• November 19, 2018
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Revealed: New Next-Generation Cat Mini Excavators

Revealed: New Next-Generation Cat Mini Excavators

Caterpillar revealed their next generation of Cat mini excavators and we have to say—we are blown away.

There are 5 new models in the 1-2 tonne Caterpillar mini excavator lineup. These include cab machines, canopies, standard tail swing machines and radius machines.

Next-Generation Cat Mini Excavator Models

These new models have industry-first standard features including joystick steering, a tilt-up canopy and cab, and automatic two-speed travel. Luckily for us, Australia is the first region where these models will be available for sale:

  1. 301.5 mini excavator
  2. 301.6 mini excavator
  3. 301.7 mini excavator
  4. 301.8 mini excavator
  5. 302 CR mini excavator

For more detailed information on the models, click the links above. Now, let’s have a look at Cat’s main focus for these Next Generation mini excavators.

Customer-Centric Design

Next-Gen Cat mini excavators model
Source: Supplied

If you listen to customers and are always willing to evolve, generally success will follow. Cat is a perfect example of this. They identified a need, got feedback, and adjusted their designs to suit the needs of their customers. It was a slow process, but the new features and innovations speak for themselves.

Product Specialist Mark Perkes, who showcased the reveal, said Caterpillar have been working on this project for 5 years.

“We’ve been talking to customers in Australia and… all over the world to understand what they find important and what they want in a mini excavator.”

“The 3 main things we heard from our customers were: they want a better experience… better performance… and better serviceability.

Inspired by their customers, the new model range gives buyers exactly what they asked for. Here’s how they’ve done it.

The Cab—Better Experience

Customers asked for a better experience, so improving the cab has been a priority for Cat and it shows. These Next Generation mini excavators have been designed for comfort, convenience and operator safety. It’s all about helping the operator make the right decisions faster, for a more efficient job and better quality work. What’s new in the cab:

  • Air-conditioning. That’s right, you read correctly! An industry-first for mini excavators, Cat provide an air-conditioned cab that won’t reduce the performance of the machine—something no-one else has been able to achieve.
  • Easy controls with a pattern changer for effortless switch between excavator and backhoe patterns.
  • Pressurised and sealed cab to minimise dust and sound impact (standard in the 301.6 and optional for the 301.8 and 302 CR).
  • Stick Steer controls (exclusive for new Next Generation models) improves operator control with less effort.

Exciting New Features—Better Performance

Cat mini excavators performance
Source: Supplied

We all want our machines to run better, for longer, with no downtime. With each new design, Cat continues to stay on top by focusing on these key areas. So what makes these Cat mini excavators so innovative? Blending tough hardware with smart software, these next-gen models have it all:

  • Fingertip controls for the boom / aux
  • Blade float*
  • Operator settings*
  • Continuous* & adjustable flow
  • Auto idle
  • Next-gen monitor with integrated radio/bluetooth* & security system
  • Stick steer with cruise control* (more on this below)
  • Expandable undercarriage for tight-access areas (standard for all models)

*Cat exclusive feature.

The new Next Generation mini excavators are efficient and fuel saving, without compromising on power. This is thanks to their advanced hydraulic capacity ensuring powerful digging and lifting force.

Stick Steer System

An exclusive feature for the Next Generation Cat mini excavators is the Stick Steer system. Built into all new models, this system allows you to control the tracks using the joystick, instead of the levers and pedals. One push of a button switches it for improved control with less effort.

Safety & Service—Better Serviceability

cat mini excavators tilt cab
Source: Supplied


Cat have thought of just about everything when it comes to the safety of the operator and those on the worksite:

  • All controls are protected via a hydraulic lockout feature.
  • Boom lights illuminate the work area and increase visibility.
  • Tie-on points on the track frames help secure for transport.
  • ROPS, TOPS and Top Guard Level II protective structures ensure the operator’s safety.


When machinery breaks down, time really is money. That’s why Cat has focused on helping service techs get the job done faster with their updated design:

  • Check points now accessible at ground level.
  • A gas strut gives quick access hydraulic components in under 5 minutes. 
  • All models also have a maintenance-free battery.

Next-Generation Cat Mini Excavators Specs Overview

301.5 301.6 301.7 CR 301.8 302 CR
Min. weight, kg 1575 1755 1785 1835 2045
Max. weight, kg 1760 1960 1835 2025 2200
Tail swing Standard Standard Compact Standard Compact
Operator station Canopy Cab Canopy Canopy




Dig depth, std., mm 2340 2340 2340 2370 2370
Dig depth, long, mm 2540 2540 2540 2570 2570

Overall, it’s obvious Caterpillar have taken great care when redesigning the mini excavator series. With so many improvements and their customer-centric vision, it’s easy to see why Cat remain an industry leader.

Take a look at new and used mini excavators for sale or tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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