2012 Cub Cadet GT2000, 20 hp, Hydro Review

Executive Summary:  Cub Cadet use words like “superior,” “exclusive” and “best in class” in their TV ads, but don’t be fooled. My personal opinion is this tractor is over-priced for what you get.  The John Deere X300, Craftsman Premium, and Simplicity Broadmoor will last as long, cut as well and drive as well or better.  This is the only tractor left in this price range with a cast iron, shaft drive transmission. Owners give this tractor great reviews but there are very few reviews available. It does have a great cutting deck but I am not sure if the deck is heavier and/or stronger than the 1000 series deck. (Maybe someone from MTD could clarify this for us)

by: Paul Sikkema

Brand/Manufacture: Cub Cadet / MTD

Model/Series: GT2000
Item Number: GT2042
Where To Buy: Your Local Cub Cadet Dealer
Delivery:  by Your Local Cub Cadet Dealer. Set-up Included. Availability based on Dealer Stock
Street Price: About $3599 to$3999 Price does not include a 42, 50, or 54 in deck.

Basic Quality: (Cheap, Good, Best, Premium, Don’t Buy)  This is Cub Cadet’s Best quality. The 1000 series is less quality. The Better 3000 series is no longer manufactured.

Type: (Riding Mower, Lawn Tractor, Yard Tractor, Garden Tractor, Estate Tractor, Sub-Compact, Zero Turn, Stand-On) Estate Tractor. Handles at least 25 attachments including snowblower.
Compare it to: Craftsman Premiun CTX9000, Simplicity Conquest, John Deere X300/42X, Kubota T2080A-42

Cub Cadet 2042

42 in Deck Cuts Great
Cast Iron Hydro Trans
Large Operator’s Platform

Price Higher Than Competitors
3/4 inch Front Spindles
Big, Huge Hood
Large 18 inch Turning Radius

Retail Price: $3699 to $3999 (depends on deck size)  The price is dealer specific and there is no place online to compare prices. 

My Review:

This tractor uses a shaft drive, cast iron, hydro transmission like the one that made the Cub Cadet famous.  The rest of the tractor has succumbed to the MTD idea what a lawn tractor should look like.  Lot’s of plastic, large open operator’s platform and a big, “Transformer” like hood.  It has a style that is quite different from the stylized hoods on the Craftsman and John Deere. 

These tractors are designed to mow well, drive well, and last much longer than the Cub Cadet’s you find at Home Depot or Lowes.  Heavy duty frame, good motors, and good transmissions.

I call this class of tractor a “best class.” While better than the 1000 series you find at Home Depot it is not a good as the estate/premium tractors like the X500 Deere.   This class of tractor is quieter, easy to use and will last longer than the “lawn tractor” class.

This article was first published at TodaysMower.com 

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:  This is a “real” lawn tractor.   Great seat, easy to use operator controls, low-effort steering, good field of view, quiet motor.  This is Cub Cadet’s best and is noticeably better than their 1000 series tractors.

Power For Mowing:  The GT2000 series has enough power for a 42 in deck, but you may not feel it has enough power with the larger 50 and 54 inch decks.  If you want to mulch I don’t recommend this mower with a 50 or 54 inch deck. It is under-powered for that task, but has plenty of power for all other tasks.  I would like to see MTD put the Kohler Comand Pro EFI into this tractor without raising the price.  

Reliability – New to 3 yrs: This tractor is serviced by your local independent Cub Cadet dealer.  The service itself is dependent on the dealer.  The dealers tend to be small engine repair shops or large implement dealerships.  In 90% of the cases they will do a great job for you, but I do recommend you spend some time with the dealer to see if you can get long with them.  There have been no complaints on this tractor yet, but there are very few reviews available online or comments in the tractor forums.

Handling – Traction/Steering:  This tractor has a low-effort steering and will steer much easier than the 1000 series.  Traction is above normal for a 2 wheel drive, lawn tractor.  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 gets high marks by owners and independent reviews for cutting, mulching and bagging.  Be aware this is not a “high-speed” deck.  It mows perfectly at 3-4 MPH but don’t expect it to mow as fast as the tractor will go (6.5MPH) Don’t expect this mower to mow as fast as commercial mowers and give you the same results.  The mulching plug parts are made of plastic. Mulching take a lot of horsepower and this deck is no exception.

Specifications, Features, Benefits

Type: Lawn tractor/Estate
Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 1.05 acres at 3 MPH
Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes
Excels in mowing around obstacles? No

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

Manufacturer: MTD
Brand: Cub Cadet
Engine Power: 20 hp* 
Displacement: ?
Manufacturer: Kohler
Cylinders: V-twin, cast-iron liners
Type: OHV, oil filter, Full-pressure Lubrication
Charging System: 15 -25 amp regulated
Battery: 275 Cranking amps
Choke/Speed Control: Separate levers
Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.5 U.S. gal.
Transmission: Cub Cadet, cast iron, shaft drive automatic
Transmission Control:  Twin pedals
Cruise Control: Standard
Forward Speed: 0-6.5 mph
Reverse Speed: 0-3.5 mph
Chassis: Fully robotically welded twin C-channel frame assmebly/5-year limited warranty*
Front Tires: 16″ x 6.5″
Rear Tires: 23″ x 9.5″
Front Axle: Cast iron
Hood Material: Plastic
Hourmeter: Digital hour meter, change oil service minder, oil pressure indicator, battery voltage monitor, park brake and PTO start sequence LEDs
Tool Tray: ?

Cupholder: Yes
Headlights: Yes
Translucent fuel tank or Fuel gauge: Yes
Deck washout port: Yes
12-volt outlet: No
Steering: Manual sector & pinion
Turning Radius: 18 in.
Uncut Circle Radius: ?
Spindle Bushings: Die-cast aluminum spindle housings and precision tapered roller bearings
Seat Back Height: 15 in. open back with arm rests
Fore-aft Adjustment: 6 in. while seated
Seat Suspension: Two coil springs, three-position no-tools adjustment for operator weight
Deck Lift System: Right Fender 
Mower Cut Height: 1.5 in. to 4 in., 12 position
Cut Height Increments: 0.25 in.
Preset Cut Height: No
PTO clutch: Electric

Mower Deck

Type: Side discharge
Mower Cutting Width: 42 in.
Mower Deck Material: Stamped
Mower Wheel Adjustment: None
Mower Level Adjustment: linkage adjustment
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


Wheelbase: ?
Overall Length: ?
Width without mower: ?
Width with mower: ?
Width with mower: ?
Height: ?
Weight: ?

U.S. Warranty: 4-year/300-hr and 5-year/500-hr limited warranty (See your local independent dealer for warranty details)

Optional Attachments

Mowers: 42, 50, or 54 inch stamped steel deck
Material Collection System: 2-bag or 3-bag. Need additional mounting kit.
Mulching System: Yes
Front Thatcher: ?
Front Blade: ?
Tractor Shovel: ?
Snow Blower: ?
Front Bumper: Standard
Brush Guard: ?
Bucket Holder: ?
Tow-Behind Tools: ?

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  1. Pingback: 2013 Garden Tractor Comparisons - The Selection Is Smaller This Year - TodaysMower.com

  2. Paul, I’m curious: other than the John Deere X700 mower, are there any other shaft drive mowers out there in 2012? I think that for my application I really need to eliminate belt breakage (nothing more discouraging than having the drive belt break because I’ve asked too much of the mower in terms of terrain and hill, and of course I’m a long ways from the shop when it breaks!).

    • @Kurt, Yes there are quite a few mowers in the X700 class that use shaft drive. Compact Tractors like the Kubota, New Holland, Bob Cat, Mahindra, and Farmall come to mind.

  3. Conquest: $5300-$5700. How is the 2000 Series Cub Cadet overpriced compared to the Conquest? The higher priced GT2100 is $4499 w/54in fab. deck. That’s the price of a Simplicity Broadmoor (not a garden tractor). I would say Simplicity, though nice, are overpriced.

    • @NKeur, Thanks for pointing that out. The Broadmoor is comparable to the X500 Deere, and the 46 inch Craftsman Premium. It is not comparable to the 2000 series Cub Cadet. It is a much better unit (and you are right the price is higher) I changed the article to The Simplicity Conquest. The Cub is comparable to that lower priced unit.

      • Perhaps you misread my comment. For clarity sake here is the Simplicity line in order of price/quality (top to bottom):Legacy XL, Prestige, Conqusst, Broadmoor, Regent. Legacy should be comparable to Deere 700 series, Prestige= 500 series, Conquest falls somewhere between 300 and 500 series. The Broadmoor is their 2nd to lowest model. The Simplicty dealer by me said this is not considered a garden tractor per se. The Cub 2100 and Broadmoor are about the same price. The Cub specs out with a lot more for the money than the Broadmoor (as well as the x300). Quality of build I can not say. Just trying to find the best garden tractor for the money. Also, the shaft drive on the Cub is a nice step up from everything in it’s price range. Thanks for your reply.

        • @NKeur, Thanks, I think all I am trying to say is I’m not sure the Cub shaft drive is a good value anymore. Yes it has a horizontal shaft motor and a shaft drives the trans which works well, but there are other things that deter from the tractor.

          From my experience when you twist a v-belt you shorten the life, so the engine to deck belt will not last as long as on a vertical shaft configuration. Also, with today’s Kevlar belts most people are getting years and years of service out of the trans belts.

          That said, if you want a Garden Tractor I am assuming you want traction to pull stuff and go up and down hills. That’s one of the main features that Conquest, Broadmoor and the Craftsman Premium’s really have the advantage. Automatic traction control on these will power both wheels when one starts to slip. In addition the Conquest and the 2 top of the line Craftsman Premium’s have a differential lock and locks both rear axles together for the really tough dirt work.

          I’m not saying don’t buy the Cub. I do like the size and feel of the tractor when I drive it. One last thing. If you plan on bagging check the price of the bagger before you make your decision. A bagger for a fabricated deck is a lot more money than one for a stamped deck. The stamped decks give you a lot better airflow and most give you a better overall cut.