With Final Tier 4, we’re finding our fuel efficiency is rising dramatically,” said Andrew Winkels, Versatile’s front-wheel assist tractor project manager, as we walked around a new 360 tractor in the company’s Winnipeg assembly plant. A new, Tier 4 Final, 9 litre QSL Cummins diesel is at the heart of the brand’s two new models, the 335 and 360. On this day Versatile was getting ready to debut them to the public the following week at the U.S. Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa. And Grainews was among the first to get a close look at them.
Their model numbers reflect engine horsepower ratings. So these two new tractors bump up the available horsepower in Versatile’s FWA line from the previous high of 310, allowing them to compete with the likes of the most powerful Magnums, T8s and 8R tractors that are now pushing at the 400 horsepower mark.
The fuel tanks on these new models had to be downsized slightly to 165 U.S. gallons (625 litres) from the 170 gallon versions used on smaller FWA tractors in the line, but Winkels says that jump in fuel efficiency with the new engines should keep these tractors working just as long between refuelling stops.
Behind the new Cummins engines, the 335 and 360 use a 16 X 9 powershift. “It’s our own design,” said Winkels. “ It’s similar to the transmission in our other tractors. It’s just capable of handling more horsepower.”
In fact that beefed up engineering compared to the smaller FWA tractors, such as the larger 120 millimetre diameter rear axles, is reflected all around the chassis of these two models. It’s needed to handle what the larger Cummins engines can dish out.
“The axle trumpets are larger as well to handle the horsepower,” added Winkels.
What is the optional heavy duty drawbar on the smaller 310 model becomes standard equipment on the two new tractors, and the category IV three-point hitch gets a lift capacity of 17,260 pounds (4,829 kg.)
“When someone is going to this style of tractor instead of a four-wheel drive, they’re looking for that three-point hitch functionality,” explained Winkels
Standard hydraulic flow is 208 l/min. But that can be bumped up to 273 with the Hi-Flow option.
The cab keeps to the industry trend of providing a lot of unobstructed glass area with 74 square feet of it. “That’s something we work to maintain,” said Winkels. “It’s a derivative of our four-wheel drive cab. It’s also the same cab we use on the sprayer.”
Inside it, a new 12-inch monitor with improved functionality can be fitted to the control console. And the tilt steering column includes a mix of analogue and digital readouts. Winkels noted that customer surveys show buyers still prefer the old-fashioned analogue style for some gauges, like tachometers.