Test Drives

Cat® Next Gen 323 Excavator

Nearly 10 months have passed since the launch of the Cat Next Gen range, so we thought it was time to revisit the Cat 323 and all the features that make Cat Next Gen some of the most technologically advanced and efficient machines on the globe.

There are three options within the initial Next Gen offering that have been designed with three different end users in mind.

The Cat 320 Gc Is High In Performance And Low Cost-Per-Hour

The Cat 320 GC is squarely aimed at the end user that requires the dependable performance of a Cat excavator, high in operator productivity features and low in additional costs. The Cat 320 GC is the smart choice for operators where work demands are high and low cost-per-hour performance are priorities.

The Cat 320 Has Set A New Standard For Production And Operator Comfort’

The 320 has been designed and built with a clear goal in mind: to create a machine with the industry’s highest level of standard factory technology. Operators will be the main beneficiaries of all the improvements packed into this machine because the cab, and in particular operator comfort has been the main areas of improvement, along with lower fuel consumption and maintenance costs.

The Cat 320 has set a new pace for productivity and profit for operations around Australia and the globe.

The Cat 323 Is The Top Shelf Option When It Comes To Power, Speed And High Production Performance

With more standard technology than previous models, as well as with the highest lift capacity in the line-up, the Cat 323 delivers the greatest speed, power and high production performance across the range. Thanks to its next-level technology, it does all of this with reduced fuel consumption and lower maintenance costs than ever before.

The Cat 323 will impress even the harshest critic and it was this model that I got to put through its paces for this test drive.

Increased Efficiency

It has been a little while since I’ve been behind the wheel of a Cat excavator and this was my first experience with a Next Gen machine. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was significantly impressed with the power of the Cat 323.

The machine felt fast and effortless as I sunk the buckets into ground onsite up in Newcastle. Most of the areas I’ve operated heavy machinery and have been in and around Sydney where there is usually a few feet of dirt before you hit clay, bedrock and/ or sandstone. The digging can be slow, but as I pushed the bucket into the ground it effortlessly scooped a full load of clean soil out of the ground like soft ice cream. I know it was clean soil and not really that challenging in terms of types of ground I normally excavate in, but there was no denying how powerful this machine is. I could feel the ground give way to the power of the Cat 323.The size of the cab was the initial thing that impressed me, closely followed by the comfort of the operator’s seat. I had no drama fitting my legs into the cab because there was plenty of extra leg room.

On the technology side I found it very intuitive to navigate through the various screens and access the standard Cat Connect Technology. Features like Cat Grade with 2D, Cat Payload, and Cat Grade with Assist have brought improved efficiencies of up to 45 per cent. Standard features that really give you bang for your buck in terms of productivity and efficiencies. As well as these standard features there are a host of other upgrades available including Cat Grade with Advanced 2D and Cat Grade with 3D to further increase productivity and expand grading capabilities. The Grade with 3D adds satellite positioning for pinpoint accuracy.

Reduced Fuel Consumption

Cat has cleverly introduced features that combine across the range to bring reductions in fuel consumption of up to 25 per cent. Lower engine speed and a large hydraulic pump deliver top performance while burning less fuel, which by no means impacts the performance of the machine. Durable Cat engines provide duty-matched power ratings from 122hp to 164hp (90kw to 122kw) for the three new excavators.

The efficient Next Gen machines consume 20 to 25 per cent less fuel than the previous corresponding models. A Smart Mode power setting automatically adjusts the engine and hydraulic power for the highest fuel efficiency, which means less power for tasks such as swinging and more power for digging.

Operators will enjoy the digging power and business owners will enjoy the improved productivity just as much. The Cat 323 was a lovely machine to operate and surprisingly easy to get my head around the new technologies. After some straightforward instruction through the various systems, any experienced operator will be up and running in no time making the most of technologies like E-Fence within the Cat Connect Technology/Cat Grade 2D systems.

Maintenance Costs Reduced

To further add to the value of the Next Gen range, Caterpillar has offered extended and more synchronised intervals. This means they can do more work at lower cost and reduce maintenance intervals and costs by 15 per cent. Featuring higher dirt capacity, the new Cat Hydraulic return filter boasts a 3000-hour life service, which is a massive 50 per cent increase over previous filters. A new Cat air filter with integrated pre-cleaner and primary and secondary filters extend service life to 1000 hours, a 100 per cent increase over previous designs, while a new fuel tank cap filter extends service life to 2000 hours.

The three fuel system filters each offer a 500-hour service interval.

All daily maintenance checks for engine oil, fuel water separator, fuel tank water and sediment, and cooling system level are performed from ground level, making the routine faster, easier and safer. Consolidated filter locations reduce service time.

Caterpillar has left no stone unturned when it comes to this Next Gen range. The new technologies and advancements are evident in the handling power and performance of the machine. It’s a smooth and precise experience from start to stop with a level of precision and comfort that sets these 20-tonne machines in a class of their own. With the next and larger additions to the Cat Next Gen range just around the corner, the range is only going to get bigger and more impressive.




Hastings Deering William Adams Cavpower


1300 88 10 64

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0800 93 39 39

WesTrac.com.au Hastingsdeering.com.au Williamadams.com.au Cavpower.com


[colored_box color=”yellow”]For more information on next gen products visit https://forms.westrac.com.au/nextgen/[/colored_box]

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