Competitive Comparision. Mahindra 1533 vs Kubota L3301

We had the opportunity to have a bunch of current competitive models on our lot and it presented an opportunity to go around and do some videos on them. Now we need to preface this with saying that talking down another competitor's equipment is not a way that we typically like to see business and sales transactions done.

Generally we're of the opinion that our dealership, our experience, the products that we sell can stand on their own without having to talk down about other products, but unfortunately anymore we find a lot of customers developing opinions about things through YouTube videos that may be really based upon half-truths.

While we had this product here on hand we wanted to take the opportunity to walk around and do a video of our own and try to show how some of those comparisons are made in dishonest ways and also make an attempt to make our own comparisons and maybe do it a little bit more honestly than what you typically would find. Take a quick look here at this video and let us know down in the comments how we did.

To be perfectly frank, the Mahindra 1533 is one of their better tractors. One thing that we need to look at when we're looking at a Mahindra machine is who actually is building the tractor. Mahindra doesn't actually build most of their own equipment, most of it is contracted out to other manufacturers. In the case of this machine, this is actually a Mitsubishi tractor rebadged for Mahnidra.

As we walk around the machine here, we can take a look at the loader as well. The loader is actually not built by Mahindra either, this is a KMW loader. You could see very prominently that made in USA sticker right here on the side of the loader. Maybe slightly deceptive in that this whole package is not made in the USA, this is a Japanese built tractor with the loader that's built in the US.

One of the things that we always focus on when we talk about a Kubota tractor is the fact that Kubota builds everything that you see. When you're buying a Kubota tractor you're typically buying a machine that is made front to back, attachments and all, by Kubota. The case of this machine, this L3301 is built by Kubota in Georgia at one of their factories down there.

This used to be a Japanese model at one point but now they're importing this into the US to do final assembly here, so it is a US assembled machine. This loader and it's entirely is actually welded painted in the whole kit and shebang done at Kubota manufacturing of America in Gainesville, Georgia. It is a tractor that is front to back made by one manufacturer. When we get into looking at long-term support of products and when we get 10 and 15 years down the road, manufacturers who tend to own their own machine and build their own machine usually can ensure better long-term parts support and better initial quality.

There's a lot of processes that you'll do on these machines where say taking the loader on and off where you'll see processes that are very similar to one in the next and for whatever reason it is it always seems to be easier to do those things on a Kubota. We largely attribute that to the fact that they engineer and manufacture their own product front to back, giving them complete control of the engineering process rather than jumping from vendor to vendor for whoever is going to sell them the cheapest thing this time.

While this is an economy tractor, a lot of things about it don't feel very economy. Simply here when you're sitting in the operator's platforms, they still use a lot of modern controls. For instance, my controls for my PTO or levers back here on the side that make it easy with less effort in order to turn the PTO on, not heavy long throw levers like we have on some cheaper tractors.

The loader valve itself right here is still a very deluxe loader valve, particularly that's seen when you get down into your corner positions and you're trying to do things like lift your load and keep it level at the same time as you go up and down. This is a nice smooth loader valve but you can very easily do those functions.

Being it we're at a modern tractor here this does have some emissions equipment on it If you're wanting to avoid those things, the 25 horse model falls underneath those requirements. A tier four final here, this uses the diesel particulate filter with two simple buttons here on the dash in order to manage that system.

For the most part of these machines you just rev up the engine and go work and it's never anything that you have to worry about. We do have some other videos that go into more detail on exactly how those emission systems work and are managed if you'd like to learn more about that.

Mahindra makes a lot of big claims about their tractors, about them being heavier and stronger and capable of doing more work and that's true, but there's some half-truths in there as well. The rated operating capacity of both of these machines if you dig into your owner's manual and see the amount of work that they're actually engineered to do is virtually identical. Both of them are almost spot-on 5500 pounds, maybe a hundred pounds apart from each other, yet Mahindra will claim a lot more weight and a lot more lift capacity in their loader, which is actually somewhat true. This loader does lift more weight than what the Kubota does.

The thing that we have to be aware of though is that with this load or lifting at its full weight, it's actually over the rated operating capacity of the tractor. If you've gone further and that's that's with no ballot. In most machines we're putting five to 700 pounds back of the tractor. With five to 700 pounds of ballast, the tractor itself and this loader working at full capacity, you're nearly a thousand pounds over the rated operating capacity of this tractor. Where you're going to see that is in your front axles. If you come in here and you look at the heft of the front axle that's under this machine, this is clearly approximately about a three inch front axle. Not to say that small things can't be stout, they certainly can be, but if we compare that over here on the Kubota to the sides of the front axle in an L series, there's a five-inch front axle underneath here. It's a lot heavier.

While we freely will admit that this tractor will outlift the Kubota, I'm sure you can find some demos out there showing it doing it, we have to be aware that there are operating conditions that you can be in that are going to put this tractor over its rated operating capacities. Given those operating capacities, you would think we'd have a really stout loader to go along with it, and unfortunately there's several things about this loader that just feel cheap to me. For one it's the knock test. The gauge of steel that's used here on the loader is actually quite thin when compared to the Kubota version of the same thing. The difference is really quite dramatic when you have them side-by-side. If you looked at here in the skid loader a quick coupler, this isn't engineered nearly as nicely as well. The levers that are on here in order to release the pins at the bottom aren't nearly as stout as the Kubota version of the same thing. It's a little curious. We have operating capacities and lift capacities like we spec, but we don't seem to have build quality to match.

One of the reasons why Mahindra tractors tend to be heavier than a lot of other machines on the market is that there are castings on their transmissions are typically a lot more crude than what a lot of other machines are. You can see a lot of roughness in the way that the castings are done down in here and just nicks and marks and really unexplainably.We often find too that there's a lot of extra bulk back in here, often because it hasn't been engineered away.

One of the goals in modern tractors is to be able to put them into most any application. In our opinion it's often better to have a little bit of a lighter tractor because there's a lot of applications where you don't want weight. If you're going to be going out and mowing for instance, you don't want all that extra tonnage rolling over top of your grass make it easier for you to get stuck in the mud and compacting things. Having a lighter tractor that you're able to add ballast to when needed for the right application allows you to pick the tractor that will perform better for the right application.

Some of the casting tonnage that exists in these tractors can be an advantage in the right application, but there are also applications where you don't want it. Please be aware, be looking at the right tractor for the application that you have at hand, keeping in mind that you're looking for the right specs for your application, not just the biggest numbers that you can find.

One interesting demo here that we can do with these two tractors is to show the difference in noise and vibration of the engine. When you start the Kubota up, you'll notice at idle we get a little bit of vibration out of our bottle, it just rocks back and forth just a little bit, it kind of shimmies and shakes with the engine. When we start to give it some revs, it very quickly screws out and a wide open throttle, the water is completely still in the bottle, it's not moving.

Now if we hop over here to the Mahindra, we'll do the same thing. We're trying to use the water bottle to give you a bit ball because we can say this one's louder or this one vibrates bad, but hopefully this gives you a little visual of exactly how that plays out. At idle here you can see they've got a lot more vibration on the bottle and it's actually slowly shaking itself off the hood and as we start to speed up.

That very interestingly changes at almost every rpm as you go. You can see the water shaking, the bottle sliding around. That vibration I can also feel in the steering wheel. That transmits back through the tractor and into the operator, by no means is it isolated just to the engine compartment.

From the operators platform, frankly I can't find a whole heck of a lot to complain about. We did a comparison earlier with the John Deere 3-series and there are a lot more things about that tractor but I was less impressed by.

Mitsubishi has has done a good job with this tractor, it's been around for a long time. You will notice that there are things on here that just feel cheaper than what the equivalent Kubota does. The gauge of the fenders for instance, these are really thin and plastic out here on the edges, the cheaper plastics up here around the operators platform. A lot of the choices that are made for say the hydrostatic pedal down on the floor and stuff are just-- they're just a little bit more crude, not as refined.

From an operator's standpoint, this isn't a terrible tractor, actually. There are a lot of things on it that work nicely but one of the things that you always will notice about Mahindras is the way that they tout their value. This is a great value tractor, it is cheaper than all the rest and in the case of these two machines, it’s actually not true. You'll find the Mahindra started with a list price of this machine at one point MSRP for just the tractor at over $28,000. At some point we've started to see some varying information on that, but they seem to have pulled that number back on their website now to be more in line with Kubota's MSRP. The expectation of saving a lot of money on this tractor is frankly often untrue.

Now your experiences with that are going to vary and dealer pricing can play into that in huge ways. That's not something that may ring true for everybody, but for each individual person, if this a tractor that you're considering, you really should be going to local dealers and pricing your local market to see how things shake out.

One thing that drives me absolutely batty in the tractor business is when companies decide to go and take funny acronyms and names and give them to things that are actually fairly standard industry practices and options. In this case it's Mahindra's emission system. They call it MCRD for their engine and actually what it is is an engine using a DOC, diesel oxidation catalyst in order to clean up the exhaust stream. That's a little bit different than the system that's used by Deere and Kubota, because they would use a DPF system.

A DPF and DOC actually aren't all that different from each other, the systems are almost exactly the same. The only difference is DPF has a soot capturing mechanism on it. That mechanism captures the soot as it comes out of the engine and once enough soot builds up inside of it, it goes to a burn cycle to burn off that soot.

A DOC doesn't have that screen on the end and it still needs to be outputting clean exhaust in order to meet Tier Four Final. The way that it does that is it is essentially always in a burn cycle. Rather than having to burn every 40 to 50 hours, it's burning all the time. The way that that happens is that the exhaust stream needs to be abnormally hot in order to burn off that exhaust. That's done by tuning the engine and a way to heat up the exhaust.

That's also accomplished by using a lot of EGR, exhaust gas recirculation. This engine is constantly breathing in that dirty air in order to reburn' it again to try to get it clean enough to be blown out of the engine. That's been on cars and trucks and other equipment for a long time. EGR is not a new technology, it's not new to engines but it is also a problematic part of engines.

There are issues on all this equipment potentially when it comes to their emmission systems, a DOC-only engine does not eliminate the problems. It runs hot all the time and has EGR concerns versus a DPS system which has to burn periodically.

On of either of these tractors really is an operator, ideally we just don't have to worry about this stuff. The goal is to get on the tractor and go do your work and not worry about it. You're not constantly thinking about what your emission system needs to do now. Rev the thing up, go to town and by and large all these tractors largely take care of themselves.

In summary this is about the best that I can feel that I can do for a fair comparison between these two tractors.

Do I think the Mahindra is a terrible machine? No. Are you going to find happy customers out there for it? Probably, but in my opinion in order to buy a tractor that is a lot more economy feeling there really needs to be a large price delta between these two tractors and that simply doesn't seem to exist as I've seen it in the marketplace. Around here this is the first that I've actually even been this close to a Mahindra tractor before.

We have a very competitive market here for main brand tractors and because of that competitive market, Mahindra has never been able to see the price gap that they have in some other more rural parts of the country. Before going and watching videos on YouTube and trying to line up data points in Excel, the right way that I see to make this decision is simply to get out and go to a local dealer. Visit your dealers of all colors and have those experienced salesmen figure out the needs that you have for your application.

Choosing a particular model really should be based upon your need and not based upon what you want for horsepower or just lift capacity, but there's all kinds of factors to consider on these machines. Find yourself experienced salespeople that can help you find those things. Buy from the right dealer. The right dealer and the right tractor can make a really good experience. The right tractor and a terrible dealer can also give you a really bad experience.