Messick’s Review of the Kubota RTV X1100 Utility Vehicle

Messick’s Review of the Kubota RTV X1100 Utility Vehicle

[music] Neil from Messick’s here with
the new Kubota RTV X1100. Kubota has been the leader in
the diesel utility vehicle space here for nearly ten 10 years, commanding a vast majority
of the market. This machine is a lot
different than a lot of the other machines that
you’ll find out there, and Kubota has made a
lot of improvements for this latest iteration
of this machine. Let’s take a quick look.
What makes a Kubota RTV different from other utility vehicles
that you find on the market? Kubota puts a lot of
tractor technology in these machines. The RTV 500, 900, 1100, and 1120
all use hydrostatic transmissions as opposed to a belt drive CVT or
centrifugal clutch which is typically what you find in golf carts
and four-wheelers. Kubota looked at this application
and thought these are heavy duty applications, so let’s put heavy-duty
tractor technology into these machines
and so that’s what we have. When you look at
the features, the benefits, the operational characteristics
of these machines, they’re just like tractors. In the case of this one that
we’re standing by right here, the RTV 1100, this with
the heat in the air conditioning as well as the RTV 1120,
both use the larger D1105 engine for just under 26 horsepower. The RTV 900 is 23 horsepower
and thus runs about five miles per hour
slower on the top end. The RTV 500 is a smaller
framed gas machine, all of which share
a hydrostatic rear end, which is an important
feature to these machines. What the hydrostatic gives you is a tractor-like behavior
when you go on and off the gas. So when you step on
the gas, the machine will go; when you take your foot off
the gas, the machine stops. A centrifugal clutch-based machine would freewheel and coast
where this does not. The nice thing about that
is if you’re going down hills, or you have a 1,500-pound load
in the back of this thing, or you are pulling a heavy trailer,
the loads won’t push you around. When you stop, the machine
will stop, just like a tractor does. When the early generations of
these machines came out, there were some complaints about it
because the stop was really abrupt. As Kubota has gone through iterations
and improvements to these machines, the stop is a little bit more
gradual and predictable now and less harsh than
it had been in early versions. This latest version of the RTV
features a new suspension system. The original version
that we had out, the original RTV series,
had a fixed axle on the back. Not a bad design;
a very heavy-duty design, but not the best riding design. This latest version
here in the X series, Kubota has improved
upon that and fitted an independent suspension
to the rear end. You can see right here in the back, there’s a large adjustable
coil-over shock that is on both sides
of the machine. Also in here are improved U-joints. The older series RTVs
when you start to hit around the 1,500-hour mark, oftentimes, we’d see guys having to
make repairs and stuff to some of the U-joints in here. This later series has
an upgraded and updated design that does not suffer that same flow. Hopefully, we should see years of problem-free service
out of these machines. We’re sitting here in RTV 1100. The 1100 is the cabbed version
of these machines. One unique thing about this
cab is that it is one of the only utility vehicles
with a true factory cab. If you look here, the frame of
the machine is a unibody design, and when you close those doors,
they’re nice and tight. It is a cab that
is made for the machine. Most of the other competitors in
this space will use a bolt one cab. Bolt one cabs tend to rattle
and make quite a bit of noise. They don’t fit nearly as nice,
the doors don’t close as tightly. This is a new automotive quality,
so when you close the doors, it’s nice and tight,
and it’s a nice sealed cab. We do have bolt one cabs as well
on our lower serious machines, we hardly use them anymore. We take a base RTV 900,
bolt a cab on, you’re nearly within
a $1,000 of this, which is just a much nicer machine
as far as fit and finish goes. This is a machine that has both
heat and air conditioning in it, which is what you’re used to
as far as automotive style, speed controls,
and temperature selections, the ability to recycle inside air
or bring in fresh outside air. It’s just a nice efficient
air conditioning system. The one frustration that
we do sometimes have with these integrated cab systems
is the doors don’t come off. So in the summertime,
it’s not a case where you can just simply remove
the doors from the machine, but Kubota does give you windows that will roll up and roll down
just like your truck. It does keep the interior clean. One issue we do is see
when the doors come off is just the inside of
the machine tends to accumulate dust and that kind of stuff. Keeping the cab on does help keep
the machine in a nicer condition. They have a new digital dash
down here that will give you a miles per hour read out
along with some idiot lights to give you some simple indicators
of what’s going on in the machine. These are two or four
final compliance so there is no need for
this diesel particulate filter or any of those emissions systems
in this horsepower class. It’s a simple small diesel engine just like you’re used to
from any other machine. Another improvement that Kubota
made in the X series here over the other RTVs
are the shifting is now a little bit easier than
it had been in the past. When you depress the brake,
it releases all the pressure from the transmission making
this easier to shift. There’s also two ranges now
while the old RTV series had three. They were able to get rid of
the middle range by matching the torque demand of
the transmission and the torque supply of
the engine closer to one another. It’s less shifting heating down here,
you’ll pick up, and get up, and go. Feels a little bit more snappy
and a little bit faster just because the power of the engine
and demand of the transmission match each other much better. Kubota has a good supply of
accessories and aftermarket items available for the RTVs from
tire options, rims, work lights, bed liners, mirrors
and CV guards, mudflaps. The list goes on and on. Being one of the most popular
utility vehicles, there’s good aftermarket support
for these as well. On our website,
Kubota’s Orange Aftermarket, you’ll find a lot of
accessories for the RTVs as well as from
other companies as well. You’ll notice here, this unit
is fitted with a Boss snow plow. Kubota offers two of their
own snow plow options, and we do a lot with the Boss line. Our preference for these
really comes in that this is a little bit
easier piece to install. Kubota’s large plow options
are pretty complex, require some additional
hydraulic pumps, and these are really cost effective
and very, very well built. We think very highly of this
and Kubota’s V-plow and straight plow options
are pretty good as well. [machine starts] All right. Operationally
here when we want to run one of these machines around, we have a couple of
things here on the dash. There’s a tilt steering wheel
so we can lower the steering wheel down
to a comfortable angle, parking brake over here in the side, and a range selector here
on the orange handle. We’ll release the parking brake by pushing the button
and letting that go forward. Then move this off
in the high range. Once we’re there,
we step on the gas and off we go. The larger RTVs all have
power steering on it, so there’s very little
steering effort that it takes here in order to
straighten the machine out. You notice here too that
we talked about this being an integrated cab and not
an aftermarket thought, so the amount of noise
that’s in here is really quite low. I mean, easy to have
a conversation with somebody, and you don’t need to shout or wear
earmuffs or anything because of the reverberation that happens
inside of a loosely filled cab. You can see the nose of
that snowplow sticking up to — One of the nice things that
Boss has in this design is a lot of clearance in the front. If you need to pull this up
onto a trailer or something, the plow won’t bottom out
when your trailers are pulling up. See here on the snow plow, Boss has a little controller
inside the cab. If we want to fold our wings
out there to the side, to sweep to one side or bring them
both forward in order to collect the pile of snow, it’s right
there on your controller for how you want to
move the wings around. That V-plow option is only about $800
more than what the Straight plow is. If you look at the cost, the V-plows
are typically really costly, and that 800 bucks is one of the cheapest
V-plows that’s available. We do pride ourselves in giving
a fair and honest assessment of the equipment,
and no machine can be perfect. There are two shortcomings
that we could really come up with when we’re talking about
the RTV Series. First can be that
hydrostatic transmission. While it has a lot of pulling power, there are times that
it doesn’t feel like it is a gutsy, fast,
fly-around-type design as what some of the other higher
speed gas utility vehicles are. If you want to go out
and blast through trails go 50 miles an hour down the road,
these are not the machines for you. This is a machine that’s really
geared more towards work and heavy duty applications for
hauling loads at moderate speeds. 25 miles an hour in one of these
things oftentimes feels plenty fast. It feels a lot faster
than what it sounds like. But if you’re looking to
go blasting up a hill at your hunting camp
to go chase down deers and keep up with your friends, this is not the machine that
you’ll be wanting to look at. Another shortcoming that
we can come up with too here in the X series is Kubota
really did a lot to increase the cooling capacity
of this machine. And if you look down here
underneath the hood, there’s a radiator for an engine,
but there’s actually two radiators for the transmission,
a large one here in the front and another one around the side. While it’s great at dissipating heat,
the one downside to that is that in the winter time when it’s cold, this thing does take
a couple of minutes to warm up. If it’s near zero degrees outside
like it gets here periodically and you hop in there
and kick the thing off and go, you won’t get a whole lot
beyond 10-12 miles an hour until the hydraulic fluid
starts to warm up and the thing is able to
pick up speed and go. You’d find exactly the same behavior from a tractor’s hydrostatic. That pump just can’t
pump fluid efficiently when it’s cold and thick,
and so it does need to warm up. And with two large radiators
in this machines, that can take some time. So if you keep those
two caveats in mind, these are absolutely
outstanding utility vehicles. We here at Messick’s sell one of
these things every four days. They’re very, very well
accepted among our customers and very, very prominent in
the marketplace for good reason. Kubota has built an absolutely
outstanding utility vehicle that really no company has been able
to deliver at this price point. If you have any needs for
a machine like this, then we can help you out. Stop by any of our stores,
visit us at, or call us at 800-222-3373. Thank you. [music]

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Great review! You touched on it a bit but didn't give a definite answer. Are the doors removable? I doubt I would want them off, but just in case… I could handle releasing the gas springs and a few bolts.

  2. I know I'm not in the same area as you, but theoretically, if I put the boss plow on after I put a winch on, would it work? Could I have a winch behind the boss plow during the winter?

  3. We have a 1100 at my work, just had a recall on the rear knuckles. The thing is awesome, it's great the heat and air conditioning is awesome. Although it does have some issues, the main one I have is that it's under powered. I can load one scoop with a 36" bucket with our backhoe and it significantly hinders the power and makes it struggle, it will still do it and it will handle more but it needs more power, sometimes I feel like on a incline with a trailer and a load in the bed that it's going to come to a stop and not be able to power through it and we don't have time to drive around in low range all day. Also the the parking brake knob comes loose and comes off and spins around also and replacing it only fixes it for about a month. Also the shifter is awful, even if you have the brake to the floor it is still a pain in the butt, sometimes you cannot get it in drive without backing up and trying again. Other than that it's pretty good, comfortable, newt works good along with the AC, handles well. We also have 3 other rtv 900's that get used and abused everyday and they still get the job done.

  4. was at my local Kubota dealer a cattle farmer was getting his 2014 x1100c serviced wow , he has over 4000 hours on it ! now that says something about the longevity of these !!!!!!!

  5. Who finds their self randomly singing the Messick's intro song during the day? "Messick's, a helping hand with your land." That's when you know you've watched almost all their videos.

  6. A very nice, in-depth review! This was one of the videos that helped my department decide to purchase the Kubota over the other competition. Not to mention other departments (especially Grounds Dept) already have several of these across the campus.

  7. we have 15 of these at the railroad. loaded with 1100 lbs of tools and equipment run 24/7/365. several are over 11k hours with routine maint. We've tried the Polaris Brutus…absolute junk. The RTV's arent sport machines but damn these are like 1/2 ton trucks go through 2' of snow in 2wd no problem. 4×4 they are unstoppable!

  8. Love those hydrostatic translations we have a jd with a cvt and it all way needs tending to the of these kubota sounds great

  9. @ Messicks I used to sell commercial trucks and my biggest frustration was two main issues. Different states had different fee structures and permissions and different states had different rules on advertising of destination charges from the manufacturer. For example, here in PA there wasn't a whole lot to hide and the "document" fee was capped by law at $135, however, down in VA the doc fee was often $599 and destination charge was not required to be part of the advertised price (around $1300 for a truck). Do you guys see the same challenges in equipment or is it less confusing for customers? I've never bought new equipment that was expensive enough to look into this.

  10. Hey Neil! Another great video! I was wondering if there are allot of change in the RTV 1100 from this 2015 to the 2018

  11. What the track versions? I've heard the tracks are too much for the engine to push the machine. And the gearing is too weak to push the tracks as well.

  12. What is the top speed on the one you are using in this video? Does the air get cold when it's 95 outside? Does it have wipers?

  13. Centrifugal clutch machine will not necessarily freewheel, it all depends on the machine, like Yamaha's Ultramatic CVT, it has a oneway clutch which keeps the belt tensioned all the time giving you actual engine braking, so it don't freewheel. While, Yamaha's CVT freewheels when you let off the throttle. So not all machines are the same, they will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

  14. I just bought a new RTV 1100. I agree that it seems very heavy duty. However, the machine is severely under powered. When the AC is on even in low gear, it can barely climb a grade. That and the hard shifting are my two biggest complaints.

  15. Im thinking about getting one of these for commercial snow removal. How well do you think it will hold up with employee usage and constant forward/reverse. You say they are sluggish when its cold, meaning under powered or slow speeds. Or does that go away when they warm up ?

  16. when you said you sell one very 4 days made me think of other other day when i was joking with my local kubota dealer i told him he should change the tractor in his name to rtv. Because it seems he moves more of them then tractors he always has 4-6 waiting to be delivered.

  17. I’m really kinda disappointed that the boss UTV V plow will not quick hitch onto my B2650 the way it is set up from the design I really wanted one for next year. I really wish it had an adapter that would fit into the same B2714C front male implement coupler like the straight blade or the snow blower I have on the tractor Now that Kubota offers.

    But my dealer couldn’t help me out and said what I was trying to do is impossible!!! Nothing is impossible it just takes some more time to figure it out.

  18. Any talks of kubota getting more power into these maybe raising speeds to 35-40mph? Or better yet offer their other model with two rows of seating instead of one

  19. I have a new RTV 100 and will not go up a steep hill, they have been out and confirmed that all systems are set to
    factory settings, going up a hill, the response is that you have to back off to half to 3/4 throttle to go up the hill told him that they should point that out as that is not acceptable

  20. thanks for the reply, they should really have a disclaimer on this, had a 2012 with no problem it can be a little embarrassing when I have guests showing them around

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