14 June 2002

Ares: The next generation

Five years on from launching the Ares tractor range,

Renault has introduced some major changes to create

the Ares II. Andy Collings reports

WITH 20,000 sales world wide under its belt Renault believes further success for its Ares tractor range will come from the introduction of an advanced version – the Ares II.

And along with this introduction comes the announcement of a new four-cylinder 110hp model – the 566 – and a redesignation of the range which sees the discontinuation of the Ares 815 and the Atlas 915 models.

The new Ares II range comprises three series – the 500, 600 and 800 – all of which are powered by Deere Powertech engines offering power outputs from 90hp to 194hp. The two-model Renault Atlas range takes the power up to 250hp.

Principal changes relate to the tractors transmissions and hydraulic linkage control systems. On the transmission front the companys Quadrishift II and Quadractiv systems make their appearance.

Standard on all Ares models except the 826, the Quadrishift II is a more advanced version of an earlier system which allowed four electro-hydraulic change-under-load splitters within each of the four mechanical gears.

Refinement now provides speed matching between each of the hydraulic splitters when gears are shifted. For example, changing from first to second gear when the splitter was in, say, fourth would normally result in splitter four being selected when the mechanically selected second gear had been engaged. This results in an unwanted and sudden speed increase.

With Quadrishift II, the tractor matches the speed of the tractor by automatically selecting a lower splitter speed to create a smoother change overall. Splitter speeds can still be selected manually by using plus/minus buttons on the main gear stick.

For those requiring further sophistication the Quadractiv system allows automatic splitter speed selection in respect of engine loads. Renault says this results in reduced fuel consumption and greater working efficiency.

There are two modes of operation – Eco and Power. In Eco, the tractor will change up through the four splitter speeds when engine rpm reaches 1700, and change down when engine speed drops to below 1350rpm. The position of the throttle pedal also has an influence on splitter selection – for example, if the throttle is fully closed the on board computer assumes engine braking is required and the splitter speeds are lowered.

In Power mode, the engine speeds are greater with up changes made at 2100rpm and down changes made at 1700rpm. A display unit informs the operator of the gears selected.

Improvements to the Ares Tracto-Control Electronic (TCE) hydraulic linkage control system include the addition of a shock absorber system for both the locked transport position and the linkage raised position. This provides shock absorbing when heavy implements are raised for headland turns.

Renault has also introduced the TCE 15T version which employs a thumb wheel to control the working height of an implement. Height limit, lowering speed and position/draft control are adjusted using separate dials.

A further hydraulic option is for Ares and Atlas models to be fitted with a joystick control which can be used to operate a front end loader and implements requiring hydraulic inputs.

The manufacturer has also made numerous other specification changes principally aimed at improving the operator environment – better air conditioning and seating, for example.

All of which are designed to ensure that the Ares and Atlas ranges with their award winning suspended cabs continue to make an impact on UK tractor sales. &#42

Ares tractor range

Model Cylinder Hp Transmission Price (£)

Ares 546 4 90 Quadrishift II 31,910

Ares 556 4 100 Quadrishift II 35,405

Ares 566 4 110 Quadrishift II 37,095

Ares 616 6 110 Quadrishift II 37,455

Ares 626 6 120 Quadrishift II 40,040

Ares 636 6 130 Quadrishift II 43,860

Ares 696 6 140 Quadrishift II 45,610

Ares 816 6 156 Quadrishift II 47,245

Ares 826 6 175 Full Powershift 57,630

Ares 836 6 194 Quadrishift II 58,540