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  1. #1
    New Member
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    May 2012
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    Grass Valley, CA
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    Kubota B21 TLB

    Default John Deere Gator XUV 550 vs. Kubota RTV400Ci / 500 ?

    We are considering an XUV550, and would like to get some other folk's impressions. We are also considering kubota RTV500 or 400Ci. There is some info on this forum about the XUV550, but not so much -- I believe it's only been out for a year or so? Our purpose is for use around an 11-acre ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills, "Gold Country" in California; about half is hilly, some fairly steep. We have horses to care for, and general ranch chores and repairs. We are not so interested in sport/trail use, just a work vehicle.

    Some friends have had Gators for some time, the older "traditional" ones, and we liked these. We think we need 4WD and it looks like the XUV550 is the lowest in JD's lineup with 4WD. We looked at some of the bigger ones (XUV825i) -- impressive, but we want to fit through 5' gates, so we need to keep in the 55-56" width range. From what I can tell, that limits us to XUV550, as far as the JD lineup.

    First of all, legroom is better in the XUV550, and there's more room for the driver's left foot, passenger's right foot -- wheel wells aren't in the way so much as with other vehicles. I'm 6'-3" so this is pretty important (BTW I did see another thread on this forum about legroom), and my first impression was "Wow, it's the XUV550 hands down." After the dealer rep managed to get it started, however, my thought changed to "Well, we already have an old riding mower with a carbuerated Briggs & Stratton engine, and it sounds like it runs better than this!" Also, a lot of plastic; lightweight chassis construction is ??? -- we just didn't get a favorable impression as far as durability (although SO says rates high on the cuteness scale!).

    An important question -- is air-cooled OK for these vehicles? It gets very hot here sometimes in the summer, not consistently, and we would plan to have it idling sometimes (stop in pasture to muck, etc.). Do we have to worry about overheating? Or, is liquid-cooled the way to go? If so, that would point us away from the XUV550 (1-cylinder air-cooled Briggs & Stratton engine) and the Kubota RTV400Ci (1-cylinder air-cooled fuel-injected Subaru engine), and towards the Kubota RTV500 (2-cylinder liquid-cooled fuel-injected Kubota engine).

    Our impression of the RTV500 is favorable overall; engine runs and sounds good, ride, handling, power is OK, and overall construction/impression of durability is OK. BUT, still crampy for me, I can fit in but tight on legroom, and exactly where I am suppose to put my left foot when driving it?

    I have gone through a lot of threads and found a lot of good info on the Kubota offerings, as well as many others, just fishing for more thoughts on the the JD Gator XUV550 in particular. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Super Star Member
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    Mar 2008
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    Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
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    Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660

    Default Re: John Deere Gator XUV 550 vs. Kubota RTV400Ci / 500 ?

    We looked at the 550, but I didn't like the wheel wells in the cargo box. We also looked at the 625i, but it was too big, it was like getting into a 4x4 truck. We ended up with the RTV500 and love it.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  3. #3
    Veteran Member RollingsFarms's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
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    South Carolina
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    John Deere 5325 & John Deere 910A 22hp Kawasaki/54" deck

    Default

    My pick would be the rtv 500 out if the ones you motioned. To me the xuv 550 looks and feels "cheap" and I despise a Briggs and Stratton motor so that alone would make me not own one. I wish Deere had built the 550 like the 825 and 625 but I guess they were going for a certain price point. If you have a Kawasaki dealer closeby take a look at the Mule 610 too. You might like it.


    John Deere 5325 MFWD

    John Deere 910A 54" 7-Iron PRO deck

  4. #4
    Veteran Member PMA's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
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    South Carolina
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    John Deere 5325, CI Farmall 85U, Mccormick International 404

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    My cousin bought a JD 550 and he has problems with his, smoking and dieseling when he cuts it off. Been to the dealership twice. I have the 620i and have no had any problems with mine and have had it for 4 years. The 550 had 14 hours the first time he took it and just took it back with 21 hours. He said they have replaced about everything but the motor. We are going to drive them hard prolly this week to see if its finally fixed. But now his problems could be the dealership, not the best.

    Sent from my iPhone using TractorByNet

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Buppies's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    SouthWestern Virginia
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    Kubota L 5240 John Deere 550 Gator Toro 60 in zero turn Toro 44 in walk behind

    Default Re: John Deere Gator XUV 550 vs. Kubota RTV400Ci / 500 ?

    The ride of the JD 550 is far superior to that of the kubota. Have had no trouble with ours so far with 15 hours on it. Have owned just about every ATV out there air and liquid cooled with no overheating. The motor has preformed flawlessly and would no problem recommending this UTV to anyone

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    May 2009
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    Maine
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    International 2544 / Gator 825i

    Default Re: John Deere Gator XUV 550 vs. Kubota RTV400Ci / 500 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buppies View Post
    The ride of the JD 550 is far superior to that of the kubota.
    I haven't driven the 550 but I did own the Kubota 500 and on flat ground or mild slopes it was good but man if you go offroad you really see where the suspension is lacking when you go for a ride even if you're at crawling speed. The first year I had it was relatively dry so most places I took my RTV 500 were in good shape and I didn't have any real issues with it, the machine is slow but that's not a huge deal to me. The next season it was wet in the spring so I was unable to take the RTV 500 out until it dried up without constantly getting stuck, I would belly out on the floor pan and the machine didn't have enough traction to pull over anything. After it dried up enough for me to go out the trails were rough and the ride was horrendous.....prior to experiencing that several I really liked the RTV 500....after that I started looking into long wheel travel kits for a RTV 500.....there aren't any that I could find. Eventually I started to dislike the RTV 500 quite a bit and at that point I traded it off for a JD 825i....I didn't check out the 550 because after the RTV 500 I didn't want to risk buying something else small and underpowered.



    The 500 was pretty good at snowplowing, far better than I would have expected for such a small machine but if you plan to use it in any rough terrain I would definitely consider alternatives instead. Either the Gator 550 or the Ranger 500 would top my list if I was looking for a small footprint machine. For my uses the 825i is perfect, it rides incredible with all it's suspension travel....it has true 4WD and goes through areas that nobody would expect with ease and there is tons of power to spare.

  7. #7
    Gold Member pwright's Avatar
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    Las Cruces, NM
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    2012 Bobcat CT225

    Default Re: John Deere Gator XUV 550 vs. Kubota RTV400Ci / 500 ?

    You definitely should look at the other options out there like the Ranger 500efi. Look at the Kawasaki and Yamaha offerings as well. Just because you aren't interested in sport/trail use doesn't mean you won't appreciate the better suspension and ergonomics. Keep your mind open and explore all of your options before you spend your hard-earned money.
    Phil

    Bobcat CT225 with FEL and Bobtach.
    Landpride box blade, post hole digger and pallet forks.

  8. #8
    New Member
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    Jan 2014
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    wilton, california
    Tractor
    xuv 550

    Default Re: John Deere Gator XUV 550 vs. Kubota RTV400Ci / 500 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by PMA View Post
    My cousin bought a JD 550 and he has problems with his, smoking and dieseling when he cuts it off. Been to the dealership twice. I have the 620i and have no had any problems with mine and have had it for 4 years. The 550 had 14 hours the first time he took it and just took it back with 21 hours. He said they have replaced about everything but the motor. We are going to drive them hard prolly this week to see if its finally fixed. But now his problems could be the dealership, not the best.

    Sent from my iPhone using TractorByNet
    I bought an XUV 550 approximately 18 months ago. It now has 92 hours on it and a week ago it was hard to start and limped into the garage. I only use it on our 5 acre ranch to tools etc, no heavy lifting. John Deere mechanic came out and said "it has to go to the shop". The diagnosis is two blown head gaskets, out of warranty. John Deere is trying to help but after 92 hours of light use and two head gaskets tells me the is something wrong with the product.
    Anybody experienced the same problem?
    Tom

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