Cub Cadet Ultima Series: ZT2 54 Zero Turn

It’s not often there is a new look to zero-turn mowers; although they can be very different, they usually look very similar. The new ZT2 54 from Cub Cadet is definitely a different looking machine resembling an off-road buggy, which will be attractive to those who like to stand out from the crowd.

A two-piece 2 inch x 2 inch tubular frame is the notable difference between other zero turns, especially with its wave design, which sure looks smart. This forged steel frame has Cub Cadet’s E-Coat corrosion protective system prolonging the frame life. The engine of choice is a quality Kawasaki 24hp – these engines are proven for this application and are both reliable and long lasting.

Access for maintenance around the engine is excellent. The design and placement of the tubular frame was well thought out – many zero-turns have limited access around the engine.

Drive is via dual ZT2800 transmissions, which I found to be smooth and accurate for manoeuvring, ground speed was in-line with expectations for a residential machine. The 54 inch Cub Cadet Aeroforce Deck is designed to cut the clippings finer, resulting in less clumps. The 11-gauge construction with hefty reinforcements welded in the critical wear areas produced a neat even cut.

The high-back seat with armrests is comfortable, adjustable fore and aft to suit any operator and has two rubber dampening blocks on the rear contact point with the mower to soften the ride. A moulded plastic dampening mat on the foot platform reduces vibrations when the operator’s feet are resting on it and protects the foot pan from wear and tear. The foot platform hinges forward and removes for easy access to the top of the deck. This does require a tool to remove but unlike other mowers, the multi-tool required is supplied standard with a dedicated storage position on the machine. It locks into place just in front of the control panel, which is handy.

The lap bar handles have chunky, over-moulded plastic grips that are comfortable to hold and proved to make gripping easier. Adjustments to the handle positions are easily made without tools and a wide range of positions are available.

The 13.2 litre, centre mounted fuel tank is located under the operator’s seat low in the machine and combined with the wide rear tyres creates a lower centre of gravity and therefore a very stable machine and increased traction on sloped terrain.

I like the height adjustment mechanism. It is a simple dial, which when the pressure of the deck weight is taken with the foot, deck lift easily rotates to the desired position. There is no auto-lock transport position so the deck must be manually set to the highest position for loading/transport.

A tow hitch and mulch kit are standard inclusions, along with two impressive built-in LED lights in the front of the footrest. Offset front axles allow for easier lead-in around obstacles and better access for the operator to mount and dismount the machine.

The new Cub Cadet ZT2 54 brings a refreshing new look to the zero-turn market. It is well suited to the larger domestic market with possibly some light contractors with an attractive price tag for its features of only $8,399. A 3-year domestic warranty is offered and a 3-month commercial warranty.

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