The Most Capable Ride at NAIAS

Tractor from Sears

Craftsman CTX 9500 Tractor

While the throngs of enthusiasts push and paw their way up and down the aisles at the North American International Auto Show looking for that perfect ride, we found one in the main concourse of Cobo Center that is more capable than anything else on the floor. Streamlined, efficient and practical, this ride can do it all. Horsepower? It has more than enough to get the job done. Auxiliary powerpoint? Check. Cupholder? You bet. This baby really hauls. I mean literally hauls. We’re talking about the newest tractor from Craftsman: the CTX (Craftsman Tractor Experience).

Craftsman decided to introduce its newest workhorse at the auto show because the CTX features a lot of the same elements as new cars. How about automatic traction control? Or a one-piece welded frame, tilt steering column, power steering, digital instrumentation, cruise control, and fore/aft seat travel? This truly is the Cadillac of tractors!

According to Onney Crawly, the director of brand management at Craftsman, The CTX line of tractors was designed with the customer in mind. Features like the aforementioned came about because customers who are used to having it all in their cars didn’t want to make sacrifices when using their yard equipment. Craftsman spent hours talking about tractors with these customers, and not only listened to their suggestions, but implemented them. We applaud this kind of customer commitment that is a hallmark of the brand. Anyone who has mowed a quarter acre of lawn on a muggy summer day will appreciate the cup holder, as well as the 12-volt auxiliary powerpoint to plug in an adapter and listen to an iPod to make yardwork fun instead of drudgery.

Lest you think this is nothing but a glorified golf cart, listen up. The CTX 9000 (garden) and 9500 (lawn) tractors come with a 22- to 30-horsepower Briggs and Stratton motor (depending on the model), have a top speed of 8 mph forward and up to 3 mph in reverse, feature a cast-iron front axle with a lifetime warranty, and an 18-inch turning diameter to get that close trim next to tree trunks and sidewalks. There’s even an electronic fuel management system that eliminates the need for a carburetor, so starting is a breeze.

In addition, the tractor has numerous attachments, including hauler, aerator, dethatcher, cultivator, sweeper and snow plow, and includes a quick-deck removal for easy cleaning and maintenance. Two other specs that stand out are a 54-inch deck to cover a wider section when mowing, and a max 14-inch electronic height-adjustment feature.

The tractors go on sale in mid February where Craftsman lawn and garden products are sold, and will be priced at $3,000 to $6,000, with attachments sold separately.