Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX

By: Tom Dickson

Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX
Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX
Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX
Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX
Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX
Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX
Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX
Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX
Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX Top Tractor 2016: Kubota M100GX

Aussie-based machine tester Tom Dickson says the Kubota M100GX performed admirably in the brand’s first foray into the Top Tractor Shootout.

This year’s Top Tractor Shootout took on a whole new look compared to previous years: while last year’s event was held in New Zealand, this year we relocated to Australia, and this time we used a new formula to determine the best value-for-money tractor.

We pitted each tractor in a head-to-head time trial consisting of loader work and manoeuvrability, then used a formula that combined ranking points and price to calculate the result and eliminate bias from the judges.

However, eclipsing all the changes from previous years was the appearance of Kubota at this year’s event. The brand entered the M100GX tractor for its debut appearance. It’s a 100hp, four-cylinder tractor with Intelli-Shift transmission, a larger cabin than previous models, and bi-speed turning for superior mobility. It was the only tractor in the competition to incorporate an armrest driver control unit into the air suspension seat, and included a concise information display monitor on the right-hand side console.

Accompanying our debutant to the ball was Kubota tractor senior product manager Konstantin Blersch, who acted as the perfect chaperone and went to great lengths to make sure the M100GX was perfectly set up for presentation and adorned with all sorts of Kubota paraphernalia. Blersch admits that Kubota would love their entry to win the competition, but says their main aim in entering the shootout is to show Australia and New Zealand that Kubota is producing quality machines in the utility tractor market.

"Our compact tractor range, small earthmoving equipment and diesel engines are well regarded for reliability and have been experiencing terrific market share," he says. "Off the back of that, we want to start making a sales impact into the utility and medium tractor range."

For a first-time entrant, the M100GX scored exceptionally well and, in fact, ranked highest in the group for transmission, turning circle, cabin space, performance monitor and warranty. It ranked second only to the John Deere for traction and stability throughout the winding course and loader work.

Kubota -M100GX_3


There is certainly nothing compact looking about the Kubota M100GX. It’s a big, strong-looking machine with great ground clearance of around 560mm. Its size was only matched in the field by the John Deere entry.

Under the bonnet is Kubota’s own V3800-TI-CRS engine. The four-cylinder common-rail with direct injection engine is complemented by a turbocharger and intercooler to generate 100hp at 2600rpm. Maximum torque of 351Nm is achieved at 1400-1600rpm.

The fuel tank holds 190 litres and should keep you going all day. There is no need for the inclusion of an AdBlue tank as Kubota prefers the combination of Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and a diesel particulate filter (DPF) muffler to reduce harmful emissions, making the M135GX Interim Tier IV-compliant.

The Intelli-Shift 24-speed transmission was deemed best in the completion. It consists of a three-speed mechanical shift range selector with an eight-speed PowerShift to provide 24 gears in both forward and reverse and a maximum speed of 40km/h.

Both the range changes and power shifting is done from the same lever on the right hand side console. The eight PowerShift gears can also be activated from two buttons on the armrest console. Each range change required clutching via either the foot clutch or declutch button on the gear lever.

Eight PowerShift gears give a good working range with plenty of scope to keep the tractor working at optimum revs before having to change ranges. Having the option of any one of eight PowerShift gears at the touch of a button made navigating the winding course and loader work achievable without having to change ranges. It proved to be a real time and energy saver.

The hydraulic shuttle lever is perfectly positioned behind the steering wheel but I just felt the three-speed range stick was positioned a little bit too far forward for comfortable reach. The tractor also features cruise control, a rev limiter and an electronic governor that maintains constant engine revs to prevent a drop in PTO revs under load.

The main hydraulic services pump delivers 70.9L/min to the Category II hook end-style linkage and two sets of remotes. This figure is second only to the John Deere, which has only one hydraulic pump. A second steering pump produces 60.4L/min. Only two PTO speeds of 540 and 1000rpm are on offer without an economy mode.

The M100GX ranked number one for having the best turning circle. It’s a result that contradicted what you would expect from one of the larger tractors at this year’s event, and is a result of its bi-speed turn feature. When the front wheels exceed a turning angle of 35 degrees, Kubota’s bi-speed turn kicks in and rotates the front wheels at a rate of speed nearly twice that of the rear wheels. It drags the tractor around for a smoother, tighter turn, but engages only when the tractor is in four-wheel drive mode.

We tested all tractors for inside turning diameter, and the worst recorded measurement of 9.0m came from our Massey entrant. With bi-speed turn engaged, the M100GX registered an inside turning diameter of only 4.3m.

In the cab

Jumping into the cabin revealed both the best and the not-so-good features of the Kubota. The four-pillar cabin design meant entry through the massive doors was always going to be a breeze. From the seated position it had very good all-round visibility, and the glass roof panel provided direct sight of the raised front-end loader.

A well laid-out interior provided a really pleasant work environment. We felt that it was the roomiest, which meant we awarded it 10/10 for cabin space. Tilt and telescopic steering allows you to customise the driving position to your personal preference.

Kubota -M100GX_6

The M100GX is the only tractor to have incorporated an armrest control console. It includes most of the frequently used operating controls and really simplifies the driving experience.

My only criticism is that it was loosely fitted to the seat, suggesting that the attention to detail regarding its fit and finish needed a bit of improvement to bring it up to the standard of other tractors in this price bracket.

It also excelled in the area of delivering important engine and general operating information to the driver via not one, but two digital LCD panels. The dash-mounted unit displayed basic information like shuttle position, current gear and engine revs. The second screen on the side console provided much more technical information regarding the tractors operating performance.

Overall, I reckon the cabin of the M100GX has incorporated more technology at the driver’s fingertips than the others, but the overall fit and finish is not to standard when compared with the competition here.

On the job

The Kubota M100GX put in a really impressive performance throughout most parts of the course. Its large stature and weight of 3990kg kept it firmly planted on the ground during the tight turns and loader work.

Having eight PowerShift gears at our fingertips gave us a huge speed range to work without having to change ranges.

Even though I felt that I was getting through the winding course quite easily, I still managed to run over the marker pegs on the edge of the track. It was only after I completed thecourse that I realised that the outer edge of the rear wheels protruded about 20cm further out than the front wheels. It certainly created more stability, but meant I couldn’t use the front tyres as a guide.

It ticked all the boxes as being a good loader tractor. Great visibility all-round from the cab and we could keep the pace up loading the hay without the risk of tipping over or losing traction.

The verdict

I have no doubt that Kubota will get plenty of interest in the M100GX. Its three-year, 3000-hour warranty was only matched by Case’s entry, proving that Kubota has full confidence in the quality and performance of its product.

At A$92,000 plus GST, it was the third most expensive at this year’s event. My gut tells me it delivers good value for money, but I would like to see it lift its standard of fit and finish inside the cabin.

Overall this was certainly a great first-up performance by Kubota in the Top Tractor Shootout.


  • 24x24 Intelli-Shift transmission
  • Bi-speed turning
  • Turning circle
  • Ground clearance
  • Cabin space
  • Four-pillar cab
  • Dual digital LCD information panels
  • Warranty
  • Stability during loader work
  • Bucket and fork attachment vision


  • Cabin fit and finish
  • Range gear stick mounted to far forward
  • Rear wheel mounting position

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