Bobcat 319 mini-excavator

Towable, manoeuvrable, comfortable and affordable - this new mini-excavator from Bobcat has a lot of features you will like.

The 319 is the first in the 1.2-tonne to 1.5-tonne class to offer an expandable undercarriage as standard. Yet its trim physique and low body weight make it easy to transport to site. Complete with rubber tracks, canopy and bucket, the model we tested weighs in at just 1,271kg. Adding a cab will take it to 1,400kg but that gives you the option of trailer transportation behind a pick-up, van or even an appropriate car. A mechanical swing lock prevents unwanted movement of the boom during transit.
Working in a garden? That’s no problem for the 319. At the flick of a switch the undercarriage retracts to less than 1m in width and, with a little concentration, the machine can be steered through a gateway. Once in position, another flick of the switch hydraulically expands the undercarriage to 1,363mm for stability while digging.
The operator’s area is roomy and can be accessed, at least in the canopy version, from either side of the machine. Once in the seat, the console can be lowered into position — it gives an audible click — and you’re ready for work.
Controls are well grouped and easy to identify. Travel levers are in front, with responsive foot-operated pedals giving control over speed. And this machine is a smooth and nimble traveller — albeit in a single-speed up to 1.66km/h.
Our tester has no problem mastering the controls and quickly settles to digging a soakaway beside the track leading to the machinery workshop. “I can’t believe how quiet it is,” he says. There’s no problem with hearing any instructions or comment as he works. Noise insulation and the engine settings give a factory-recorded sound pressure level of only 90dB(A).
Power for the 319 comes from a 9.9kW Kubota Tier II D722 diesel engine running at 2,500rpm. A new design of boom, with the cylinder on top, provides excellent digging performance and means a good load can be carried in the bucket. With a breakout force over the dipperstick of 9.3kN and a bucket breakout force of 12.3kN, work cycles are rapid. The tester also finds that the maximum reach of 3,590mm at ground level means plenty of digging can be done before it is necessary to reposition the machine, which helps with productivity.
The “practical” nature of the 319 even extends to servicing and maintenance. A large rear lockable tailgate swings open for easy access to the engine and filters. There is also easy access to grease points.
We found the 200mm-wide, turf-friendly rubber tracks caused little disturbance to the surfaces around where we worked. Auxiliary points are available to take a variety of attachments. A selection of buckets is also available.

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