Roger Gifford introduces the Sidekick much like an enthusiastic uncle doting over a fond relative.
His gusto is understandable. He is Kubota’s product marketing manager for utility vehicles. Before that, he was a product training manager for the company, but during a media event on a reasonably-mild August morning in north Georgia, Gifford was the RTV-XG850 Sidekick’s voice, proudly running down the specs of Kubota’s newest deployment into the side-by-side utility vehicle market.
With the RTV-XG850 Sidekick, Kubota looks to stake a claim in the multi-purpose RTV market, shooting to weave together versatility, hauling power and speed, Gifford said. The Sidekick hits dealerships this fall.
A 48-HP Subaru electronic fuel-injected gasoline, water-cooled engine powers the Sidekick, which can quickly hit a top transport speed of up to 40 mph.
“The Sidekick is for the customer who wants to move material around in the back and move trailer material around and do it at a higher rate of speed than 20 miles per hour. They are on the farm and the barn is 10 miles away. They don’t want to be driving to that barn at 20 miles per hour. They want to get to the barn, get what they need, the tools they need, and get back to the field.”
(Editor's note: A video below with Roger Gifford offers a look at the Sidekick in action.)
The RTV can carry up to 15.2 cubic feet, or a half-ton of material in its steel cargo box, which comes with an optional electric hydraulic lift package. With its standard trailer hitch, it can tow up to 2,000 pounds on level ground or 1,550 pounds on inclines, he said.
Kubota engineered the Sidekick with its version of the continuously variable transmission with a centrifugal clutch, which keeps the belts under tension and also limits slipping, he said. The centrifugal clutch and a sprag clutch work to provide engine braking for smoother downhill control.
The RTV-XG850 series comes standard with Kubota’s speed-sensitive, electric power steering, which Gifford explained automatically provides more handling assistance during low-speed driving and less assistance at higher speeds. The vehicle comes with an easily selectable full-time four-wheel system.
Gifford said Kubota bolstered the independent suspension to evenly distribute payload across the Sidekick’s chassis, providing greater stability. The regulator and shielded generator are controlled by a microcomputer and provide electrical power to run a variety of equipment.
The company offers more than 50 attachments and accessories specifically for the Sidekick, including audio system, LED headlights, sports roof, bed extender and snowplow attachment, just to name a few.
The Sidekick comes in orange, RealTree camo, and two new colors offered by the company: green and black.
The Sidekick, along with the company’s other RTV lines, are manufactured at its plant in Gainesville, Ga.