Review: CASE IH Puma 260 CVXDrive


The popular and reliable Puma Series has had a revamp top to tail, resulting in increased precision, power, and comfort – and that’s not all

When the LWB (long wheelbase) Case IH Puma series got a facelift a couple of years ago, the small but punchy improvements to operator comfort and useability were a much-needed detail.

That model was always going to be a gap filler as the cabs were in the pipeline to get an overhaul. Flash forward to today and the newest offering is far more than just a new cab slapped onto the same chassis. This updated series also features transmission enhancements, changes to the front axle, increased fuel capacity, and a new cab that’s the quietest Puma yet.

HD front axle sees load limits increased

Cab features

The cab, new to the Puma series, is essentially a copy from the larger Optum series, which had its cab updated a little over a year ago. The trademark AFS Connect cab brings several features to the Puma that have been long awaited and boy, it’s impressive.

For starters, the configurable remote valves set the pace of the updates, with every valve configurable to any position on either the multi-controller/joystick or any of the 10 buttons laid out over the armrest. Of those 10 buttons, four reside on the multi-controller, another four on the armrest, plus two on the joystick. This allows the operator to reconfigure as required to control every aspect of the tractor, from hydraulics and GPS all the way down to air con and radio, making it the most configurable Puma to date.

Controls can be re-configured through the AFS 1200 screen

The ease and functionality of this technology are surprisingly simple, helped by the user-friendly and intuitive display of the new AFS Pro 1200 touchscreen.

If you can operate a smartphone, you can work this display out. Packing in many new features that have long been the dream of many operators, such as the four-wheel drive and diff-lock disengagement angle (which will be widely used as every implement requires different parameters), it’s a delight to have such flexibility. The AFS 1200 screen has a familiar feel for existing Case IH operators, with six separately run screens allowing for easily accessible set-up of all information and implement screens.

The new armrest provides many configurable functions

The remote spool valves are one of many highlights of the new armrest. With colour-changing LED lights situated on the fingertips, these are aligned with whichever spool you select on the screen. A simple sticker shows the order of spool colours as you look out the back window. This means fewer trips up and down the steps to see where each hose is plugged into.

Included in a high-spec Puma package is a bonnet camera, rear camera, and a wireless rechargeable camera that connects straight to the screen — a handy addition that makes days much more efficient across many operations.

LED lights in the remote levers change colour to their assignment

Adding to the list of refinements, the GPS has also had a makeover, offering a more streamlined approach compared to many other systems. There are so many new improvements in the AFS Pro 1200 alone that it pretty much requires its own segment covering its many features.

Class A quality

The rest of the cab doesn’t lack in improvement either. Boasting a quiet 66dba noise level, this cab is one of the quietest on the market. This is achieved by multiple pipes that run under the cab being re-routed, transmission gears having a new cut, and the park lock motor being removed from the cab. All these refinements help reduce noise and minimise areas where issues arise.

The new dash is clear and uncluttered

The new cab is eight percent larger than its predecessor but feels even more spacious. With storage space 360 degrees around the base of the seat (unless you tick the subwoofer box, which resides to the left of the operator’s seat), there’s ample room for half your wardrobe and pantry, let alone the storage cubby on the left (complete with 230V and USB sockets).

The fridge, which is now under the passenger seat, should help your lunch last past 10am, as it’s hidden out of sight. Every aspect of the cab has been revamped, from the wiper and steering column to the dash and armrest. Case IH has had an ‘A’ pillar dash for around 20 years in some models, and the Puma 260 continues this trend.

It’s a clear, concise, and uncluttered dash, making it easy for the operator to find out vital information. As for visibility, it’s nothing short of excellent. The view out the rear window is phenomenal. Side visibility is increased through larger doors, and new monitor rails ready with RAM mounts give vast placement options for implement monitors.

Even more LED lights for full 360-degree illumination

This also means the 360-degree LED lighting package will be well used. Also, part of the cab improvements is the introduction of a push-button start and remote locking (as an optional extra). Made possible by a key fob, this further enhances the stylishness and attention to detail of this new model.

The rest of the tractor has numerous design improvements to complement the new cab. A redesigned fuel tank takes nearly 100 litres more diesel than its predecessor. Featuring built-in steps, a sealed toolbox, an enclosed cantilever toolbox (optional), and a freshwater tank on the side, it’s all extremely impressive.

The opening hatch reveals a large toolbox that slides out

Adding to the great design ideas, the battery box has seen an upgrade with an opening door giving access to the battery and its components. Rear remote valves have been given decompression levers — a much-awaited feature — and hydraulic cab suspension is now an option.

New software improvements, such as being able to move the front suspension height from the front linkage buttons ease hitching up implements. A new suspension system integrates front, cab, and rear lift arm suspension together to further improve comfort to the operator. A hydraulic stabiliser option is now available for the rear linkage.

A feature on the Puma series fitted with front PTO sees a factory-fitted reverse fan, along with two pairs of front hydraulics (dealer dependent), free flow return, light plug, and a three-pin power socket, giving multiple front-end applications while keeping the machine cool.


Under the bonnet is the trusty 6.7-litre FPT engine. Although now poking out just over 300hp on boost in selected operations, the unboosted/rated horsepower is simply the model number on Case IH tractors.

300hp in a compact 2884mm wheelbase

The 260 gives an 11% increase in power over the old range, topping 240. The maximum torque is a hefty 1249Nm. Given the wheelbase is still the same at a short 2884mm, this delivers a superb power-to-size ratio — exactly what many New Zealand farmers and contractors are after.

This extra power is gained with the introduction of a new variable geometry turbo. Its presence is seen externally through the bulge in the bonnet panel. Although the rest of the bonnet looks the same, it’s slightly higher given the need to cover the larger cooling package.

The 260 receives a larger cooling package over the rest of the range

A 170-litre-per-minute hydraulic pump gives great flow for demanding applications. Up to five rear valves can be fitted from the factory. However, Case IH provides the top link on its own spool and a pickup hitch or drop arm on its own as well, resulting in essentially seven rear remove valves.

As the cab now has new shape fenders, there’s room for larger 2.05-metre (710/70R42) diameter rear tyres, giving a larger footprint, less compaction, and better traction. The new heavy-duty front axle can take the same diameter as the 600/70R30 tyres. Road speed of 50km/h is a welcome touch. Being achieved at only 1450rpm is exciting for both operator comfort and the owner’s bank balance.

The new 457-litre diesel tank

The ability to carry 470 litres of diesel keeps the machine out for longer, getting through lengthy days with ease. Available exclusively with the CVXDrive transmission, this system ensures optimal efficiency at all speed levels with minimal power loss and is fully mechanical. When driving the tractor, you can immediately tell the transmission has had a lot of extra attention. This is evident from the new cut gears, a separate transmission controller, and the numerous ways it can be set up for smoothness and reactiveness, resulting in a smooth and comfortable drive.


The Case IH Puma 260 is a mighty fine piece of kit, meeting the boundary between easy-to-use and tech-smart needed in today’s agriculture. Designed and built with all the tech and engineering to deliver efficient performance with absolute reliability, it also leads a new era of operator comfort and functionality.

Images supplied by Dan Reymer

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