The Victa Ultimate Commando (VCBD484) is a premium lawn mower that offers relief from one of the biggest pain points of mower. Thanks to Briggs & Stratton technology, the battery-powered, push-button start means that gone is the rip cord, instead replaced by a clean and modern start procedure of just pushing a button.
The ignition in our cars are all switching to push-buttons starts because, well, it's easier and why should your garden maintenance be any different?
Victa has a long history in mowers and it'd be easy to rest on their brand for future sales, but the company continues to invest in the technology that means they're always on the cutting edge of lawn care.
This is the kind of product that needs to be seen in action, so here's a hands-on video to kick off the review. This captures the very first time I fired it up, so the first time I wasn't sure how long to hold the start button. As you can see from the second stab at it, it starts at the push of a button. Every subsequent push it started instantly, the system works.
Efficiently sized for smaller rooms
The Victa Ultimate has a cast alloy chassis which is not only strong, but also light, making for a design that understand customers may be pushing this up-hill. On the handle you'll find a lever that, when activated, will propel the mower forward, driving the rear wheels to also reduce your effort when mower. As someone with a decent amount of lawn and an angled front lawn, this is seriously appreciated.
The design of the mower in general is fairly standard with a foldable handle and removable catcher, making it easier to store in you garage or shed when not in use. The motor does feature the unique battery slot that powers the instant-start experience.
In terms of colour schemes, there's nothing offensive here, standard greys and blacks work together to create a product design that's cohesive, from the front to the back.
After becoming a dad, I've been introduced to the world of prams and our Redsbaby Metro 2 features an adjustable handle to cater for the fact my wife and I are different heights. Something I miss from this mower is that adjustability, taking much more of a 1-size fits all model.
Your to-do list before you begin
When you buy this mower, you're first task will be setup which involves a few steps before you can try it out. First you need to unbox all the components. Then you need to attach the ProControl throttle control the the handle. You'll then need to charge the lithium-ion battery which takes around an hour.
During that hour you can probably run to the shop to pickup some SAE 30 oil as the mower doesn't come with any. There's big yellow and red warning labels to ensure you don't try starting it without oil in the sump. You'll also need to fold out the 4 blades underneath and attach the catcher to the back.
Of course you also need to add petrol, while there are all-electric mowers, this isn't one of them, that battery is reserved for the smart push-button start. Being a 4-stroke mower, standard unleaded is all you need which saves you messing with mixing fuel and oil like a 2-stroke.
With all those ingredients prepared, you're now ready to start the mower for the first time.
What's on offer?
Easily the best feature of the lawn mower is its ability to start instantly, everytime. With no prime, no choke, and no rip cord to pull, the starting process for this mower is as simple as pushing a button. Known as InStart Technology, the 10.8V lithium-ion battery enables the mower to start easily, making it simple for more people to use.
The Instant start system has a plastic safety cover that you simply lift up to reveal the red go button, press and hold and in a second the mower is started. Given the ease in which this mower restarts, you're able to stop it each time you need to empty the catcher. With other mowers, I turned the mower down, but usually left it running, given the restart method was questionable.
To recharge the battery, it takes just 1 hour. That's important if it gets depleted and you're rushing to get your mowing done before the rain arrives. If you need the quick and dirty, a 10 minute recharge will get you 20 starts. Thankfully you won't need to charge it very often with up to 75 starts possible with a single charge.
Mowing the lawn is often a decent workout as you push the 10-20kg mower against the friction of your overgrown lawn. With the Victa Ultimate, it uses a self-propelled feature to move itself forward, meaning your input, your effort is basically turning corners.
With a big 19” cutting area, it means you need to do less trips up and back to cut your lawn and to turn your patch of Australia into a big of lawn pawn. It's decisions like this that demonstrate the advantage of being a mower designed and assembled in Australia, they understand many of us have larger blocks with lots of grass to mow, so taking less time to mow means more time for a cold one on the couch in front of your favourite sport.
This mower comes with 2 cutting options. The first is the standard mowing into a catcher, but the second is multching. This is powered by a unique mulching blade-disc design which generates air-circulation beneath the mower continually cutting the grass, resulting in a fine mulch.
On top of the chassis, you'll find a standard hose connector. This makes the job of cleaning and maintining your mower an absolute breeze. Just clip on a hose and it washes the underside of the mower, this ensures you're cutting area isn't compromised by dried up grass, layered to the inside of the guard. It's a smart, simple addition that I wish was on every mower.
Room for improvement
The wheels on this mower are hard plastic and feature a pretty average fake tyre tread. These could have been constructed out of material that actually helped with traction and they don't reflect the premium finish of the chassis itself.
The self-propelled feature is awesome, however the distance of the control bar to the mower handle is quite large. With large hands, I could only just reach. Someone with smaller hands would really struggle. If there's a way to adjust this, I couldn't find it. The control bar is needed for safety and you don't want to knock it accidently and have your mower running away (or over something), but it should be a little easier to grasp.
When my wife used the mower, she picked another area that needs to be addressed. When you released the self-propel handle, the mower rolls on a bit. This means if you need to be precise to navigate obstacles like water meters or mailboxes, you'll have a challenge of timing it correctly. It's not the end of the world, but this could definitely be improved.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
When you search through the product page at Victa, you'll find this mower towards the top end, reflecting its premium feature set and instant-start technology. As you would expect, the price of the Victa Commando Ultimate reflects that and you can expect to pay A$899.00 RRP.
The mower is available now from your local Victa dealer, which you can find by searching on victa.com/au/
The Victa Commando Ultimate features a 163cc 750iS Series engine with Briggs & Stratton Instart instant start technology. It's powerful and pretty quiet while it goes about its job of maintaining your lawn.
Having a mower that's easier to use with the push-button start and being self-propelled along with being easier to clean, means you've got no excuses to avoid mowing the lawn. The 10-height adjustments give lawn purists great control over the resulting lawn length which translates to how your lawn looks and Australia has a growing obsession of turning the casual lawn into a finely manicured cricket pitch.
The premium mower does come at a premium price, but with the feature list on offer here, that's pretty well justified. The mower comes with a 3 year warranty. There's definitely some opportunities to improve this in future versions, but if you buy this mower, you'll be very glad you did.