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

2012 Cub Cadet GT2000, 20 hp, Hydro Review 1

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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Russ Hoover2013 Garden Tractor Comparisons - The Selection Is Smaller This Year - TodaysMower.comKurt L.Paul SikkemaNKeur Recent comment authors
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Russ Hoover
Russ Hoover

I have one of these and have nothing bad to say about it. I haven’t done anything but routine maintenance on it since purchase. Extremely durable and well performing. Buy a department store machine and you will get much less. The cast iron axles, serviceable transaxle with dipstick and heavy frame are positives. Could it be improved? Sure, hydraulics, power steering, but for the money it has done exactly what I wanted from it.


[…] Shaft Speed: 6.5 Street Price: 3499-4099 MSRP: 3699-4399 Where To Buy: Dealer Locator My Review: Cub Cadet GT 2000 Review My Opinion: Cub Cadet use words like “superior,” “exclusive” and “best in class” in […]

Kurt L.
Kurt L.

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!).


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.

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