Scag Cheetah II
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Scag Cheetah Zero Turn Mower Review

The Scag Cheetah zero turn mower is the fastest mower in the industry. It has a low range and high range setting making it very efficient for traveling quickly in transport mode. This means time will be saved getting from to and from each yard.

The Cheetah is at the top end of the Scag lineup. It is pretty comparable to the Turf Tiger II.

Scag Line Up

Mower:Scag Tiger Cat 2Scag Cheetah IIScag Turf Tiger II
Engine:22 hp Kawasaki FX, 25 hp Kawasaki FT, 25 hp Kohler EFI, or 32 hp Vanguard31 hp Kawasaki FX921 or 37 hp Vanguard EFI31hp Vanguard, Kawasaki FD851D, 35hp Vanguard, 37hp Vanguard EFI
Deck Size:48″, 52″, and 61″61″ and 72″52″, 61″, and 72″
Transmission:12cc pumps and 16cc parker wheel motorsHydro-Gear ZT-5400 Transaxles16cc pumps and 16cc Parker wheel motors
Seat Type:Suspension SeatSuspension Seat and Suspension PlatformSuspension Seat
Fuel Capacity:9.5 Gallons15 Gallons12 Gallons
Speed:12 mph forward16 mph forward12 mph forward
Warranty:2 yr unlimited hours or 3 yr 500 hours2 yr unlimited hours or 3 yr 500 hours2 yr unlimited hours or 3 yr 500 hours
Price*:$8,499 – $9,499$12,417 – $14,000$13,500 – $17,992

* prices only an estimate that may vary based upon a particular dealer.

Comparison

We decided to compare the Scag Cheetah to the Ferris ISX3300 and the Toro 5000 series mowers. These are comparable mowers based on specs and price.

The Scag Cheetah definitely holds its ground in the comparison. The engine options are very good and slightly superior to the Toro 5000 series Kohler Command Pro engines.

The suspension platform on the Toro 5000 MyRide units and the Scag Cheetah are very similar. They are basically the same concept of suspending the entire user platform. The Ferris ISX3300’s suspension definitely wins on the comfortable scale. However, the Scag Cheetah is still a very comfortable unit and probably the most comfortable in the entire Scag lineup.

Other than that, the units are fairly similar except for some small differences. The most noticeable are the Scag Cheetah’s speed and fuel tank capacity. These could definitely help with productivity when compared to the other mowers.

Mower:Scag CheetahFerris ISX3300Toro 5000
Engine:31 hp Kawasaki FX921 or 37 hp Vanguard EFI37hp Vanguard with oil guard23 -25 hp Kohler Command Pro
Deck Size:61″ and 72″61″ and 72″48″, 52″, 60″, and 72″
Transmission:Hydro-Gear ZT-5400 TransaxlesHydro-Gear ZT-5400 TransaxlesHydraulic unitized pumps and wheel motors
Seat Type:Suspension Seat and Suspension PlatformSuspension seat and Full independent front suspensionSuspension Seat and optional MyRIDE
Fuel Capacity:15 Gallons11 Gallons12 Gallons
Speed:16 mph forward12 mph forward10 mph forward
Warranty:2 yr unlimited hours or 3 yr 500 hours2 yr unlimited hours or 4 yr 500 hours2 yr unlimited or 5 yr 1200 hours
Price*:$12,417 – $14,000$13,999 – $14,499$12.443 – $14,888

* prices only an estimate that may vary based upon a particular dealer.

Power

The Scag Cheetah zero turn mower offers a 31hp Kawasaki FX921 or 37 hp Vanguard EFI. Both of these are very solid engine options. They will both provide plenty of power whether you choose a 61″ or 72″ deck.

kawasaki fx921 engine
Kawasaki FX921
vanguard 37 hp EFI
Vanguard 37 hp EFI

This difference between these two engine options is going to be very minimal. The one thing to keep in mind is the Vanguard engine is EFI and the Kawasaki engine is carbureted.

This could potentially lead to better fuel efficiency for the Vanguard… but it is also a larger engine, using more horsepower. At the end of the day, you really cannot go wrong with either of these engine options.

Features

Drive system

The Scag Cheetah is equipped with Hydro-Gear ZT-5400 transaxles. These are proven transaxles and provide incredibly smooth controls. Personally, I have always been a fan of integrated transaxles over pump and wheel motors. I feel like they drive much better and this mower is no different.

Hydro-Gear ZT-5400

This mower has tons of power and is extremely fast. You may feel the zero turn levers to be a little sensitive, however, you will quickly get used to it. The thing about controls being sensitive is once you get used to them it will require less effort to drive the mower.

Suspension Platform

The Scag Cheetah comes with their suspension platform system. This is a very similar concept to Toro’s MyRIDE platform suspension. Baseically, the entire platform that you are sitting on is suspended.

This does seem to cushion the ride a bit more than only a suspension seat. However, it is going to be less effective than a full suspension mower where the entire machine is suspended instead of only the seat or platform.

Scag Suspension Platform

One thing we really like about the platform suspension is how it is not integrated into how the deck moves. Similar to a suspension seat but more effective.

The moving parts of full suspension units may cause the deck to move in ways you don’t want. We do think Ferris may have solved this problem with the new suspension on their ISX3300 mower.

Two-Speed Lever

A unique feature that the Cheetah has is the two-speed adjustment lever. This allows for two gears… low range and high range. The low range setting allows the mower to travel up to 12 mph and made for mowing. The high range setting is for transport mode and will allow the mower to go 16 mph.

two speed lever

The big advantage of this is definitely the time saved traveling between yards. It’s a huge advantage if you have very large commercial properties. Think of mowing a school… getting to and from different areas of the property can take a lot of time and the added speed will definitely cut down on this.

Cast Iron Spindles

Scag uses cast iron spindles on this mower. The spindles are greaseable and have an overflow valve to avoid over greasing. I am a fan of greaseable spindles over “greaseless” spindles. The Scag spindles are known to last a long time.

scag cheetah spindle

Drive tires and casters

The Scag Cheetah has large 24 in rear drive tires that will provide better traction. The front casters are 13 x 6.5 – 6 and will also help with the mower’s traction.

We were able to test this mower on some hills and it definitely holds very well. The mower has a low center of gravity allowing the mower to keep traction.

Instrument Panel

This interesting control panel has most of your standard features, ignition, throttle, and PTO engagement. It also features Scag’s “Tiger Eye” technology. This tracks your machine and gives all of the maintenance notifications and other cool information.

scag tiger cat mower panel

Rear Discharge Option

This may be a gamechanger for some… the option for a rear discharge deck. This are great for mowing interstates, solar panel fields, schools, and many other areas where there may be a liablity of breaking something.

Scag Cheetah rear discharge

The definite downside of a rear discharge deck is the cut quality. It definitely suffers compared to a side discharge deck and this has nothing to do with Scag.

No one has really solved this problem… mainly because the blades have to spin in different directions in order to discharge the grass out of the back. This causes the “lift” of the deck to be pretty bad compared to a side discharge deck.

It is still nice to have the option of a rear discharge deck since they aren’t allows that easy to find.

Durability

Scag’s entire line up of mowers is know for its durability. These machine are known for being heavy, strong, and durable. They aren’t necessarily the best looking mowers but they definitely get the job done.

Scag owners swear by this companies long lasting machines. They have a large following of commercial and residential customers that are love the toughness of these machines.

Comfort

The Scag Cheetah is, without a doubt the most comfortable zero turn mower that Scag has. This is primarily because of the platform suspension but also the smooth controls.

It is definitely one of the more comfortable riding mowers in the industry. I would put this up against a Toro or Exmark suspension platform any day… maybe we should do that!

Aesthetics

The Scag Cheetah is definitely a sharp looking machine. It features their normal orangish and black design. I’m not a huge fan of their signature brown seats but some like them.

The real talk lately is the new Cheetah II. This is a new version of the Cheetah mower in 2020. Most of the differences are aesthetic. It has a very sleek and modern appearance. It also features a new brown seat… still ugly, in my opinion, but definitely appears to be super comfortable.

Scag Cheetah
Cheetah
Scag Cheetah II
NEW Cheetah II

Build quality

The build quality of a Scag Cheetah is definitely top of the line. They are one of the top 5 commercial lawn mower manufacturers in the world for a reason. They build great mowers and stand behind their products.

Cut quality

The Scag Cheetah comes with a 61″ or 72″ Velocity plus deck. These decks are proven and loved by so many. It is arguably one of the best cutting decks in the industry.

This is primarily because of it’s slope design. This allows great to stand back up before being cut. This provide a superior cut to many of the other mowers on the market.

scag velocity deck

Safety

This model comes with the typical safety features found on most commercial mowers. This includes a PTO clutch safety switch, parking brake safety circuit, and seat activated engine kill. The mower is also equipped with a ROPS (rollover protection system) and seatbelt.

The real safety measure is how well does it handles hills… as stated above this mower will definitely hang with the best of them when it comes to holding hills.

Our rating

Performance:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Cut Quality:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Durability:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Comfort:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Price:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Overall:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Price

The price for this mower is between $12,417 and $14,009. This will be based upon deck size, engine option, and dealer/region. These mowers around right around the same price as many of the competitor’s similar models.

Wrapping it up

The Scag Cheetah is the fastest mower in the industry. It definitely takes productivity to an entirely new level. If you are in need of a new zero turn mower I would highly recommend checking out the Cheetah mower. Maybe even check out the new 2020 Cheetah II!

What do you think?

Have you used a Scag Cheetah? What do you think of this mower? Leave us a comment below!

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For more information on this mower check out Scag’s official site. To find a dealer near you check out their dealer locator.

Images are from Scag Mowers.

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