New Holland has promised to send something suitable for landscapers. The machine is delivered, on time, by MT Wilde of Shrewsbury. It's smaller than the Bobcat E35 - in fact, it's a compact, short-radius 2.7-tonne machine. Griffiths eyes it up. Will it do the work he wants?
Finding the fast-track function, Griffiths sets off at a good pace across the field. This machine is a little slower tracking than the Bobcat but is very stable. As soon as he reaches the area designated for the new quad-bike riding area, Griffiths begins to dig. "This is a very well-balanced machine - it has an equal match between power and weight so it is nicely settled and doesn't rock," he says.
New Holland uses big-excavator hydraulic experience - two axial piston pumps with variable-flow technology for fully simultaneous unit movements, including blade and slewing. The two variable-delivery pumps ensure full use of all installed hydraulic power in individual and combined movements. The instant the machine begins to dig, extra output from the third pump - the one that would otherwise power the swing and dozer circuits - is directed to the arm circuit for added power. This ensures fast and smooth arm operation, even when the loads get heavy.
Although Griffiths is working in an open site, with few obstacles to cause concern, we note that the boom and bucket cylinder hoses are well protected inside the arms and the boom hoses are covered with an additional rubber tube for strength.
Griffiths digs the entrance to the new quad-bike course. With the deep dip completed, he turns his attention to building up a mound between restraining telegraph-posts. "This is a handy little machine and, for the size of it, it is really surprising what it can do. It has a steady platform. It's got side shift - very useful if you don't want to keep repositioning - and for the size of machine it is getting through some work. It may take a little longer but at least you can get in to do the work where you couldn't with a larger machine," he says.
He also likes the buckets. On our machine, changing the buckets is business as usual. Quick hitch is available as an option. "It's a lightweight machine but these buckets are really strong - that's important because they are a wearing part." But is it a comfortable machine?
"It is comfortable once you have spent a little bit of time setting it up to suit you. The seat is nice and it is easy to adjust. Visibility is good. The controls are just where you need them. It's a small machine so it has a small cab - but you don't feel cramped," says Griffiths, opening the front window.
If he has a complaint about the operator environment, it is noise. From inside the cab, this machine seems noisier than the Bobcat, as Griffiths explains: "It's a small cab so it will sound a little noisy. I wouldn't want to be in it all day. I think at the end of the day the noise would wear you down a bit. But, having said that, we have to consider this is a small machine. It's 2.7 tonnes. You wouldn't be on it all day. It's a machine for landscapers to do jobs - to dig a little here and dig a little there. If you need to use an excavator all day, you would have a bigger machine in any case."
The mounding is smooth. Griffiths fetches a quad bike to test the angles. It's just right so he begins banking. Grading proves to be quick and easy with the E27.2SR.
"I love the blade. It's different. It's just the right shape so when you are grading out it keeps the material where you need it. This blade seems to clean itself and pushes the material forward rather than it building up and flowing over the back," notes Griffiths.
We take a close look at the blade. It is 150cm wide by 30cm in height. It lifts by 44.5cm and lowers by 33.5cm. Conventional dozer blades simply push the earth straight ahead, causing the earth to spill down behind the blade.
But New Holland has shaped this blade so the earth forms an arc and always falls forward - it rolls the material almost like carpet. With this blade there is a real possibility of one-pass grading. It's a high-performance dozer and we like it.
Maintenance of the E27.2SR looks straightforward. We find some of the grease nipples have guarding for protection. The rear gate opens wide to show all parts for daily checks and top-ups. This machine also has a key-opening side-gate, so there are no bolts or screws to tackle if you want to check the hydraulic coupling.
Underneath protection is certainly fine if you are working on firm ground or a hard pad, though Griffiths suggests you might want to be more careful if working in bushes or very soft ground.
Summing up, Griffiths says: "I'm impressed with this machine. It was by no means struggling with the work it did. You could put an inexperienced operator on it and they would be working very quickly. It's intuitive."
Operating weight (with cab, steel shoes and standard arm) 2,620kg
Dipper stick (standard) 1.37m
Maximum digging depth 2.79m
Maximum reach at ground level (standard dipperstick) 4.89m
Maximum dump height 3.38m
Bucket breakout force 22kN
Dipper breakout force 13kN
Engine 17kW (23hp) water-cooled, three-cylinder Yanmar diesel direct injection
Main pumps Two axial piston variable-displacement pumps, one gear pump
Max flow delivery 26 litres/min; 14 litres/min for the gear pump
Max operating pressure 230 bar
Travel speed (rubber tracks) 2.3km/h low range; 4.1km/h high range
Undercarriage width 1.25m
Length in travel position 4.83m
Height to top of cab 2.43m
Contact New Holland Construction on 01268 292423
The reviewer Andrew Griffiths, land-based assessor and engineer, College of West Anglia, Milton, Cambridge
Ground conditions Good