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A Diesel with Power Attachments

12/18/2013 @ 12:48pm

The utility vehicle market has a wide spectrum of machines from pure sport to hardcore utility. With a diesel engine, hydrostatic transmission, hydraulically powered accessories, and a large cargo capacity, the Kubota RTV X900 falls at the far end of the utility range.


“The hydrostatic transmission, coupled with a significantly higher empty weight than competing machines, means that the RTV is not going to win any performance events,” says John Lumkes, Ag Engineering Professor at Purdue University. “However, when it comes to ease of driving, powering hydraulic accessories, and having built in-engine braking, the hydrostatic has some benefits.

“Kubota also relies on a hydraulic power steering system to complement the hydrostatic transmission hydraulics already in place,” adds Lumkes. “Having an existing hydraulic system allows for a hydraulic PTO connection and there are many optional hydraulically powered accessories for the Kubota.”

The hydrostatic transmission was also a win on hills. “I liked the hydrostatic on a steep downhill grade,” says Mick Frazier, evaluator at Little Goose Ranch. “I hardly had to touch on the brakes.” “This machine has amazing downhill control,” says Laurie Bedord, Successful Farming magazine. “I had a rough time on the inclines, it just doesn’t have the power to go uphill. The Kubota is a good machine for more even terrain.”

Favorite Features

Evaluators were impressed with the machine’s load carrying capabilities. “The suspension handled the load very well,” says Lumkes. “While slower with a load, steering and maneuverability are still very responsive,” adds Frazier.

Bedord appreciated the creature comforts and innovative features on the cargo box. “I love that the driver seat adjusts and that the steering wheel tilts,” she says. “The bars on the side openings were helpful getting in and out. The Kubota has a horn, which is a nice feature.” Bedord explains some of the cargo box features, “I like the tie downs in the cargo box. The cargo lift seems a bit awkward with the lift having to be held in place with lock out on cylinder lift assist. However, this is a great added safety measure when accessing the engine.”


Evaluators rated each machine on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 as the best rating) on 12 performance criteria. The machines were evaluated unloaded and loaded by each evaluator.


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