Kubota has had a strong presence in the UTV market for several years with their X Series machines. They offer a relatively unique design with diesel engines mated to hydrostatic transmissions. That package has earned them reputations as sturdy workhorses, but for those buyers who also want something a little sporty to mix business with pleasure, the X Series didn’t really fit the bill.
Now, the brand has decided to tap into that broader segment of the UTV market with an all-new machine, the RTV-XG850 Sidekick, which offers a sportier package built on Kubota’s original chassis. So the brand now has a machine that will play on Sunday and work on Monday.
“We took a look at the market and what we were missing in other areas we didn’t currently sell into,” says Chris Isaac, Kubota’s product specialist. “One of the reasons we went to this new design was to get those higher speeds and quicker acceleration. It was kind of an untapped market for us, a different segment. So we wanted to add that to the current market offering at Kubota.”
Of course, the brand will also continue offering the existing X Series, but it expects to attract a new kind of buyer with the XG850.
“There’s one unit with the same specs across the board but with 24 different configurations dealers can order,” he adds. It’s the same size chassis as the X Series, but with a model that has a little higher top speed and faster acceleration with a CVT transmission and gas engine.”
To get that speed, the new machine uses an 851cc, 48 horsepower gas power plant that was the result of design collaboration between Kubota and carmaker Subaru. Coupled to a CVT drive, rather than the hydrostatic transmission used on the X models, it will accelerate the XG850 up to 64 km/h, which is significantly faster than the top speed of the Xs.
“Our X Series have around 40 km/h (top speed) range and with the hydrostat have the same continual acceleration and deceleration as a compact tractor HST,” says Isaac. “This one (the XG850) is similar to the other major competitors on the market with the CVT design. It’s a bit peppier on the pedal, and it doesn’t decelerate like the X Series we have.
That rapid deceleration when the operator takes his or her foot off the throttle is unique to the X models and takes some getting used to. And while the XG850 with its CVT transmission doesn’t behave that way, Isaac says the new model does offer some engine braking to make for more stable downhill operation.
“We’ve integrated some CVT and engine braking, so if you get on a downslope, the engine and CVT hold it better than typical CVTs,” he says.
For safety the XG850 gets electric power steering that’s speed sensitive. Safety was a key component when designing these units, says Isaac.
And without the heavier diesel engine and hydrostatic transmissions used in the RTX Series, the XG850 tips the scale at a much lighter weight.
“We’re almost 300 pounds lighter than the comparable X Series chassis,” he says. “It’s not from a lack of a robust frame, it’s mainly because the hydrostatic transmission and the diesel engine added extra weight in the X Series.”
The XG850 gets at 2,000-pound (907 kilogram) towing rating (on level ground) and a payload capacity of 1,435 pounds (651 kilograms).
MSRP for the RTV-XG850 will start at around $16,500 for the base model, working up to about $18,500 for the special edition, black model with extra features.
The new model will begin arriving on dealer lots through the late spring and summer.