27 February 1998

Ares are earning their keep 4000 hours later

Renaults Ares range burst

onto the scene amid flashing

lights and clouds of smoke

last year. But was it just

another ritzy launch?

Geoff Ashcroft spoke to a

Cornish user to see how the

Ares had fared

FEW can be better qualified to comment on Renaults Ares tractor range than Cornish contractor Tim Bloye.

In little over nine months, Mr Bloyes two 100hp Ares 610RZs have between them covered over 4000 hours, and theyve yet to spend a further two years earning their keep.

"If the Ares prove to be as reliable as other simpler Renaults Ive had, and can clock up to 8000 hours, it will be money well spent," explains Mr Bloye.

From his base at Tamar Ridge, Cox Park, Gunnislake in Cornwall, Mr Bloye runs a general contracting business which takes him south to Helston and north over the Devon border to Okehampton. And in addition, theres an umbilical slurry operation on the go for South West Water.

It is a workload which sees the firm busy almost all year round and demands high levels of reliability – and comfort – from the equipment used.

"I thought it time I looked after my drivers, so after years of using basic, no frills tractors, I took a gamble and opted for two high specification Ares 610RZs," says Mr Bloye.

Initially sceptical about the combination of tractors and electronics, Mr Bloye played safe and opted for additional warranty to cover the working life of the tractors while on the fleet.

"I dont need hidden surprises, let alone down-time from silly problems, so the extra warranty means I can keep a lid on my running costs," adds Mr Bloye. "And to date, the claims forms remain untouched."

"I was expecting a higher fuel bill from the Ares DPS engines, which seem livelier, yet quieter than the older MWM-engined Renaults, but there has been no change."

But an area where Mr Bloye does show concern is with the Ares brakes.

"They dont seem very powerful and theres too much pedal travel before the brakes finally bite. Theyre probably adequate for the rolling plains of East Anglia, but not on some of the hills around here with loaded trailers."

This aside, Mr Bloye adds the tractors have found favour with his drivers, as operator Martin Hoare confirms.

"Spending up to 18 hours/day in the seat, its nice to have a bit of comfort and plenty of room in the cab," says Mr Hoare.

Prior to the Ares, Mr Hoare cut his teeth on board a Renault 106TL and reckons the difference in comfort is something else.

"I tolerate a bad back problem, and it has been eased with the Ares suspended cab. The days in the seat somehow dont seem quite as long.

"Noise levels arent as low as Id like, though – theres a vibration coming from the exhaust pipe, and being mounted up the side of the cab, the additional noise finds its way into the cab.

"The Quadrishift transmission is good for clutchless gear changing, but a tractor of this calibre really ought to have a clutchless shuttle too," he says.

But during those long winter months when hedge-cutting, Mr Hoare says the Ares comes into its own.

"All-round visibility is very good and the cab heater is brilliant," he says.

Nine months use and 2000 hours on the clock already – the Renault Ares 610RZs will be on Tim Bloyes tractor fleet for a further two years. "They dont earn money parked in the shed," he says.

Driver Martin Hoare is pleased

Driver Martin Hoare is pleased with the cab comfort of his Renault Ares, but says with the exhaust pipe on the side, its not as quiet as it should be.