NO LONGER just a niche player in lawn mowers and tiny tractors, Kubota has challenged the likes of John Deere and New Holland again with its largest-ever row-crop tractors. The 93 PTO hp M105X and the 103 PTO hp M125X, though thoroughly modern, don't sport a lot of gadgets, bells and whistles. Where they shine is in their simple, straightforward approach to what a tractor should be — easy to operate and long on performance.

Features for both tractors include turbocharged engines, eight-speed dual-range transmissions with “auto-mode” that will automatically downshift up to three speeds to power through tough spots or move to a higher gear on downhill slopes. For general gear changes, push-button shifting is quick and easy. Raising and lowering speed of the 3-pt. hitch and draft control sensitivity are adjustable.

A hydraulic regulator valve and low-pressure oil cooler keep hydraulic temperature low. A “bi-speed turn” function increases the speed of the front wheels when turns exceed an angle of 35°; the result is a smoother, tighter turn. Bevel gear front axles allow the tractors to turn up to 55°. For front assist, an electrohydraulic differential lock engages both front and rear wheels for traction in muddy conditions. Performance-matched front-end loaders are available for both tractors and are controlled with a single-lever joystick in the cab.

M105X

The 93 PTO hp M105X is powered by Kubota's V3800 4-cyl., liquid-cooled diesel engine. It uses a 16-valve center direct injection system (E-CDIS) and has four valves per cylinder. The waste-gate turbo is equipped with an intercooler that increases engine torque at low rpm.

A new wraparound front grille brings in a high volume of airflow, keeping the engine cool. The resulting drop in airflow velocity minimizes debris sticking to and coming through the grill. A fully synchronized main transmission with 16F/16R speeds is standard. An optional cassette-type creep speed kit boosts speeds to 24F/24R for specialty row-crop tasks. The transmission is controlled by a wet multi-plate main clutch. Price: $47,700.

M125X

At a glance from a distance or while sitting in the cab, it is difficult to tell the M125X and the smaller M105X apart. Both machines offer many of the same features. One difference is that the 125 is nearly 700 lbs. heavier and has a 10-in.-wider wheelbase. Despite its size, the 125's turning radius is still 13.5 ft., only a few inches wider than the 105's tight 13.1 ft.

The 5-cyl. F5802TE2 diesel engine on the M125X produces 103 PTO hp with direct fuel injection and a waste-gate turbocharger. The engine can operate at efficient low rpm and still produce exceptional lugging power. Prices start at $59,000.

For more information, contact Kubota Tractor Corp., 3401 Del Amo Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503, 888/458-2682, visit www.kubota.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 200.