Product Report: No cut corners

As fuel prices continue to soar, small utility vehicles are starting to make more sense on large or spread-out jobsites. While no stranger to the utility vehicle market, Bobcat felt there were product gaps, which it moved to address with the introduction of the 2300 4×4 model this summer.

The 2300 will fall between Bobcat’s 2200 utility loader and the larger 5600 model, says Brad Claus, Bobcat’s utility vehicle product manager. “We wanted to provide an economical product that would appeal to users in terms of hauling people and cargo,” Claus notes. “We also designed a utility vehicle capable of standing up to jobsite rigors and then transition to a recreational vehicle on weekends.”

Lifts loads up to 500 pounds
Bobcat engineers didn’t cut any corners when designing the 2300 model. Like its predecessors, the 2300 comes equipped with Bobcat’s RapidLink attachment arm. No other utility vehicle offers the opportunity to do as many different tasks as the 2300, Claus says. “It’s an ideal time- and labor-saver for contractors.”

The front-mounted RapidLink arm can lift loads up to 500 pounds up to 2 feet. The arm can be fitted with five Bobcat attachments, including a bucket, a mower (powered by a separate Briggs & Stratton gasoline engine), pallet forks, snow blades and a whisker push broom. Bobcat will introduce other attachments in 2007.

“Users can operate and change attachments from the comfort of their seat with an exclusive, easy-to-operate joystick control,” Claus says. “The only reason to leave the operator’s seat [during an attachment change] is to lock or unlock the attachment. The RapidLink arm can be easily removed for traditional four-wheel-drive operation.”

Under its hood, the 2300 is powered by a 20-horsepower diesel engine, which drives Bobcat’s exclusive IntelliTrak drivetrain system and a deep ratio, continuously variable transmission. IntelliTrak provides on-demand four-wheel drive by automatically engaging its locking differential when ground conditions dictate. When four-wheel drive is not required, or when the vehicle is turning, IntelliTrack disengages the differential to minimize ground and turf disturbance and wear to tires and drivetrain components. IntelliTrack further boosts the 2300’s performance by optimizing power distribution to all four wheels and eliminating wheel slippage in slick conditions.

The 2300’s transmission eliminates the need to stop and shift gears while providing high torque and travel speeds up to 25 mph. Standard rack-and-pinion steering provides low-input, responsive steering and, combined with deep wheel cuts, gives the 2300 a short, quick turning radius.

Underneath, a double-A front suspension and swing-arm rear suspension give the vehicle a smooth ride even in rough terrain conditions. The aluminum frame is rust proof, durable and strong enough to handle up to 800 pounds in the standard cargo bed. Additional towing and attachment capability can be gained by hooking a trailer or implements to the standard 2-inch rear receiver hitch.

Bobcat is also introducing a new, larger version of its smaller 2200 utility vehicle. The four-wheel-drive, four-passenger 2200S features four forward- facing passenger seats with expanded carrying capacity for cargo and gear. It can be spec’d with 20-horsepower gas or diesel engines.