The Cub Cadet PRO Z 554 is the second steering wheel zero-turn mower I have tested in the Cub Cadet commercial range. It is smaller than the 900 series mowers, but still has an impressive range of features and the same hefty build quality.
This style of zero-turn is quite different from conventional lever steer models because it enables the machine to be much more capable on slopes. The Cub Cadet PRO Z 554 S is rated for up to 20-degree slopes thanks to a combination of its weight distribution, footprint and four-wheel steering. The front wheels turn with the steering wheel, unlike the castor front wheels on conventional zero-turns. The front wheel steering is also power assisted, so it is exceptionally light and easy to manoeuvre. The four-wheel steering capability provided exceptional stability and traction on slopes.
I operated the Cub Cadet PRO Z 554 S on what I thought was right on 20 degrees. It was daunting at first because I was expecting it to slip and slide. Instead, it stuck to the slope and I felt comfortable once I was used to the terrain it proved capable on. I was even able to make downhill turns on steep slopes with no trouble, which is something that is impossible to do safely with a conventional zero-turn mower.
All this can be achieved at a decent pace, while producing a neat, even cut from the 54-inch fabricated deck. This deck is built tough from 7-gauge steel, 7-gauge top and bottom reinforcements and additional front and side reinforcements – therefore it is no surprise the deck comes with an impressive 5-year warranty.
The unit is powered by the ever reliable and well-suited Kawasaki FX 850V, which produces 27hp. Drive is via independent Parker 12cc pumps and 260cc wheel motors, and it gets along at an impressive pace with forward and reverse controlled by foot pedals.
Even at pace and on rough terrain the Cub Cadet PRO Z 554 S was very comfortable. This is thanks to the fully adjustable suspension seat, which is set to the operator’s weight for optimum comfort. An adjustable height steering column also aids in operator comfort, as well as the isolated foot pan, which reduces vibrations to the operator’s feet. Height adjustment is via a simple drop-in pin system, which is easy to read and reach.
A rubber discharge chute is forgiving on objects if the operator misjudges and it folds up and stays up for transport or negotiating narrow access points.
Another great feature is the hydro drive release, which is a lever adjacent to the handbrake. It is easily activated without tools from standing beside or sitting on the mower, enabling the unit to free wheel if required. This is much better than most hydro disengage systems that require you to delve into the depths of the machine, often with tools, which is generally a much harder task than it should be.
Two large 26-litre fuel tanks ensure long intervals between refuelling. Interestingly I note that the choke is on the opposite side as the key and throttle.
I really can’t fault the Cub Cadet PRO Z 554 S Zero Turn Mower. It is a tough, comfortable and efficient machine, which can access more terrain than most others and is just as capable on large flat areas as steep slopes. An impressive 3-year unlimited hour commercial warranty is offered along with a 5-year deck warranty.