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New excavators for 2021: a roundup of all the major releases so far

Liebherr's R 928 G8 crawler excavator lies between the R 926 G8 and R 930 G8 models and rounds off the range of Liebherr Generation 8 crawler excavators.
Liebherr's R 928 G8 crawler excavator lies between the R 926 G8 and R 930 G8 models and rounds off the range of Liebherr Generation 8 crawler excavators.

Now that 2021 is half over, we're taking a look back at this year's excavator introductions with machines ranging from 1.8 to 33.5 tons. Check out our roundup of all the major new excavator introductions for the first half of 2021 below.

Liebherr's R 928 G8 crawler excavator

Liebherr has released an entirely new model of crawler excavator, the R 928 G8. The new model is characterized by high drawbar pull, enhanced load-bearing capacity and a large bucket. Its optimized weight also makes it easier to transport.

In addition, a new equipment concept enables the load curve to be optimized and the inertia in the rotary drive to be improved, reducing fuel consumption. The new, robust X-form undercarriages ensure greater stability. The automatic central lubrication ensures a longer service life of the parts and improves the productivity of the machines.

Generation 8 delivers higher tear and breakout forces compared to the previous generation. The torque of the superstructure has also been increased, which means that the new crawler excavators achieve higher levels of performance on job sites.

Learn more about Liebherr's R 928 G8 crawler excavator here.

John Deere SmartGrade for 210G LC and 350G LC excavators

John Deere has increased the range of its grade control solutions with the launch of SmartGrade on the 210G LC and 350G LC excavators. The factory-installed 3D SmartGrade system delivers increased productivity and accuracy on the job and provides benefits to contractors at all levels.

For excavators, John Deere offers four grade management options for contractors: SmartGrade, SmartGrade-Ready with 2D, 3D Grade Guidance and 2D Grade Guidance. John Deere also offers upgrade kits for each grade management option so customers can adopt technology at their own pace. 

A SmartGrade excavator automates the boom and bucket functions for the operator to easily achieve a smooth and accurate finish grade. Using GNSS positioning technology for accurate horizontal and vertical positioning, the machine controls boom and bucket movements to a precise design target. This enables the operator to focus on controlling the arm function while the system raises and lowers the boom to maintain grade.

Learn more about the new SmartGrade excavators here.

Kubota's U48-5 compact excavator.

Kubota's U48-5 compact excavator

Kubota's newest compact excavator, the U48-5, is a tight tail swing excavator that builds upon Kubota's U Series. The 5-ton machine features increased performance, enhanced comfort, and tech options for operator customization.

The new U48-5 boasts an operating weight of 11,057 pounds, 40.4 gross horsepower, a working range that includes a max digging depth of 10 feet 8 inches, and a bucket breakout force of 9,304 pounds. 

The U48-5 is available with either a canopy or cab, and now incorporates greater head and foot space for added comfort. The cabin features expanded front glass for more visibility and an overall slimmer frame for increased front window, skylight and left and right window visibility.

Learn more about Kubota's U48-5 compact excavator here.

KOBELCO's ED160BR-7 Blade Runner excavator 

The next-generation ED160BR-7 Blade Runner from KOBELCO Construction Machinery is a combination of both a short radius excavator and a dozer, which enables customers to have two machines in one. 

The 105 horsepower, 37,000 pound model is equipped with a patented six-way large-capacity dozer blade with folding edges that makes the ED160BR-7 easy to transport. The dozer blade makes the machine ideal for site preparation and slope grading jobs.

Performance advancements allow the ED160BR-7 to deliver greater efficiency and productivity as well as increased power and speed than its predecessor. This upgraded model features a dynamic digging force of 24,800 pounds to achieve increased work volume.

KOBELCO's independent travel feature allows the ED160BR-7 to move, lift and swing simultaneously without experiencing loss of power, and a strong drawbar pulling force enables the ED160BR-7 to tackle steep and rough terrain with ease.

Learn more about KOBELCO's ED160BR-7 Blade Runner excavator here.

Kubota's KX057-5 compact excavator

Kubota's new KX057-5 compact excavator replaces the KX057-4 in Kubota's K Series of compact excavators and offers improved technology and ample cabin space. 

The new KX057-5 is available in canopy or cab models, features 47.6 gross horsepower, a working range that includes a digging depth of 12 feet 9 inches and a bucket breakout force of 10,172 pounds.

Technology features include a new full-colour seven-inch LCD screen that provides all the information the operator needs to know with a quick glance. An optional keyless start is available for the first time on Kubota's excavators; the engine can be started with a four-digit code, and up to 10 user passwords can be set. With this new technology, operators no longer need to worry about lost keys.

Learn more about Kubota's KX057-5 compact excavator here.

Komatsu's PC88MR-11 compact excavator

Komatsu's PC88MR-11 compact excavator

The Komatsu PC88MR-11 excavator provides contractors with performance and versatility in an easy-to-transport package. The reduced tail swing radius on the PC88MR-11 makes it ideal for work on roadways, bridges, urban areas, or anywhere space is limited. 

Designed to excel in underground utility or general construction in urban environments, the PC88MR-11 short tail swing excavator's boom design allows digging parallel to buildings or barriers.

The new high-efficiency power package and viscous fan clutch work together to lower overall fuel consumption by up to 13 percent. The simplified catalytic system removes soot without a diesel particulate filter, for lower maintenance and lower cost of ownership.

Faster boom up/swing speed, combined with responsive quick arm speed, makes excavating and leveling work easier and more efficient with the PC88MR-11. Six working modes let the operator tailor the machine to the tasks required, whether for performance or fuel savings.

Learn more about Komatsu's PC88MR-11 compact excavator here.

Komatsu's PC210LCi-11 excavator with intelligent Machine Control

The newest entrant to Komatsu's iMC 2.0 line-up is the 165 horsepower (123kW) PC210LCi-11 excavator. Ideal for contractors who need a versatile solution that still offers range, the PC210LCi-11 is Komatsu's smallest excavator with machine control.

Aimed to quickly lessen the skill gap between new and experienced operators and improve the bottom line for contractors, Komatsu's intelligent Machine Control (iMC) is part of the company's suite of Smart Construction products, services and digital solutions that incorporate a host of advanced, proprietary machine technology. 

Weighing 51,397-53,882 pounds (23,313 - 24,440 kg), this intelligent excavator is ideal for digging precise footings, retention ponds and utility work. Its updated, factory-integrated system minimizes over-excavation and empowers operators to dig straight to grade quickly and accurately.

Learn more about Komatsu's PC210LCi-11 excavator here.

Kubota's U55-5 compact excavator

Kubota's U55-5 is engineered to meet the needs of contractors working in tight spaces, with a reduced tail swing to maneuver in any size job site.

The U55-5 is available in canopy or cab models, has 47.6 horsepower, a working range that includes a digging depth of 11 feet 11 inches and a max dump height of 13 feet 2 inches. 

A redesigned cabin features a double adjustable seat and greater head and foot space. A new full-colour LCD screen provides all operational information. Other upgrades on the U55-5 include optional rear-view camera and keyless start, with 10 user passwords for customized control.

Learn more about Kubota's U55-5 compact excavator here.

LiuGong's 9018F mini excavator

LiuGong North America has launched the first of its new F-series excavators. The 9018F is a 1.8-ton, mini excavator designed to meet North American market design specifications and is ideal for the rental industry. 

The 9018F's compact dimensions, foldable dozer blade and retractable undercarriage give users several transportation and application benefits. 

The 9018F unit's short stature combined with a retractable undercarriage give its operator access to the most restrictive workspaces. Its 51-inch outside tread to outside tread measurement retracts to just 39 inches, allowing it to easily pass between onsite obstructions and through almost any bay door. 

Learn more about LiuGong's 9018F mini excavator here.

Volvo CE's EWR130E wheeled excavator

With a rear swing of 5 feet 1 inch and a front swing of 5 feet 11 inches, the EWR130E has the shortest swing radius in Volvo CE's 12- to 13-ton range. When coupled with new four-wheel steering and in-line outrigger options, the result is a machine that is stable and easy to control.

The inline outriggers help position and stabilize the machine in tight spaces. The excavator also has a low centre of gravity which adds to its stability. A new divided blade option helps provide additional levelling on uneven ground or around curbs. 

The standard two-piece boom enables lifting up to 9,480 pounds (4.3t) at a 19.7-foot (6 m) reach. Its smart design combined with the 121-horsepower (90 kW) D4J Volvo engine delivers enhanced breakout force.

Learn more about Volvo CE's EWR130E wheeled excavator here.

Volvo Construction Equipment's ECR50 excavator.

Volvo CE's ECR50 compact excavator

Volvo Construction Equipment boosted its compact excavator range in North America with the 5-ton ECR50.

The 5-ton ECR50 gives customers a new option in the compact excavator range, which continues to grow at a rapid pace as an alternative to skid steers, compact track loaders and backhoes. Volvo's compact excavator line-up now includes 11 models ranging from 1.8 to 8 tons.

The zero-tail-swing radius of the ECR50 enables the excavator to work in confined spaces while reducing the risk of damage. Additionally, the in-track boom swing ensures the swing post and cylinder remain within the track width when digging alongside obstacles.

The ECR50 features reinforced digging equipment, undercarriage and hoods for increased durability. A 50-hour greasing interval, wide-opening engine hood and easily accessible service points make maintenance and repair simple.

Learn more about Volvo CE's ECR50 compact excavator here.

Caterpillar's 2.7- to 3.5-tonne mini excavators

Caterpillar has updated its 2.7- to 3.5-tonne mini excavators, expanding the company's Next Generation lineup. This is the first major update to Cat's machines in this size class in more than a decade. The new 302.7 CR, 303 CR and 303.5 CR hydraulic mini excavators feature stick steer, cruise control, operator adjustable settings, and tilt-up canopy or cab as standard.

The turbocharged Cat C1.1 Turbo engine powers the 302.7 CR and 303 CR models, while the Cat C1.7 powers the 303.5 CR. Both engines meet U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final emissions standards and offer 23.6 hp (17.6 kW) net power. Standard auto idle and auto engine shutdown help to conserve fuel.

These Next Generation mini hydraulic excavators feature a compact radius swing; fixed undercarriage widths for the 302.7 CR, 303 CR and 303.5 CR are 59.1, 61.0 and 70.1 inches (1,500, 1,550 and 1,780 mm) respectively. An expandable undercarriage option for the 302.7 CR allows the operator to hydraulically retract track width to 53.3 inches (1,355 mm) for fitting into confined spaces and then expand width to 70.1 inches (1,780 mm) for digging and lifting stability.

Learn more about Caterpillar's mini excavators here.

Company info

100 North East Adams Street
Peoria, IL
US, 61629


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One John Deere Place
Moline, IL
US, 61265


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8770 W Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 100
Chicago, IL
US, 60631


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5900 14th Avenue
Markham, ON
CA, L3S 4K4


Phone number:

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22220 Merchants Way, Ste 100
Katy, TX
US, 77449


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304 Volvo Way
Shippensburg, PA
US, 17257


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