2012 Kioti CK20S HST Review

Value-priced compact utility tractor

By Geof Fowler, Photography by Kioti, Jul 06, 2012
This is our third Kioti review in the last year and with each test we’ve been impressed with the combination of quality, performance and price point. The CK20S tested no differently. The CK Series consists of four models that are available in either gear or hydrostatic transmission variants. The CK20S is the smallest of the series (the CK27, CK30 and CK35 all share the same size platform) but is larger and heavier than the subcompact CS2410 we reviewed in May.

Outfitted with parent corporation Daedong’s model 3C100LWB three-cylinder diesel engine, the CK20S begins with a quiet, low-vibration powerplant that meets or exceeds CARB and EPA standards. The 61.45ci liquid-cooled engine is rated to deliver 22 gross and 16.2 PTO horsepower (the manual transmission version is 17.1 PTO hp) at 2,800 rpm.

2012 Kioti CK20S HST Working

Kioti couples this powerplant to a two-range hydrostatic transmission controlled by a treadle pedal. Though this isn’t our preferred set up, the CK20S pedal delivers well modulated control over the 0-9.3 mph forward and 0-6.51 mph reverse speed range. Kioti has also seen fit to position the split brakes further to the right on this model, allowing the operator to slip their toe from on top of the pedal while traveling forward to underneath and lifting up to reverse. Our testers prefer this method of controlling a treadle system, but if you are so inclined, just lift your foot and use your heel to step on the reverse side of the pedal.

2012 Kioti CK20S HST Front

4WD is standard on the CK20S as well, as is differential lock, though the location is slightly busy with both quite near each other and the transmission dip stick right in between. Nevertheless, all are right where you would expect them to be. Kioti also outfits its hydrostatic models with bi-metal clutches. To start the tractor, you need to depress the left side pedal and the clutch is also used to modulate PTO engagement/disengagement. Because it is a bi-metal design, a good tip is to latch the clutch in the depressed position during extended periods of non-use as the bi-metals can rust together.

The rest of the operator’s platform is traditional. The easy-to-read dashboard includes a large center-mounted tachometer flanked by temperature and fuel gauges, left and right respectively. Indicator lights for PTO, parking brake, oil pressure and turn signals wrap the main analog gauges. On the left fenderwell are levers for PTO engagement and speed range selection. Our test tractor did not come with a mid-PTO option, but if it had, the lever would have been located here too. The right fenderwell is no-nonsense; only the loader joystick and three-point hitch (3PH) position controls are here. A cupholder is standard. The CK20S seat is a medium-back design with adjustable suspension for a smooth ride. The automotive-style seatbelt is retractable and is an important component of the operator safety system, which also includes a folding ROPS. Controls for the cruise control and parking brake are on the front fascia just below the dashboard.

2012 Kioti CK20S HST Rear

Output from the hydraulic pump sends 7.66 gpm to the power steering and implement. This gives the full category-1 3PH the ability to lift 1,305 lbs at the industry standard 24” behind link arms. And as mentioned above, control over the 3PH is by position with adjustable detents so the operator can return the implement to the exact position each time. Nice.

Our test tractor was outfitted with Kioti’s KL120 loader. The KL120 is a quick attach/detach design with fold-down stands attached to the boom arms. Hoses are located inboard of the arms for protection. Only one bucket size is available, though all of our testers thought the 50” bucket was perfectly sized to the CK20S. Kioti rates this combination to lift 1,076 lbs to the max lift height of 88” (at the pivot point). Hydraulic response and cycle times were quite good and much better than on the CS2410. Float is incorporated into the loader joystick and there is a level indicator that rides in clear sight on the right boom. Though our test tractor was not outfitted with a backhoe, one is available. Model KB2465 is a sub-frame design that offers a digging depth of 76.3” and has bucket options that range from 9” to 36”. We’re not sure a 36” bucket is a wise choice for this tractor, but have no doubt some serious digging could be accomplished with more reasonable-sized buckets.

2012 Kioti CK20S HST Right Side

Maintenance on the CS20S has definitely been engineered in. The transmission filter can be changed from the operator’s platform and the engine filter can be changed without raising the hood, which is all metal, as are the fenders and operator’s cowl. The fuel filter is accessible from the rear of the tractor, but the injectors are not self-bleeding so you don’t want to let the CK20S run out of fuel. In that vein, Kioti outfits the CK20S with a 5.28 gal fuel tank mounted just behind the rear seat that one of our testers thought was an afterthought, though admitted it made for a nice height for filling the tank.

Our test tractor was outfitted with 23x8.5-12 front and 33x12.5-16 rear R4 industrial tires (R1 Ag and R3 Turf tires are also available). The CK20S rides on a 57.9” wheelbase and is 105.8” in length (front to 3PH arms). Overall height is 86” to the top of the ROPS and ground clearance is 12.2”. Weight of the CK20S is 2,138 lbs (gear models weigh 2,125 lbs).

MSRP for the CK20S HSD in tractor and loader (TL) configuration is an ultra competitive $15,012. Dealer discounts are hefty and for cash purchasers there are additional incentives. If financing can help get a CK20S in your garage or shed, Kioti is offering 0% 48 months, 1.99% 60 months and 2.99% 72 months. Warranty is 48 months for non-commercial users. If you are in the market for a compact utility tractor that doesn’t take up too much space but has more performance and capability than a subcompact, the CK20S is worth exploring.

Related Reading
2012 Kioti CS2410 HST Review
2012 Kioti DK45SE HST Cab Review
2012 Kubota B3200HSD Review
2012 Mahindra Max 28 XL HST Review
2012 Yanmar Ex2900 Review

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