New release: Cat's latest mini excavators

Terra Cat has debuted the new four-tonne Cat 304 and five-tonne Cat 305 CR next-generation mini excavators in NZ

The new five-tonne Cat 305 CR next-generation mini excavator

Terra Cat has debuted the new four-tonne Cat 304 and five-tonne Cat 305 CR next-generation mini excavators in New Zealand. The company says the new models deliver more power to the pumps, higher bucket breakout forces, and deeper standard digging depths to increase performance by up to 20% over their E2 series counterparts.

Their grease intervals and extended filter service life, combined with common components throughout the line and flat, easy-to-replace side panels can deliver up to 10% lower owner and operating costs, the New Zealand Cat distributor says.

"The new 304 and 305 CR models are the final machines to be re-engineered to the Cat next generation mini-excavator line concept. From the 1.5- to 10-tonne class models, all 14 Cat mini excavators in the range offer common features and consistent controls layout to simplify training and operator adaptation," says Terra Cat industry sales manager, Bevan Dale.

Cat 304 CR

Built with a new reduced radius design, the 304 features a narrow, 1700mm track width and is 254mm slimmer than the 304 E2 for more versatility and access to confined spaces.

While narrower, the new 304 design helps increase the performance, balance, and stability of the four-tonne class model. Its reduced radius allows for greater stability, both 360-degree and when travelling with loads, while its extra counterweight option takes the model to a higher level of stability.

Cat 305 CR

The new engine on the Cat 305 CR excavator delivers nearly nine percent greater power

The new engine on the five-tonne class Cat 305 CR excavator delivers nearly nine percent greater power to increase machine performance, says Terra Cat. Hydraulic system improvements provide higher breakout forces—49.2kN bucket, 28.3kN standard stick, and 25.2kN long stick—to improve digging efficiency in hard rock applications.

The Cat 305 CR has a 1980mm track width

The machine also offers 140mm deeper dig depths than the 305 E2, giving it more application flexibility. Its compact radius swing reduces overhang when working to the side, while its 1980mm track width and new extra counterweight option help to optimise stability and lift performance in confined spaces.

Angle dozer blade

Both excavator models now offer an angle dozer blade option for backfilling and finish grading applications. It offers ample above- and below-grade travel, a standard float function, and movement of 45 degrees left or right of centre. The angle blade movement is controlled by the right-hand joystick while the left joystick handles the machine drive.

The 304 and 305 excavators are also available with interchangeable counterweight packages that allow operators to tailor machine weight to job requirements.

New Cat C1.7 turbo engine

An emission standards compliant Cat C1.7 turbo engine replaces the previous C2.4 engine, offering more power and efficiency. "Features such as a standard auto idle, auto engine shutdown, and load-sensing hydraulics with variable displacement pump help to lower fuel usage for a more affordable mini excavator operation. Lower Fuel use means less CO2 emitted saving fuel and the environment," says Bevan.

High digging and lifting forces

High main-relief pressures coupled with flow rates generate the hydraulic capacity for high digging and lifting forces. The standard auxiliary system comes with quick-disconnect lines and comes in one-way, two-way, or continuous flow.

Pressurised cab

The cab’s large glass areas plus skylight give operators all-round visibility

Most Cat next-generation mini hydraulic excavators come with a sealed and pressurised cab enclosure with heating and/or air conditioning. The cab’s large glass areas plus skylight give operators all-round visibility. A large display with an advanced touchscreen option provides intuitive machine function control and easy monitoring of critical operating parameters.

Stick steer

The 304 and 305 Cat Stick Steer feature is another benefit that Cat’s mini excavator range brings to New Zealand job sites. "This really is a key standout feature. Stick Steer gives the operator the ability to easily switch from traditional travel controls with levers and pedals to joystick controls just by pushing a button.

It essentially means the operator can almost drive their mini excavator like a skid steer. It just adds to the work efficiency these compact machines deliver to their owners," says Bevan.

Ground level maintenance

Daily maintenance checks for the 304 and 305 CR are done from ground level through side doors. The use of parts common across the next generation line-up helps to reduce parts inventory investment and simplifies maintenance and repairs. Caterpillar has also increased the greasing and servicing intervals of the machine, leading to a 10% reduction in owning and operating costs, Terra Cat says.

"Caterpillar’s design philosophy means that there’s more commonality of parts and features throughout the full Cat excavator range. That presents owners and operators of Cat 1.5- to 10-tonne units with big benefits because these entry-level machines receive similar or the same features as you’d find in the manufacturer’s bigger machines," says Bevan.

Cat Grade Technologies aftermarket option

Additionally, Caterpillar now offers Cat Grade technologies as an aftermarket option to owners of Cat next-generation mini hydraulic excavators in the six- to nine-tonne class range.

Available factory-fitted from Caterpillar through Terra Cat and Sitech, owners can equip their excavators with Cat Grade with Advanced 2D or Cat Grade with 3D. The field kit’s modular components facilitate quick installation, while the technology seamlessly integrates into the Cat next-gen excavator electronics infrastructure.

Both aftermarket grade technologies mirror the capabilities of larger Cat excavators operating Cat Grade with Advanced 2D or 3D systems, allowing the equipment to reach target grade quickly.

A separate, high-resolution touchscreen monitor allows operators to conveniently view, create, and work site designs inside the cab. Automatics deliver simple, single-joystick control over the stick and bucket to maintain grade and avoid overcutting and undercutting.

For more information, visit

Find new and used heavy machinery for sale in NZ

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Deals on Wheels' free newsletter or liking us on Facebook