Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick First Look – 40 mph 4×4
Kubota launched their first UTV way back in 2004. Since then, they have continued to expand their Rough Terrain Vehicle (RTV) line, with more than six product lines to choose from. Until now, all their models were about getting work done, not so much about play. Top speed for most of the units was below 25mph. While this is fine on the jobsite, it didn’t exactly cut it on the trails, or even on the ranch. Enter the Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick, eclipsing the 40 mph mark.
Industry reports show that the fastest growing segment in Utility Vehicles is the multipurpose or crossover. This crossover bridges the gap between the Work and Recreational UTVs. Multipurpose (crossover) UTV purchases grew by 12% last year, while the rest of the UTV market shrunk. The Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick is aimed directly at this crossover market. We had the opportunity to visit Kubota Manufacturing of America where these Sidekicks are made, and we were able to get some real seat-time as well.
Related Read: Check out our visit to the Kubota Sidekick Experience
Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick Features
It is no secret that Kubota prides themselves on building durable farm and construction equipment. Launching into the Recreational arena with the Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick, the same focus of durability is top priority.
The heartbeat of the new Kubota Sidekick is a gas-burning, EFI, twin-cylinder, Subaru engine, producing 48 horsepower. While Subaru does manufacture the engine, Kubota owns the tooling to ensure the security of the technology. Attached to the powerplant is Kubota’s CVT-Plus (Continuously Variable Transmission), which incorporates a centrifugal clutch into the driveline. The included clutch keeps tension on the CVT belt at all times, allowing for engine braking at all speeds.
4WD, Locking Diff, and EPS
Every Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick UTV includes 4-wheel-drive, limited slip, and a locking differential. The rear locking diff is engaged by depressing a pedal with your foot, while pushing a button, next to the driver’s seat at the same time. A manual limited slip differential takes care of the front wheels which requires no intervention, hence it’s always engaged.
Operators can choose just two-wheel-drive mode in flatter and calmer terrains. This 2wd to 4wd shifter is located between the driver and passenger, just below the seat. A gear selector, to the right of the steering wheel, allows the user to select between High and Lo range, forward, and reverse.
Straightening the Curves, Flattening the Hills
Electronic Power Steering (EPS) is standard equipment on each Sidekick. The power steering is adaptive and speed-sensitive. The faster you go, the firmer the steering wheel feels in your hand. Also, if you let go of the wheel, it wants to return to zero (straight). Whether you’re under load, roaring across the fields, or on the trails, the EPS helps keep the operator in control at all times.
Rubber has all been eliminated from the suspension unless you count the tires. All the bump-stops on the Coilover shocks and other soft suspension parts are polyurethane. This aids in extending the life of these components while offering better performance.
Breath of Fresh ROPS
In addition to being ready for the hills and trails, the Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick is ready for the streams and wetlands also. The intake for the engine is under the hood, up high and dry. To keep the CVT and Clutch cool, a separate intake pulls in fresh cool air. The intake for the CVT utilizes the ROPS (Rollover Protection Structure) hollow tubing. From the clutch cover, you can follow the rubber hose that tapers and attaches to the ROPS system just below and behind the driver’s door. The actual air inlets on the ROPs is where it crosses under the dash, in the driver’s compartment. This is to ensure the CVT is cooled with the cleanest and dryest air possible.
1/2-Ton Payload and 1-Ton Towing
Hauling the loads, the Sidekick has a 40.5″ x 57.5″ x 11.4″ (LxWxH) bed and can carry up to 1,000 lbs. It’s just hard to believe these UTVs are carrying the weight of our typical full-size light trucks. Pulling a trailer, the Kubota RTV-XG850 can handle 2,000 lbs, on flat ground. In areas with hills and terrain, Kubota recommends a max of 1,550 lbs for towing. Regardless, this Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick is literally pulling its weight, and doing so with plenty of grunt leftover.
Every Sidekick includes a 2-inch hitch receiver, so you can easily use your existing hitches and racks. The bed comes standard as a manual lift, with a gas-shock for lowering ease. You can also order your Sidekick with an electric over hydraulic power lift, or you can add it as an accessory later.
It seems as though no stone has been left unturned when it comes to add-ons for the Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick UTV. There are more than 50 accessories for owners to make the Sidekick their own. Wheel and tire selections are always a big thing, whether it’s cars or trucks, and the same rings true with the UTV market. Kubota made sure to offer you several choices of tires and wheels to make your RTV-XG850 standout from the rest. No status-quo here.
Owners can choose from different roofs, including one with integrated radio and speakers. You can choose to run the Sidekick with no windshield, or choose between acrylic and glass. The same goes for the back glass as well. A 4,000 lb Superwinch is another accessory that ranks toward the top interest. And, of course, there are several options when it comes to LED lights, ensuring you can see where you’re going, even after sunset. Are you concerned with the bed getting scratched up from those 1,000 lb loads? No problem, just choose the Line-X option and you’ll be covered.
Henry Ford once said: “You can have any color Ford you want, as long as it’s Black.” Kubota said it’s time to change that nonsense, so you can choose more than just Kubota Orange. The Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick is available in four different colors: Orange, Army Green, RealTree Camo, and Black.
While we have yet to get a Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick in our own possession for our thorough review, we did get the chance to ride them a bit and inspect them for a few hours. Kubota has definitely done a good job at providing a work vehicle that can haul the loads while providing the speed for excitement and recreation. It drives very well and the gas-powered Subaru powerplant provides ample power for the task at hand. The CVT-Plus transmission delivers a smooth torque curve without the need to shift. Finally, Kubota seems to be doing a great job with accessories, there are so many to choose from. We look forward to receiving one soon, so we can provide more in-depth feedback.
Click here to check out the Kubota RTV-XG850 Sidekick and the many accessories available.