Here in Canada, farmers didn’t hear a lot of news from McCormick during the past couple of years. But as it turns out, the brand that is part of Italian company ARGO’s stable had been quietly working on developing an entirely new series of mid-range, MFWD tractors with a wider range of options and broader market appeal.
McCormick proudly unveiled the result of that R&D effort, the new X7 Series tractors, last November in Hannover Germany at Agritechnica. In June the brand gave visitors to Canada’s Farm Progress the privilege of being the first North American farmers to see three of these 143 to 212 horsepower tractors on home turf.
“We pushed really hard to have them here at this show,” said Sergio Correia, national sales manager for McCormick, during the event. “These are the first full-production units in North America.”
The new, six-model X7 Series actually replaces the brand’s previous top three most powerful lines. And when it comes to available options and updated design, the new tractors push the envelope compared to what their predecessors offered.
“It’s very exciting for us,” added Correia. “The X7 is going to be replacing our three high horsepower series: X, MTX and TTX. And it’s a big step up for us in functionality and build quality. This is taking that to a new level for us. It’s our way of saying we’re not just a simple, basic tractor.”
Under X7 hoods, the “Beta-Power” diesel engines are built by Fiat Powertrain Technologies, making them the same engines used in some Case IH and New Holland machines. The three smallest X7s get 4.5-litre, 16-valve, four-cylinders, while the three largest tractors use the 6.7-litre, 24-valve power plant.
To cope with the extra power from the 6.7s, the largest three models get heavier chassis. The two largest models, the X7.670 and X7.680, get a longer wheelbase than the other four and even more chassis weight than the 175 horsepower X7.660, the smallest of the six-cylinder models.
Engine Power on all six models flows through a “Pro Drive” 24-speed semi-powershift with power shuttle built by ZF, which allows for clutch-less reversing. These gearboxes also offer an “eco 40” feature, providing a 40 k.p.h. road speed at reduced revs. A 40-speed creeper version of the Pro Drive is also an option.
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“It’s a six-range semi-powershift,” explained Correia. “It has robotized range shifting, so when you drive it, it feels like a full powershift. We also have a function called APS, Automatic Powershift. When that is engaged it will automatically shift up and down within the range, depending on your r.p.m. If you lower your r.p.m. it will downshift for you; increase your r.p.m. and it will upshift for you.”
“Right now it (APS) is just within the powershifts, but we hope next year it will be released within the ranges as well. So it will be almost a full automatic transmission within the 40 gears.”
“We will have a variable (CVT) transmission released next year. It was launched last year at Agritechnica. We are hoping to see that (in Canada) sometime mid next year. We haven’t announced it to our market yet, but it’s one of those things that will be coming on this series.”
To go with the new body styling is an all-new, larger cab that represents a giant leap forward in ergonomics compared to previous models. In front of the seat, the steering wheel and dashboard tilt in unison. On the right, the new armrest includes a multi-function lever with programmable control features for push-button shifting and implement control.
“The cab is 100 per cent new for us,” adds Correia. “We feel the build quality and materials used are reminiscent of the automotive industry. The fit and finish of it, we feel, are a step up from what we’ve had in the past. It’s a tractor that you definitely need to sit in the seat (of).”
Although McCormick doesn’t offer its own guidance system, the X7 models come equipped for auto steer, with steering sensors on the front axle as standard equipment. “It’s very much plug and play,” he added.
The X7s haven’t yet had a date with examiners at the Nebraska Tractor Test Lab or the DLG test facility in Germany, but Correia said arrangements have already been made to get models to Nebraska as soon as possible.
And for those who still like the basic features McCormick tractors were originally noted for, X7s can still be spec’d out that way even though the options list is a long one.
“For McCormick as a brand, we made a name for ourselves with the MTX, which is a very simple product that doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles,” said Correia. “But no one should be scared off by the X7. Although the functionality is there, it can still be kept very simple.”