Engines with electronic fuel injection rather than a carburetor have a few solid advantages, starting with better efficiency and easier maintenance. But because of this technology’s prohibitive cost, we hadn’t seen electronic fuel injection in residential lawn tractors or riders. Until now, that is, with the Troy-Bilt XP LT Fab46, $1,900 (shown)—one of 16 new riding mowers we’ve recently added to Consumer Reports' lawn mower and tractor Ratings.

The mowing experience is as you’d expect of a high-performing machine. We haven’t seen enough of these Chinese-made engines to vouch for them, but the hydrostatic transmission offers smooth operation. Other pluses include cruise control, automatic drive, a washout port, and a comfy, high-back seat.

Mowing Performance

Mowing was impressive across the board. The Troy-Bilt XP LT Fab46 left barely anything behind in side-discharge and mulch modes. In bagging mode, it didn’t bowl us over—several other MTD-made tractors did—but it came close enough that you won’t be emptying the bag any more often.

All this continues a trend we’ve seen for some time now. Lawn tractors and zero-turn-radius riders with boxy, fabricated decks tend to have choppier airflow, resulting in some clumping. Stamped decks, with their more rounded shape, tend to do best in our tests, though their lighter-gauge construction has been perceived as less durable. But we found that many newer fabricated decks do just fine, with this Troy-Bilt XP a case in point.

Need a New Mower or Rider?

The Troy-Bilt XP LT Fab46 has a lot going for it, and manufacturer MTD claims a 25-percent increase in fuel economy over a typical engine with a carburetor, along with easier starting. Concerns over ethanol should also be diminished because this Troy-Bilt XP lacks the fuel lines and linkages that a carburetor has, which can be a major trouble spot if fuel in the machine is neglected. (Learn how gas with ethanol can make small engines fail.)

Other choices in a riding machine include the John Deere X350, a 42-inch lawn tractor selling for $3,200; the 54-inch Craftsman 20445, $3,500; the Cub Cadet RZT46 fab, a 46-inch ZTR, $3,300; and the John Deere Z335E, a 42-inch ZTR, $2,500. Be sure to check our lawn mower and tractor buying guide before browsing our mower Ratings of more than 175 models.