Case IH Puma 160 review | 2015 Top Tractor Shootout

By: Brent Lilley, Photography by: Euan Cameron, Video by: Stephen Dwight, Josh Robinson

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The Case IH Puma 160 is the highest powered model of the Top Tractor Shootout 2015 bunch and has certainly delivered in the ‘performance’ category.

With a rated power of 160hp, the Case IH Puma 160 stood head and shoulders above its competitors when it comes to delivering power and performance on the field.

Hence the judges have decided unanimously to award the model with ‘best performance’ and ‘best engine’ titles.

That’s not all. There was so much more we liked about this tractor.

 

Engine

Case IH Puma 160-engine

With the Puma 160, you get a 6.7 FPT (Fiat Powertrain Technologies) engine tucked under the red bonnet, with a rated output of 160hp (119kW).

This is a high pressure common rail turbo engine, which is well proven across a wide range of Case IH machines, from 130hp (97kW) right up to 300hp (224kW) in its combines.

To reach Stage Tier 4i regulations, it uses selective catalytic reduction (SCR) with AdBlue. This is done in the exhaust system to free the engine of any recirculation, allowing it to burn cleaner.

EPM [engine power management] boost is available when ground speed is over 15km/h or the power take-off (PTO) is engaged and moving faster than 0.5km/h. This delivers an additional 30hp (22kW), taking the output up to a claimed 190hp (141kW) and making it the most powerful tractor tested.

 

Transmission

The full powershift transmission in the Case IH definitely sets it apart from the other machines tested. It gives you an 18-speed transmission, which requires no clutch changes or even ranges to jump through.

It’s operated quite simply by push buttons to change up or down as required. All four judges agreed the Puma 160 transmission stood out above everything else.

An auto road or field mode is selectable by the operator and when engaged the tractor will change through gears as required to the set parameters.

Direction changes can be made with the left-hand shuttle lever or impressively with push buttons on the multi-controller.

 

Serviceability

Daily checks are kept simple. The engine oil can be checked with the bonnet closed and there is a handy sight glass around the back for the transmission oil.

The single piece bonnet opens on gas struts and clears out of the way to give good access around the engine. In the front, rubber flaps on the sides is a great feature ensuring all air is drawn through the radiators.

All four components easily unlatch and open out for easy servicing.

The service intervals of 600 hours for the engine and 1,200 hours transmission see the Case IH Puma 160 tied with the New Holland — great to keep maintenance costs and downtime low.

A large 330-litre fuel tank will keep you running all day, while the AdBlue tank holds 48 litres and is used at around 5 per cent of the rate of diesel, which will see you topping up with AdBlue every two or three tanks of diesel — all in all not too much to complain about.

 

Cab

Case IH Puma 160-cab

Case IH uses a four-pillar design and there is no doubt this gives improved visibility.

A sunroof hatch benefits those who fit a loader and a tinted rear window helps keep the cab temperature down.

 Comfort in the cab is paramount with a large fully adjustable air seat for the operator, along with mechanical cab suspension and the most comfortable passenger seat on any tractor we tested.

The cab itself is well laid out and it’s great to see the air-conditioning controls have finally been moved from the rear pillar to the roof where they are much easier to use.

 

Controls

Up front an LCD display on the right-hand A-pillar is easy to see. It shows all the tractor’s main working parameters making the need for a traditional dash void and increasing forward visibility.

Almost all controls can be found on the armrest and are easy to use. The ergonomic multi-controller lever, which is also the engine rpm control, houses buttons for gears, direction of travel and rear linkage and can be operated by your thumb.

Behind this a membrane panel is laid out logically with buttons for virtually everything else, including clever features such auto four-wheel drive and diff lock, auto PTO and engine rpm.

While the PTO engagement switch is on the arm rest, the three speeds on offer are selected with a lever near the rear cab pillar.

 

Hydraulics

Around the back end, you’ll find three sets of remotes as standard. These are stacked vertically and labelled one to three from the bottom up.

The fact the remotes are also on the right-hand side can be a slight hindrance when you are generally hitching up implements from the left.

All three use mechanical linkages and have adjustable flow rates. The levers in the cab have four positions, are lockable and can be set to kick out at the end of the ram stroke.

The hydraulic system shares oil with the transmission and is powered by a variable displacement piston pump that delivers 113 l/m, which should prove adequate for most requirements.

It was good to see a trailer brake valve was fitted as standard and while there was no power beyond, it can be fitted as an option along with additional remotes (four maximum).

 

Linkage

Hook end arms are used on the three point linkage (TPL). The top link uses the winder and a simple catch to hold it when not in use.

Maximum lift capacity sits at 8.2 tonnes, which although not the highest of the tractors, is more than ample for this sized tractor. Controls on both rear mudguards 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 arm rest, is easy to use and well placed for finer adjustment.

 

Performance

Case IH Puma 160-power Harrow

At 160hp (119kW) plus boost, the Puma 160 was the most powerful tractor of the bunch and set a benchmark for how well it handled the implements.

Although it handles the 3m Alpego Cracker well, we aren’t using the PTO or travelling faster than 15km/h, so it’s was tapping into the potential 30hp (22kW) it has in reserve. As a result other machines prove slightly better at draught work.

On the 5m folding power harrow it’s a different story.

With the PTO under load, the EPM cranks up the horsepower to its full output and it is evident straight away, with the Case IH handling what is quite a sizable power harrow with ease.

Luckily for us, Edwin Wiegersma from Diesel Performance Solutions, who knows a few tricks put all the tractors through their paces on the Dyno.

He can turn the EPM on while stationary so we get to see results at the rated rpm and the boosted power which are 153 and 181hp respectively.

 

Verdict

All four judges agree the output of the Case IH Puma 160 for this price range is fairly impressive and shows there is minimal power loss between the engine and the shaft.

A well laid out, comfortable cab, daily servicing is all taken care of without having to lift the bonnet and when you combine this Case proving to be the best performing tractor in terms of power output, 600-hour/1,200-hour service intervals and a five-year or 5,000-hour warranty plan there really isn’t much to complain about.

Hits:

  • Well laid out comfortable cab
  • Excellent PTO performance — easily the best on the day
  • Dash located on the A-pillar meaning enhanced forward visibility
  • Air-con now mounted in the roof line
  • Four-pillar cab, roof hatch and tinted rear window means exceptional all-round visibility
  • Multi-controller armrest means all main controls are well within reach
  • Long service intervals and five-year/5,000-hour warranty plan mean cost of ownership will be kept as low as possible

Misses:

  • The reverse numbering of the remotes and the valve block on the right-hand side means they are more awkward to use
  • The PTO switch on the armrest is easy to knock out of gear

 

Top Tractor Shootout 2015 Awards:

  • Best Performance

  • Best Engine

  • Best Longest Service Interval (Equal)

  • Best Transmission

  • Highly Commended

 

Specifications

Engine: FPT, 6.7-litre common rail turbo diesel

Rated engine power: 160hp/119kW

Max boost power: 190hp/142kW

Transmission: 18-speed full powershift

Fuel tank capacity: 330 litres

Suspension: Mechanical cab suspension

Click here for the full specs.

 

Stay tuned for more reviews and videos from the Top Tractor Shootout 2015 on TradeFarmMachinery.com.au. For the full feature, pick up a copy of New Farm Machinery magazine issue 22, on-sale May 25. 

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Case IH Puma 160 Case IH Puma 160 - the most powerful one of all. Case IH Puma 160
Case IH Puma 160 chassis James Perry from Case IH runs through the finer points with the judges. Case IH Puma 160 chassis
Case IH Puma 160 engine Put through its paces on the dyno, the Puma 160 performed exceptionally well. Case IH Puma 160 engine
Case IH Puma 160 cab Up in the cab, controls are well laid out on the multi-controller and a clear colour-coded membrane panel on the armrest. Case IH Puma 160 cab
Case IH Puma 160 linkage A hefty back end with a decent 8.2-tonne lift capacity and three remotes as standard. Case IH Puma 160 linkage
Case IH Puma 160 cultivator The 3m Alpego Cracker provided an excellent heavy draft test for all tractors. Case IH Puma 160 cultivator
Case IH Puma 160 power harrow The Puma 160 performed exceptionally well on the 5m power harrow with an additional 30hp available when the PTO is under load. Case IH Puma 160 power harrow
Case IH Puma 160 dyno test Put through its paces on the dyno, the Puma 160 performed exceptionally well. Case IH Puma 160 dyno test

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