710G Bulks up for Competition

By Rod Sutton, Editor in Chief | September 28, 2010

In late January, John Deere showed off its revamped 710G backhoe-loader, sporting several design upgrades that give the large machine even more muscle for competing in the 17-foot class shared by Caterpillar's 446B and JCB's 217S.

Notably, Deere touts the 710G as an excavator and wheel loader combination. According to Steve Wilson, product marketing manager of backhoe-loaders, this is a marked change for Deere. "[End-users] understand what the bigger excavator and loader will do, but they're not as aware of what the 710 can do," he says. "Customers don't have as much information and experience with this category. We're turning up the volume on this message."

The 710G part of the series Deere calls one of the most productive, reliable and serviceable is comparable to its 12-ton 120C and 2-yard 444H.

With couplers front and rear, the 710G can employ a variety of buckets and attachments, including major-league breakers on the back end. On the front end, a coupler turns the 710G into a tool carrier that "does a lot of things well," Wilson says. And, of course, the backhoe-loader can move from site to site over the road. On the back end, the pressure-compensating, load-sensing hydraulic system gives the 710 the same feel as an excavator. Cylinders are sized equivalent to an excavator, too. The boom cylinder, for example, is huge. On the loader side, the powershift transmission "saves you from monkeying around with a stick shift," Wilson says.

Deere put the same engine in the 710G as in its 20-ton excavator: the six-cylinder, 118-hp Deere 6068T diesel, which is Tier II compliant. That larger engine puts the muscle behind the message, Wilson says. "We want to make sure we say it's heavy-duty."

Comparative Specifications
(17-foot backhoe-loaders)
Model Max. dig depth Loader bucket cap. (cu.yd.) Boom lift cap. (lb.)* Net hp Operating weight (lb.) Loader breakout force (lb.)
*Backhoe boom at ground level
Source: Spec Check and Construction Equipment
Caterpillar 446B 17' 2" 1.5 3,410 102 19,603 12,600
JCB 217S 17'7" 1.5-1.7 2,840 92 18,968 12,781
Deere 710G 18' 2" 1.62-1.87 3,136 118 23,000 15,540