"Let me start by saying that I love this tractor. However, a perfect "5 rating" for each category would not be an honest review.
This is my first cabbed tractor. I have previously owned a 30 year old Ford 1910 (32 horsepower, 4x4) with loader and a recent John Deere 3520 (37 horsepower, 4x4) with 300 CX loader. Both were geared tractors.
After owning several brands, I've always considered test driving and trying a Kubota due to the "value" they offer along with seeing first hand how tough they are with several friends of mine owning them. In central South Carolina, Kubota and John Deere are king with New Holland and others falling behind in availability of service and sales. So with knowing my choices were John Deere or Kubota, I bought this tractor used with 300 hours and I've added another 40 hours of seat time.
I use this tractor to keep up our 54 acres with bush hogging, food plots, and 1/4 mile long driveway maintenance. I settled on 44 engine horsepower as a balance of my available budget and physical horsepower needs for my acreage and implements. In my opinion, the Kubota engine seems a "level above and more refined" than the Shibaura and Yanmar engines in my previous tractors. It is quieter and smoother, although this a 44 horsepower, 4 cylinder compared to my previous 3 cylinder engines.
However, I will say my "smaller" John Deere open station is a tad more comfortable in the seat than this Kubota L4240. I have no complaints on build quality, as I design equipment at work, and I see where no corners were cut on the design and build of this Kubota. The rear end housing, supports, lift arms, front axles, etc. all seem stout and rigid beyond the tractor's stated capabilities and general use. With this tractor being considered a large compact tractor (and not an Ag tractor like some folks use them), it is plenty capable with it's 6,000 pound weight (tractor + loader + fluid filled tires) when in 4-wheel drive. I use a 800 pound, 6 foot bush hog and a 850 pound, 6-1/2 foot disc harrow with this tractor. Most of the time, it handles these implements well with 35 power take off horsepower available for the bush hog.
The land terrain in Central South Carolina can be hilly at times, so when the tractor is pulling a 6-1/2 foot disc or cutting thick grass/weeds on an incline, the engine RPM will drop slightly due to engine load with the A/C running. In order not for this to occur, the next size up L4740 or L5240 may eliminate this issue. However, when I encounter this problem, I ease off the hydrostat pedal or cruise control to slow down slightly. I can't comment enough on the LA854 loader. It has lifted, pushed, pulled, etc. everything I've asked of it, including pushing over 4"-5" diameter gum trees next to food plot (very easily). The SSQA (skid steer) bucket is very handy as it can be removed easily for mowing and other chores that do not require the bucket. This loader greatly outperforms my previous John Deere 300 CX loader.
As far as features, I think the HST+ transmission is ahead of everyone else in this tractor category. Shifting from hi to low in low, medium, or high range is executed with a simple flick of a switch on the steering column. A lot of work can be accomplished by staying in the medium range and just switching to Hi/Lo. You get a true 6 range hydro transmission in this tractor compared to other's 3 range hydro transmissions. Compared to my previous tractors, this Kubota size is perfect for the hilly terrain. When mowing on slopes, it feels very stable. Also being in 100+ degree summer heat when mowing and discing, the A/C does a fantastic job in keeping me cool. I expect the reliability of this tractor to be very good over the next 20+ years I plan on owning her!
I would definitely recommend Kubota to anyone considering a tractor. "