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First Look: Snapper's NTX2346 lawn tractor

Consumer Reports News: September 08, 2010 05:10 PM

This might seem like an odd time of year to shop for a lawn tractor unless you're trolling the sale section of  your local home center or dealer. But our first look at the Snapper NTX2346 indicates that it might well be a contender any time of year.

At $2,600, the mower isn’t cheap and its 46-inch deck has three blades, which typically don't cut as evenly as two. But performance that so far looks promising, plus some helpful features, caught our attention.

“The Snapper’s side-discharge left us favorably impressed,” says Peter Sawchuk, program leader for Consumer Reports mower and power tools testing. “And its smooth steering is as tight as any lawn tractor we’ve seen.”
 
We haven’t yet gotten to test the Snapper’s mulching or bagging capability yet. But in the meantime, I got a look at what else $2,600 buys you. The foot-operated, hydrostatic transmission is what we expected at that price level. And the engine is a twin-cylinder, 23-horsepower Briggs Professional Series with overhead valves.
 
Like the Snapper NXT walk-behind mower we mentioned in July, the tractor also has an LED screen that can display a clock, trip and total hours, and timers for changing the oil, replacing the air filter, and sharpening the blades along with a fuel level indicator similar to that on your car. The mesh seat might seem like a gimmick. Nevertheless, I certainly appreciated it while trying out the Snapper on a recent sunny afternoon that topped 92 degrees.
 
We also like the heavy-duty stamped deck with electric cutting-height adjustment (and the cut height displayed right on the LED screen) as well as a washout port—not new but nevertheless welcome. The cigarette-lighter outlet for charging your cell phone, iPod, or other device with such charging capability could come in handy. And for whatever reason people want headlights on their lawn tractors (manufacturers don’t recommend you cut in the dark) the lights are LED, the first we’ve seen on a lawn tractor.
 
We’ll be adding the Snapper NTX2346 to our Ratings soon, and we’re already compiling our wish list for mowers we’ll test this winter at our test site in Fort Myers, Florida.

—Ed Perratore
 
More on lawn gear:
Don’t hit the stores before you’ve checked out our free buying advice for mowers and tractors.  Subscribers can view our Ratings for push mowers, self-propelled mowers, and lawn tractors
   

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