Polaris Ranger vs Kawasaki Mule: Which to Choose

Let us take a close look at two UTV brands: the Polaris Ranger and Kawasaki Mule. These two brands offer some of the most popular UTVs, which can make it a bit difficult to know which brand is better for you.

In order to find out if you should get a Polaris Ranger or Kawasaki Mule, we checked out their website, specs, and price of their most popular UTV models. We also read quite a few customer reviews to get a feel of the individual companies themselves and how they interact with their customers and interested buyers.

Polaris Ranger vs Kawasaki Mule

From this research, we found that Kawasaki Mule UTVs are best if you want a practical (but still fun) UTV on a budget, but Polaris Rangers are best if you need a high-performance UTV. Most people will be more than pleased with their Kawasaki Mules, which is why we would recommend it to the regular buyer. Those looking for a high performance pick should select the Polaris Ranger, though.

At the end of the day, these are both great UTVs, but the UTV you should select depends on your needs and intentions for the UTV. To find out why we recommend the Kawasaki Mule over the Polaris Ranger, and which option you should select, read on.

Polaris Ranger vs Kawasaki Mule Comparison

Let us take a look at six important features of each UTV to determine which one is best. These factors include the UTVs’ engines, sizes, towing and payload capacities, customization options, other features, and prices.

Engine

Winner: Polaris Ranger

When selecting any UTV, you need to consider the engine. This part powers the vehicle, and it tends to be the heaviest part. You want to ensure the engine has a good power-to-weight ratio, meaning that it provides moderate power without weighing the vehicle down in the process. You also want an engine that starts smoothly and spreads the fuel evenly for quick yet smooth speeds.

To begin, the Polaris Ranger engine has made a lot of waves in the industry. If you have kept up with UTV engine technology, you have likely heard of the Polaris Ranger’s 570 engine. It is a four-stroke engine with multiple numbers of cylinders. It is located towards the back of the UTV, limiting sound exposure to the drivers, passengers, and others around. The line has a quick engine startup process that only takes three seconds, thanks to the twist switch.

Not to mention, it has 44 horsepower, which could get the UTV up to around 60 mph from user tests. That is quite a lot of power for a vehicle of this size! Some people prefer the half sized engine because it delivers adequate power with reduced weight, though whether you get the full or half sized engine is up to you. We prefer the half sized and would recommend it to most users since it delivers an impressive power-to-weight ratio.

As for the Kawasaki Mule, it is powered by a single cylinder SOHC 695cc engine with four valves. In many ways, it is similar to certain Yamaha engines because of its impressive torque. It has an OVB or overhead valve engine, creating an efficient engine that allows the gas to reach its combustion chamber more quickly, easily, and evenly than many other engine types. The top speed of the Kawasaki Mule is around 45 mph.

With these facts in mind, the Polaris Ranger engine is our favorite, though the Kawasaki is great too. The 570 engine that comes with the Polaris Ranger is one of the most popular engines, even among other platforms like ACE, RZR, and Ranger. It will provide you a powerful and smooth ride with a great power-to-weight ratio.

Size

Winner: Kawasaki Mule

Child Pick: Polaris Ranger

You will need a UTV that is suited for the number of people you intend to drive without spending too much money or being too heavy. The UTV should be large enough to transport the number of people and extra payload that is needed. At the same time, it shouldn’t be big that it requires too much space for cleaning, storage, and weight, either.

Kawasaki Mule UTV

In terms of size, both the Polaris Ranger and Kawasaki Mule offer UTVs of similar size. This includes UTVs seated for two, three, or four people. Although the two brands offer the same number of seating, the largest Kawasaki Mule is about 25 centimeters wider than the largest Polaris Ranger, meaning that the Kawasaki is slightly larger even though it seats the same amount of people.

The Kawasaki Mule sets many standards for UTV standard sizes. Their UTVs are specifically designed so that they can carry enough adults while carefully fitting in a truck bed during transportation. These features mean that the Kawasaki Mule is conveniently sized since its ideal for both riding and storage.

Some users may be more interested in the Polaris Ranger sizes because it comes with a youth model. This model is sized specifically for children and comes with additional safety features. As you would expect, the youth model is much smaller than the adult options, and Kawasaki Mule does not offer a comparable model. For this reason, Polaris Ranger technically offers the smaller UTV, but it will not be large enough for adults.

So, which of the two is best in terms of size? Well, both models seat the same number of adults, but the Kawasaki Mule is just slightly wider. Not to mention, the Polaris Ranger comes in a size for children. If you need a UTV for your child specifically, Polaris is your bet.

That being said, the Kawasaki Mule is best for most adults. 25 centimeters doesn’t make that big of a difference for storage, but it can make the vehicle more comfortable to ride in. In fact, taller people find riding in the cockpit of the Polaris a bit uncomfortable because it is slightly too cramped at times. It is for this reason that we prefer the size of the Kawasaki Mule over the Polaris Ranger for most users.

Towing & Payload Capacity

Winner: Polaris Ranger

For any utility vehicle, you need to check out the towing and payload capacity. Both these capacities are related to one another, but they are not the same. The payload capacity is how much weight the vehicle is able to hold in passengers. The towing capacity is how much the UTV can tow, assuming that the payload capacity is already maxed out by the passengers.

On the one hand, the largest Polaris Ranger has a towing capacity of 2500 pounds and a payload capacity of 1000 pounds. Similarly, the Kawasaki Mule has a towing capacity of 2000 pounds and a 1582 pound payload capacity. In other words, the Polaris Ranger has a larger towing capacity of 500 pounds, but the Kawasaki Mule has a larger payload capacity of 582 pounds.

With these numbers in mind, the Polaris Ranger is better if you need a slightly stronger towing capacity, while the Kawasaki Mule is better if you need a slightly stronger payload capacity. Still, you can’t just look at the sheer numbers. You have to look at the other specs of the UTVs too.

For example, the Polaris Ranger comes with a 2 inch receiver, dual A-arms in the back, and McPherson struts in the front. More so, it offers two-wheel drive, On Demand All-wheel Drive, and Turf Mode. In comparison, the Kawasaki Mule has a 2 inch receiver, 2-wheel drive, and 4-wheel drive.

When you factor in the numbers with the related features, the Polaris Ranger has a better towing and payload capacity. This UTV is better suited for professional work uses. The Kawasaki Mule has impressive specs too, but it is better suited for personal use.

Customization Options

Winner: Polaris Ranger

Customization is far from being the most important factor of a UTV, but it is something you need to think about when choosing between two models. Customization allows you to change different aspects of the model based on your preferences now or in the future. Customization can make the UTV more specific to you, but it will make it more expensive too. If you need to get a UTV on a budget, customization should be the first thing you cut out.

Although the Kawasaki Mule is a great UTV for many reasons, it does not offer that many customization options. It only comes with one color option and the most standard seating options, including a two-seater, three-seater, and four-seater. The fact that the Kawasaki Mule has few customization options makes sense. Kawasaki tried to go against  the grain by offering a single machine that is great for all purposes. This design choice keeps prices down, but it results in fewer customization options.

Polaris Ranger

In comparison, the Polaris Ranger offers a lot of customization options since it is considered a luxury UTV brand. As we already mentioned, there are standard size options, as well as a youth option. This youth option is unique to the Polaris Ranger and will allow your children to drive a UTV safely. More so, the Polaris Ranger offers multiple colors, as well as designs, to pick from, albeit at an additional fee.

Hence, the Polaris Ranger wins in terms of customization. It simply offers more color, design, and size options than the Kawasaki Mule, which only comes in the color timberline green and standard seating options. If you want to customize your UTV, pick a Polaris Ranger, but know it will come with a higher price tag.

Other Features

Winner: Kawasaki Mule   

Other features are things that everyone wants in any product they buy, no matter what that product is. Extra features in a UTV can make it more comfortable, usable, or safe, depending on what they are. Both Polaris Ranger and Kawasaki Mule come with extra features, but you may like certain features over others depending on your intended usage of the UTV.

The Polaris Ranger offers extra features that increase the safety of the vehicle, such as a seat belt reminder light. It also comes with a nifty trip meter, allowing you to monitor how long the adventure took. This monitor will not improve the safety of the vehicle, but it is a great feature for UTV racing.

As for the Kawasaki Mule, there are also safety and special features as well. For example, the Kawasaki Mule comes with bright headlights. These can help to reduce accidents whenever the light is limited. Something unique to the Kawasaki Mule is that the back two seats in the vehicle can even be used as extra storage space. Simply push them down and you have extra space. Of the two UTVs, this is our favorite special feature because it offers extra space without making the vehicle any bigger.

Which is best? On the one hand, the features of the Polaris Ranger are best for people wanting to race UTVs or do some other sport activities. On the other hand, the features of the Kawasaki Mule are great for all users, whether they are racing, working, or leisurely riding. It is for these reasons that the Kawasaki Mule wins the feature comparison – no matter who you are, you will benefit from the features.

Price

Winner: Kawasaki Mule

Finally, the last factor to consider is the price. When looking at the price, you want to consider the outright price, its affordability, and any warranties.

The cheapest UTV belonging to these two ranges is the Polaris Ranger youth vehicle. This UTV starts out at $5544, not including taxes. It’s important to know that this is the cheapest vehicle because it is notably smaller than all of the other UTVs. So, it is more helpful to compare adult sizes of the two brands to understand their price differences.

When looking at the adult UTVs alone, Kawasaki Mule is the more affordable overall brand. The Mule SX 4×4 costs about $9000, whereas the cheapest Polaris Ranger costs about $12,500. Plus, the most expensive Polaris Ranger is about $5000 more than the top-line Kawasaki Mule.

The fact that Kawasaki Mule can offer more affordable prices is due to the fact that the company as a whole is bigger. They are able to decrease the prices through scaling their production. Not to mention, the Kawasaki Mules are designed to bring UTVs for those on a budget. By sacrificing customization, their UTVs are notably cheaper.

As for warranties, the two brands are exactly the same. They both offer a one-year warranty on their UTVs, but the warranties only apply if the defect was caused by a manufacturing issue. The warranty does not cover any accidents or issues that are caused by you or someone else.

So, the winner of the price comparison is Kawasaki Mule. Based on price alone, the Kawasaki is cheaper and will be more suitable for those on a budget.

Polaris Ranger vs Kawasaki Mule: The Winner

Best All-Around Pick: Kawasaki Mule

High Performance Pick: Polaris Ranger

Child Pick: Polaris Ranger

After looking at these six important features, we have determined that the Polaris Ranger is technically the best UTV brand. It offers the most size options, customizations, and unique additional features for racing and other professional uses.

However, we would only recommend the Polaris Ranger for those looking for a high-performance model. The Polaris Ranger is also the choice for you if you are looking for a youth-specific option. Because the Polaris Ranger is so expensive, it really is only suited for those who have a large budget to spend on a UTV.

It is for this reason that we would recommend the Kawasaki Mule to most buyers. Even though we classify the Polaris Ranger as being technically better, the Kawasaki Mule offers great adult sizes and features at a lower cost, making it the better option for most users. The specs that come with the Kawasaki Mule will be more than enough for average drivers.

With this in mind, both the Polaris Ranger and Kawasaki Mule are great UTV brands. They have very many similar specs. Nevertheless, the Polaris Ranger is best as a high-performing or youth pick, whereas the Kawasaki Mule is the best all-around pick for regular buyers.