Final results: Top trio stand out
In order to reach the top spots in the machine comparison, the machine must not only impress in the test operator assessment but also in measurements assessing technical performance efficiency.
There can be no doubt about the winner of this year's comparison, as Wacker Neuson impressed in both parts of the ranking. In addition, the properties have all been bundled at a very competitive purchase price. The machine was also first choice when the test operators were asked which machine they would choose to use in their own work. The point deductions for this quiet and modern machine were primarily due to the slight inertia of the hydraulics and the comparatively low performance efficiency of the undercarriage.
The sales figures of the brand, which is still somewhat unknown in Finland, have increased significantly in recent years in Germany and Europe, which is hardly surprising, given the comparison results.
The Kubota took second place due to its extremely balanced performance efficiency. Points were deducted in the assessment for the otherwise high-quality overall package due to the surprisingly loud operator's cab. Although the hydraulics of the engine are perfectly fine, it would be advisable for Kubota to update the operator's working area if the emission regulations become stricter.
Third-placed Caterpillar is a safe choice for operators who are accustomed to the brand, as the hydraulics are consistently efficient. As usual, serviceability is top notch, but the view from the operator's cab and the mediocre digging force brought about point deductions.
Fourth-ranked JCB performed steadily across the board, but did not stand out from the crowd. The special features on this machine are the reduced tail and the efficient air-conditioning system. The lubrication intervals are exceptionally long.
The Takeuchi was the slight disappointment in the comparison. The hydraulic control system of the test machine was not quite at the level of the previously tested machines and the power level is not exactly cause for celebration. However, the performance efficiency of the undercarriage was good. The low fuel consumption, the performance of the air-conditioning system and the small tail swing were also positives.
The ECM is extremely strong in terms of hydraulics and undercarriage, which is why the machine received the highest number of technical points. The machine with the zero tail can also turn forward in a small space because of the conventional boom. The poor test operator assessment, however, meant that the machine only came fifth in the overall standings. Negative points for the test operators were, for example, the narrow engine compartment and the somewhat complicated operation.
The Bobcat is a machine with a fairly good range, but with stiff movements, which affected the test operator assessment. Deductions in the technical points were made for things such as the weak air-conditioning system. The turning force of the revolving superstructure and the lateral tipping load, however, were good. The price for the Bobcat was not stated.
The Komatsu was the worst in both test areas, the overall package simply did not warrant more than an eighth-place finish. The machine had the best dipper stick, but the torque and lateral tipping load, for example, were weak. The operator's cab was relatively quiet. For example, in the test operator assessment, negative ratings were given for the fact that the boom movements do not work well while driving and that the joysticks are too long.
The overall impression is what counts
When looking at the overall scores, it becomes clear that the Wacker Neuson was the outright winner, as the difference in points to the second-placed Kubota is 66 points. The third-placed CAT also achieved over 700 points. The top trio had a whole 100-point range to themselves - the JCB was more than 40 points behind third place. The mid-table machines, the Takeuchi, the ECM and the Bobcat, all came within a point distance of seven points.
The Komatsu would have needed a bit more effort to catch up with the Bobcat, as the gap was more than 20 points.
Overall, however, one can say that the modern machines are suitable for most construction sites. It was possible to perform the tasks with all the test machines, but there were big differences in terms of working comfort and serviceability. Depending on the construction site, it is desirable for the machine to have slightly differentiated characteristics - some value fast hydraulics, others attach more importance to things like compact external dimensions and working comfort.
The purchase prices are based on price recommendations, and we received no price information for most machines. In many cases, in Finland, machines are generously outfitted at the initiation of importers, which is why the price level of various outfitters and the nature of the business influence the final price. From the contractor's point of view, both the after sales service and easy maintenance as well as the skill of the seller influence the purchasing decision.
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