A-Star for Hyundai’s A-Series

DiggerGirl reviews the Hyundai HX140AL

When it comes to the 14-tonne class of machine, Hyundai is all ‘The Digger Girl’ Amy Underwood has ever known. Having worked as an excavator operator for 11 years and as an ambassador for the brand, she recently got the opportunity to put the new Hyundai HX140AL to the test. This machine was launched by Hyundai in 2021, replacing the HX140LC on which she has worked in her father’s business, and before that, the 140L-9A, which Amy refers to as her “beloved machine”. So, let’s get into her review:

First impressions always count and this new Hyundai HX140AL is instantly more modern and the new colour scheme with the grey arm gives it a more robust feel; it’s a small change but with a big visual impact, writes Amy.

This model has an operating weight of 14,625kg, the boom is 4.6 metres, and this one has a longer dipper arm measuring three metres. Despite being a conventional tail swing model, its radius of 2345mm still makes it a compact machine.

Mine came on 700mm steel tracks which are 3.7 metres long; they had one carrier roller and seven track rollers each side. There’s also the option to have full track guards if you’re working on very soft ground.

All models in the A-Series range of excavators benefit from the latest cab, comfort and safety features. The cabin is larger, ideal place for spending a long shift in, and there is decent storage space, too. Safety wise, it’s all ROPS and FOG certified and can be spec’d with side protectors on the frame (not like I need them!) which help protect the cab from scrapes when in narrow places.

The lower door glass provides extra visibility from the seat. But not only that, the best feature for checking out your surroundings is what Hyundai calls ‘AAVM’ –a camera system with all-around view monitoring. This gives a 360° birds-eye view around the machine and works using AI to track moving objects like people and machines. When the system is active, if a person is within the 5m of the machine, an alarm will sound – this makes things much safer, but the beeping does start to get annoying if there is a lot of movement around your machine.

There are four cameras integrated into the machine. You can choose between 10 different view angles, picking from each camera individually or viewing four of them side-by-side. The seat has air suspension and heated – it’s a comfy one but the massive thick seat cover I have on my old machine has spoiled me, so is something I’d like to get for this new one to make it extra spongy!

The 8” touchscreen is easy to use and personalise. Bluetooth is great and so is the position of the radio. The joysticks feel great and the pedals are nice and wide (plus you can use only one pedal to travel straight).

Not only is it more powerful, but it’s also more fuel efficient and has lower running costs…

This HX140AL has a Stage V Cummins engine, without EGR which is a bonus. Looking at the stats in the brochure here, it has 3% more power (at 100kW) and 12% more peak torque than the old model, and I can really tell the difference! Not only is it more powerful, but it’s also more efficient with a 5-7% fuel consumption improvement, reducing my running costs. An Automatic Engine Shutdown reduces idle time and therefore fuel consumption again. 

As someone who likes to look after their machine, another nice feature available is the engine pre-heater option, which allows you to pre-heat the engine coolant before starting on these cold Scottish mornings!

A dedicated lifting mode makes the control and capability better when lifting by reducing RPM, activating a power boost, and dedicated pump flow control. Personalised profiles even remember your favourite machine settings like boom, dipper, and swing speeds.  

This machine was super easy to maintain, with ease of access to the engine bay and filters. You can change the fuel and air filter and access the lube fittings and master switches from ground level. Access to the top of the cab is also easy thanks to wide steps with a grippy surface, plus the’ boxing ring’ rails.

Refuelling was really quick and convenient thanks to the fuel filler pump which has a helpful automatic stop. It reaches to ground level so I don’t have to haul the jerry cans up to the top or even the tracks. The service intervals are now 1,000 hours, though you should get a 100 hour service check done as a one-off when you’ve got a new machine like this one, which became due just as I was giving it back.

You can access lots of useful telemetry data using the Hi MATE app. It provides real-time information to help monitor the machine’s health, activity, maintenance, and security. If you had more than one machine, no worries as this app can save every suitable machine from your fleet to show live location, daily reports and geo-fencing.

So what did I get up to with this Hyundai? Well, the machine was put to some hard graft as it arrived at a time when I was really needing a machine of this size. We have a big job on an old sawmill which has been derelict for years and has been purchased to build new houses. Five houses are already complete on this land, so now we are ripping up the rest of the concrete to make another five.

We used the new HX140AL paired with a breaker, working alongside my old Hyundai machine fitted with an MB crusher bucket, to break up concrete and re-used the material for haul roads and hard-standing areas. Some days, I would break concrete with this machine for a full 8-hour shift. Other days, I would move all of this concrete using a standard bucket, loading it into a dumper to take down to the other machine operating the crusher bucket.

Put simply, it’s just a better machine than my old one, as you’d expect! It’s more powerful, smoother on the hydraulics, better on fuel use. I love the camera system and it’s hard to get back into my old machine and miss those.

I’ve always had a thing for the Hyundai machines and I would swap mine for this new model in a heartbeat. The back-up we get from Molson Group (who we got our old machine from) is second to none and the particular engineer who we call knows these machines inside out with no need to look in a manual!

Hyundai – if you’re reading this – there’s no need to take this one away from me!