Buying a 150hp tractor? We look at 12 options

For sheer choice and variety, the 150hp bracket marks the tractor sector’s sweet spot, with most makers offering four- and six-cylinder alternatives and a multitude of transmission types and spec levels. 

Not long ago they were regarded as prime movers and top-of-the-tree tractors, but expanding farm sizes mean machines of about 150hp are now the meat in the UK tractor sales sandwich.

Agricultural Engineers Association tractor power data shows the average horsepower of new machines sold now lies just above this figure, while a buyers guide browsing session will reveal a bewildering array of makes, models and specifications as manufacturers seek to satisfy the broad range of potential buyers at this level.

See also: 2017 tractor and telehandler prices updated

Whether you are looking for a flagship five-furrow hauler for a mid-sized family farm, or something to suit a jack-of-all-trades role on a larger enterprise, there is plenty of choice in the market, from full-spec to stripped-back models.

It’s a sector served by most manufacturers, including those that offer alternatives such as systems tractors. It has benefited from the trickle-down of technology, with options such as CVT transmissions that were previously only available on larger machines.

A further level of choice at this particular power level comes as manufacturers now offer four- and six-cylinder alternatives. Turbocharging and intercooling technology has become better proven, reliable and trusted over the past decade or so too.

The compactness of a four-pot is sometimes also preferable to the implement-balancing length of a six-cylinder tractor, so selecting one over the other is arguably the first decision to make when choosing a 150hp tractor.

Then it’s on to transmission type, general level of specification and the detailed bits. Here we summarise just 12 of the alternatives on offer.

As ever, the retail prices provided are only a rough guide to cost, and will depend on your dealer, as well as the selected specifications. It is also wise to ensure you are comparing apples with apples – quoted power ratings can vary between the various 97/68 EC, ECE R 120 or ECE-R24 standards.

Ask your dealer to provide directly comparable figures where possible. We have used maximum rather than rated figures to pick these models, and disregarded power boost figures.

1. John Deere 6145M/6145R

Like many other makers, John Deere offers four-cylinder and six-cylinder alternatives at this power level.

The Mannheim-made 6145M and 6145R produce a maximum 150hp (ECE-R24) from a four-cyl 4.5-litre block or a six-cyl 6.8-litre powerplant, respectively.

On the latter, Deere’s Intelligent Power Management system adds 30hp for transport or pto work. A “lifetime” diesel particulate filter and diesel exhaust fluid take care of emissions, while engine oil change interval is 750 hours.

John Deere 6145  tractor

John Deere 6145 ©John Deere

Transmission options range from a 20F/20R PowrQuad Plus manual powershift through to the firm’s AutoQuad Plus/AutoQuad Plus Ecoshift automatic ‘box.

The six-cyl R models can also be had with Deere’s AutoPowr continuously variable ‘box or the semi-automatic DirectDrive double-clutch transmission.

6R models feature CommandArm controls, an optional programmable electronic joystick for hydraulic applications and the Generation 4 CommandCenter touchscreen terminal, while 6M tractors make do with a simpler right-hand console layout.

Externally, recent upgrades include improvements to the TLS+ front axle suspension and a maintenance-free mechanical cab suspension for the 6M models – 6R tractors get a hydraulic system.

Prices start at £86,215/£94,660.

2. Case IH Maxxum 145/150

Case IH has added a six-cylinder model, the 150, to the top of its recently revised line of Maxxum mid-rangers, creating a 150hp alternative to the existing Maxxum 145 four-pot machine of the same power level.

While the 145 is powered by FPT Industrial’s 4.5-litre four-cyl engine, the powerplant in the 150 is a 6.7-litre six-cyl unit from the same sister company.

Both are turbocharged and intercooled, and meet stage IV emissions regulations using Case IH’s Hi-eSCR selective catalytic reduction system.

Case IH Maxxum 145 tractor

Case IH Maxxum 145

Each is available in X, Multicontroller or CVX format. The first of these, the newest, is a standard-spec version fitted with the ActiveDrive 4 four-range/four-speed semi-powershift transmission and non-configurable mechanical remote valves.

Multicontroller tractors, meanwhile, feature an ActiveDrive 8 eight-step semi-powershift and Multicontroller armrest plus joystick controls. CVX models get a similar armrest control arrangement, but in this case the joystick also controls the tractor’s continuously variable transmission.

Other features new for 2018 across the range include a fully revised lighting package.

Prices start at £81,682/£84,240.

3. New Holland T6.175/T6.180

New Holland buyers can choose from the four-cyl T6.175 and six-pot T6.180, which each produce 155hp (ECE R 120). While the former is available in Deluxe and SideWinder II formats, the latter comes only in Deluxe configuration.

The key difference is that Deluxe machines are equipped with the Electro Command four-step, four-range semi-powershift. The SideWinder II tractors, meanwhile, can be specified with either Dynamic Command, an eight-step, three-range semi-powershift, or Auto Command CVT.

New Holland T6.180 tractor

New Holland T6.180

Those opting for SideWinder II models with Dynamic Command can choose from two versions of the SideWinder II armrest, depending on whether they want mechanical or electronic hydraulic remote valves. 

On SideWinder II Dynamic Command tractors, New Holland’s CommandGrip multifunction joystick is also available in two versions, one fixed and one moveable, inherited from the Auto Command CVT tractors.

On tractors with the moveable spec, pulling or pushing the CommandGrip forwards will shift up/down the transmission. Engage reverse flips the logic, so that pulling rearwards upshifts and tapping the stick forwards upshifts. In Ground Speed Management mode, pushing the stick forward accelerates the tractor up to the set target speed, while pulling on it decelerates the machine. 

Prices start at £86,203/£87,166.

4. Massey Ferguson 6715 S/7715 S

At 150hp, Massey Ferguson buyers can choose from the 4.9-litre, four-bore 6715 S or the 6.6-litre, six-pot 7715 S.

Both offer a maximum output of exactly that figure from their Finnish-made Agco Power engines. Each comes with a three-strong transmission selection – Dyna-4 or Dyna-6 four- or six-speed semi-powershifts, each with four ranges, or a Dyna-VT CVT.

Massey Ferguson 6715 S tractor

Massey Ferguson 6715 S ©Simon Foster

There are also three specification levels for both ranges – Essential, Efficient and Exclusive – and these determine the simplicity of the right-hand control layout. Essential specification (available on Dyna-4 and Dyna 6 tractors) groups the T-bar transmission controller, mechanical spool valve levers and other functions on the right-hand console.

It is also possible to have a full right-hand glass window with this spec. Efficient tractors gain a relatively simple right-hand armrest for controlling functions such as throttle and transmission, while Exclusive models have a more comprehensive armrest from which most major functions can be controlled, and which includes a fixed joystick.

The S-specification introduced at November’s Agritechnica brings with it improvements including a new lighting package and increased gross vehicle weight of, as an example, 11,000kg for the 6715 S Dyna-4.

Prices start at £85,073/£88,111.

5. Fendt 514 Vario/714 Vario

If a Fendt takes your fancy, you again have two options at 150hp – the four-cyl, 4.04-litre 514 (156hp) or the 6.1-litre, six-cyl 714 (144hp), both of which use Deutz motors. There is no messing around when it comes to transmission choice, though – as with every Fendt model, there is just the one, the Vario CVT.

Fendt 714 tractor

Fendt 714

Specifications also vary relatively little, with features such as armrest controls, electronic spool valves and the Variotronic terminal all supplied as part of the standard package, whichever tractor model you choose.

However, there are four spec levels – Power, PowerPlus, Profi and ProfiPlus. Only the top version gets a large 10.4in screen and the addition of VarioDoc documentation recording, with others making do with a 7in unit.

The top two types also get Variotronic Isobus implement control compatibility, 360deg wipers and higher-grade passenger seats.

More importantly, though, they benefit from higher oil-flow capability, being equipped with a 110-litre/min load-sensing system in place of the standard 75-litre/min on the 514, and 152-litre/min in place of 109-litre/min on the 714.

Prices start at £130,134/£144,312.

6. Valtra N154e

Valtra offers only a four-cyl option at 150hp, in the shape of the 155hp N154e. The little letter means the tractor is one of two in the N-range that is fitted as standard with an “eco” mode. When selected, this allows the machine to achieve greater maximum torque at a lower engine speed.

Valtra N154e tractor

Valtra N154e

There are four different transmission/spec package options. The first three are all based on a four-range, five-step powershift. HiTech models have this transmission with turbine clutch option, plus open-centre 73- or 90-litre/min hydraulic system and mechanical spools.

Specify Active and you get load-sensing hydraulics with up to 200-litre/min flow and automatic transmission shifting.

Versu means an upgraded armrest with selectable manual or auto drive lever, SmartTouch terminal and electronic spools supplied by 115-, 160- or 200-litre/min hydraulic pumps.

Lastly, there is a Direct CVT option, with a similar armrest to the Versu. Beyond all this, Valtra’s Unlimited tailor-made service allows tractors to be configured as the buyer requires, with options including TwinTrac reverse drive.

Prices start at £88,542.

7. Claas Arion 530 or 610

Arion 510 four-cyl and 630 six-cyl models from Claas both produce 145hp (ECE R120). Whether you choose the 6.8-litre six-pot or 4.5-litre four-bore, both engines come from Deere Power Systems.

The Hexashift six-speed powershift now incorporates cruise control, which matches engine speed to selected forward speed, and a Smart Stop brake/clutch feature, while the CMatic continuously variable alternative now has two selectable, storable engine droop values.

Claas Arion 610 tractor

Claas Arion 610

Standard on Hexashift tractors, CIS specification means mechanical spool valves, right-hand pillar instrumentation and a simple right-hand armrest, incorporating the company’s DriveStick finger-and-thumb transmission controller.

Top CMatic spec on CVT machines replaces the pillar display with a 12in Cebis touchscreen terminal on the upgraded armrest, which also includes a CMotion multifunction control lever and ElectroPilot electronic spool valve joystick.

New for 2018 is a third option combining electronic spool valves without full display/control technology. Available for both Hexashift powershift and CMatic CVT tractors – both operated here using the Claas DriveStick – the new CIS+ spec includes the ElectroPilot joystick, now equipped with shuttle buttons.

In place of the ordinary CIS pillar display is a 7in screen, which can both provide information and be used to control valve timing and flow rates, headland management sequences and Isobus implements.

Prices start at £95,620/£94,000. A stripped-back base-spec 610 Classic is also available at £91,060..

8. McCormick X6.460/X7.440/X7.650

There is no shortage of choice from McCormick, and its Landini stablemate, in the 150hp range.

Under the red brand, options start with the 4.5-litre/four-cyl 143hp X6.460, featuring a six-step, three-range Speed Six transmission with synchro-shuttle.

McCormick X7.650 tractor

McCormick X7.650

Then comes the X7.440, using the same engine and producing the same power output, but putting it to the wheels through a PS-Drive four-step, six-range semi-powershift or a VT-Drive CVT.

Lastly there’s the X7.650, the brand’s smallest six-cyl tractor, which uses a 6.7-litre/six-cyl engine to produce 160hp, driving through the aforementioned four-step, six-range semi-powershift. All powerplants are sourced from FPT Industrial.

The X6.460’s transmission can be upgraded to include T-Tronic on-the-go shifting, using buttons integrated into the gear lever that triple the number of available gears, providing a total of 54 forward and 18 reverse speeds.

A declutch button on the gear lever and the shuttle control lever adjacent to the steering wheel allow the operator to change gear and shift from forward to reverse without using the clutch pedal. A creep transmission is available as an option for both configurations.

Both X7 tractors come in two specifications. Efficient versions feature 88 + 44-litre/min open-centre hydraulics for the steering, linkage and up to six mechanical remote valves. Premium models have a closed-centre system with 123 + 44-litre/min flow rate for steering, linkage and up to seven electro-hydraulic remote valves.

Prices start at £74,481/£97,610/£92,706.

9. Deutz-Fahr Agrotron 6155.4/6155   

In the Deutz-Fahr line, the primary options at 150hp are the Agrotron 6155.4 and 6155, with four- and six-cyl engines, respectively, each producing a maximum 156hp. Three transmission options are available on each.

Standard fitment is a five-speed gearbox with a six-speed powershift, for a total of 30 forward speeds (15 in reverse). Then comes RCshift, which uses similar internals, but provides automated range changing. Lastly is Deutz-Fahr’s TTV continuously variable transmission.

Deutz Fahr Agrotron 6155 tractor

Deutz Fahr Agrotron 6155

Recent revisions to the six-cyl models in particular have increased reserve torque and torque starting levels and are said to have cut fuel and DEF/AdBlue use, while at the same time improving cooling performance.

There is a new front axle with an improved “intelligent” adaptive suspension system incorporating “anti-dive” technology too, plus a revised MaxiVision cab with InfoCentrePro five-inch colour display for providing information and controlling settings. Buyers also get a new armrest with MaxCom joystick, and a new air conditioning system.

Powershift and RCshift models feature mechanical spool valves, while electro-hydraulic units can be specified on RCshift and TTV tractors. For all models, the front linkage and front loader integrated controls can be mechanical or electro-hydraulic.

Prices start at £73,000/£74,000.

10. Kubota M7-152

At Agritechnica in November, Kubota revealed the first major update to its M-7-series, the machines that were the maker’s original foray into the market above 130hp.

As a result, the middle model in the manufacturer’s 130-170hp range, the M7-151, has become the M7-152. Power unit and output remains unchanged, though, with a 6.1-litre Kubota-built turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder motor producing 150hp. Kubota has yet to reveal any plans for a six-cylinder tractor range.

Kubota M7151 tractor

Kubota M7151

The primary update brought by the “2” suffix is in the transmission department, where a new six-step powershift replaces the previous four-step unit.

It combines with the standard five-speed transmission to create a total of 30 forward and 15 reverse speeds, and can be set for manual or automatic shifting up to a maximum speed set on the tractor’s terminal screen.

Alternatively, buyers can specify Kubota’s KVT continuously variable transmission.

There is also an increase in maximum permissible weight to 11,500kg, allowing for a higher payload, and an upgrade in maximum possible tyre sizes to 710/60 R38 rears and 600/60 R28 fronts.

Prices for the new range are still to be confirmed, but a comparable M7-151 starts at £95,889.

11. Zetor Crystal 150                                           

Zetor now offers both the four-cyl Forterra 150 HD and six-cyl Crystal 150 at 150hp. As you might expect, you won’t find a CVT option or a touchscreen terminal in these cabs, and the options list is relatively short, but not everyone needs all the bells and whistles, even at the heady heights of this power level.

Zetor Crystal tractor

Zetor Crystal

Standard specification on the Crystal includes a Deutz six-cyl engine displacing 6.1 litres, while the Forterra features Zetor’s own four-potter.

Transmission choice is as straightforward as the unit itself – there is just the one. The tractors both drive through a two-range, five-speed synchromesh transmission made in house by Zetor. It incorporates a three-step semi-powershift and hydraulic synchro-shuttle. There is also a PowerClutch disengage button on the main gear lever.

A Bosch Hitchtronic electronic system governs rear linkage operation, providing automatic draft control, but spool valves are mechanical only. Both cab and front axle benefit from mechanical damping. There is one standard spec level, and the cab comes from that already established on the firm’s Forterra tractors.

Guide starting price for the Crystal 150 is £80,331; for the Forterra 150 HD it is £75,511.

12. JCB Fastrac 4160

The smallest model in the smallest range of JCB Fastracs, the 4000-series, produces a maximum 175hp from a six-cylinder, 6.6-litre Agco Power engine, so it is a bit out of the power level reviewed here.

However, it is worth including for those seeking a machine with its specific attributes, such as a rear-load platform, four-wheel steering, full suspension and 60km/hour travel capability.

JCB Fastrac 4160 tractor

JCB Fastrac 4160

There is just one transmission, the Agco-sourced CVT, and one main specification level, so configurating things would appear to be relatively simple, although there are a number of options.

Prices start at £121,039, which includes four-wheel external disc brakes and air trailer braking.

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