RETRO IS cool for Deutz. So says the 1160’s hooded pre-Agrotron-style nose (needed to house bigger rads for the Tier II powerplant) and its round-shouldered back mudguards with their low-slung, vulnerable-looking lamps. Visually more compact than even the Deere in this company (and standing on similar, small-for-the-class 38in rear tyres), the Deutz has a clean, integrated profile dominated by a big cab. Yet the galvanised steps seem fugitives from a livestock equipment catalogue, and blanked-off lamp housings speak of option boxes not ticked. Weight is under the test average at 7.13t.

Panelling and the under-bonnet area are neat, thanks not least to myriad cable ties. Just don’t look at the cheap bonnet-closing bungee.

The cab maintains the reasonable build quality. Materials look largely durable. Let-downs are a nasty headlining, some cheap-looking shiny plastic panels and the standard Deutz playtoy control shapes and colours.

Cab, noise

Easily the widest and longest in the group, this big workplace streams in light from its wide front screen and generous roof window. Curved mudguards help sideways vision, but an upright (for Deutz) nose and unthinking placement of the toolbox and rear window divider spoil the panorama. You’ll also need a long arm to close the back window.

Good ergonomics pull all main items into the armrest, though the slug of a joystick is too fat in the hand and to adjust armrest position, two thumbscrews must come right out. No worries on driver accommodation, but a passenger won’t much enjoy the small, hard seat. Both will like the effective aircon (there is no climate control) and the wide spread of air vents.

Maximum noise level is highest in the group and at 79.7dB(A), comes in loud for a modern cab. Worked hard the motor sounds like an industrial vacuum cleaner, backed by whine from the ECCOM gearbox. Yet as the noise is not harsh or booming, you can live with it. For the quietest draft work set the powertrain to run in maximum eco mode.

Active safety is so-so. If you leave by the offside door (perfectly feasible in this big cab) with the tractor in active standstill, it’s very easy to snag the joystick. That’s no problem unless the transmission is in manual mode, when the driver-presence seat switch won’t operate and the tractor will move.

Engine

The TTV 1160 is top model in Deutz’s CVT lineup, packing the test’s biggest engine (7.1 litres), but claiming only the second lowest output (151hp ECE).

Pto power usefully plateaus back to 1600revs with just a hint of overpower part-way. Torque maximises early at the same rpm, then gently sinks. With specific consumption rising above full-load 1800revs, plus marginally the highest six-point average consumption and the lowest peak torque in the group, this is the least spectacular of the powerplants.

Hitch/linkage

Two self-locking stabilisers, decent lift rod adjusters and a manual top link define the hardware, along with twin sets of external operating buttons and an anti-bounce system that auto-activates beyond 8kph. Management is down to a basic Bosch setup plus slip control, which like the others delivers prompt responses. High lift capacity tops out beyond 9t.

Controls are largely very clear and good to use, particularly the joystick’s lift/drop rocker. But it”s not intuitive which turn direction delivers what with the console-mounted depth wheel, something which would anyway be better up in the main armrest.

The Deutz is neither the lightest nor the shortest-wheel-base tractor here. Yet even with the standard 1000kg weight block on its front linkage plus the mass of front suspension, it’s still the least well-balanced with a raised implement.

Hydraulic services

Four electro-hydraulic spools (all with flow control) plus power beyond ports are standard in a load sensing setup. Only two spools have a timer which, like flow, is set from the armrest using simple knobs.

Two spools are worked from joystick buttons, two from a cross lever. While the lever is lockable, the joystick switches oddly are not. Colour-coding is poor, though the outlets are set well out and angled for easy access. Hydraulic performance is lowest in the group when measured from a single outlet, second best through two outlets.

PTO

Another full-house set of four speeds with a bolted stub. Speed selection is from handy levers that work better than the usual Deutz offerings. Clear speed readouts and two sets of external controls are the positives: the big turn-off is operation. Four identical-looking, black consoles rockers handle front and rear ptos, two of which must be pushed sequentially to start either shaft – unnecessarily complicated and hard to tell which to hit in an emergency.

Diff locks and 4wd

Manual operation is offered, but the smart choice lives under the armrest cover. Deutz’s ASM automates 4WD/diff lock operation, reacting to steering angle and speed. Transparent and consistent in use, it just works – even switching in 4WD during start-off from rest to kill spin.

Steering, suspension and brakes

Steering is very stable in roadwork, light in the field. Turning circle just betters average in 4WD.

Optional air cab springing teams with a ZF sprung front axle. The 1160 won’t nod with a heavy drawbar load, but both systems feel relatively stiff on tracks and B-roads. It’s not the group’s easy rider; for that look to the Fendt.

Brakes are not the best, not the worst. Hard pressure on mushy pedals delivers distinctly average stopping power on the road and in the field, though subjectively the 1160 still outbrakes the Case. With the transmission in auto mode, you’ll need a strong right leg to scrub off speed in traffic.

Maintenance

Engine oil at 500 hours, transmission/hydraulics 1200 hours (104 litres). Bonnet pops up easily, opens really wide if needed. Rads can be readily cleaned despite limited space. Shorties can reach the air cleaner, but may be challenged by the twin cab filters. Greasers are many, with the front UJ items particularly hard to pin down. Finding the battery takes time, fuses are clearly laid out. Driver’s handbook is average.

Endnote

The more you drive this tractor, the more you like it. Comfortable enough and with largely good views, the 1160 is boosted by a CVT that offers easy, multi-option driving without brain-ache. In technical terms it’s no high-flyer: not quiet, unless you can work at low revs, and not the first choice for fuel saving or braking.