If you weren’t looking closely, you might have missed Case Construction Equipment’s sneak preview of its new Utility Plus backhoe loader at the ARA Show in Orlando, Florida, this week – one of more than 30 new machines set to officially launch at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2023.
The economical model drops some of the bells and whistles found on a standard loader, resulting in a 15-20% lower purchase price, says Dave Garton, manager of national accounts, Case CE.
It offers rental companies the opportunity to “finally make money renting a backhoe,” says Garton. “It’s a full-size backhoe that smaller rental companies can get into at a more reasonable price.”
While no official specs were shared by the manufacturer – and no model number is listed on the machine – Garton says the Utility Plus shares similarities with Case's 580N EP backhoe.
Geared toward the rental market, the 580N EP runs on a 74-horsepower, Tier 4 Final FPT diesel engine. There is no diesel exhaust fluid to add and no particulate filter to maintain on the unit. The backhoe delivers nearly 3,000 pounds of lifting force and over 11,500 pounds of breakout force.
Looking at the front end of the Utility Plus, you’ll notice a straight loader arm compared to a curved arm on the standard model.
Moving your attention to the back of the machine, the Extendahoe also has some differences. On the 580N EP, the outer box of the backhoe boom extends. On the Utility Plus model, it’s the inner box that extends. It's a design difference that may have its detractors.
"Now some people will tell you with that inner box going up and down, all the dirt is going to get in there, and you're just bringing dirt back and forth. Some people will tell you, when it's out, at least I can clean it off as opposed to the dirt on the inside," Garton noted.
A larger, more spacious cab will give operators plenty of room to spread out. “I can actually sit in that, put my arms out and not touch the glass,” says Garton. “You notice it more when you spin the seat around – your knees don’t go right into the dash.” A handbrake also replaces the electric park brake.
“Otherwise, it's just like any other Case backhoe. Same engine, same weight, same performance."
Additional cost savings are also a result of the Utility Plus being manufactured in Case’s India plant. The company’s standard loaders are produced at its Burlington, Iowa, plant. Notably, the Burlington, Iowa, and Racine, Wisconsin, Case plants were involved in a nine-month labor strike that ended in January.
The Utility Plus backhoe began shipping to dealers and rental houses late last year.