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Rural Lifestyle Dealer reports:

Lake Lanier Islands, Georgia -- Rural Lifestyle Dealer is test driving Kubota Tractor Corp.'s new gas-powered RTV-XG850 Sidekick, which was introduced back in February at the National Farm Machinery Show. A media event showed off Kubota's first entry in the multi-purpose cross-over utility vehicle market, which is now shipping to dealers. The Sidekick is intended as a work vehicle for farms, ranches, construction sites and other similar operations.

It is Kubota's fastest utility vehicle yet and features a 48 horsepower gasoline engine, speeds of up to 40 mph, continuously variable transmission with centrifugal clutch (known as CVT Plus), idle speed control and electronic power steering. It also has selectable 4WD, a 2,000 pound towing capacity and cargo capacity of 15.2 cubic feet and 1,000 pounds.

"This market has been growing. We've been seeing a 12% increase in the multi-purpose utility vehicle market year-over-year," says Roger Gifford, Kubota's product marketing manager for utility vehicles. He says the pure utility vehicle customer was looking for more speed and transport and cargo capacity.

"We wanted to satisfy the utility vehicle customer and introduce something really new in the multi-purpose market," Gifford says.