2014 John Deere 48 in Model D160 24 hp Riding Mower Review

Executive Summary: This is John Deere’s basic 48 inch side discharge mower.  John Deere doesn’t have a “cheap” line so the quality is as good as the other brands in the $1200-$3000 price range. If you mow 1 to 2 hours a week the 100 series will last you many years with normal maintenance.  It has a good cutting deck. Rating websites like consumersearch.com and consumerreports.org also rate it as a good value lawn tractor.

Brand/Manufacture: John Deere / John Deere
Model/Series: D160
Item Number: BG20656 (49 state) BG20662 (CARB)
Street Price: $2599 (49 state) 2799 (CARB)

Buy Here at Home Depot:  John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D160 48 in. 25 HP V-Twin Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20731 (I recommend John Deere’s White Glove Delivery Service.)

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is John Deere’s Good quality.  The X300 series are better.

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Listed as “Riding Mower but I rate this as Yard Tractor Handles at least 25 attachments including snow blower.
Compare it to: Craftsman YT4500, Craftsman GT 6000, Craftsman YT 4000, Cub Cadet 1050, Husqvarna YTH24V48LS, Snapper Snapper SPX2452, Simplicity Regent 23 hp, Toro GT2200

2012 John Deere BG20656 D140

 Pros:
Solid One Piece Frame
Comfortable operator station
Edge Cutting System

Cons:
More Expensive Than Competitors
Must remove deck to switch to mulching
Deck anti scalp wheels wear out quickly.
Large 18 inch turning radius

Retail Price: $2599.99 HD Price $2599

Buy Here at Home Depot:  John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D160 48 in. 25 HP V-Twin Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20731

My Review:

I’m not a big fan of “paying extra for green paint” but there are a few advantages that you get by purchasing a 100 series John Deere from Home Depot over many of the other brands sold at the “big box” stores.  

The biggest advantage is you get is when you choose delivery.  The local John Deere dealer does the following for you.

1. Removes the mower from the environmentally friendly John Deere Envirocrate™.**
2. Connects and fully charges the battery to maximize battery life and performance.
3. Properly inflates the front and rear tires to improve the life and performance of the tires.
4. Properly adjusts mower deck position to improve cut quality.
5. Checks and adds fluids as needed to extend the life of the engine and transmission.
6. Examines and adjusts belts as needed to reduce wear and extend belt life.
7. Examines the mower blades for sharpness.
8. Starts and tests the engine for proper performance.
9. Engages the mower deck and checks for proper operation.
10. Tests all safety systems including neutral start and RIO (Reverse Implement Option)
11. Encloses a copy of the Owner’s Manual.

When the dealer delivers your new lawn tractor it is ready to mow.  The dealer will also show you how to operate it, check the fluid levels and generally make you feel comfortable with your new machine.
Listening to my readers for the last few years, it seems many of the problems that they have with lawn tractors are directly related to the assembly at the factory and the fact that most of the retailers don’t check the units out thoroughly when they take them out of the shipping crate.  This setup and delivery the John Deere Dealer does really eliminates a lot of this frustration.

I recommend you opt for the delivery and also for a protection plan.  These two optional features will ensure you get the most benefits out of your new mower and that any issues will be quickly resolved.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on this review.  If you have specific questions leave a comment below and myself or the readers will be glad to answer them.  This is a great tractor and if you want one to last this should be at the top of your list.

Comfort – Ease of Use:  The 100 series is John Deere’s basic line of lawn tractors but feature large, step through operator’s platforms and nice high-back seats.   The steering effort is about the same as the other lawn tractors in this price range. The controls are easy to see and use. 

Power For Mowing:  The D160 Deere has adequate power for side discharge, bagging and mulching.  The 24 hp motor has plenty of power to pull all of the tow-behind attachments John Deere recommends for this mower.

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by your local John Deere dealer.  This tractor has changed for 2012 so there are no specific reviews for it yet, but based on the 2010-2011 model I don’t expect any real issues. FYI: Your local John Deere dealer will charge you to come and get your tractor unless you purchase the protection plan from Lowes when you buy the mower. Without the protection plan you may have to “get in line” to have yours repaired at the dealer. 

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has a low-effort steering and will steer much easier than the 100 series Deere’s.  Traction is about normal for a 2 wheel drive, 500 lb tractor.  It handles uneven terrain well, but will have traction issues on steep slopes.  I recommend you never use a mower like this on wet or drought-dry slopes.  If you need more traction, buy a tractor with differential lock and traction control.

Mow – Mulch- Bag:  This tractor mows as well as the other 48 inch decks from the other brands.  When you get to this size deck you will get a little unevenness when mowing a rough lawn.  But, be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck.  It mows perfectly at 3 MPH but don’t expect it to mow as fast as the tractor will go (5.5MPH) and give you the same results.  The mulching is simply a plastic plug that goes into the side-discharge hole.  There is an optional 2 bin bagger available. 

Specifications, Features, Benefits

The rest of this article is taken from the retailers website.

Type: lawn tractor
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 1.25 acres at 3 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes
Excels in mowing around obstacles? No

Manufacturer: John Deere
Brand: D140
Engine Power: 24 hp* 
Displacement: 725 cc. 
Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
Cylinders: V-twin, cast-iron liners
Type: Overhead valve, full-pressure lube, oil filter
Charging System: 9 amp regulated
Battery: ? cold-crank amps
Choke/Speed Control: integrated
Fuel Tank Capacity: 2.4 U.S. gal. 
Transmission: ?
Transmission Control:  Two-pedal foot-controlled hydro
Cruise Control: Standard
Forward Speed: 0-5.5 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-3.2 mph
Chassis: Full-length welded steel/Paint E-coat/powder
Front Tires: 15×6-6
Rear Tires: 20×10-8
Front Axle: Cast iron
Hood Material: JD Loy
Hourmeter: Yes
Tool Tray: On fender and under seat

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: Yes
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes
Deck washout port: Yes
12-volt outlet: No
Steering:  2-wheel steer
Turning Radius: 18 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: 20 in. 
Spindle Bushings: Metal, replaceable
Seat Back Height: 15 in. open back
Fore-aft Adjustment: 5.5 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: ?
Deck Lift System: Fender Lever
Mower Cut Height: 1 in. to 4 in., 13 position
Cut Height Increments: 0.25 in.
Preset Cut Height: No
PTO clutch: Electric

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 48 in.
Mower Deck Material: 0.105 in.
Mower Gauge Wheel Adjustment: No
Mower Level Adjustment: With Tools
Mower Drive System: In-line belt, electric PTO
Mower Attachment: 4 point Not EZ-Off
Mower Drive: Belt Tension Spring
Mower Wheels Rotate For Deck Removal: No

Dimensions

Wheelbase: 48.9-in. 
Overall Length: 70-in. 
Width without mower: ?
Width with mower: 60.5-in. 
Width with mower: (deflector raised for storage) 51-in. 
Height: 46-in. 
Weight: 491 lb with mower, no fuel

U.S. Warranty: 2 year/120 hour

Optional Attachments

Mowers: 48 (standard)
Material Collection System: 6.5-bu 2-bag
Mulching System: Mulch Cover
Front Thatcher: 38, 46, 54 in.
Front Blade: 48 in.
Tractor Shovel: –
Snow Blower: 44 in.
Front Bumper: Two-bar styled bumper standard
Brush Guard: ?
Bucket Holder: Yes, single and double
Tow-Behind Tools: 16

Buy Here at Home Depot:  John Deere Riding Lawn Mower. D160 48 in. 25 HP V-Twin Hydrostatic Front-Engine BG20731


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