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On test: Zetor Forterra gains wider appeal

Building on the existing standard Forterra and Forterra HSX tractor models, Zetor has expanded the range to include a higher-spec and more heavy-duty machine.


The result is the three-model Forterra HD series, with the 130, 140 and 150 model numbers relating to power ratings. In effect, the HD means Zetor can now offer the Forterra range in three spec levels.


Key features of the HD compared to the standard and HSX variants include an increased use of electronics, a longer wheelbase, uprated axles and more lifting capacity.

Front end

Pete Greening, Zetor UK sales manager, says: “The launch of the HD was a compulsory move for us. While the HSX suits a lot of users, it does have its limitations of appeal for some and the HD addresses this.


“It also allows us to better target the 120-160hp bracket, which accounts for about 4,000 units in the UK.”


To get a flavour of the new flagship, we tried a HD 150 equipped with a five-furrow reversible plough, working on some light, fluffy, but also sticky, Czech land.


Starting at the front, the HDs come as standard with front axle suspension courtesy of Carraro. Using an independent suspension type system, it is one of the more complex and high-maintenance systems but does reward with generous shock absorption and decent traction.


Adjustment can be made via a rocker switch affording lower, raise and automatic modes. However, if you really want, you can spec it with a standard axle.


As an option, it can be specified with a 3.5-tonne lift capacity front linkage system from Zuidberg available with a clockwise or counter-clockwise pto.


Power continues to come from Zetor’s own four-cylinder engine which currently meets Stage 3b emissions levels using proportional exhaust gas recirculation and a diesel particulate filter.


However, halfway through this year the firm will be forced to step up to Stage 4 and it has made provisions for this by leaving space for an AdBlue tank so it can add selective catalytic reduction to its clean features.


As for the wheelbase, 130mm (5.1in) longer than the HSX, this is gained using a larger front bolster, effectively giving the HD six-cylinder-like handling and tractive characteristics.


Still, it is in the cab where the HD starts to get interesting. While it shares the same frame as the rest of the Forterra range, it gets a new, right-hand mounted console which incorporates electric spool and linkage control, throttle and switches for selection of traction, suspension and pto modes.


Apart from transmission, this does away with many of the levers once found to the right as well as the throttle lever, which used to be dash-mounted.


The Zetor inside

The new console

The Zetor wheels

Can lift up to 470kg


The upshot is more convenience over the HSX, with spool control and set-up placed at your fingertips. And it could not be simpler, with two knobs for each spool; one adjusting flow rate and the other to alter timing. However, it would be good to have a flap to cover the recessed knobs, as it looks a prime spot to collect dust and dirt.


As an option, a joystick can be incorporated into the console which can either control two rear spools, the front linkage and a front spool, or a loader.


The Bosch-sourced linkage controls do provide good control although, for extra convenience, a separate rocker switch placed alongside the spool switches would be a good addition. And if the manufacturer really wanted to take things a stage further, an engine memory function would be a handy feature.


This said, you do get rudimentary headland management which is triggered by the rear linkage to engage or disengage the pto, four-wheel drive or differential lock, depending on whether going into or coming out of work.


For comfort, cab suspension is standard on the HD and, in concert with front suspension and air seat suspension, it does a good job at soaking up bumps.


Roof windows are standard throughout the Zetor tractor range, but they could be better, especially when compared to others on the market.

Back end

Hydraulically, the HD offers up a dedicated 85 litres per minute flow rate to the spools and linkage, while two more pumps look after brakes and steering, with flow rates of 35 litres/min and 22 litres/min respectively.


Pto start-up on the HD makes use of a feedback system which effectively senses how much load there is on the pto during start-up.


Information from sensors then determine how aggressively the pto will engage.


Transmission is the same as the HSX which comprises a 30 by 30 gearbox with five gears in two ranges. However, to tackle the extra load from uprated rear linkage and more power, Zetor has beefed up the back axle.


Each gear has a three-way splitter which can be automated to change split depending on revs. It is a decent gearbox too, with snappy splitter changes made via buttons on the main gear lever and swift and smooth direction changes controlled by a column-mounted shuttle lever. Once up and running, a declutch button on the back of the gear lever allows for clutch-less gear changes.


Rear-end is well laid out and clearly labelled. UK machines will be specced as standard with a Dromone push back hitch.


Tyre fitments can be up to 650mm section width, 600mm standard, and up to 470kg of wheel weights can be fitted.



Front suspension

Rear fender controls

Rear fender controls

FG verdict

Let us face it, the HD not going to set the world on fire. But what Zetor has created is a good, solid workhorse which has its place and will probably be at home in more situations than you think.


Yes it does not have all the trappings of its high-spec contemporaries, but it does reward with brilliant simplicity which should suit a lot of operators and jobs.


It does not look too shabby either – appearing right at home alongside many of its competitors.


Over the HSX, it does feel more refined, with quieter noise levels definitely noticeable and certainly more control convenience.


Overall, the HD should open a few eyes, particularly to non-Zetor users perhaps wanting a lower-spec alternative and current Zetor users who want to step-up in spec.


Forterra 150 HD specifications

  • Engine: 4.2-litre, four-cylinder, 16-valve, Zetor
  • Maximum power: 147hp
  • Maximum torque: 589Nm
  • Transmission: 30 by 30, 40kph top speed
  • Maximum rear linkage lift capacity: 8,500kg
  • Hydraulic pump capacity: 85 litres per minute
  • Number of rear spools: four, double acting
  • Wheelbase: 2,720mm
  • Warranty: Two year full factory, option to buy four years
  • Retail price: £48,000
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