Dash Five Is Live!

The Digger Girl’s Review go the new Kubota KX85-5

When I pulled up at this year’s PlantWorx show, where I had my own stand for the first time, you’d think I would be getting straight into setting up. I wasn’t. Instead, I went to hunt out the new 8-tonne Kubota. If you know of me from social media, then you’ll know the KX080-4 is my main machine and that I think it’s the best mini money can buy. This show was the first public launch of the updated -5 model and I just had to see whether this might be a worthy replacement for my own. 

First impression was great. I could see things I liked right away, such as the upgraded cab interior, the guarded LED work lights and a new neat-and-tidy protected rear camera. Someone from Kubota walked me around and reeled off all the upgrades, which I documented on my YouTube channel. Once we’d finished, I joked that I may have to blag a demo…well a few weeks later, they made my wish a reality. This is my review of the new Kubota KX85-5.

Firstly, owning a smaller -5 model in the shape of a 6-tonner, I was familiar with the layout inside. This was nice as I could get straight into operating as normal. And even better, like my own 8-tonne machine, this has a Rototilt fitted. In fact, this tilt rotator was the upgraded version with quick-change hydraulics and came with extra attachments like a wacker plate. This set-up was one I have been eager to try for some time as I have the older tilt rotator model. The fact it came with a red one was a relief as that’s definitely my chosen brand, and interestingly the only one (I believe…) to be warrantied for use with a breaker, which to me shows how much faith they have in the reliability and robust design.

The supplied machine came on standard rubber tracks which was a variation from the wider metal ones we always choose for our Scottish hillside sites, though honestly it never caused us an issue during the time we had it.

It also had some other tech gadgets like the iDig machine control system which I don’t use in my jobs and in my opinion the screen got in the way a bit, maybe better positioning in the future may help,  And a smaller monitor for the Rototilt, down the right side near my arm, which you need if you opt for the tilty. 

As far as refinement goes, the rear camera is now properly housed and integrated instead of being stuck on the back. As you lift the lid on the rear, everything is to hand like your oils and filters. There’s no messing around to get what you need. In the side panel, everything is the same as the old model. The air-con is one thing I’d hoped may be moved or improved because it’s on the top right next to the cab – sadly it’s the same still, and a bit noisy. What I would say though, is the overall noise has been vastly reduced as the hydraulics whine a lot less than the -4.

Telematics are so useful from this machine. If it’s sitting idle, the battery is draining, the ignition is on for too long…we get an email and we can sort it. This is also great for theft. And on theft, the keys are coded so this means only the exact keys you’re given with the machine will start it up. Safe, but expensive if you lose them! However, much less expensive than having your machine lifted…

 New work lights are diffused so your banksmen won’t be dazzled but they are very good and bright – a big improvement.

Most of the big changes are inside the cab which let’s be honest, is what us ops care about the most! The new 7-inch colour screen is brilliant. Nice and bright, integrated with the rear camera and takes up less space than having a separate monitor. The whole thing is tidier with lots of storage space; a big juice holder, phone holder and two hooks for coats and bags. And on the topic of storage, there is a brilliant little storage hatch on the from just under the cab for a grease gun. What a great little add-on which avoids bringing a dirty gun into the cab with you.

The comfy air suspended seat which moves two ways – the seat itself moves but so does the whole unit, great for those with little legs (guilty). The radio is in a much better place to adjust now and the air-con is 20% more powerful than the old model.  

I was so surprised at how you couldn’t feel the Rototilt on the end. There was no nod at all – a game changer. It’s sop steady that we had it up a bank with logs in the grab and I can’t describe how good and smooth everything was.

When I got to the end of my YouTube review, I realised I hadn’t said anything bad about it…looking for something to pick at, the radio kept going off…I had by USB plugged in but it would keep dropping out. Maybe a dodgy USB port in this specific machine, and I am sure a dealer would sort it if it was my own machine.

This set up is one I simply don’t want to give back. It is a massive improvement over my current machine although its similar looks can be deceiving.Hand on heart, this is one of the best machines I have ever operated. Mine isn’t due to be changed as I’ve only had it for 2 years, but I would not turn down a good deal on one, put it that way!

For those who think I could be jumping to conclusions, I had this machine for 3 weeks and I spent 95% of that time solely on this digger. It was used to complete a variety of jobs across multiple sites.

Thank you so much to Kubota for giving me the first long-term demo of this latest model and to Awesome Earthmovers for allowing me to share my review with you all. I’m Amy Underwood, The Digger Girl, over and out!