16 August 2002

Updated Ares scores high on cab comfort

Renaults Ares tractor

range recently benefited

from a series of updates.

Andy Collings climbed

aboard the range-topping

836 RZ and gave

it a workout

THERES no problem with the product, its just making sure we spread the news far enough, says Renault marketing manager Rob Merrall.

In the main, it is a comment with which few could take issue. The companys range of tractors spans 60hp to 250hp with models and ranges to suit most facets of the farming industry.

In terms of technology, Renault tractors have as much to offer as most other major manufacturers and the company probably has the edge in the cab suspension department.

Last June saw the introduction of a new range of Ares tractors – 15 models in the all-important 90hp to 194hp bracket which provided an opportunity for the company to present a series of updates. Not least was a commitment by September to supply all new models with the RZ suspended cab.

FW was given an exclusive opportunity to drive the range-topping 194hp Ares 836 which derives its power from a six-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled Deere engine.

Its transmission, the result of the Agco/Renault Gima joint development agreement, offers 32 forward and 32 reverse ratios and a further 16 creep speeds. This is achieved through the use of four main ranges, a high/low selector and four powershift splitter ratios within each gear.

A development from earlier Ares models is the introduction of the Quadrishift II system which now provides a speed matching service for the splitter ratios to help ensure the most appropriate splitter speed is selected for any given task.

Before climbing up into the cab, a look round the 836 is to note the traditional compact Renault styling – an almost centrally mounted cab, a curved bonnet and large side-mounted exhaust stack. Ample lighting festoons the front and rear of the cab roof and generously sized mirrors look as if rear vision could be a doddle.

Looking around the rear of the tractor is to note three buttons on each of the mudguards. Two of them are for raising and lowering the hydraulic linkage – having automatically isolated the cab control – and the other is an emergency stop button for the pto drive. It is good to note that Renault has declined from taking the potentially dangerous route of providing a button to engage the pto from this position.

At the opposite end, the front of the bonnet lifts to expose a bank of radiators each of which can be swung out for individual cleaning. This is a convenience, but could the system of having the water, oil, air conditioner and intercooler radiators stacked so closely together not have been designed differently for more efficient cooling overall?

External observations over, sitting in the cab is to note a thoughtful and pleasing layout of controls. The main gear stick, with its electronic clutch and splitter buttons, is forwards and to the right, while the hydraulics (three spool and linkage levers), pto, hand throttle and a second set of splitter buttons are to the immediate right.

The second set of splitter buttons means that ratio selections can be made without having to reach forward to the main gear stick – useful when operating the hydraulics and looking behind the tractor at an attached implement.

A clutchless shuttle lever on the steering column – Revershift – is well placed for fingertip operation and a large digital display presents essential speed and engine management data. A second display on the right-hand corner post informs of such details as gear and splitter selection, four-wheel drive engagement and differential lock status.

Ample glass provides a good panoramic view both forwards and rearwards, although a black lump of an air intake box immediately in front of the cab does tend to distract the eye from proceedings.

Hooked up to a 3m set of Simba discs, first gear in high range proved to be a good match when working on the oilseed rape stubble made available for the drive. With soil type bordering on the heavy side, a speed of 12kph could be sustained but selecting splitter four took the engine speed down.

Still, a reasonable enough speed to be travelling over what had become heavily rutted land during the growing season. And this is where the cab suspension and the tractors front suspension proved its worth.

Having spent more than enough years being bounced over rough fields in noisy, uncomfortable tractor cabs, the experience in the 836 was more than acceptable. In less salubrious circumstances there is little doubt speed would have been reduced and, as a result, so would have workrate. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that a long day in this tractor would not be a demanding affair.

Operating the Renault 836 RZ is to realise that tractor driving need not be a chore. While not exactly a luxury saloon car – there is still some way to go for that – Renault has certainly made some inroads in the operator comfort department.

And, oh yes, the tractor appears to work well too. &#42

Renault Ares 836 RZ

Engine 194hp Deere 6-cyl turbo, intercooled.

Transmission 32 x 32 with four speed splitter.

Shuttle Clutchless control.

Hydraulic linkage lift 8.06t.

External spool valves Three.

Cab RZ suspended.

Tyres 20.8 R 42 rear, 16.9 R 30 front.

Price £58,540.

Front axle suspension option £2000.

RENAULTARES 836 RZ

Engine 194hp Deere 6-cyl turbo, intercooled.

Transmission 32 x 32 with four speed splitter.

Shuttle Clutchless control.

Hydraulic linkage lift 8.06t.

External spool valves Three.

Cab RZ suspended.

Tyres 20.8 R 42 rear, 16.9 R 30 front.

Price £58,540.

Front axle suspension option £2000.