Representing the most significant product launch for the firm in 25 years, Valtra has well and truly updated its T Series with a complete overhaul.
Some may say it is about time too, especially when you consider the cab frame used on the T has been in service for the last 28 years – not necessarily a bad thing.
But no matter how well some designs have stood the test of time, at some point it is time to move on. And the Finnish manufacturer has done just that, with new engines, up rated transmissions, new operator environment and some stand out styling.
More significantly though, this is the first Valtra tractor designed with people’s needs in mind outside of Scandinavia.
With seven models ranging from 155hp to 250hp, customers can choose from four main variants; Direct, Versu, Active or HiTech. Direct is the top spec machine and gets a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and electrically operated hydraulics. While Versu and Active models share the same 20 by 20 (30 by 30 with creeper), five step powershift transmission, Versu machines get top-spec electrically operated hydraulics along with increased tractor setup via a terminal, whereas the lower spec Active gets mechanically operated hydraulics and no terminal.
Slotting in below Active will be the entry level HiTech model which gets a five-step powershift transmission and mechanical hydraulics.
This will be available next year, while the top three variants can be ordered now.
The top three models feature load sensing hydraulics producing up to 160l/min of oil flow, with the HiTech having open centre hydraulics producing up to 100l/min.
For control continuity, both the CVT and powershift transmissions can now be driven in the same manner.
A new speed control lever on the armrest facilitates a change in speed – push forwards to go faster, pull back to go slower. Buttons incorporated into the side of the lever allow for range changes, however, an automatic range change can occur between ranges C and D and vice versa, if enabled.
Alternatively, flick the lever over to one side and the accelerator pedal becomes the speed selector, with the tractor working out the optimum revs and ratios for the desired speed.
Pedal mode can also be used for pto work, with the revs staying at a constant and the pedal used to adjust speed.
Two cruise speeds can also be set, simply by driving at a desired speed and pressing and holding one of two buttons to save. Speed can also be fine tuned via a scroll wheel adjacent to the speed control lever. Cruise speeds can be incorporated into a headland management sequence.
Thanks to an automatic de-clutching system, when the brake pedal is pressed, powershift models can pretty much be driven like an automatic car. And depending on application, you only need the clutch pedal to start the tractor.
Hill hold is a new feature built into the transmission and utilises the already used electro-hydraulic park brake. When you come to a stop on a hill, at a set of traffic lights for example, keep your foot on the brakes and at the same time move the shuttle into its park position then immediately back to the forward position. You can then take your foot off the brakes and the tractor will hold itself in position. To move off, press the accelerator and away you go. It even works with a fully loaded trailer behind, pointing up or down hill.
Power comes from an Agco Power, 6.6-litre, six-cylinder engine for the two smallest models and a 7.4-litre version for the bigger models. Both engines comply with Stage 4 emissions legislation.
To keep things simple, says the manufacturer, selective catalytic reduction only is used. While this takes care of the nitrous oxide, high pressure fuel injection (2,000bar) reduces the amount of particles being produced, negating the need for exhaust gas recirculation or a diesel particulate filter.
This, says the firm, reduces the amount of service items and extends service intervals, now up to 600 hours for the engine. Transmission and hydraulic oil intervals are also in multiples of 600 - 1,200 and 1,800 respectively.
As a fuel saving tool, the T174 model is also available with the firm’s Eco Power feature allowing the nominal engine speed to be reduced to 1,800rpm and the torque increased at the push of a button, where jobs allow.
In addition, the Sigma Power feature, which is standard or available on all models, increases engine output by 15hp when the pto is under sufficient load or when the tractor is either of the top two transmission ranges.
A three-piece bonnet allows convenient service access to engine, with all serviceable items positioned down one side. Hydraulic and transmission oil levels can easily be checked via sight glasses.
Up top is a completely new cab frame which uses a five post design. This allows for a more conventional sized door, which is easier to close and more stable, to be used on the left and a large panoramic window on the right. It also gets a generous sized roof window for loader applications.
To make the most of the 6.2sq.m of glass, the windscreen, rear window and right hand window all feature wipers – the front having 270 degrees of travel.
Cab width has increased, particularly in the hip area, thanks to curved pillars and it now gets a proper passenger seat. A fridge can be specified as can a sound system with integrated sub-woofer.
While the cab frame is completely new, a lot of tried and tested Valtra features are still present, albeit updated. For instance the dash is still in its fixed position and has been given a refresh to look more modern and be clearer, as has the right hand console to be a lot more
The right hand armrest which provides primary control looks very similar but has been tweaked to incorporate the new speed selector lever and scroll wheel, in place of push button shifting. Drivers will be pleased to know, the throttle lever under the armrest has been done away with for a more conventional throttle on top of the armrest.
For Direct and Versu variants, these stick with the familiar screen which looks after all tractor functions and set up including spool flow and timings and headland management. As we have found in previous tests, it may look small but it is fairly intuitive to navigate via blister buttons.
For more functionality, the TopCon derived C3000 touch screen terminal can be specified affording a whole host of precision farming features including guidance, documentation, IsoBus control and telematics.
Twin Trac reverse drive machines can still be specified which now sees the rear steering wheel, thanks to fly by wire connection, able to move from side to side and have its reach and rake adjusted. And in combination with the new adjustable quick steer function (standard with Twin Trac machines), steering effort can dramatically be reduced compared to its predecessor.
Rear linkage lift capacity has been up rated to 9.5 tonnes, while at the front the integrated linkage can handle 5.1 tonnes.
Whether it is fitted with a loader or front linkage, turning radius remains tight thanks to the repositioning of engine and front axle. This has seen the engine move backwards and the front axle move forwards with the cooling packs placed directly over the top of the axle, allowing the front wheels to turn into recessed areas fore and aft of the radiators.
A longer wheelbase also means extra stability on the road and increased traction in the field, says the manufacturer.
The rear of the tractor has also been fettled to be a lot more user friendly with spool valves re-positioned down the left hand side and electric and various other couplings placed lower.
Three different pto speeds in five modes can now be electrically selected; 1,000, 1,000E, 540, 540E and ground speed.
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Judging by our initial impressions it looks like the Finns have been busy – certainly addressing many of the criticisms the previous generations of Ts had.
The cab was one of the main areas which needed an update. It is now has a much more modern and airy feel to it without losing the Valtra feel and intuitive nature. In fact, we would say operation has been simplified, particularly being able to drive all variants in the same manner no matter if it is a powershift or CVT.
Practical design outside the tractor has also gone a long way to simplifying maintenance and making setup and attachment of implements much easier.
And when it comes to style, we can genuinely say the latest generation of Ts features some proper automotive styling.
Overall, the latest Ts seem to be impressive, but as ever the proof of the proof of the pudding will be in the eating as these tractors are put to work.
There is still more to come too, with the N’s getting similar updates this time next year and forestry versions of the new Ts available mid next year.
The T Series is available now to order with prices starting from £85,341 for the T144 Active
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