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On-test: Refreshingly simple operation from Efficient spec McCormick X7

Insights

As McCormick’s tractor range continues to evolve, the firm’s latest addition includes a lower-spec version of its X7 tractor series, filling a gap above the X6s. James Rickard test drives the new X7 Efficient specification tractor.

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Efficient-spec X7 models offer alternative to McCormick’s Premium machines.

Expanding its X7 tractor family, McCormick’s Efficient specification X7s arrived on the scene at the 2015 Agritechnica Show.


Now fully available in the UK, we got our hands on a 152hp (160hp maximum rated) X7.650 for a test drive.


Designed to bridge the specification gap between the X6s and higher-spec Premium X7s, Efficient-spec models should appeal to McCormick users wanting to step up the power ladder, but without gaining any unwanted bells and whistles.


It should also appeal to users of older McCormick models, such as the venerable MCs and MTXs.


In total, seven Efficient X7 models are available from 143hp to 175hp; three four-cylinder models and four six-cylinder models.


So what can potential customers expect from an Efficient specification X7? To find out, we headed to the fields, and roads, of Cheshire.

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Engine and transmission

Power for the X7.650 Efficient comes from a 6.7-litre FPT-derived Beta Power engine.

 

As with Premium six-cylinder machines, the engine sits in a half frame chassis, very similar to the old MTXs. This, in theory, reduces engine stress prolonging the life of the motor.

More interestingly, it is a really gutsy performer.

 

Thanks to a three-leg subsoiler buried half-way to Australia, draft power was really tested, which saw the motor and transmission rise to the challenge with a decent forward speed of 12kph, at 1,750rpm.

 

Underneath, the Efficient’s Pro Drive 24 by 24 powershift transmission is exactly the same as used in its higher-spec brethren – even controlled in exactly the same manner via buttons on the grip.

 

The transmission can be operated in various ways including manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic. The latter was something we had not tried before in our previous X7 encounters, which works well and saves a lot of button pressing when on the road. In manual, gear changes are smooth and prompt.

Cab layout

The most obvious visual difference between the higher-spec Premium X7s and lower-spec Efficient X7s is the control layout.


Even though controls have migrated onto the right-hand console, it still has the same operating logic as the Premium X7s.

This includes the fixed lever ‘grip’ which takes care of all primary functions incorporating controls for transmission, one electric spool, rear linkage and engine rev memory.

 

Though in a fixed position, the grip is comfortable to use. Most buttons are still the same as Premium machines, but because there is no comprehensive headland management system, the activation button for this has gone in favour of a transmission mode selection button.


Also, the firm’s MySwitch button, which switches between various functions, has been replaced by a simple declutch button.


As a result of shifting the controls, there is a lot more space around the seat. And for those who have already fallen foul of trapped fingers between the Premium’s armrest controls and fender, this is not an issue on the Efficient-spec machine.

Controls

Looking very similar to old MC and MTX models, rotary dials on the console take care of linkage depth adjustment, drop rate, top limit and draft mix.


While ergonomically well placed, we cannot say the same for the badly positioned creeper lever, which, when in high range, gets right in the way of linkage controls.

A simple fix would be to switch which way the lever travels to select the two ranges, which would put it out of the way for the most part.


Also, once linkage settings have been made, we tended only to use the up/down switch on the fixed lever ‘grip’. And if you do not spec the £717 creeper option, it is not even an issue.


For lever lovers, up to three spools can be mechanically controlled, with a fourth or front linkage electronically controlled via buttons on the grip. If fitting a loader, the manufacturer has left a convenient space where a joystick can be fitted on the console.


Dash-wise, the Efficient is pretty much the same as the Premium, but is navigated via buttons on the dash, rather than a rotary dial as found on the higher-spec tractors’ armrest console. Various elements can be adjusted, including when the pto kicks in and out, based on how high the link arms are lifted.

Hydraulics and rear-end

At the rear, a six-tonne lift capacity is standard, but the tractor can be specced up with larger assister rams to handle 9.3t.


Because spools are mostly mechanical, there is no external spool controls on the rear fenders – flow rate for each spool is also mechanically adjusted via taps. You do get external buttons for linkage and pto control.

Efficient-spec models still boast a generous hydraulic flow rate with 123 litres/min via a load sensing, closed centre circuit, along with a 44 litres/min pump dedicated for steering.


If you wish, you can despec the tractor to an open centre circuit offering 88 litres/min for hydraulics and 44 litres/min for steering, shaving £1,523 off the price tag.


A power beyond circuit is standard, extending the tractor’s load sensing hydraulics so they can be used with an implement, which just needs couplings fitting if it is going to be used.

FG Verdict

With simplicity a design priority, what you see is what you get with the X7 Efficient models – nothing too daunting, making it relatively easy to just jump on and drive.


While the Efficient is intended to be a lower specification X7, what you get is still generous, especially in terms of engine, transmission and hydraulics.


It is essentially the controls which have been simplified, and in some cases, made mechanical.


What you are left with is a tractor which drives the same as a Premium X7, but with the feel and familiarity of an old MTX.

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Specifications

  • Model: X7.650 Efficient Pro drive
  • Engine: Six-cylinder, 6.7-litre, Beta Power/FPT, Stage 3b
  • Power: 152hp, 160hp maximum rated
  • Transmission: ZF 24 by 24, with six ranges and four powershifts
  • Creeper box: Gives a total of 40 by 40 gears
  • Rear linkage lift capacity: 6,000kg standard (9,300kg optional)
  • Hydraulic flow: 123 litres/min standard (88 litres/min optional)
  • Standard tyres: 600/65 R38
  • Options: Front suspension, cab suspension, 50kph (31mph) transmission and air brakes
  • Price: Retails from £92,706
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