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Test report: Compact powerhouse Kubota KX085-5


Test report: Compact powerhouse Kubota KX085-5

The KX085-5 is the flagship model among Kubota crawler excavators. The machine is meant to be the successor to KX080-4a2, which has many satisfied users. The new machine is supposed to forget its predecessor with more advanced features, improved ergonomics and better performance. Going purely by design, even with a magnifying glass it becomes difficult to see the differences. Urgent changes were not necessary here either, given its still contemporary look. The test machine is equipped with an articulated boom, which brings the own weight to 9.172 kg, over 700 kg more than the boom version.

Two-piece hose design

The machine features an advanced boom design, characterized by professionally attached and well-protected hydraulic hoses. The hydraulic cylinder at the bottom of the boom is fitted with a sturdy protective plate, which prevents debris from sticking to the hydraulic rod. This design also includes quick connectors for additional functions and hose breakage protection on both the boom and arm, a standard but essential safety feature. The two-part hose construction is an innovation that significantly speeds up parts replacement, with a time saving of 60% compared to traditional designs. Furthermore, the machine is equipped with LED work lights that can remain on for 30 to 120 seconds after exiting, increasing safety when leaving the workplace in the dark.

Its powerful performance is evident, with a 3,331 cm³ four-cylinder diesel engine delivering 49 kW/66.6 hp at 2.000 rpm. Key components for checks are easily accessible, including the air filter and the particulate filter, which has a service interval of 6,000 hours. Regeneration of the particulate filter takes place automatically during normal operations.

In terms of design, the KX085 offers a surprising amount of space for a compact machine, with both comfort and placement of controls optimized.

Spacious cabin

The diesel tank, strategically placed behind a door in the left flank, has a capacity of 115 liters, allowing easy access for refilling - even with a jerry can. Although the standard refilling method is via a filling hose, the on/off switch for the filler pump is conveniently located above the tank.

A striking aspect of this machine is the significantly improved cab, equipped with a large, easy-to-read color LCD screen. The cab offers a surprising amount of space and comfort, comparable to the feeling of working on a much larger 24-tonne machine. The seat, air-sprung and adjustable in several ways, significantly increases comfort levels. Safety is also a priority, with a warning system that makes a piercing beep sound if the seat belt is not fastened. A conveniently placed phone holder and a nearby USB charging point underline the thoughtful design of the cabin.

Rotary selector switch

A notable feature is the adjustability of the joystick consoles, which can be adjusted independently, contributing to an ergonomic working position.

The joysticks are designed to provide a comfortable grip and are equipped with two proportionally controllable auxiliary functions, with oil supply and opening and closing of the return line easily controlled via the display. The machine is equipped with a two-speed crawler, to be activated via the lever in front of the dozer blade, which ensures optimal operation in different conditions.

The machine also features a 7-inch display with intuitive operation via a rotary knob placed near the right joystick. This screen makes it possible to set various machine functions, adjust working pressures, and provides instant insight into tasks performed. Moreover, the screen provides important information on maintenance intervals, contributing to the efficient maintenance and durability of the machine.

The machine's flexibility is further highlighted by its ability to carry out work both in close proximity and remotely, and even to a considerable height. The ability to dig vertically, combined with the advanced boom design, increases the machine's versatility and employability for a wide range of tasks

Overpressure filter

From the outset, it is noticeable that the machine has been designed with the user in mind, with visibility remaining excellent even in less than ideal weather conditions, such as rain, thanks to a large, easy-to-open windscreen. The sturdy construction also extends to the windscreen wiper, which offers a generous wiping area for clear visibility. Although the pressure relief filter, placed at the right rear, can restrict visibility somewhat due to its size - a necessary design for absorbing dust and toxic fumes - the standard rearview camera compensates for this by providing the driver with a clear view of the rear.

The machine shows its power and efficiency, especially noticeable when it operates in second gear, performing tasks such as sand shovelling with the dozer blade effortlessly. The design also emphasises the importance of durability and fuel efficiency; when the control levers are in neutral for more than four seconds, the engine automatically switches to idle, resulting in reduced fuel consumption. The eco mode option offers an additional way to save fuel, although at the expense of some power. However, this is not an obstacle for tasks where precision is more important than brute force, such as finishing, where the machine still performs excellently with lower consumption.

Long reach boom

It becomes clear that the Kubota is a true powerhouse, characterised by its ability to move large amounts of material smoothly and efficiently. The machine impresses with its ability to quickly fill the excavator bucket and unload the material with the same ease. This makes it particularly suitable for tasks such as loading dumpers, where the boom offers both extended reach and the ability to dig vertically. This versatile reach makes it easy to load a truck bucket full, while the crawler allows for fast movement at second speed, up to a maximum of 4.8 km/h, and unstoppable power when shovelling sand with the dozer blade.

With a width of only 220 cm in the cab and boom straight-ahead position, the KX085-5 proves itself to be a compact powerhouse. This relatively modest width is especially valuable on tight job sites, where every centimetre counts. The limited overhang at the rear of the machine minimises the space required for turning the superstructure, while the robust rear bumper, made of cast iron, is designed to take a beating. This detail highlights the machine's durability, even in the face of inevitable accidents on the job site.

Anti-theft and tracking system

Machines like the KX085-5 are equipped with advanced security systems to prevent theft, a necessity given their popularity not only among legitimate buyers. A prominent feature is the brand-specific anti-theft system, indicated by a sticker on the left side window. This system allows starting the machine only with a key pre-programmed specifically for that machine. Any attempt to start it with a false key or by other unconventional means is immediately met with a loud alarm signal, providing a clear warning against unauthorised entry attempts.

Furthermore, the Kubota Tracking System enhances security by continuously monitoring the machine's location, usage, and maintenance schedule. This technology not only provides an additional layer of security but also contributes to the efficient management of the machine over its lifetime.

After a comprehensive review of the machine and its features, the impression is positive: the machine is praised for its power, comprehensive equipment, and operator comfort. This makes the KX085-5 not only a robust and safe choice but also an enjoyable workplace.

This article is based on and adapted from an original publication by Bouwmachines.