Claas Axion 820
The Claas Axion 820 is the brand’s base model featuring Hexashift transmission and a 40km/h top speed
- Four-post cab suspension
- Excellent traction with low power to weight ratio
- Arm rest controls are well set out and easy to operate
- Pre-set engine rev buttons
- Long service intervals and large fuel tank
The Claas Axion 820 is the second smallest in the five-tractor 180hp-238hp range, and features Hexashift transmission, 40km/h top speed and no front suspension. However the ride is still comfortable.
The test tractor is the base CIS (Claas Information System) model with mechanical spools.
Engine and power
All five Axion models share the same Deere Power Systems (DPS) 6.8L six-cylinder engine, which also features four valves per cylinder, air-to- air charge cooling Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT), common rail injection system and cooled exhaust gas recirculation, which allows the engine to comply with the TIER-3 emissions standards.
Essentially the engine is the same found in the John Deere 30 series premium range, however Claas runs its own power management system (CPM), which produces 35hp of boost on reserve when needed – 10hp more than John Deere.
The CPM boost will kick in when the tractor is in C or D range or when hydraulic or PTO output in demand.
Performance and handling
The Axions were released after some convincing test results, outperforming many in its class for traction and power.
The Axion produced the manufacturer’s specs of 197hp, which were then boosted with the CPM to 232hp with constant power over 800rpm. Maximum PTO torque was 787Nm with a 54 percent torque rise with fuel consumption flat across the main engine range at 221gms/kWh.
Furthermore 91% of the peak engine power was available at the PTO and 83% of the total power was transmitted to the wheels, making it very fuel efficient at converting useful power to the wheels. This creates superior traction, which I experienced when blading.
The balance, low power to weight ratio and wheelbase design makes the Axion unique. Its short overall length means in order to cram all that technology and brawn in, Claas had to go up. Although the tractor itself is only 5.5m long the wheelbase is 3m, which allows the weight to be spread to the ground. It also has the ability to add 4-tonnes of ballast.
Of all the non-CVT tractors I have driven, the Claas Hexashift transmission is up there in terms of smoothness and ease of operation. The "drivestick" is well placed to provide excellent driver comfort for those long days in the field.
All transmission functions on the Hexashift model are located on the right-hand armrest. It is very user-friendly – simply push forward to change up and pull back to change down. This allows you to shift through the six powershifts and the four automated ranges without using the clutch via the "drivestick", or with the automatic mode will change up and down automatically depending on engine load. All the transmission information is located in the A pillar display screen.
I believe the Claas four-post cab suspension is streaks ahead of its competitors. The reason the cab suspension is more effective than other brands is due to softening either vertical or horizontal movement rather than just two rear springs or hydraulic dampeners, which are slower to react.
Without front suspension, the Axion design includes a sprung front axle with parallel linkage, which only requires three grease nipples for daily operation.
To enter the onboard computer you use a combination of the right-hand indicator lever and the scroller on the dash to access data such as fuel usage, area covered, starting gear and also the shifting points when the transmission is in auto mode. I felt it could have been more user-friendly.
Transmission, draft control, headland management, pre-set engine rev controls and hand throttle are all located on the right-hand armrest. The mechanical spool levers are quite a reach for someone who has short arms.
My other gripe about the cab layout is the draft control lever. In my opinion it should be located on the inside (rather than the outside) and closer to the front of the armrest. I found this particularly annoying when using the blade, where you are adjusting the controller all day.
One feature I particularly like on these tractors are the two buttons beside the hand throttle on the armrest that allow you to pre-set two engine speeds and store them. This can save a lot of time, and also stops the implement running over its maximum PTO speed.
Overall the cab is one of the roomiest I have been in, and with CD/MP3 stereo, climate control, refrigerated drink bottle holder and 14 halogen lights, provides a very comfortable working environment. There is also the option of Xeron lights.
Hydraulics and linkage
Although I didn’t like the linkage controller itself, everything else about the linkage was superb. It was very responsive to even small movements and, with a maximum lift capacity of 9.5-tonne, should cater for even the heaviest of linkage mounted implements.
The hydraulics was my least favourite part of the tractor. The design of the remotes are confusing as they all look the same. Why not colour code them in line with the sticker on the rear of the cab which coincides with the colour of the remote levers? On the plus side the load-sensing hydraulics with power beyond pump a flow rate of 110L/minute with the option of 150L/min and up to eight remotes available is more than ample. Also there are levers on the remotes themselves to release the pressure when coupling hoses.
Access and serviceability
Claas have used a 3 piece bonnet which doesn’t make it easy to access radiators, filters and dipstick all at once, however once you have the bonnet open the radiators are easy to clean and stack away well. A sight glass on the rear wheel housing allows for quick checking of the transmission oil level.
See a range of Claas tractors for sale.
ISO rated engine output (kW) 139
Max PTO power at engine rated speed (kW) 130
% of max engine power available at PTO 90%
Max PTO Torque 787Nm
% of max boosted engine torque 92%
Torque rise 54%
Best fuel consumption (Grams/Kilowatt/hour) 221
Maximum drawbar pull (kW) 115.2
Ratio maximum drawbar pull to engine power 83%