Kubota ME5700

Kubota knows how tough work can get on estates, golf courses, sports pitches, highways and amenity areas. With the aim of increasing overall work output in these places, Kubota developed the ME series tractors with increased power and greater versatility. We look at the ME5700. It is the baby of the range but it's still a monster. It has it all. But it also has a remarkably light tread.

At the heart of the ME5700 is a Kubota E-TVCS (three-vortex combustion system) water-cooled diesel engine. It’s a five-cylinder engine. That gives it a noticeably smooth ride and an extra bit of power to what we would otherwise expect. But the key thing about this engine is that the governor and fuel injection pump are housed within a single unit to give a faster response to sudden load changes. The result is an engine with high torque rise characteristics. And that’s really appreciated when driving uphill or performing labouring tasks.
“It really helps with operating efficiency. You hear the note change and the engine kicks in and gives that bit more power to get over the hill or do that bit of hard work. It also reduces the need to change gear and gives a smoother performance,” notes one of the testers.
The transmission system on this Kubota also comes up to our expectations. And it’s absolutely ideal if you’ve got loader work to do. The ME5700 has a fully synchronised 12/12 transmission with clutchless on-the-move hydraulic shifting for forward to reverse and back again. For added convenience, the hydraulic shuttle lever is on the steering column and within easy reach. All transmission controls are colour-coded orange.
“You use the clutch for the main high/low/creep box but once you have selected your gears you don’t need to clutch to forward and reverse movements. That’s a brilliant feature for loader work — it makes life easy when you are going into the stack and reversing out all the time,” says a tester.
This tractor also makes a great platform for a host of attachments. We reckon it should prove well suited to jobs as different as aerating turf or flail mowing roadside verges. The ME5700 has standard three-point linkage. You get one double-acting spool and the linkage will lift 1,900kg. Auto-hitch is an optional extra. The PTO gives 540 and 540 economy. The latter supplies 540 out of the tractor at the PTO but by using less revs at the engine end — a feature now included by many manufacturers.
Driver comfort is another key feature. The “Q” cab on the ME5700 comes as standard and is rubber-mounted to isolate vibration. There’s plenty of space in the cab and all controls are well positioned.
“I feel really at home in this tractor,” says our tester when he gets behind the wheel. “It’s robust and I like the fact that it is mechanical. Okay, so you can’t plug a laptop in to find out what’s wrong with it, but then again, you are more likely to be able to fix simple problems yourself. Some tractors are getting too complicated. But we are here to do grounds maintenance — not IT.”
Kubota has obviously thought about how much we use tractors in our industry. This one has a long-range fuel tank — enough to run around the college grounds for a week. For strength, the tank is made of metal.
Without a doubt, the ME5700 delivers high levels of performance, efficiency and operator comfort. And it’s all done in a compact, lighter-treading frame. This is a good all-round medium-weight tractor and one that is perfect for utility work. But we reckon it is also ideal for turf where you want the horsepower but not a lot of weight. Total weight, including the cab, is around 3,000kg.

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