Red-hot is a good way to describe the utility vehicle market. It has exploded in popularity over the past few years, and now more than ever there are scores of cool, capable utility vehicles available for the potential buyer.
One of the neatest, most ingenious is the Kawasaki Mule 3010 Trans4x4. What makes it unique is that with a few quick adjustments, it transforms from a four-passenger 4x4 to a two-passenger 4x4. Why does this matter? Well, it's all about versatility. You see, when in two-passenger mode, box length is increased. We'll explain. In all modes, the box retains its 11.3-inch depth and its 47.7-inch width. In four-passenger mode, the box is approximately 2.5 feet long. When the Trans4x4 is transformed to a two-passenger machine, box length increases to 4.2 feet. In two-passenger mode, this translates to an impressive 15.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Naturally, this versatility is welcome whether you're using the machine for work or play.
Flexibility is one thing, overall function is another. Fortunately, the Trans4x4 has a stout, capable drivetrain. It's powered by a big, torque-oozing 617cc four-stroke V-twin engine. This industrial powerplant features liquid-cooling and a reliable Mikuni carburetor. This engine is matched to a continuously variable transmission with high- and low-range, Forward, Neutral, and Reverse gears. Power is carried to the front and rear differentials via strong driveshafts. In the rear is what Kawasaki calls a "dual-mode" differential, which means it can be manually locked to provide more traction. Up front, a limited-slip differential further enhances traction.
The 3010 Trans4x4's suspension is designed to handle rough terrain and heavy loads while still providing a smooth ride and good handling. It consists of an independent front suspension featuring MacPherson struts. The rear suspension is a semi-independent system comprised of a heavy-duty DeDion axle with a simple and effective leaf spring/shock setup.
Other features of the rugged 3010 Trans4x4 include rack-and-pinion steering; four-wheel hydraulic brakes (with extra sealing for protection against mud, dust, and debris); 23x11-10 tubeless tires; carlike controls; underhood storage; and a rollover protective structure that meets ROPS requirements for wheeled tractors.
So there you have it; the unique and versatile Kawasaki Mule 3010 Trans4x4. Clearly, this machine really does have the capability and work ethic of a trusty pack mule. Without the stubbornness and odor.
Vehicle model: '07 Kawasaki Mule 3010 Trans4x4
Base price: $9,599 (Woodsmen Green or Aztec Red) or $9,999 (Hardwoods Green HD)
Type: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, overhead valve V-twin
Displacement (cc): 617
Bore x stroke (mm): 76 x 68
Compression ratio: 10.3:1
Fuel delivery system: Mikuni BW26-18
Transmission: Continuously variable
Final drive: Shaft
Front: Independent, MacPherson strut, 3.9 inches of travel
Rear: Semi-independent, DeDion axle with leaf springs and shocks, 2.8 inches of travel
Front: Hydraulic drum, sealed
Rear: Hydraulic drum, sealed
Weight (lb): 1,472.3
Ground clearance (in): 7.0
Length (in): 124.8
Width (in): 57.0
Height (in): 76.1
Wheelbase (in): 85.2
Fuel capacity (gal): 6.4