The Kubota B Series is a six-model lineup ranging from 17.5 to 33 horsepower that sits in between the smaller BX subcompacts and slightly larger L Series compact utility tractors. Our review tractor is the Kubota B3350SU, which is a low-cost version of the B3350 (more on this later), and is powered by a Kubota code V1505-T-E4-D26-R four-cylinder engine displacing 91.5 cubic inches.
Kubota sure seems to complicate the engine coding nomenclature, but we’ll chalk that up to the complex components used to meet EPA Final Tier 4 (FT4) emissions requirements. Two of those complex components include a diesel particulate filter (DPF), and a system Kubota calls Emissions – Three Vortex Combustion System, or E-TVCS for short. Output from the V1505 is 33 gross and 27 power take-off (PTO) horsepower, both at an operating speed of 2500 rpm. Torque rating is 77.7 lb-ft.
One transmission is offered, a three-range hydrostatic (HST) unit controlled by a right foot treadle pedal. Speed range for the B3350SU is 0-14.3 forward and 0-11.4 mph reverse. Kubota positions the brake pedal on the left, so brake-added turning is possible, reducing the turn radius to 6.9’. A rear 540 rpm PTO is supported and is fully independent. 4WD and differential lock are standard.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2017 Kioti CS2510 TLB
Hydraulics are through an open center, dual pump arrangement flowing 5.0 gpm to implement demand and 3.7 gpm to the power steering system (8.7 gpm total). Control over the three-point hitch (3PH) is by a quarter inching valve. For anyone who hasn’t used a quarter inching valve, the system is sort of in between a guess-where-the-implement-is set up used on many subcompacts and position control, which allows an operator to return an implement precisely to a preset point. The quarter inching system used by Kubota has “inner” detents that by pushing the 3PH lever forward or backward drop or raise the implement in 1/4” increments. If the control lever is pushed slightly outside the detents, then pushing the lever forward or pulling it back drops or raises the hitch to guess-where-the-implement-is. The system works well, but tasks such as box blading will require more operator effort, and would be faster and more accurate with a position control hitch. The hydraulic system will support up to two rear remotes (optional).
The 3PH is full Cat I with a lift capacity of 2139 lbs at lift point or 1676 lbs at 24” behind lift point. Lower links are fixed with an option for telescopic ends for ease of implement attachment. Stabilizers are inboard and pin adjustable. For implement leveling there is an easy to use ratcheting mechanism. And the drawbar is standard equipment.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2017 John Deere 3046R
Climb up into the cockpit and the operator gets a modern, spacious layout with levers positioned on the fenders, switches on the dash console, and foot pedals on the floorboard, which is mostly flat with a small transmission hump in the center. The deluxe seat uses a parallel link suspension, which is an improvement over a coil spring suspension used by some competitors. The mid/high-back seat is comfortable and comes with arm rests, which fold up for convenience. There are large grab handles on both fenders and there is a cup holder on the left, which is positioned about even with the seatback. The steering wheel tilts for operator preference and the loader joystick is nicely incorporated into the right fender.
There is also a 12V outlet, so a smart phone or similar device can stay charged, or an implement such as a sprayer can have electric power. The dash panel is easy to read and incorporates a modern LCD screen which includes digital display of functions such as engine hours, PTO engagement, engine rpm, fuel level and engine temperature.
Kubota sizes its LA534A loader to the B3350SU. The LA534A comes with a 54” (.325 cubic yard) bucket and can be optioned to have a two-lever quick coupler that is compatible with skid-steer attachments and/or a hydraulic spill-guard set up which automatically tilts the bucket forward as the loader is raised to reduce spillage. The LA534A can lift 1146 lbs to a max height of 84.6”. Dump clearance is 67.4” so most pickup or trailer beds will be accessible. Breakout force is 2321 lbs. Attachment options include a mechanical 60” and 72” snow blade and a hydraulic unit with both 60” and 72” blades available. Kubota hydraulics make it possible for simultaneous bucket movements, such as raising and curling or lowering and dumping at the same time.
For users that require a backhoe, Kubota’s model BH77 is the fit. The BH77 uses a four-point attachment system that requires no tools to install or remove. A reversible seat is utilized. Dig depth for the BH77 is 93.6” with 124.3” of reach. Swing arc is 180 degrees. Dig force at the bucket is 3421 lbs and at the dipperstick is 2190 lbs. Kubota has 10, 12, 16, and 24” buckets available.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2017 Mahindra 2538 TLB
Other niceties include the one-piece all-metal hood, 7.3 gallons of onboard fuel, and tire options which include R1 (Ag), R3 (turf) and R4 (Industrial). When outfitted with industrial tires, size 25×8.5-14 front and 15-19.5 rear, the B3350SU measures 101.2” long by 53.7” wide and is 78.5” to the top of the upright ROPS. The 65.6” wheelbase allows for nimble maneuverability while at the same time making for a stable footprint. A nice option for this size and class of tractor is the third function valve which Kubota incorporates right into the loader joystick. A third function valve can add versatility with hydraulic blade angling or an attachment such as a grapple.
So, what does the B3350SU give up to the more expensive B3350? First, there is no mid-PTO option, so there is no mid-mount mower available. Secondly, there is no position control over the 3PH, instead utilizing the quarter inching valve explained above. Also, if a factory cab is desired, the prospective purchaser will have to go with a B3350.
For a prospective purchaser of a 33-horsepower compact utility tractor (CUT), the B3350 would be a good choice to add to their consideration list. And if that buyer doesn’t need position control and a mid-PTO, they can save $2,281 off the MSRP by going with the B3350SU ($18,961 vs. $21,242).