11 September 1998

Deere stripped for action

By Ian Marshall

NO extravagant claims are made by John Deere for its 4-cylinder 6010 SE tractors – they are economy versions of their 6010 series counterparts.

Introduced to the UK in July, the tractors are aimed at livestock and arable farmers requiring a utility power unit for general operations such as loader work, trailer haulage or grassland farming – the hop on-hop off user, not the 10 hours a day in the seat operator.

SEs do sport the key features of the premium range but users do not get the same level of sophistication or the choice of options.

With the current SE range Deere has five models in the mid-specification sector of the market. At the lower end of the power scale are the 75hp 6010 SE, which is available only in this specification, and the 80hp 6110 SE .

Then come the 6210 SE , 6310 SE and 6410 SE, which are rated at 90hp, 100hp and 105hp. All utilise the companys frame build. Power across the range is supplied by an independently-mounted 4.5-litre PowerTech block which drives through a PermaClutch II.

When it comes to transmissions, users are limited to four choices. A 16×16 reverse power in 30kph or 40kph, or PowerQuad in the same speed ranges, giving 16×16 ratios with four powershift gears and a reverser.

We caught up with a 6400 SE at Deeres UK headquarters at Langar, Notts. Outwardly the SE is similar in appearance to its posher premium brothers, although Deereophiles will spot the exhaust stack rises out of the left side of the bonnet and the front working lights are mounted on the large wing mirror stalks.

It is only when you step up into the standard Techcentre cab that the functional role of the tractor really becomes apparent.

Gas strut supported doors open wide and the seat is basic but comfortable with all the usual adjustments, other than a swivel function. A tilting, but not telescoping, steering wheel allows the hop on-hop off user has easy access from both sides of the tractor.

We were unable to drive a model fitted with a front end loader. But getting in and out from the right should not be hampered by the loader joystick control, which is either mounted between the drivers right thigh and the main control panel or on the consoles front left hand corner.

Overall, all-round visibility is excellent – other than support pillars, the cab is virtually glass from roof to floor. But there is one niggling obstruction – the tool box. It is mounted above the diesel tank and blocks off the bottom of the front left-hand wheel.

Interior brightness is added to by the light colours of the panel mouldings and a front or rear opening, full-length roof hatch. The only concession to luxury is optional air conditioning, which is mounted in the front of the cabs ceiling. In this position, however, it could cause tall drivers problems with upward visibility when stacking with a front end loader.

The hand throttle and main gear levers are on a console to the drivers right. So are the controls for functions such as the 540/1000rpm pto, hydraulic services and electronic hitch controls, all taken from the premium range.

Our 6400 SE had power reverser transmission and air conditioning. On the move, it is a simple matter to get a required forward speed by de-clutching up and down the four range and speed gears.

And simulating shuttle work showed that the SE is highly manoeuvrable. The steering is light and precise – afterwards a Ford Mondeos power steering seemed very heavy – it has a tight turning circle and the steering column-mounted reverser lever is moved easily forward and back through neutral with the fingers of the left hand.

John Deere admits that it has not had a strong presence in the mid-specification under 100hp sector of the market, but its SEs could see that change. They have not got the luxury or sophistication of the premium 6010 range, but they have all the technical beef for around £3000 less. &#42

John Deere factfile

Model Hp Transmission Price (£)

6010 SE 75 16×16 29,344

6110 SE 80 16×16 30,564

6210 SE 90 16×16 32,683

6310 SE 100 16×16 34,680

6410 SE 105 16×16 37,891

PowerQuad £835. Air con £1158

Deeres 6010 SE models do not offer the luxury of their premium counterparts, but they have all the technical beef. All-round visibility is good through the extensive use of glass in the cab, but the tool box blocks out the bottom of the near-side front wheel.