Could the arrival of the 7000 series mean that JCB has finally produced the all-round tractor that will take it into the mainstream, high-power market? Maybe so, reckons David Cousins, who was one of the first batch of journalists to drive one.

When JCB’s first Fastrac emerged from the company’s Staffordshire factory 18 years ago, it was something radically different from almost every other tractor on the market. Its full suspension, sophisticated braking and high-speed capability meant that it was great for carting on the road or hauling a demount sprayer across bumpy land.

It could turn its hand to most field jobs too, though its design (especially those relatively small equal-sized wheels) meant an inevitable compromise in areas like traction, turning circle and cab size. The transmission was a relatively unsophisticated, too.

Now the 7000 series tractors, with their new cabs, new transmissions and new all-round self-levelling systems, aim the Fastrac right at the increasingly popular 170-220hp bracket. And the conventional big-wheels-at-the-back layout (as seen on the more recent 8250) mean this looks much more like a regular tractor.

  • Want to find out how it drives, how it performs on land work and what it’s like inside? Have a look at the full story in this week’s Farmers Weekly (Friday, 24 October)