A BIG chunk of tractor built like a Turkish wrestler. A broad nose, a pinhead cab but still only average in weight. The whole plot leans forward to give a rakish slant from the side. Indicators are set high in the cab and a dumpy fuel tank flanks angled steps. Suspension comes from a Carraro independent front axle and cab springs.

Outside finish is patchy. The underbonnet area is very tidy, but the 136-hour test tractor’s faded-looking panels carried bubbling graphic stickers. New glue has apparently fixed that, leaving the bonnet’s rough back edge still in need of tidying.

Cab, noise

Average in width but the shortest in this group, the Case’s cab is rather 1980s. Steyr-derived switchgear isn’t grouped by colour and is set in black panels, while the rest of the cab is Case beige. The dash is comprehensive but visually fussy. Materials are very solid and fixings generally sound; control ergonomics are largely OK.

Views forward are limited by a wide bonnet and small screen. The low-set, slanting overhead console is bad news for tall operators and curtails view to a raised loader, but sight to the linkage is fine. Accommodation is average; tall drivers need more seat/wheel adjustment, short ones want for wheel tilt.

Good comfort comes from a swivelling air seat plus separate, quiet fans for heat and foot air – but watch your head on the exposed rear wiper motor, and don’t expect a passenger to rave about the small, hard secondary seat. Storage is boosted by a deep roof box, the floor offers little.

Noise depends on operating conditions and is average in this group at 76.6dB(A). The gearbox sounds as if spooks are chasing and squeaking inside it at low speeds, then past 1600rpm a dull engine boom takes over. For the quiet life, work this tractor in eco mode whenever possible and keep it under 45kph on the road.

Engine

Cutting through the ISO/EC rating confusion, the dyno shows big overpower – 153 pto hp (rated speed) rising to 169hp maximum. Constant power persists to 1600rpm, peak torque (516lbf ft) is average in the group. Six-point specific fuel consumption is also average.

Specific consumption climbs steeply beyond 1800rpm. So it’s wise to use the CVT’s eco mode where you can, and the Case’s near-constant torque below 1700rpm suggests that’s a realistic strategy.

Hitch/linkage

A hydraulic top link, self-locking stabilisers, easy-turning lift rod adjusters and spare ball storage sort out the linkage, which boasts a lift force beyond 7.5t all through the range.

Lift control is no-frills Bosch, has slip control and reacts swiftly. The joystick’s single-push lift/lower button is a hit, as is the red emergency button that kills all hydraulics and the pto. Minor lift rotaries on the console are best reached with the seat swivelled.

Hydraulic services

Electro-hydraulics serve oil from a load-sensing pump to three standard spools. The test tractor had the maximum five (two on a short cross-lever), all disabled quickly by console rocker switch. One spool is controllable from the CVT joystick if required and power beyond is optional. Flow setting is quickly varied using knobs under the armrest’s cover, but timer setting involves the cab pillar display plus the joystick’s enable button.

External buttons control oil from one outlet, which is a plus. Negatives are couplers set deep between the mudguards, poor markings and unconvincing outlet covers.

PTO

Four speeds are easily selected in the cab, but the pto stub is bolted on and the small, obscure on/off switch would be much more convenient if set in the armrest. Drive engagement under load is smooth, as with all these tractors. Two sets of external buttons add to a reasonable package.

Diff locks and 4WD

There are limited auto modes. Passing 14kph switches 4WD and the rear lock off and on, though for safety the lock won’t re-engage if speed has topped 25kph. The back lock is also switched by linkage lift.

Steering, suspension and brakes

The CVX is a pretty calm drive on the road and takes no effort off it. Winkers helpfully self-cancel, sometimes too quickly. Turning circle couldn’t be measured before the Case returned to its maker.

The Carraro front suspension can be turned off. Along with Fendt it can adjust nose height – useful with front linkage. On the road the suspension is unobtrusive and kills bounce; in the field it allows substantial pitching with a raised implement.

Apart from the transmission’s active standstill, a parking interlock activates automatically after 45 seconds standstill, or five seconds after the driver’s weight goes off the seat. The parking lock is also manually switchable, so active safety looks good.

That’s just as well, because the footbrakes are the worst in this test. Spongy and with very long travel, they can”t lock the wheels. If the CVX was a car, you’d take it back to the garage.

Maintenance

Engine oil change at 500 hours, transmission at 1000 hours (52 litres). Service is grease gun-intensive (at least 15 nipples up front and 13 at the back), with little help from the manual to find them. A labour-saver option is central front axle greasing.

Full engine access is achieved only after a small fight with the bonnet release. The radiators are a marvel, swinging out and up for easy cleaning; dust build-up is not a problem. Cab filters and fuses are just the opposite. And the manual? Clear but short on info.

Endnote

A large and largely likeable tractor, even if it is a rather old-fashioned Steyr in new clothes. ISO engine rating gives an optimistic view of power, otherwise average in many areas and quieter when revs are kept down. Case’s take on CVT offers much – not the least being simple driving – but its cruise setting logic needs a shake-up.