IN THE last two years Valtra has seen some pretty major changes. Not only has the company been taken over by Agco, but in that same period the Finnish manufacturer has revamped its entire tractor range.

The final tractors to receive the upgrade are the A-series – a three-model range which spans 74-98hp.

Most obviously, the upgrade has incorporated a face-lift, giving the tractors a long-sweeping bonnet to bring them into line with their larger Scandinavian stable-mates.

In addition, electro-hydraulic controls for four-wheel-drive, diff-lock, clutch and pto have been added to the spec list and four-wheel transmission-linked braking has been introduced.

That said, the tractor remains a basic – and in the main – mechanically controlled machine. Unlike other Sisu power plants, the engine retains a mechanically governed Bosch fuel-pump and still manages to meet the latest emissions regulations.

Up in the cab a jungle of levers greets the operator. To the right of the seat, three long-throw gear-sticks select the direction of travel, range and gear. These live alongside mechanical linkage controls and cross-gate spool-valve lever.

To left and right of the dash are more chunky levers for pto, throttle and loader controls. This adds to the narrow-framed cab’s cramped feeling.

Fitted with a loader, we put the range-topping 98hp A95 through its paces on muck-handling duty. Once familiar with the plethora of levers, the tractor becomes an easy machine to handle, however your right hand is kept very busy.

Valtra does give the choice of having the forward/reverse shuttle lever mounted to the left of the seat – an option well worth considering if the tractor is destined for loader-work. Visibility around the tractor is acceptable, but the A95 lacks a roof-window, making views to the fully extended loader a struggle.

Gear selection is positive and power uptake smooth, although the clutch’s biting-point is exceptionally high – steel toe-capped boots clash with flimsy steering-column plastic.

The same problem occurs with the closely-spaced brake and throttle pedals. In fact, because the throttle resides underneath the brake pedals, there’s the opportunity for some potentially calamitous confusion.

Unfortunately the test tractor was not fitted with Valtra’s HiShift electro-hydraulic clutch. A progressive clutch control button is replicated on each of the three gear-levers.

In operation, all the operator need do is depress the button, make the gear change and then slowly release it to re-engage the transmission. At £520, it’s a feature we consider well worth the cost.

The Valtra A-series is a basic, unsophisticated and uncomplicated tractor and this could be a strong selling point for the tractor.

Nearly all the controls are mechanical – a factor which is bound to find favour with those buyers undecided on the dependability and simplicity of electronic systems.