Review: Valtra T174EV

By: Jaiden Drought, Photography by: Jaiden Drought


The art of fancying up vehicles is an age-old one, and when it comes to tractors, more is more. Farm Trader takes a look at a pimped up Valtra T174EV.

Alt TEXT HERE

The wasp-shaped bonnet makes the Valtra ideal for manoeuvrability

With a secret appreciation for MTV’s Pimp My Ride, when I heard whisper of tractors getting pimped out down in the Manawatu, it didn’t take much to convince me to find out more. And when I was told that this would also afford the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the Valtra T174EV, I was there even faster. 

There’s no denying a bit of chrome, flashing LED lights, and some sweet tints bring out the magpie in many car and machinery enthusiasts. I’m not going to lie – I’m partial to some tractor pimping, so arriving in Feilding to discover the tractor customisation going on at TRC Tractors was a bit of a sweet gig.

Alt TEXT HERE
Customisation at its best. How good does the black and white contrast look! 

The level of customisation available affords some pretty unique options. I’m not sure whether I entirely love the black on black rims on the Valtra T174EV. I do, however, like the Massey Ferguson 7720S with a red stripe around the outside, which I feel breaks it up a little better.

Alt TEXT HERE
The red adds a pop of colour to the bonnet

Both creations are the work of the new TRC Edition service. Just don’t get me started on air horns and lighting the thing up like a Christmas tree, but each to their own I guess, and this is the beauty of customisation.

TRC Edition

Alt TEXT HERE
The TRC Edition authenticity badge

The concept behind the TRC Edition is to offer a customised approach to creating something a little more head-turning than your standard tractor (aka embracing your inner magpie).

Going back a step, if you really want to get carried away, you could also opt for the Valtra Unlimited service directly from the factory. Among other things, this allows for the addition of things such as candy paint, customised headlights, various LED options, leather trim, and even your favourite animal picture printed on the surface of the tractor.

Heck, why not get the whole thing painted like a tiger to channel your lockdown Tiger King obsession? Anyway, back to Feilding, at TRC Tractors HQ, the enthusiastic team has got together and decided that the TRC Edition can offer the same sort of pimping, but it can be done in New Zealand for the complete customer experience.

Doing this in New Zealand means that a customer can decide to upgrade to the TRC Edition if they don’t want to face a potentially longer wait for their genuine limited, indent ordered tractor.

Back to business

Enough about pimping your ride and back to the business of tractor testing – specifically the Valtra Engine T174EV. Now the eagle-eyed reader may have picked out the ‘E’ in the title of the T174.

This allows you to simply push a button for the choice between power or economy, aptly named Eco Power. Eco Power is ideal for road transport (53km/hr at 1650 rpm), giving plenty of wiggle room when encountering pesky hills, and the Sigma Power is the boost feature that gives 15 extra stallions when needed.

Sigma power engages the boost based solely on PTO load, even when the tractor is static. Boost is also engaged separately in C and D ranges for transport or by hydraulic demand.
The Valtra T174E is the only T4 model to be equipped with ECO engine mode.

It has a wide, constant torque curve and also reduces fuel consumption by 10%.
Maximum power of 190hp for the T174Eco is between 1100rpm and 1200rpm. This is achieved by reducing piston speed by 20%. Engine torque then increases – a great feature common on high horsepower tractors in the AGCO stable, which use this low rev, high torque concept.

The after-treatment system on the Valtra T series is now into the fourth generation, making them super-efficient. The Stage V compliant Valtras use DPF as well as the SCR and DOC, although, still no EGR. Most of the T4 Powershift models, like the one tested, are available with Tier 3 engine which has no after-treatment at all.

Versu Transmission

I’ve always found the names of the transmissions confusing on the Valtra. The Versu is the Powershift, although the V, to me, is more like CVT; and the Direct, which is CVT, is more like direct power for the Powershift. Confused? Me too. I might have to try and swindle a cheeky trip to Finland and have a chat to the brains trust behind the naming over there.

Nevertheless, the transmission on this Valtra T174EV was the top-of-the-line four range, five-speed Powershift with 10-speed creeper, giving a total of 30 gears in each direction.

It’s exceptionally smooth; in fact, one of the smoothest I’ve driven. The Versu offers clutchless shifting right through the ranges, plus automatic shifting modes, and a specific C/D range shifting mode, which is perfect for on the road. 

Shuttle aggression can be pre-programmed, along with two cruise control speeds and a brake to neutral feature. While this is deemed to be a Powershift transmission, it’s one of the more advanced and not unlike a CVT in the way it drives.

PTO and hydraulics

Alt TEXT HERE
The rear of the Vatra is well laid out and uncluttered – perfect for hitching implements

I genuinely believe the separate transmission and hydraulics oil reservoirs are a great trait of the AGCO machines. Service intervals for the engine are 600 hours, with 1200 hours on hydraulics and 2400 hours for the transmission – market-leading in any language.

The Valtra T174EV I test drove had the optional integrated front linkage and PTO, with a rated lift capacity of 5.1 tonnes. Rear linkage has a 9.6-tonne lift capacity. There’s also an electronic speed selection of three-speed PTO (540/540E/1000).

While many will grumble that you need a four-speed PTO, the T174 Eco has another trick – being the only model that can do this, which essentially enables you to select 1000 PTO speed and chuck her into Eco – a dream result.

Our test machine was fitted with four rear spools and one front, although, up to seven can be spec’d and three valves up front. The CCLS pumps are available in either 115,160, or 200 litres per minute. With fingertip control on the SmartTouch armrest and fully adjustable time flow, etc. through the touch screen, it really couldn’t be much easier.

Operator environment

As mentioned, we’re now in the Fourth Gen T series tractor. Valtra was initially slow to the monitor-based armrest concept, but they’ve arrived in style to the party with the SmartTouch armrest, which is a real head-turner.

While it may not be the most lavish or expansive armrest on the market, the SmartTouch armrest is classic Valtra: user-friendly, well-constructed, sleek, and smart looking without being too flashy.

The main striking feature is the nine-inch touch screen. While this might not be the largest on the market, it’s extremely easy to use – just swipe around the 3D tractor picture and tap the icon you would like to change the settings for.

Alt TEXT HERE
Impressive front lighting arrangement

Icons for hydraulics, transmission, engine, lighting, etc. can simply be tapped and adjusted without wandering into a rabbit warren of submenus. This has a real smartphone feel, more so than any other on the market.

The SmartTouch controller on the Powershift allows you to drive it much like a CVT. Just push the lever forward to go up gears and pull back to go down. This, combined with the brake to neutral function, means almost completely clutchless driving from a Powershift machine.

Cab and ride comfort

Alt TEXT HERE
Black tints and rims are enough to satisfy the magpie in all of us

Summing up the ride comfort is simple – it’s outstanding, and I don’t make that claim lightly. There are two main reasons for this: the front axle and cab are on airbags for unparalleled comfort (it also has a sweet name – luxury pneumatic Auto Comfort), and when combined with the Evolution seat, it’s almost unreal; the tractor drivers will be fighting to spend the day in this.

I also like the Valtra cab. While not the largest on the market, it does have a real feel of quality. This Convex cabin feels bigger than it actually is due to bulging doors and narrow roofline. The cabin can be optioned with the largest front roof window on the market for loader work, or the unique Skyview rear roof window for forestry applications.

Nice touches such as a 270-degree front wiper and heated windscreen tie back to its artic roots. The five-pillar design is the ideal compromise regardless of tractor brand, as it perfectly mixes visibility and accessibility.

Verdict

Alt TEXT HERE
The air cab suspension makes for a great ride

This is a seriously cool looking tractor: I’m a big fan of the TRC Edition concept, as well as the option for Valtra Unlimited. While customising your tractor won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, for many contractors and operators, their tractor represents a significant investment, so why not make it stand out from the crowd?

Spending the day with the Valtra T174EV reconfirms that, in my opinion, the Valtra is the most underrated tractor on the market. Every time I hop in one, it floods back just how well made they are.

As well as the obvious, it’s the many well-thought-out small details that combine to make this an elite machine. It’s easily one of the most comfortable tractors I’ve ever driven (and I’ve sat in a fair few) – the air suspension is unreal.

Valtra T174EV specifications

Engine AGCO Power
Engine capacity 7.4L
Power

Max 190hp

PTO 540/540E/1000
Transmission

4-range 5-speed powershift + 10 speed creeper

Hydraulics 115/160 or 220L/min CCLS
Suspension

Air cab and front suspension

Linkage capacity

5.1T front, 9.6T rear

Fuel tank capacity 380L fuel 70LAdBlue
Wheelbase 2.995m
Tyres

600/60R28 front 710/60R38 rear

Pros

  • Exceptionally well made
  • Smooth and user-friendly Powershift transmission
  • Extremely comfortable ride, thanks to air suspension
  • Two spools as well as PTO and linkage can be controlled from both rear mudguards, front linkage, and one spool up front
  • SmartTouch monitor is a genuine touch screen allowing you to swipe and move around 3D models
  • Park brake on the column and low 650rpm idle speed
  • 270-degree front wiper, side window wiper, and heated windscreen
  • Eco engine feature uses low rev high torque technology

Cons

  • No four-speed PTO, which is probably more of an issue on the non-Eco models
  • No right-hand cab door accesss (but is available as an optional factory extra)

Find new and used tractors for sale in NZ

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Farm Trader's free newsletter or liking us on Facebook