Reviews

TTSO 2017:CASE IH PUMA 240 CVT

The Case IH Puma 240 CVT was selected by our four Farm Trader judges as the best value for money CVT tractor currently on the market

The Case IH Puma 240 CVT was selected by out four Farm Trader judges as the best value for money CVT tractor currently on the market

With such an impressive array of tractors from major brands represented, this was no easy win. The final tally came down to just a fraction of a percent and took into account everything from horsepower and performance to specifications and price. Even our judges were hard-pressed to put money on the overall winner until our scoring process had been tallied up and checked.

It was a tight tussle, but using a set scoring criteria, which allocated points for operator environment, transmission, engine, hydraulics, linkage, and performance, as well as price, the Case IH Puma 240 CVT managed to just nose out its silver-winning competitor, the John Deere 6175R and bronze medallist New Holland T7.225.

Coming in as the top scorer for power to weight ratio and dollars per horsepower as well as oil flow per minute, the $199,990 price tag also contributed to the win.

“There’s so much to like about this tractor,” judge Jaiden Drought says. “All
four judges were impressed from the get-go, and then it backed up its specs and data with performance and ease of use.”

Engine

At the heart of the Case IH Puma 240 is a 6.7-litre, 24-valve FPT motor pumping out the ponies. The Case IH was one of the few tractors to use just exhaust after treatment in the form of AdBlue without the need to put any soot back in the engine in the form of EGR or DPF.

One way of doing this is a flap in the exhaust. This closes when the engine is started to speed up reaching working temperature and doubles as an exhaust
brake – handy for haulage. Instead, Case IH has added two more acronyms to an already congested engine terminology encyclopaedia in the form of Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) and Clean Up Catalyst (CUC).

In a nutshell, this means slightly less fuel and slightly more AdBlue to achieve these results, so the net result is that there is not much difference, just a different way to skin the proverbial cat.

Transmission

After hopping in and out of eight different tractors, the Case IH stood out as one of the easiest transmissions to just ‘jump in and go’ – a pleasing feature that all judges appreciated.

A software upgrade for the transmission allows smoother uptake on the drive pedal. The 1,2,3 settings alter the deceleration aggression, not acceleration, which proved handy on the 21-tonne Herron trailer. The new Double Clutch technology allows continuous flow of power between the four-speed transmission, which gave a smooth acceleration, particularly on the trailer. The transmission is equipped with Active Stop, which will hold the tractor on a slope – even with a load on.

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An electronic handbrake is applied after a period of inactivity or activated by pushing down and forward on the shuttle lever. Another nifty feature is the ability to hold down the forward direction change button on the joystick and gently apply the brakes. This activates only the trailer brakes – another handy haulage feature to help reduce pressure on the tractor brakes.

Serviceability

Daily checks are simple. Engine oil can be checked with the bonnet closed and there is a handy sight glass around the back for transmission oil. The single-piece bonnet opens high for good access around the engine. The large cooling pack features rubber flaps on the sides to ensure all the air is drawn through the radiators. The four components easily unlatch and open out for easy servicing.

A variable vane fan can alter the pitch of the blades to reduce the power sucked from the engine when the viscous fan kicks in with the normal 30-degree pitch. This allows for reduced fuel usage, higher power output, and has the additional benefit of being reversible, making it great for mowing or dusty cultivation tasks. A large 390-litre fuel tank, the 48-litre AdBlue tank, and service intervals of 600 hours for the engine and 1200 hours transmission help keep running costs down.

Cab/controls/user-friendliness

Case IH’s four-pillar design does give improved visibility. The roof hatch allows fresh air into the cab, while a tinted rear window helps keep the cab temperature down. Comfort in the cab is paramount and the large fully adjustable air seat with sliding headrest made for a comfortable ride, along with mechanical cab suspension.

Front suspension is fitted as standard. This has had a software upgrade from the previous model, with clever sensors on the dampers monitoring various parameters such as acceleration, speed, brake actuation, and terrain.

The Case IH Puma (Classic spec) proved to the one of the easiest machines to be controlled compared to the other tractors we tested, with almost all controls on the right-hand armrest and the dials, gauges, and displays mounted on the
‘A’ pillar.

Another advancement is the inclusion of the AFS Pro 700 touchscreen monitor. Integrated into the armrest, this boasts the Headland Management Control 2 system.

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As the name suggests, this is the headland management function but the key difference is that a headland sequence can either be recorded on the go or created while the tractor is stationary.

When in record mode, each step will be timed or distance recorded into a sequence. Up to 32 headland functions and driving setups for different operators can be stored. Even more impressive is that this can be downloaded onto a USB stick and moved between tractors so the sequence is already set.

The monitor is ISOBUS III compatible, which means it has the technology to allow the implement to control some of the tractor functions such as speed, PTO speed, and hitch height. Three video inputs can also be linked in from around the rear of the machine and integrated into the AFS 700 screen.

Hydraulics

The standard CCLS pump has a maximum output of 150 litres per minute. Our DPS test measured 133 litres per minute, which was the best among the tractors tested.

There are four electronic rear remotes with the option of a fifth. The front linkage has a 3.8-tonne lift capacity with one spool, although two can be spec’d.

Linkage/PTO

This was the only machine spec’d with hydraulic top link but didn’t have the hydraulic controls on the rear fenders to operate it externally, which was a little disappointing. However, the rear lift capacity will not disappoint with 10.5 tonnes, meaning that even the heaviest attachments can be used without any problems.

Controls on both rear mudguards for the linkage and PTO come in handy when hitching up implements. In the cab, up and down buttons are found on the multi-controller and a depth control dial (also on the armrest) is easy to use and well placed for finer adjustment.

Four-speed PTO is standard, manual changing speeds is done in the rear right-hand of the cab, although this location and the PTO engagement levers are a little fiddly compared to others tested.

Performance

Thanks to DPS carrying out independent dyno tests, we managed to get both unboosted and boosted power. Judges saw results at the rated rpm and the boosted power, which were 224.3hp and 234.7hp respectively. This was a lot closer than expected, as often a 40–50hp difference in boosted power can often be observed.

The Case IH Puma 240 was a real contender for the top trailer performance,
with exhaust brakes, aggressive slowdown adjustment, and trailer brake activation independent of the tractor all great features. Personally, I think this is a real strength of the tractor, making it a great addition to any fleet as a haulage machine. The Case IH Puma 240’s power-to-weight ratio of 26.9kg/hp was lower than expected. With the size of the machine giving the impression, it may be a little like a barge. Surprisingly, it was nimble yet planted – particularly on the trailer.

Verdict

The Case IH Puma 240 was the second largest, fourth most expensive, and received the fourth highest score with 305 out of a possible 410. However, once the score was divided by the price to give value for money, the Case IH came out narrowly on top of the John Deere 6175R.

Taking into account the lowest price per horsepower and the highest power to weight ratio, it seems that our somewhat complicated mathematical calculation may just work after all.

Top features

  • Well-laid-out and comfortable cab
  • Dash located on the ‘A’ pillar, meaning enhanced forward visibility
  • Four-pillar cab, roof hatch, and tinted rear window creating exceptional 
  • all-round visibility
  • Multi-controller armrest with all main controls well within reach
  • Exhaust brakes and adjustable deceleration aggression on the transmission make it an ideal haulage machine
  • Variable vane reversible fan as standard AFS 700 touchscreen monitor is well laid out and easy to navigate
  • Longest service interval (equal)
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