I purchased the tractor as a 2yo with high hours - it had been used to pull a poo picker at racing stables. I bought it to replace a manual Ford 1210.
The first thing that hit me was the ease of use of the hydrostatic, coming from a manual. Whilst other manufacturers claim a two-pedal system is better than the heel-toe of a Kubota, I find on this machine there is plenty of room to put my toe under the forward pedal and lift it to go backwards.
The tractor seems to be based on the old 7200 with an 8200 (20HP) engine. Certainly my loader, a KBF200 designed for the 7200, bolted straight on. The hydraulics are good for the loader - it moves fast when running at 2000 RPM (which is roughly the speed I use for non-PTO work. Note, you need a vertical exhaust to use a detachable loader.
Whilst the hydraulics are strong, they are a bit primitive. The trailer tipping pipe is an extra, and when fitted you have to select between the three point or trailer tipper via a valve under the seat that diverts the oil the appropriate way. Also, to tip it is necessary to remove the stop on the operating lever (I just rotate it 180) so level move all the way - however, if you are not careful and operate the TPL without the stop, the links move to top of stroke and the safety cut-out valve diverts hydraulics - a great idea except the trailer tipping is also restricted. Something to remember. Also, there are no two-way spool valves from new - but can be easily fitted by tapping into the loader hydraulic output on LHS behind engine.
The configuration is not flat floor - i.e. you straddle the transmission tunnel. I like this - you sit lower down to it feels less tippy. Combined with wider turf tires than fitted to later models it feels very stable.
The transfer box really could do with three speeds - top speed on low is about 4.5MPH / 7KPH. When mowing it just want to go that bit faster - but high sometimes does not have the power. Ditto moving a heavy trailer. Top speed in high is about 12MPH - only just sufficient for moving short distances on the road.
It has proved VERY reliable - I have had to change a few things (light switch, seat, fan bearings) but nothing serious. On the design side, the battery is to left of seat and over years acid has splashed onto the wings causing excessive corrosion that has to be addressed. I guess this why batteries are back under bonnet now!
Lights are not the strong point. European models have different tail and indicator lights and there tends to be earthing issues to resolve from time to time. Headlamps are dim, but adequate to drive by - but additional lights would be desirable for night time working.
ROPS is a bit of a pain for those of use with low door ways - it hinges near the base so when folded down only goes down 100 degrees and sits on the bonnet. Again, later ones were hinged half way up so folded through 180 and were less of an obstacle.
The power of the tractor is good - a friend with a 21HP JD recons that the Kubota 20HP has more power. Revs and torque I guess. The engine is now on 5500 HRS and breathes a bit through the tube. I have just changed two heater plugs as starting was getting difficult - it is better now - and will be better still when I get time to remove fuel tank to fit the third heater. Yes - design flaw!!! The engine is 3cyl, 950cc and revs to about 2800 or so. It does not sound like it is ripping itself apart - even when I put the chipper on it.
The radiator has a prefilter screens on it - and the engine is a blower, not a sucker (i.e air flow is forwards through rad. The screens need to be kept clean (and one on hydraulic oil) as it will overheat otherwise. Basic maintenance. Also keep an eye on air filter - a blocked one is not good!
Rear PTO is two speed, but to be honest I only use 540. There is a mid PTO for a mower but have not used that either as I use a TPL mower.
Parts have never been an issue - dealer so far has got everything I asked overnight. Can be pricey - like GBP800 (USD1200 at time or writing) for the aforementioned right wing. Even decals available for when I get round to repainting it - as is trim - some of the plasticy bits on bonnet break too easily.
Display is easy to read - a proper rev counter not a silly little dial on earlier models. My steering has gone very slack - but after 5500 hrs it may just need some adjustments and bearings for front axle pivot.
The tractor features bi-speed turn - a mechanism to speed up front axle when turning. Nice idea - but can rip up grass. I leave it off.
Whilst some of the above seems like a list of faults, I think they are mostly minor areas where things could have been done better. No show-stoppers.
Based on this machine, would I buy another? Yes, definitely.