With a brand new Kubota on the market, Chris Parkin attended the launch to get to grips with the RTV-X900, a significant improvement on the popular older model
Stoneleigh in Warwickshire was the venue for the press introduction to try out the Kubota RTV-X900 and it’s set to bring new performance levels to the market! The old model was a top performer yet the new RTV-X900 has improved upon it in nearly every way. Still using the reliable three cylinder 898cc
diesel engine, virtually all physical dimensions and capacities have been increased to allow greater user comfort within the cab alongside more towing, tipping capacity and better off-road comfort and performance. Variable hydraulic transmission (VHT-X) is one of Kubota’s specialties and has been uprated with a wider torque band from the engine with larger oil coolers to boost performance and durability. The wider torque band allows a more efficient two speed (rather than three) drive which coupled to the VHT-X, gives very fine throttle control for extreme low speed control precision, especially on severe terrain or with delicate or heavy cargo aboard. Under the bonnet, better ergonomics have been supplied with high mounted air intake and radiator to avoid water ingress, also allowing much easier access to the 20 per cent larger radiator for maintenance behind a fine pitched, easily removable primary dust/mud filter.
All four corners now show fully independent double wishbone suspension giving eight inch (203mm) of coil sprung travel that can be pre-load adjusted with a supplied C wrench to suit the desired cargo mass and ride comfort. This all bolts to a welded tubular chassis engineered to dampen vibration and assure years of harsh off road performance while heavily loaded up. Anti-roll bars make on-road use very civilised too, with stable, progressive body roll. Up to 10.4 inch (264mm) of ground clearance surpasses many competitors and the underside of the vehicle has all mechanics protected beneath heavy duty skid plates. Drive is now transmitted via fully sealed CV joints for long term durability in the expected harsh conditions they will encounter, tow hitches can be added front and rear.
Kubota’s unique dynamic braking provides additional stopping power and greater driving control on descents and is a key feature of the range, especially with heavier loads. The limited-slip front differential and locking rear differential give true four wheel drive without wheelspin and the diff locking pedal is behind the drivers left heel for fast application. Loading and unloading of the 15.2 cubic foot cargo bed is physically easier and faster with a full hydraulic tipping system included, operable from the driving seat.
“The external bodywork styling has been streamlined for a more modern, less boxy look”
Some of the biggest changes on the RTV-X900 have been made inside the cab, with 60:40 split-bench seating and more space in all directions. Hydraulic power steering allows the steering input effort to be the lowest in class with less than 1kg force required, even stationary from lock to lock. The parking brake is situated to the left of the adjustable steering wheel with the gearshift to the right above the central
LCD instrumentation, ignition and single 12v DV power outlet. The seats flip forward to reveal generous storage compartments below and there is a small glove box on the passenger side. Bars to either side of the cab-seat ensure lateral seating security alongside lap belts with grab handles on the ROPS frame, assisting fast entry and exit from the wide doorframes. Legroom is generous with plenty of space in the footwells for booted feet. The external bodywork styling has been streamlined for a more modern, less boxy look and perhaps most importantly, the mudguards and wheel arches both up front and under the loadbed to the rear, really do prevent mud splashing the sides/cab of the vehicle and filling up the electrics and mechanics below the tipper.