Anyone that manages a property of notable size needs an accomplice of some sort – a ride or die companion that gets the job done day in and day out. Some use quad bikes, others tractors, dogs or even horses. Josh Rudd, however, reviews another type of vehicle which appears to be able to do it all: the new Kawasaki Mule.
After spending a few days with a Mule, I am sold. Not to be confused with a mule of the biblical sense (even though their work rates aren’t too dissimilar), I am of course referring to the Kawasaki Mule SX XC, commonly referred to as ‘Bigfoot’.
The all new Kawasaki Mule SX XC Bigfoot is Kawasaki’s new sideby- side vehicle that is a dedicated farmhand. This machine’s wheelbase has a spread of 1,780mm which is only slightly bigger than your average quad bike. However, the bigfoot’s capabilities set it apart from similar sized vehicles. Firstly, it looks good. This year’s model comes in forest green and features an aggressive looking front bumper for added protection up front. Inside, the cockpit area comfortably accommodates two grown men. When I say “comfortably”, I’m not exaggerating – you get a roof over your head, a dash setup that is reminiscent of a car, comfortable seats with seatbelts and plenty of space between you and your comrade. There is also a heap of storage space at arm’s reach from the driver’s seat. So it passes the amenities test with flying colours, but how does it perform?
The bigfoot runs a 401cc, 4 stroke petrol engine that uses one cylinder, but don’t let the size of the engine fool you. It has all the power you need and can put it to the ground capably. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not winning the 0-100km/h sprint anytime soon, but it doesn’t need to. The top speed that it does boast is reached at the same rate every time, with absolute disregard for any terrain put in front of it. The bigfoot crawls, creeps, climbs and catapults itself over any obstacle that has the misfortune of getting in its way. The drivetrain is war ready also. You have the options of 2WD or 4WD, high or low gear ratios and an open or locked differential. Should your bigfoot meet an uphill slope made up of loose gravel and miscellaneous bush debris, simply engage 4WD, chuck it in ‘low’ gear, lock the diff (all done on their respective levers at arm’s reach) and the Mule will scale said slope with no qualms. Needless to say, the bigfoot punches well above its weight as far as farm utilities go, and it definitely lives up to its title as a ‘Mule’.
The versatility of the Bigfoot means it will also serve a purpose on smaller, less maintenance-heavy properties. It’s width of 1,355mm puts it at only 175mm wider than Kawasaki’s biggest quad bike, and it weighs in at under half a ton. This makes for a very nimble, manoeuvrable product which certainly has a place on your lifestyle blocks or vineyards as well as your larger scale farms. When the Bigfoot was rigorously put through its paces at a lifestyle block south of Auckland, it managed to weave between cars on the driveway, tiptoe alongside gardens without crushing them and leave a footprint light enough not to rip up the front lawn. Inheriting the Kawasaki brand’s reliability gene, it’s also likely to start every morning for those trips to the letterbox. After all is said and done, however, you’ve still got a half ton towing capacity and a bed which can accommodate 181kg. The bed is flat, which makes placing your load a simple process that can take place on three sides. It tips as well!
The Mule SX XC Bigfoot is the swiss army knife that all property owners should consider adding to their arsenal. Kawasaki have been innovative in creating a niche product that meets the user’s requirements at a reasonable price point. If the quad bike isn’t quite hacking the workload, but you can’t quite justify the purchase of a big side-by-side farm vehicle, the Bigfoot is for you.
Capably fulfilling the roles of both these vehicles, it will tackle the big dirty jobs with ease while also serving as a comfortable and competent chariot which will whisk you across land acre by acre. After my time using this vehicle, I am confident that the Kawasaki Mule SX XC Bigfoot is at the head of the herd.
Article by: Josh Rudd