260 to 310 horsepower models are the largest MFWD tractors ever to roll out the door at Versatile’s Clarence Avenue assembly plant
The time has come for a revolution,” reads the press release from Versatile announcing the introduction of three all-new, MFWD, row crop tractors.
Versatile’s current MFWD tractor line can trace its lineage back to the origin of the Genesis models, which were first introduced in September of 1993 wearing Ford-New Holland blue. And although Genesis tractors have seen at least one major updating and several minor ones since then, the new 260, 290 and 310 MFWD models the company just debuted do seem to be a revolutionary new addition to the line, from their styling through to their components.
The slope-nosed hood — which is fast becoming an industry standard in this horsepower class — is a radical new look for Versatile’s MFWD models, although there are familiar styling cues and shared components that make it clear these tractors are related to their larger, articulated brothers. But more importantly, they stretch the horsepower ratings for Versatile rigid-frame tractors to new heights. The horsepower ratings of the 260, 290 and 310 correspond to their model numbers.
The new models may also catch the attention of row crop farmers in areas of the world where the brand hasn’t had a strong presence so far. That means they could be an important plank in management’s plan to grow the brand.
Although there have been a few “spy” pictures circulating on the internet showing prototypes of the three new tractors for the past year or so, the company chose to keep silent — officially — until now and launch them this past February jointly at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, and the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California.
That said, here’s a look at what Versatile has built into these tractors.
Under the hood
Under that sloping hood, which offers better airflow through a larger grille, is a Cummins QSL 9.0 litre diesel. The Interim Tier IV-compliant engine uses exhaust gas recirculation and a diesel particulate filter to meet those emissions levels, so DEF fluid isn’t required. The variable geometry turbocharger minimizes turbo lag and helps the engine deliver a 40 percent torque rise.
To keep the engine fed, these tractors get a larger 170 U.S. gallon fuel tank.
Allowing the Cummins engine to stay cool and to keep the new larger grille free of debris, the tractor is available with a new reversing fan, which automatically changes airflow direction every 20 minutes to blow the grille clear. That helps cut down daily maintenance chores.
Delivering power from the Cummins is a 16F/9R full powershift with push-button control. The transmission has been specially designed to mate to the 9.0 litre Cummins and work well with its torque curve and performance characteristics.
Adhering to the brand’s reputation for simplicity, reliability and durability, the new tractors have been designed for easy maintenance, allowing most daily service requirements to be handled without raising the hood. Sight glasses have been engineered into the tractors to allow operators to check engine oil, rear axle lube and fuel tank levels from the exterior with just a glance.
Finally, operators get a comfortable and spacious place to work. The same large cab which has been at home atop the brand’s larger, four-wheel drive tractors for a couple of years brings the same level of comfort to these row crop models. The door is designed to open for easy access.
Inside, the armrest control has an ergonomic layout and houses a seven-inch color monitor that displays electro-hydraulic and tractor management data. If you want to plug in your laptop or cell phone charger, there are 110 volt AC and 5 volt USB power outlets.
MSRP for the new tractors starts at about $215,000 for a base 260. †
If you can’t afford to park a new Versatile tractor in your farm shop, you can now at least put one on your bookshelf. The company just announced it has found a partner to manufacture miniature versions of its tractors.
“There has been a lot of demand for scale models of new Versatile tractors,” says Adam Reid, director of marketing. “Ever since reviving the Versatile brand name in 2008, customers and dealers have been asking for toy tractors. It’s taken some time to find the right partner and we are extremely excited to launch the new line of four-wheel drive toys.”
Built by Tomy/Ertl, a new line of scale models will be available through Versatile dealers. Included in the initial release of 1/32 and 1/64 scale toys are 500 and 550 tractors, a semi-trailer truck carrying a 500 tractor and a “dealership” truck.
“This is really just the beginning,” continues Reid. “We’re working on more products for the Versatile customers and fans that share our enthusiasm for the brand.” †