Sitting at the top of the Axos range, the 102hp 340 CX (on test) is the best selling model in the range. It is one of the manufacturer’s most popular tractors overall, says Claas, second only to the former Arion 640.
The CX relates to its specification, which includes clutchless shuttle, 20-speed transmission, declutch button on the gear stick, air seat, high profile roof, air conditioning and telescopic pick-up hitch.
A lower spec ‘C’ version is available with mechanical direction change.
After realising the Axos’ cab doors open the opposite way to most modern tractors, they do offer a large opening for entry and exit.
However, as the dash is set quite far back into the cab, a little bit of contortionism is required to get to the passenger seat. Grab rails on the ‘B’ post are also lacking, but there is a chunky piece of plastic near the passenger seat to steady yourself.
Once seated, you need a big stretch to close the doors. They do have the advantage of being fastened forward by catches if you wish to work with them open, which could prove useful for stop/start jobs.
Inside, the cab is spacious, complimented by well put together, solid plastics, which give a quality feel, but we think Claas should have included side windows which open.
General visibility is reasonable. A generously-sized roof window, which can also be opened, provides good views of the loader when raised, but the cab’s fat cross-member framework does impede views slightly.
A low profile roof is available as an option, which is said to offer increased visibility.
Its controls are easy to understand, making the Axos the best jump on and drive tractor of those tested.
Apart from the gear splitter and the shuttle, which is electrical, pretty much everything else is mechanical with this specification, which will be appealing to many users.
Electrically-controlled rear linkage is an option, although the firm says this specification is the most popular.
All levers have a good feel to them, although some sort of protection against ingress of dust and dirt in the lever slots would not go a miss.
Control layout is good, even though the loader joystick is a slight reach.
The steering wheel features reach and rake adjustment which, in conjunction with the air suspended seat , provides a comfortable driving position.
However, as the dash comes a long way into the cab, you do feel quite distanced from the action up-front. Views to the rear and pick-up hitch are good.
The dash is clear and concise, with analogue gauges for fuel, temperature and revs, and a digital display for speed, direction of travel, revs and pto speed.
The shuttle lever is conveniently positioned, requiring only finger tip control. Climate controls are also in a handy spot on the left-hand side of the dash.
There is not much in the way of in-cab storage, but a flat surface over the left-hand fender does provide a good spot for a butty box. Floor space is plentiful, so toolboxes can be accommodated.
Externally, there is a toolbox over the battery compartment to the left-hand side of the cab.
All ventilation comes from the dash, which keeps windows clear in the front half, but the rear window tended to steam up in our damp, cold conditions.
The MX FL 80 factory-fitted loader is the upper specification version, which comes with boom suspension, hydraulic self levelling, multi-coupler and mechanical control.
The loader helps with visibility by using hydraulically controlled parallel linkage, which does not obstruct views over the top of the loader arms, unlike some mechanical linkage versions.
Views are further enhanced by pipework, which is fed through the loader’s frame to give it a clean look.
The Axos’ bonnet is quite bulky, but views to the tool carrier when hooking up to attachments can be seen by looking between it and the loader arms.
The hydraulic parallel linkage also transfers weight which is being exerted onto an attachment into a lifting force, says Claas.
Out of the three, the MX loader is the easiest to get on and off, thanks to a clever locking mechanism which essentially requires you to drive into it, couple up the hydraulics, remove the stand legs, and away you go.
It is as simple to remove with this process done in reverse. Its stand legs are neatly stowed in the loader’s cross member, and the quick coupler has a hook for it to hang on.
Loader controls are good to use, but we would prefer the float position to come after the power down position.
The Axos features twin hydraulic pumps with 46 litres per minute supplying the transmission and shuttle, and a dedicated 60 litres/min for the hydraulic services, steering and linkage. And in combination with the MX loader, it provided a formidable combination with swift responses, needing few revs, and a decent lifting force.
Grease points on the ends of its pins aid maintenance.
Fitted with 480/65 R24 tyres on the front, the Axos looks and feels like a beefy machine.
And due to the large front boots, some steering lock is lost, making it a little less nimble than the other two tested.
However, the fat tyres, in combination with a 900kg rear counterweight, give a good sense of stability, especially when handling heavy loads high up. This is complimented by super light steering, which requires little effort. Its hydraulic shuttle, which brings the tractor to a standstill before it changes direction, is good to use and smooth.
A 20 by 20 transmission is standard (as tested). This is split into five main gears in two ranges. A splitter in each gear also provides a bit of flexibility along with a de-clutch button mounted on the front of the main gearstick. This is good to use, but it could do with being a little more prominent. The five-speed box could not be simpler, but gears can be a little notchy.
At the rear, a three-speed pto is featured with 540, 540E and 1,000rpm speeds, along with two double acting hydraulic services and a Dromone pick-up hitch fitted as standard. As an option, 38in wheels can also be specified.
A mechanical hitch control is mounted on the fender to aid attaching implements, and nice touches such as dummy female hydraulic couplings can be used to stow unused telescopic hitch pipes. A vertical piece of tubing also provides storage for linkage balls.
Its mechanically controlled 102hp engine meets stage 3a engine emission regulations, which features good cooling pack access, thanks to fold out radiators. A sealed bulkhead also forces all air drawn into the radiators to pass through the front grill.
We particularly like the flat surface in front of the radiators, which aids cleanliness, allowing fallen dirt to be simply wiped away.