TRANSMISSION

Facilities 50kph top speed. Stick and pedal modes, field and road ranges, two cruise memories.

Controls Short armrest joystick, column-mounted shuttle reverser. Cluster of knobs and pads on console to change driving mode and set cruise speeds. Small, hard-to-read dash display summarises settings. Easy-working shuttle lever.

UNDERSTANDABILITY

First level Very simple to drive like stepless powershift as transmission always defaults to stick mode. Choose direction on shuttle, push joystick to move, control revs on throttle.

Second level Most will need to study book to find and engage pedal mode; all will have to sort out oddly-marked satellite controls and peer into tiny screen display. Minor controls are fiddly, not intuitive, and setting rigmaroles are easily forgotten.

GOOD NEWS

Joystick very good to handle and includes response control

In stick mode, transmission will shift itself down if load too much – but operator must manually speed up again

Get active stop’s benefits in either mode

Can change from stick to drive pedal mode while rolling, if foot is off throttle and speed is under 5kph

Eco mode drops revs to 1700 where load allows for more economical driving

Shuttling smooth and fast

BAD NEWS

Must be computer-minded to exploit CVT’s options

Settings must be made or changed at many different places – buttons, knobs, levers, pedal and dash panel

Easy to overspeed engine on downhill by pulling back joystick or taking foot off travel pedal

Have to remember to switch between field and transport ranges for best efficiency

Can only persuade engine to run under 1700rpm in eco mode by backing off travel pedal, as with pre-TMS Fendts. Then intelligent link between engine and CVT is lost, and the motor won’t lift revs automatically if load goes up.

Software control for this Vario is less intelligent than in current Fendts

SPRAYING/SPREADING SIMULATION

No problem here. Work in stick mode – set pto revs and store in throttle memory, set travel speed using joystick, then use one or both cruise memories to store working/headland speeds. The only snag is cruise doesn’t hold forward speed particularly steadily as slope changes, and is always 0.5kph off requested speed.

FORAGING/BALING SIMULATION

All is simple when you find forager mode, a third option after stick/pedal modes. Set and store pto revs, then vary forward speed from zero to your chosen maximum using the travel pedal.