The Ever-Stalwart Skid Steer – New Models Keep on Coming

Kioti SL750 skid steer kicking up dust
Standard features on the Kioti SL750 – the company's first-ever skid steer – include two-speed travel, pilot hydraulic joysticks, a sliding overhead door and LED front and rear work lights. Air conditioning is available. Power comes from a 74-horsepower Kioti engine that has been used in the company’s RX Series tractors.
Kioti

In recent years, skid steer loaders have ceded significant market share to other compact machines, most notably compact track loaders. But that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from coming out with new skid steer models with compelling features.

Here’s a look at some new models added to the market in the past year, with two companies – Hyundai and Kioti – introducing their first-ever skid steers to the U.S. We also check out the latest from Bobcat, which has introduced the world's first electric skid steer, as well as from Caterpillar, John Deere, JCB, Kubota and Wacker Neuson.

Bobcat: Electric and Diesel Offerings

Bobcat S86 skid steer dumping dirtThe 105-horsepower Bobcat S86 has standard-, high- and super-flow hydraulic options providing up to 42 gpm at 4,061 psi. Operating weight is 9,728 pounds, and ROC varies from the standard 3,400 pounds up to 3,700 pounds with optional 400-pound counterweight. Bobcat Premium Power Performance improves efficiency and performance during multitask operations.BobcatAccording to Bobcat, its S7X is the world’s first all-electric skid steer. And “all electric” means not only the elimination of a diesel – or any other internal combustion – engine, but also the elimination of hydraulics.

Two electric motors power the wheels, while four ball-screw actuators power the workgroup functions. Ball-screw actuators use mechanical components to convert rotational forces to linear movement. Advantages include high precision and low-friction operation.

“By eliminating hydraulics, the S7X has 50% fewer components,” says Julie Portillo, marketing manager, Doosan Bobcat. “Overall, the design requires 96% less fluid, coolants and lubricants than traditional diesel-powered skid steers.”

Electric models have commonly been relegated to applications where noise, exhaust and other environmental considerations are drivers of machine selection. But instantaneous torque of up to three times that of traditional skid steers, the ability to operate a typical 8-hour shift on a single charge and familiar operator interface features are bringing the S7X to other applications, as well.

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The newest addition to the diesel-hydraulic skid steer line for Bobcat is the S86. It is the most powerful skid steer ever from Bobcat. Features designed around that power include a cooling package with high-capacity radiator and a reversible cooling fan about twice the size of traditional fans, as well as three hydraulic-flow choices.

Standard flow is 23.9 gallons per minute at 3,500 psi. High flow is 36.6 gpm at 3,500 psi. Super flow is 42 gpm at 4,061 psi. High and Super flow modes are both optional.

Bobcat also reintroduced the S650 in response to customer demand. The S650 has “practical features and pricing to match” and provides a model choice for customers seeking what could be considered a traditional skid steer with few frills but plenty of performance.

Hyundai Enters the Skid Steer Market

Hyundai HS120V skid steer bucket raised in snowThe Hyundai HS120V is rated at 73.6 gross horsepower. Standard hydraulic flow is 21.9 gpm at 3,335 psi. Operating weight is 8,481 pounds (cab), and ROC is 1,883 pounds at 35% of tipping load. A hydraulic quick coupler is standard, with a mechanical quick coupler as a factory option. Boom float and self-leveling on the upstroke are standard.HyundaiIn 2023, Hyundai entered the North American skid steer market with the HS120V (and the CTL market with the HT100V).

Standard features include two-speed travel, multifunction joystick controls, rearview camera and an easy-to-operate sliding door that lets the operator work with the door open or closed and includes an emergency escape. Further enhancing safety is an emergency boom-down feature that allows lowering of the boom manually in the unlikely event of electrical failure.

The standard LED lighting includes an “escort system” that keeps the lights on for 30 seconds after shutdown to give the operator a safe view of the worksite when exiting the cab. Ride control is also standard on the HS120V, which improves operator comfort and, combined with the vertical lift pattern, maximizes material retention.

“It is this long list of standard features that helps set apart the HS120V in the skid steer market,” says Adam Ford, product manager, HD Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas.

Options include Hi MATE telematics, which offers such common features as remote status and performance reporting, access to diagnostic information and geofencing to reduce the risk of theft and unauthorized use of the machine.

John Deere Refines Tier Strategy

John Deere 334 P-tier skid steer cold planer attachmentThe John Deere 334 P-Tier has a Yanmar engine rated at 118 gross horsepower. It has a redesigned cab, heated/vented seats, touchscreen displays and Bluetooth and can be equipped with optional surround view. The skid steer has pressure-compensated, load-sensing hydraulics.John DeereJohn Deere announced its Tiering strategy for its equipment some time ago, but work continues to bring the full skid steer lineup into that system. The 330G and 332G are going away and will be replaced by the 330 P-Tier, one machine to serve customers of both the previous models.

Although the 330 will come only in P-Tier, there will be four base configurations that include such selections as halogen or LED lighting, open ROPS or cab, standard or high-flow hydraulics, reversing or non-reversing fan, no radio or radio with Bluetooth and hands-free calling, and standard 2-inch monitor or 8-inch touchscreen display.

Also new will be the 334 P-Tier for customers with performance-intensive applications. It will have 118 gross horsepower and a pressure-compensating, load-sensing pump providing up to 44 gpm at 2,500 psi.

“With that level of standard hydraulic performance, there will be no need for a high-flow option even with high-demand attachments, such as our new 40-inch cold planer,” says Emily Pagura, product marketing manager.

The pressurized cab will feature a new 8-inch touchscreen monitor and a heated, ventilated, high-back air-suspension seat. That seat is among the options for the 330 P-Tier; others are mechanical or air suspension vinyl. Slope Indicate, the Boom Performance and Joystick Performance packages will be standard on the 334 P-Tier and optional on the 330 P-Tier.

Kioti Debuts its First Skid Steer

Kioti Tractor, a division of Daedong-USA Inc., is an established player in other markets, including compact tractors and zero-turn mowers. Marking entry into the compact equipment market are the SL750 skid steer (shown at the top of this story) and TL750 compact track loader, announced in December 2023.

Standard equipment includes an open operator station, LED front and rear work lights, rearview camera with automatic and on-demand functions, two-speed travel, pilot hydraulic joysticks and self-leveling on the lift cycle that can be activated with the push of a button. Options include an enclosed cab with HVAC and ride control.

The vertical-lift SL750 has a maximum hinge pin height of 10 feet 9 inches. The Kioti diesel engine is rated at 74 horsepower. Hydraulic flow is 21.9 gpm at 3,335 psi.

“Kioti’s entrance to the compact market arrives at a pivotal time for both our company and the industry,” said Justin Moe, product manager, construction division, Kioti Tractor. “Compact sales exploded over the last decade, with no signs of slowing down. Our customers are part of this demand, seeking compact equipment for everything from acreage management to worksite applications.”

Caterpillar Gets ‘Smart’

Cat 262D3 skid steer dumping asphalt on roadThe Caterpillar 262D3 has 74.3 gross horsepower, an operating weight of 8,296 pounds and an ROC of 2,700 pounds. Performance Package H1 is the standard configuration. H2 and H3 include dual-direction self-leveling, work-tool return to dig, work-tool positioner and electronic-snubbing raise and lower. H2 is standard flow, and H3 is High Flow XPS.CaterpillarNot all manufacturers have introduced new models since we last covered skid steer loaders one year ago. Caterpillar is one of them and is focused on improvements without the need for new machines.

Cat continues to promote its Smart Attachments for skid steers. There are three: Smart Backhoe, Smart Grader Blade and Smart Dozer Blade. The first two are available for Cat skid steers and CTLs, while the Smart Dozer Blade requires higher tractive effort and is best suited for Cat CTLs.

Smart Attachments communicate with the host machine, so joystick controls are matched to the needs of that attachment. The changes are automatic, since the skid steer recognizes the attachment as soon as it’s connected and the two share real-time communication.

Smart Attachments do not replace dedicated machines, says Kevin Coleman, senior product specialist, Caterpillar. “For example, the Smart Backhoe does not replace a compact excavator, but it does provide the use of many mini-ex attachments and therefore increases considerably the versatility of the skid steer loader.”

Cat also offers Smart Creep for its wheel saws and cold planers. These two communicate with the skid steer in real time about load. Smart Creep automatically adjusts travel speed according to varying loads on the attachment to maintain the most productive speed and to reduce the risk of stalling.

“It’s a bit like adaptive cruise control,” says Coleman, “speeding up on the easier parts and slowing down on the harder parts.” Creep speed is selected via the display.

The company also offers Cat Command remote control. There are two versions: line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight. LOS requires a controller mounted on a shoulder harness and is intended for local applications. Non-LOS relies on a higher communication protocol to a remote operator station with a seat and a screen showing a 360-degree camera view of the machine. With non-LOS, one operator station can control multiple machines, such as skid steers, small wheel loaders and excavators.

JCB Focuses on Operators

JCB 270 skid steer with trencher in dirtThe most popular configuration of the 74-horsepower JCB 270 includes a cab with HVAC, standard auxiliary hydraulics, creep speed and two-speed drive, JCB Smoothride System, foot throttle and powered quick hitch. The distinctive single-arm Powerboom has 20% more steel than traditional twin-arm designs.JCBThe JCB 3.2 Series cab includes a 7-inch touchscreen and MyChoice controls for such things as maximum forward and reverse speeds, acceleration response, joystick deadband characteristics, and the ability to set intervals for the reversing fan from 10 minutes to 60 minutes or engage the reversing function manually.

Soft membrane switches on the right side control machine functions, while a group of ergonomically oriented controls on the left side is used for HVAC, Bluetooth radio and other comfort and convenience features.

JCB continues to promote its single-boom design, which provides side-door access for improved safety and convenience.

Lee Tice, product manager, compact equipment, JCB, also returns attention to the JCB Teleskid, which offers 8 feet of forward reach, 13 feet 3 inches of hinge pin height and the ability to dig down to 3 feet below grade.

“The Teleskid design offers a big boost in versatility with no loss of skid steer performance,” says Tice.

With the boom fully extended, rated operating capacity is 1,600 pounds at 35% of tipping load, but with the boom retracted, ROC is a respectable 3,695 pounds.

Kubota

Kubota SSV75 skid steer carrying load of rocksKubota’s SSV75 comes standard with two-speed drive for travel speeds to more than 11 mph, a Kubota engine rated at 74.3 gross horsepower and a 36-inch-wide roll-up door. Kubota says the vertical-lift SSV75 can push and dig as well as a radial-lift machine and that the available pilot controls are more intuitive and offer better feel and precision than electrohydraulic controls.Kubota

Wacker Neuson

Wacker Neuson SW28 skid steer bucket raised over dump truck bedThe Wacker Neuson SW 28 has 73.8 horsepower, hydraulic flow up to 31.7 gpm at 3,494 psi, an operating weight of 8,148 pounds and a bucket hinge pin height of 11 feet 2 inches. The 40-gallon fuel tank provides ample run time. Boom and bucket controls are foot pedals, and machine steering is via EH joystick controls with user-selectable ISO or H-pattern.Wacker Neuson