Loads of choice but which one do you go for? In some sectors of the tractor market, the amount of choice facing buyers can make life confusing. We look at at Case IH’s 100hp offering, which encompasses five models.
No one could ever say that the British farmer lacked variety when it came to tractors. With 18 brands and a total of 670-odd models, you would need to be a truly pernickety buyer to fail to find something that suited you.
In some parts of the market, though, the degree of choice has gone from being just generous to verging on the confusing.
Take Case IH tractors around the 100hp mark, where the maker offers five different models. You might reasonably imagine that they’re the same basic tractor with a slightly more ratio-rich gearbox here or a powershuttle instead of a manual shuttle there.
You’d be wrong, though. The company offers five distinct models, all quite different (though obviously with some common components) and all with a different driving feel.
The engine is the common denominator for all but one of the models on test. Maxxum, JXU and JX models all use a 4-cylinder 4.5-litre Case IH Nef engine, as does the Quantum 95C, whereas the Quantum 75C uses a FPT 3.2-litre engine.
Each turbo-charged and intercooled block uses a mechanical fuel injection system. However, it’s possible to spec the Maxxum with electronic governing, meaning it can boost from 112hp to 142hp.
The mechanically-governed four-cylinder turbo-charged and intercooled Sisu power plant in the Austrian-built CS harks back to the collaboration between Sisu and Steyr in days gone by. In the CS 105 Pro, this delivers 102hp and a maximum torque of 397Nm at 1400rpm.
Nef engines have a service interval of 600hrs, the Sisu 500hrs.
?From an operator’s point of view the two key differences between all these tractors lie with the cabs and gearboxes.
Gearboxes range from the simplest of simple all-mechanical stick-shifter to an all-singing, all-dancing computer-controlled powershift.
Originally designed at Basildon but now built at the Steyr/Case IH plant in St. Valentin, Austria, the Maxxum 110 has clear lineage back to early 1990s Fords.
The 4-range, 4-speed powershift instantly brings back memories of SLE-spec’d 40-series tractors, although there are fewer manual changes thanks to a powered step between ranges B and C.
In a move to put a stamp on this as a Case IH tractor, the powershift rocker-switch is positioned on the chunky leather-and-chrome-topped hand throttle, a clear nod to the Maxxum’s meatier American siblings – Magnums and Steigers.
At the other extreme, the JX90 and Quantum C are about as simple as it gets. While the former has a 12F x 12R box derived through four synchronised gears and three ranges, the latter has a 4-range box.
In both cases a lever on the left-hand side handles mechanical shunts between forward and reverse – in just the right position for loader work.
The JXU and CS Pro fill the middle ground. As well as its Nordic power-plant, the Austrian-built CS’s transmission clearly marks its Case/Steyr heritage.
It employs the same 2-range, 4-speed gearbox developed by ZF and Steyr more than 15 years ago.
Its bendy powershuttle stalk lacks a neutral position (the clutch-packs disengage with a squeeze of the wand) and the clutchless splitter only works with the forward gears – two minor annoyances.
The JXU is more conventional, using a familiar 24F x 24R CNH transmission derived through a 3-range, 4-speed mechanical box with clutchless splitter and powershuttle.
As you would expect from the highest-spec offering, the Maxxum has electronic hitch control as standard with the main functions integrated into the armrest.
Convenient enough to tweak, it is slightly overcomplicated by a draft response frequency dial as well as sensitivity adjustment.
The CS Pro sticks with Steyr’s traditional electronic set-up which is pretty much idiot-proof. It’s slightly marred however by poor labelling.
Lying next to each other, two identically-marked rocker-switches are easily confused – one handles fast lift/drop, the other allowing bit-by-bit tweaks of implement position.
The two standard spool-valves are looked after by a cross-lever – handy if you’re not so keen on permanently plumbing in a loader but we’d rather have independent levers.
The remaining three – the JXU 105, JX90 and Quantum C are all built at the ex-Fiatagri plant at Jesi in Italy and have inherited a cunningly simple linkage control.
Originally found on Fiat’s 90-series tractors, the fast raise/drop control combines a mechanical linkage with a spring-loaded clunk-click switch to give the same functionality as electronic controls but without the complexity. Two arm-hydraulic levers then handle position and draft.
All but the JX90 and Quantum C now have Bosch spool-valves.