee content for a wide variety of different publications, including ATV.com, Off-Road.com, ArcheryTalk.com, Tractor.com, RVGuide.com, and many more.

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