Kubota is a large corporation with the resources to back the development of its product ranges, both from an engineering point of view and the sales and marketing angle.

Yet, it is also Japanese, and tends to be cautious about jumping on bandwagons or following the latest trends simply for the sake of doing so.

It is the steadier approach that has been taken with its entrance into the telehandler market, an area of operation that is relatively new to the company, but one which it feels is set for further expansion, although the concept has been around for many years.

Yet, Kubota has not immediately targeted the agricultural market with the KTH4815-2.

Agriland was invited to get a first-hand look at the latest loaders working on-farm in Oxfordshire this week, check out the video below.


It is the construction sector in which the corporation’s roots lie, and it is within the construction division that the responsibility for the development and marketing of this latest machine resides.

However, that does not mean it is just another hopeful adaptation, the base machine has been fitted out to cater for farming rather than building sites, and the two industries are closely allied, especially in Ireland.

Kubota loaders in row
Kubota takes the view that many of its compact construction machines can be useful on the farm and within ancillary industries

It is also built by Tobraco from the Netherlands, a company which has been producing loaders of various types for over 27 years.

Tobraco tends to fit Kubota engines to its machines and Kubota considers the sourcing of loaders from Tobraco as part of a long-term trading partnership.

Yet Gordon Smith, product manager for construction equipment, noted that at the compact level at least, many of the products have a role to play on both sides of the rather low fence.

Side profile of KTH4815-2
The KTH 4815-2 on demo was the machine that Kubota took to LAMMA

The KTH4815-5 is a typical example of what can be achieved through the sharing of a basic design.

The KTH explained

When it comes to materials handling, manufacturers tend to give an explanation of what the machine actually is when it comes to naming them, and Kubota is no exception.

KTH stands for Kubota Telehandler while the 48 refers to the 4.8m lift height and the 15 indicates the maximum lift capacity of 1,420kg. The 2 denotes that this is the revised second version of this telehandler.

Kubota telescopic handler
Filling feeder wagons is one of the roles envisaged for the Kubota KTH4815-2

There is one further statistic that is worth noting – in its basic format it weighs just 2,950kg, which will enable it to be trailed. This rises to 3,120kg with a glazed cab, air conditioning and other trimmings.

Another design parameter which Kubota considers essential is the ability to lift a 1t pallet from the far side of a truck or trailer, thus cementing its position as a viable alternative to a tractor and loader for work around the yard.

Stage V from Kubota

Power is provided by a four-cylinder, 1,800cc Kubota diesel with an output of 50hp which is fitted with an air intake pre-cleaner and exhaust which blows up and back away from the machine.

Installation of the engine is designed so that all service items are to hand when the bonnet is raised.

Indeed, when the lid is lifted, it is almost as if the parts are laid out on a workbench in front of the operator.

Telehandler engine bay
The engine is neatly laid out under the bonnet with all regular service points easily reached

The engine meets stage V emission standards through adblue and a DPF which now has a service interval of 6,000 hours although Gordon Smith suggested that this is only a guide with the intensity of use affecting this figure.

Drive is via a two-speed Rexroth hydrostatic motor to the two Carraro axles that are permanently engaged, giving full-time 4X4 to go with the four-wheel steering, which comes with a crab function as standard.

Tyre choice

The telehandler being demonstrated by Kubota at Thame in Oxfordshire, was fitted with the industrial type tyres that are becoming more popular on this type of machine.

They offer a large footprint and grip without the sharp lugs that can dig into lawns or other areas where a lighter tread is required.

If ground conditions are such that the use of tractor tyres is required then stability might become an issue.

Kubota sensor
The strain gauge situated on the rear axle locks the boom when the lack of weight becomes critical

With safety in mind, the telehandler has a sensor on the back axle that notes the weight being carried. When it becomes too light, the arm locks in position to prevent further mishap.

This lock can be overridden for eight-second periods to allow the operator to move the load back into a more stable position, the switch for doing so being conveniently located on the dashboard.

Driving impressions

Getting into the cab was a perfectly natural movement and little more can be said about the ease of doing so, and once in, the impression is of space and comfort.

The controls are straightforward although the forward and reverse function has been moved to the joystick rather than a stalk attached to the steering column, which resulted in the indicators flashing a good deal but with no motion in either direction.

Man sitting inside cab
The cab easily accommodates Gordon Smith’s 6ft frame

Once the notion of the indicator stalk not being the gearstick had been absorbed, the convenience of having all the major controls in the one hand became obvious and time would no doubt settle any further confusion.

The transmission is a two-speed affair with most of the work being done in the higher range. Top speed is 25km/h which is quite adequate in confined spaces, but dashing about larger yards might invoke a desire for something a little quicker.

Hearty hydraulics

With a full load, the telehandler will weigh in at around 4.5t which may leave it short breathed on gradients, but this is a machine for confined spaces rather than long hills and performance was certainly adequate for the tasks that were offered on the day.

The response of the hydraulics was rapid and the 51L/min pump felt well suited to the small machine, tilting and crowding the bucket very effectively while pushing the boom out at a pace that remained safe, but not too slow.

Headstock of KTH4815-2
The headstock comes with Eurohitch and hydraulic locking pin as standard

Telehandlers tend to offer excellent forward vision; this is certainly the case on the Kubota which has a curved glass screen that becomes progressively more tinted towards the top.

The view to the right however, suffers the usual obstruction of the boom itself.

To the left of the cab the large door will open right back to a secure latch mounted on the cab side. The upper glass will open independently of the door, although it is not a true stable door arrangement.

Kubota dashboard
The dashboard is neat compact and functional

There is an impressive amount of adjustment built into the steering column and few should have any difficulty in arranging the cab interior to suit their size and shape, the seat being particularly comfortable

Does the Kubota compete?

Kubota has brought to its range a machine that ticks all the boxes for those who are looking for a small, light materials handler that can cover a multitude of tasks around the yard, and in landscaping or horticultural situations.

It is not a machine that is over-burdened by digital technology, yet it is not spartan either. Kubota suggests that it will retail for around €65,000 in Ireland, depending on spec, which is no more than two or three premium front-end loaders.

Telehandler boom
The telehandler is neatly packaged and well thought out

Such front end loaders will, though, have such functions as boom float and pre-set bucket positions along with an electronic joystick, all of which would not come amiss on the KTH4825.

As always, a dedicated tool will perform better than a general purpose machine and around yards and in low buildings something like this should easily out-perform a tractor and loader, which can be clumsy when room is tight.