Valtra has unveiled a new 270-370hp tractor range as well as new CVT and powershift gearboxes for its middleweight models.
The new year looks set to be big for the Finnish manufacturer. It returns to the 200hp+ market with its new S-series and can now offer high levels of sophistication with powershift and CVT gearboxes for its N- and T-series tractors.
“Over the past three to four years, we haven’t had a full range to offer, particularly for top-end high-horsepower users,” says Mark Broom, UK sales manager for Valtra.
“For that reason, we haven’t got a good dealer base in arable areas such as East Anglia. With the new range topping out at 370hp and state-of-the-art transmissions for our smaller tractors, we’re looking to capture a slice of the market with the UK’s largest farmers and contractors.”
Extra air-scoops in the bonnet and the addition of a “2” at the end of the model number are the only giveaways that this is a second-generation T-series with either a Versu powershift or Direct CVT gearbox.
When it was first introduced in 2000, Valtra’s S-series was not particularly successful. As the company’s first foray into the tough territory of high-horsepower prime-movers, it was dogged by electronic niggles. Rather than tarnish the brand’s reputation, Valtra took the decision to quietly withdraw from the market until it had a more reliable offering. Enter the new 270hp to 370hp S-series.
Developed in conjunction with Agco sister company Massey Ferguson, Valtra’s five new flagship models share a common platform with MF’s new 8600 range.
Both use an 8.4-litre Sisu six-cylinder engine and stepless CVT Vario gearbox developed by another Agco sister company, Fendt. They are both built in the Massey plant at Beauvais, France, although cab and control systems differ between brands.
The new power plant uses a system of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and so-called AdBlue technology to meet new emissions rules. Common fare in the truck world, this involves adding urea to the exhaust stream to de-oxidise nitrous oxides. The system is said to improve fuel consumption by up to 5% compared with current Tier III engines and reduce soot contamination of the engine oil, allowing extended service intervals.
Operators need to fill up the 51-litre urea tank every other fuel fill. If the tractor runs out, its computer shuts down to “limp-home” mode, limiting power and speed to half usual performance.
Both developed in-house and based on the same four-speed range box, Valtra’s new stepless CVT and powershift transmissions add a level of sophistication not previously found in the Finnish firm’s line-up.
The Versu unit combines a five-speed powershift with four powered range changes to allow clutchless and leverless shifting between all 30 forward and reverse ratios.
In the cab there is a complete absence of gear levers. Instead, the operator flicks up or down through the powershift speeds using + and – buttons on the armrest.
When a range change is required – indicated as A, B, C or D on the armrest and cab B-pillar screens – squeezing a third button prompts the range box to change. The change up from C to D occurs automatically to make for easy driving on the road.
Tractors with the new Direct stepless transmission are operated in a different way. They use the same planetary gearsets as Versu models to provide four working ranges, but a hydrostatic unit replaces the main five-speed powershift, making it a hybrid, hydro-mechanical set-up.
This means that although speed changes are seamless, the operator can choose the right range to suit the job at the time: 0-9kph, 0-18kph, 0-30kph and 0-50-kph.
Because the CVT gearbox allows engine and forward speeds to be controlled independently of each other, hydraulic performance can be improved. For example, when using a loader, the control system automatically increases engine rpm to boost oil flow without altering travel speed.
These new, uprated transmissions have allowed Valtra to improve engine performance, in particular torque, which is up by between 5% and 17%.
“Having a high-horsepower cultivations tractor plus powershift and CVT gearboxes for our mid-range machines means we can tap into new markets and rebuild our distribution network in the east of the country where we previously sold many tractors,” says Mr Broom.
Up in the cab, all the main controls are centred around the armrest for the new T- and N-series Valtras. Buttons handle gear-shifting while displays on the armrest, dash and B-pillar show readouts for hydraulic settings, fuel usage and a whole lot more.
Valtra Tractor Line-up
- Model Power range Transmission
- A-series 74-98hp 12F x 12R manual
- N-series 88-152hp 36F x 36R manual with 3-way splitter or 30F x 30R “Versu” semi-powershift or
- “Direct” Stepless CVT
- T-series 133-190hp 36F x 36R “Hi-Tech” manual with 3-way splitter or 30F x 30R “Versu” semi-powershift or
- ‘Direct’ Stepless CVT
- S-series 270-370hp Stepless CVT