John Deere 5100R tractor

If you are in the market for a strong, lightweight and manoeuvrable tractor that is ideally suited to loader work for livestock farmers or grounds care personal, the John Deere 5100R is a good option

  • Compact and manoeuvrable
  • Well laid out and quiet cab
  • Smooth and responsive shuttle
  • Declutch button
  • High quality build and finish
  • Underdrive option to double the number of gears

Following on from the success of the 5020 series, John Deere has released its updated version of the Mannheim-built tractors.

The 5080R and 5090R replace the 5720 and 5820, while the 5620 has been cut from the line-up, being replaced with the larger 5100R, with an extra 10hp offered from the reshuffle. Size-wise, the 5R tractors are pretty much the same as the 5020.

Spec-wise, the 5100R is also very similar to the 6330 series standard and the two share a similar price tag. The major difference between them is the 1500kg in weight the 5100R sheds over the larger 6330.


The test tractor was equipped with the John Deere 4.5-litre four-cylinder PowerTech Plus engine using common-rail technology with two valves per cylinder and Tier III technology. The engine felt very perky, with a maximum 416Nm of torque.

The intercooler is positioned directly above the engine and the mesh grill towards the rear of the bonnet. I personally think it looks a little strange, but the reversible electric fan avoids dust and material building up and hindering performance.

“Cruise-control” allows you to set a maximum engine speed via a dial on the right-hand console. This alters the electronic governor to rev out at your pre-determined setting so that the engine hangs on longer under load.

Another good feature is a slide-out radiator mesh screen that can be removed to clear the main radiator in the field without needing to pull out the radiator itself.


Our test tractor had the basic 16F x 16R PowerQuad Plus box. This offers four ratios (A-D) and four powershift steps (1-4), taking the total to 16F x 16R with a speed range from 3.3kph to 40kph. The transmission has smooth powershifting and electronic powershuttle, making it ideal for compact loader work.

A new feature on the 5R series is a clutch deactivation button on the gear stick, allowing range changes on the go without using the clutch pedal. My only gripe is the location of the button, as it is where your thumb naturally expects to find the powershift up-shift button.

There are optional transmission features for the 5R series, including the AutoQuad transmission. The auto function is particularly easy to use, changing according to rpm and throttle position. A downside of this feature is when you’re on the road and you need to stop at an intersection, it doesn’t drop back into the first powershift step. So you have to put it back into manual and then reactivate the auto mode once you’ve set off again.

The unique “underdrive” option is also available. It is not quite a creeper box as it doubles the total number of gears (ie, from 16 to 32). At the lower end it drops the lowest ground speed from 3.3kph to 1.5kph, but it also allows a total of eight gears in the 4-12kph field range.


Not a lot has changed from the 20 series, apart from the gear lever with the powershift gears being on the stick, the addition of the declutch button rather than an additional lever, and the more user-friendly left hand shuttle lever.

Cab ergonomics are impressive with good storage facilities. Everything is in the right place and it is very quiet. The curved rear windows give good visibility for mulching and mowing applications.

For night-work there are two forward-facing spot lamps and the same again for the rear. More lights are optional.

The three-stage 4WD rocker switch offers an auto mode where the 4WD kicks out at 23kph, however, the diff-lock does just that – unlocking above 12kph.

The tilting dash allows easy entry and exit from the seat and is easy to read. The two large speed and rpm dials sit side by side and the fuel and temp gauges are inserted within. The power shift gear (1-4) you are in, time and engine hours are displayed on the middle digital dash. The left-hand electronic shuttle shift provides smooth direction changes without delay.


The electronic linkage controls offer precision control with lift height and drop speed under the ergonomically designed hatch at the rear of the linkage control.

External linkage controls move sharply although this could have been exaggerated by the heavy mulcher on the linkage. The test tractor came standard with 2 SCVS along with the hydraulic pump producing oil flow at 70L/min.

One downside of the linkage set up is that only the right-hand linkage arm is adjustable without having to take the pin out of the plough arm, adjust and then re-attach. The addition of a second adjuster would make this very simple and effective.


A large rear lever at the rear of the right-hand console allows you to select one of the three PTO speeds: 540, 540E, 1000 (1000E is optional, as is external control on the mudguard). The fingertip switch works well – I found it easy to use by simply pushing down and forward in the same motion to engage.

See a range of used John Deere tractors for sale.

Photography: Jaiden Drought

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