Compact telehandler is a new option for UK farmers

Kubota displayed its KTH4815-2 4.8m, 1.5t compact telehandler for the first time at the LAMMA show in January this year. Customer and dealer deliveries start this month, so David Williams has been putting the new model through its paces.

Kubota telehandler

The KTH4815-2, developed by Kubota in partnership with Tobroco, is included in a limited range of products designated CE Lite, which are available through both Kubota’s groundcare and agricultural dealers, explained UK marketing manager, Rob Edwards at the exclusive press test event which took place on an Oxfordshire dairy farm in late March.

Four versions

The KTH4815-2 is available in four versions, all just 1.6m wide and under 2m high. Buyers can choose between:

Table of specifications for Kubota KTH4815-2
  • A Lightweight Canopy model with an unladen weight of just 2,950kg making it easy to move between sites by trailer and pick-up;
  • Standard models which come with either a fully enclosed cab or canopy;
  • Hi Spec Deluxe versions come with a more generously equipped cab and a premium hydraulic and transmission specification.

The Lightweight and Standard canopy models include a curved front screen, plus back and side windows. Standard cab variants and the Hi Spec Deluxe feature fully glazed cabs including a two-piece split door and  an opening rear window.

The top Hi Spec Deluxe specification includes air conditioning and an air suspension seat, a full LED lighting kit, front axle differential lock and twin auxiliary hydraulic attachment circuits. Both Standard and Hi Spec Deluxe models also have wide 31/15.5-15 cleated wheels and tyres as standard.

Efficient, economical engine

Power is from a Kubota D1803 1,800cc, 3cyl diesel engine meeting Stage 5 emissions standards and developing 50hp at 2,700rpm. Transversely mounted, the compact engine is easy to service, with superb access for cleaning, and for checking and changing lubricants and filters. Kubota product manager – construction, Gordon Smith explained that a DOC and DPF are used to control emissions, and the DPF has a service interval of 6,000 hours. Regeneration frequency is reduced compared to Kubota’s earlier systems and can take place at much lower revs.

Hydrostatic drive

Kubota telehandler
Kubota’s new handler is just 1.6m wide and less than 2m high and offers an external turning radius of just 2.7m, but it is capable of lifting loads up to 1.5t to 4.8m and provides up to 51-litres/min hydraulic oil flow to power auxiliary attachments.

Hydrostatic drive is through a Bosch Rexroth hydraulic motor and there are two operating speed ranges – 0–7kph and 0–25kph. Permanent 4wd is standard, through 8t-rated Carraro axles linked by mechanical shafts. A front axle diff lock is available to maximise traction. Inboard, fully enclosed multidisc brakes are fully protected from dirt, and an external mechanical disc brake secures the machine when it is parked.


Like most larger handlers, the flagship Kubota Hi Spec Deluxe also offers a choice of three steering modes. The standard four-wheel steering provides an impressive 2.7m external turning radius, and two-wheel and crab steering are selectable from the seat.

Impressive hydraulics

Hydraulic performance is impressive for such a compact machine. The main pump produces up to 81-litres/min, and an auxiliary attachment circuit is standard with up to 51-litres/min flow at 210 Bar pressure. The top Deluxe version comes with two auxiliary circuits with proportional controls, electronic flow control and a memory function.

Kubota telehandler
Access for servicing the Kubota 3cyl, 50hp engine is very good. Service intervals are every 500 hours.

EN15000 stability monitoring utilises a rear axle sensor. When an overload occurs then the hydraulic system locks out, but Kubota’s Load Control system allows the operator to activate an override switch on the dashboard, then all boom and attachment functions can be operated for up to eight seconds. “It’s a really useful feature,” explained Rob Edwards. “When reaching over the sides of trailers, if safe load limits are exceeded, then systems that only allow the boom to lower or retract can’t solve the problem. Kubota’s solution also allows operators to cautiously lift the boom and attachment clear of the trailer side and then retract and lower it – it’s safe and practical in a working environment.”

A Euro-hitch mounting bracket is standard, although alternatives will be offered in future. Attachments are easily swapped from the cab as hydraulic activated locking pins are included. A rear hitch is provided, and all models except the Lightweight Canopy version feature a heavy-duty cast hitch integrated within the 170kg rear counterweight.

Safety and security

Kubota’s Load Control system, meeting EN15000 requirements, provides load monitoring through  a clear gauge in the top-right hand corner of the cab. Hose burst check valves are standard on all loader rams.

Customers will also appreciate key code security which relies on the correct keys being used before the machine will start. A locking diesel cap is standard, and a reverse alarm and a folding LED beacon are supplied.

Test drive

The test machine was the only one of its type in the UK at that time, and although the equipment level was otherwise similar to what will be offered as the Hi Spec Deluxe UK version, it lacked LED lights and an air-suspension seat. All full cab versions in the UK will include three work lights, side view mirrors, a cab heater with three vents above the dashboard plus one at the operator’s feet, and a radio.

Comfortable cab

Kubota telehandler cab
As with all compact handlers, cab space is restricted, but the Kubota version is quiet and comfortable. The controls are user-friendly and well positioned so it took little time to get used to the new machine. The curved windscreen is progressively tinted nearer the top and provides a great view of the boom and attachment.

The split door opens wide for good access, and the cab is surprisingly spacious. The main controls are on the right-hand armrest, and this keeps them away from the operator’s legs even when the joystick is pushed fully to the left.

The steering wheel and column can pivot right forward allowing extra space when getting in and out of the seat.

Visibility all around is very good, mainly due to the curved one-piece front screen. There is a clear view of the attachment throughout the lift height range, although taller operators must look through the protective roof grille when the boom nears maximum height.

Even with the top door section open and the machine working hard, the cab remains surprisingly quiet. There is very little vibration through the seat or controls.

As usual, moving the main joystick operates the main boom functions. There are two roller switches on top of the joystick. One extends and retracts the boom, and the other selects the travel direction. An electronic button on the face of the joystick selects the speed range, which automatically defaults to high speed every time the machine is switched off and restarted. Beside it, a second switch activates the diff lock (where fitted). Additional buttons activate auxiliary hydraulic and electric services.

There is a large ratchet-type handbrake lever to the right of the joystick.

The dashboard in front of the steering wheel monitors key functions and is easy to see even in bright sunshine.


Kubota telehandler
Farmers Guide also took the opportunity to test-drive Kubota’s first telescopic articulated loader. The RT105T-2 has a maximum lift capacity of 750kg, a maximum tipping load capacity on forks of 460kg, and maximum 2.7m reach. The hydraulic system provides 28 litres/min flow @ 180 Bar for auxiliary services. Power is from a 25hp Kubota engine; maximum travel speed is 15kph, and the inside turning radius is an incredibly tight 978mm.

It takes little time to get used to the new KTH4815-2, as the controls are well laid out and user-friendly. For a compact loader, the cycle times are relatively quick, although if the user tries to lift and extend the boom simultaneously then high engine revs are needed to supply the required flow of oil, otherwise just one function activates at a time. Lowering and retracting the boom together isn’t an issue even with the engine at an idle. Cable-operated controls mean the boom action sometimes feels jerky, although this will improve as the machine records a few more working hours.

The manoeuvrability is excellent and it’s easy to monitor the right-hand front and rear corners when working in confined spaces.

Adequate space

Overall, for the 6ft 3in Farmers Guide operator, the driving experience was comfortable and there was plenty of headroom and enough legroom to prevent it feeling cramped. The Kubota 3cyl diesel engine is exceptionally quiet and smooth, contributing to the machine’s quality feel.

Viable proposition

The Kubota KTH4815-2 comes standard with a 2-year, 2,000-hour manufacturer warranty. Extended warranties aren’t available currently but are likely to be an option in future. Back-up is available through Kubota’s large network of agricultural and groundcare specialist dealers, many of who offer attractive contract servicing packages. The base model has a recommended retail price of £53,378 while the Hi Spec Deluxe, like the machine tested, costs £65,623. All versions are available to order now, for delivery from late April, and Gordon Smith confirmed that Kubota’s target is to sell upwards of 100 units annually within less than three years.

Kubota team
Members of the Kubota UK team are pictured (l-r): Kubota marketing, Charlotte McFarland and Will Pike; product manager – agriculture, Jon Rook; product manager – construction, Gordon Smith; marketing manager, Rob Edwards; dealer manager – construction, Martin Norry and product specialist – construction, Tomasz Stolarski.

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