A TALL, THIN tractor riding on 42in welded rear rims. So tall that a short driver can only just reach the door handle on the revamped 6000-series cab. No sign of designer styling outside unless you count four little cab-top lamps; just a stark chimney for the exhaust, a narrow nose and skinny, steep steps with a big fuel tank wrapped round them. Second heaviest after the Fendt.

Inside it’s different. A laid-back makeover brings a fresh instrument pack, electric mirrors, push-button pto switches, a now-smoothly integrated Datatronic II pod and a neat little CVT armrest joystick. Generally more upmarket materials than before (apart from flimsy lids and a poor-fitting column shroud), and seemingly better screwed together than the old cab’s… until both CVT minor control knobs fell off.

Cab, noise

Feels good in here. Bright, too, thanks to the light trim and generous front screen. This is not the biggest cab – modest in width, second only to the Deutz on length – yet it packs in a decent (heated) air seat able to adjust for all sizes, a fine passenger version and climate control serving five roof vents.

Access from both doors is OK if you don’t mind a squeeze to the narrow right-hand steps, and the prospect is pretty good: The Datatronic II box breaks the offside sight line, but visibility is otherwise OK, with those smallish but electric (and heated) mirrors simply adjusted from your seat. And the sculpted armrest with its dinky CVT lever and other vital bits is the proper job.

Can’t all be good. The big doors are hard to close and their interior handles are too far away. Stowage is limited, air flow is only at head level, an awkwardly-placed rear window bracer makes it hard to see the lift arm ends over all their travel. Ergonomically, the hand throttle and the often-used minor CVT controls should be closer to the driver. And while bringing in implement controls looks easy, mounting them will be harder and power can come from only three places.

The DLG’s measured 75.2dB(A) noise maximum seems less in practice. The motor’s friendly low hum undercuts older MFs and stays pretty much the same across the band, only gaining some lower tones in hard, mid-rpm draftwork. The transmission is not so placid, whining in transport and griping like an arthritic grandfather at low speeds.

There is no seat safety switch. Potentially that’s a big omission with this tractor, as the exposed CVT joystick is easy to knock if leaving by the offside door.

Engine

The motor’s 167 gross-rated hp drops to 151hp on the pto dyno, yet the 7490 still joins the Case at the head of the pack. Another 11hp of overpower arrives relatively early at 2000revs. With constant power on offer back to 1600rpm, a group-topping 45% torque rise and the highest maximum twist (711Nm), all the pieces are in place for strong performance. And it’ll be needed, as the MF’s weight:power ratio is the group’s worst.

On fuel use, the 6.6-litre Sisu stutters. Specific consumption at the pto trails the rest at rated speed. And the MF is well adrift at maximum drawbar power, around which arable operations often happen. Yet its six-point pto average is good.

Hitch, linkage

Nothing out of place or out of the ordinary in the hardware section; twin self-lock stabilisers, a manual top link and big handles on the lift rod adjusters. The electronic control package is equally free of frills, lining up activity lights, implement anti-bounce and external controls on cue.

Lift capacity is disproportionately low at the bottom of the arm”s range, but still betters 6t. Only one moan, then: The main depth control rotary would be more comfortable in the head of the armrest.

Hydraulic services

A load-sensing supply delivers the slippery stuff to up to five spools. Three are standard (two electro-hydraulic and one mechanical), though the test tractor had a brace of each. Flow and hydraulic power are second-in-test.

The electro-valves are worked from a neat joystick, set safely low in the armrest. Flows and timers can be set either from the dashboard’s eye-screwing display or through Datatronic II, though how to do either is not obvious. The mechanical spools are reasonably placed and come with sensible barrel locks. Outlets for all are angled out for easier coupling and not buried between the back wheels. Overall, MF has done a reasonable job.

Pto

Borrowing Fendt’s back end brings the 817 Vario’s pto package: 540, 540E, 1000 speeds chosen from pushpads. So speeds are easy and fast to change, unlike the bolt-on stub shaft. Auto mode links pto switching to linkage lift/lower. But while the main on/off control is usefully bigger than Fendt’s, it’s set too low for convenience.

Diff locks, 4wd

Simple console rockers control both systems with operation clearly flagged by dash lamps. Auto mode takes the diff lock in and out with linkage lift and push-holding the switch brings in full-time 4WD. All-wheel drive drops out and re-engages only with speed and braking.

Steering, suspension and brakes

Steering is light in the field. On the road it has too much free play, making the Massey the most edgy in the test at speed. Turning circle in this long-wheelbase tractor is also the widest in 2WD and 4WD.

Cab and front axle suspension work behind the scenes to kill bounce and deliver a largely comfortable ride. Cab springing runs on air from an electric compressor and has two settings, though there is little to choose between them. Unlike Fendt’s equivalent it does not self-adjust according to load.

Wheel-locking power can be called up through a resistive, slightly squashy pedal whose return springs are too heavy for comfort. Independent operation is spongy yet delivers the goods.

Maintenance

Engine oil at 400 hours, transmission (45 litres) at 2000 hours. Easy greasing thanks to minimal nipple count. Oil filters look simple to reach and car-style paper elements serve the cab. But the bonnet is a different story; the nose cone is bolted and the sliding side panels don”t fit. Unless you”re built like a giraffe, water refill involves clambering on the bonnet, and the limited-slide rads are hard to clean. The handbook? Short on layout diagrams and pictures.

Endnote

Bonnet fixings aside, there is much to like in this Massey. Some luxury kit, improved build quality (at least in principle), low noise, a good engine, effective suspension. Sadly, the CVT – the prime reason to buy a Dyna-VT – is hobbled by its control software and opaque operating logic.