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Safe and sound – Kubota’s new utility vehicle

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With the increasing emphasis on occupational health and safety issues, the release of Kubota‘s new RTV900 utility vehicle is certain to be well received by both individual and corporate buyers.

The entire design process employed on the four wheel drive RTV900 was based as much on safe operation as on performance. The efforts have produced a benchmark utility vehicle with integrated safety features including a robust OSHA approved 4 post rollover protection structure and a variable hydrostatic transmission.

While many utility vehicles are produced by manufacturers’ of all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) the RTV900 is produced by Kubota, a manufacturer with vast experience developing machines for use in punishing conditions. This experience has led Kubota engineers to utilise their acquired knowledge of hydrostatic transmissions and produce a transmission specifically for the RTV900.

Not only does RTV900 transmission cope with sudden changes in load to successfully negotiate slopes, it has an in built braking function so the transmission never reaches a free wheel situation, a remarkable safety advantage in its own right. Unlike conventional utility vehicles with a dry, belt type transmission, the RTV900 does not have to rely on the operator using the brakes in conjunction with the accelerator when attempting to reduce speed when travelling downhill.

The RTV900 transmission has three ranges selected via a dash mounted lever, with a top speed of 40 km/h in high range.

Powered by a 20.6 horsepower liquid cooled 3 cylinder diesel engine, the RTV900 has a definitive advantage over petrol powered units. The durable D902 engine features Kubota’s unique three vortex combustion system, which reduces noise, vibration and fuel consumption while increasing power and engine torque, a decided advantage when transporting heavy loads.

Fitted with a 500 kg capacity cargo bed, the RTV900 has hydraulic tipping as standard and not as a $2,000 option. Loads such as sand can be easily removed without the need to manually tip or shovel by hand. The heavy duty front bumper, roof, glove box, headlights and indicators are all standard on the RTV900.

Durable wet disc brakes fitted to each wheel to facilitate efficient braking while fully independent suspension supports the front axle and semi independent suspension supports the rear for a smooth ride and superior traction. Ground clearance of 18.8cm combined with wide tread tyres and a long wheelbase also enhances traction and stability.

Operating the RTV900 is easy. All levers and controls are ergonomically positioned and the hydrostatic power steering is superior to the rack and pinion type found on most utility vehicles. Manoeuvring in tight places is therefore achieved with a minimum of effort. A bench seat with seatbelt affords plenty of room for two people and unlike all terrain vehicles (ATV’s), the RTV900 can be operated without reliance on the operator’s ability to transfer his/her weight while cornering. A 30 litre fuel tank extends operating hours reducing the need for re fuelling stops.

Ordered with either turf or off road tyres the RTV900 suits a wide variety of applications including farm, vineyard, grazing, golf course, nursery, civil engineering etc and is the ideal replacement for those consumers currently using an ATV in conditions better suited to a heavy duty utility vehicle.

Kubota Australia has selected a number of strategically located dealers to sell and service the RTV900 throughout Australia, and if the North American experience is any indication, these dealers will be busy, quickly. In the United States, the total market for utility vehicles is estimated to be close to 200,000 units per year (and growing) with the American Kubota dealers ordering over 14,000 units at the RTV900 launch in Salt Lake City.

There is no doubt the trend to utility vehicles will continue to grow in Australia. In fact, initial demand has been so strong the first shipment of RTV900’s has sold out and customers are now being allocated machines as they arrive in the country.

The Kubota RTV900 offers consumers a high level of safety and performance well above ATV’s and conventional two wheel drive petrol powered utility vehicles.

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