Claas Arion 630 CIS review | 2015 Top Tractor Shootout

By: Mark Fouhy , Photography by: Euan Cameron, Video by: Stephen Dwight, Josh Robinson

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Claas’ entry for the Commonwealth Bank 2015 Top Tractor Shootout, the Arion 630 CIS, drew accolade from the judges for its simplistic yet efficient cab.

The Claas Arion 630 was the first tractor under the judge’s spotlight and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, we rated it the best cab in the competition, as well as boasting the best visibility and scoring high for operator comfort.

This was the cab the judges said they’d be happy to spend sitting in all day, every day.

While it clearly excelled in the areas of operator comfort, it also made an impression when it came to engine power.

The very flat torque curve means near max horsepower is available through a wide range of revs, lowering fuel consumption and keeping the cost of ownership down over the lifetime of the tractor.

 

Engine

Claas Arion 630 CIS-engine Servicing

Claas is using a Tier 3B 6.8-litre DPS Power Tech engine in the Arion 630.

A variable turbo helps produce high torque at low revs, with almost constant power output of 152hp (113kW) (dyno tested) being available, within 2hp (1.5kW) of maximum right from 820rpm to 1,060rpm (power take-off speed).

We found this particularly noticeable on both the Falc 5m power harrow and Alpego Cracker, where ground speed could be increased even if the engine was lugging down.

Another fuel saving feature is the viscous fan which automatically adjusts depending on different engine operating parameters. With the lower fan speed, you also get a decrease in noise level.

Engine performance has until now been mostly tested at PTO, because it is easily measured.

However, Claas headquarters in Germany is working on a $50 million facility to test power in transport type applications, or power to the ground in line with PTO power, which will give a greater overall picture of tractor engine performance and power.

 

Transmission

The Claas Axion 630 Hexashift transmission is a 24-speed, four-range six powershift box.

You can go through all the gears without touching the clutch and it also includes ‘range skip’. By pushing the lever right forward, you can go from B1 say, to C1 without having to clutch.

Speed matching and start forward/reverse gears when shuttling are also standard features. The only small gripe is that there is still a lag between ranges, which was noticeable when hooked up to the Falc 5m power harrow.

However, there are enough gears in the 4-12km working range to ensure this doesn’t cause this any problems.

 

Serviceability

The Claas Arion 630’s one-piece bonnet offers easy access to radiators, which conveniently open out for cleaning.

The left side mounted dipstick can be checked or filled with the bonnet down, and all daily checks can be carried out without the need for any specialised tools.

The new Tier 3B engines use EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) to comply with European regulations. While particulate filters initially had a life expectancy of 1,000-3,000 hours, Claas now expects to get the life of the engine from these filters (10,000 hours), saving cost over that time changing and replacing filters.

An auto regeneration system burns up any soot particles produced during combustion and a button in the cab can be used to start/stop this process so the tractor can carry on working while the filter regeneration takes place.

 

Cab

Claas Arion 630 CIS-cab

For some time, in my opinion, Claas has been a leader in area of operator comfort. The four corner suspension offered a nicer ride than the tractors with front suspension we tested.

The new Arion range is fitted with a large five pillar cab, which judges agree was the best tested.

The large glass area, with one less pillar on the right-hand side where you are watching implements, gives great surround vision, and the extra pillar on the left makes shutting the door easy and less likely to be caught and damaged in gales.

Claas designers have still allowed plenty of room between the side panel and armrest to pivot the operator/driving position, allowing a better view of what is happening behind the tractor.

A comfort air seat along with reach and tilt steering column allow easy adjustment for different drivers while the array of electrical connections down by the door on the right-hand side is another good idea, because Claas has installed a rail directly above it for any monitors you may need to operate different implements.

Plenty of storage including tool boxes is built into the step set-up on either side of the cab, as well as a cubby hole inside the roof of the cab and an ash tray.

There is also a smartphone holder and an air-condition-cooled lunch box hidden under the instructor’s seat.

 

Controls

A well-designed armrest puts most user functions at your fingertips, with Hexashift gear lever, hand throttle, linkage controls and engine management controls all nicely placed.

In CIS form (Claas Information System), a small monitor on the A-pillar displays the gear selected, with more in-depth information displayed in the dash.

To access different functions, you simply tap the rotary control switch and scroll through to select different modes. To get out hit the escape button mounted in front of the rotary knob.

Push button PTO speed controls make use of the rear pillar of the cab with the choice of 540/1,000 and associated eco speeds.

 

Hydraulics

The three mechanical rear hydraulic remotes are well marked and colour coded to avoid any confusion. A push/pull pressure release system allows lines under pressure to be coupled without being covered in oil.

A load-sensing hydraulic system offers flow rates of up to 110 l/m with 100 l/m available out of the coupling, and power beyond as a standard feature.

Extra hydraulic ports are available; two mid mount electro hydraulic ports are an option with armrest mounted joystick control, ideal for loader controls.

 

Linkage

Solid would be a good way to describe the back end and linkage on the Arion 630. The safety guard for the PTO shaft is solid steel down both sides, with a moveable top plate.

A Peyton hook is standard, which most people use for slinging safety chains over. They are also ideal for keeping the weight as close to the tractor as possible when you’re using a loader wagon.

Linkage controls are on both rear fenders, the rear pillar in the cab, and on the armrest. The linkage view is good through the large convex back window.

Bonus marks were awarded to the Claas Arion 630 for being the only machine we test to provide storage for up to six balls for implements at the rear of the tractor.

A small gripe is the top link holder, which seems to be in the way whenever an implement is on the linkage.

 

Performance

Claas Arion 630 CIS-powerharrow

As the first tractor we test, the Claas Arion 630 is our guinea pig for setting up the implements. We quickly have the Alpego Cracker buried as deep as possible, digging through the pan of stones hidden below.

A long wheelbase and the 50:50 weight set-up of the base tractor provides a stable platform, but with a 600kg block on the front as an extra it feels very stable.

The very flat torque curve allows us to get along in B range at more than 4km just 1,000rpm (engine) with the Alpego Cracker, right in the sweet spot of power in this engine, saving fuel and getting the job done in a timely manner.

The Arion 630 does dyno down a bit on its promoted figure of 165hp (123kW) with a max of 153hp (114kW).

However, on the Falc power harrow, again the flat torque curve means it just doesn’t drop off the power, which is impressive given the rough soil type.

 

Verdict

The Claas Arion 630 certainly did not disappoint. All four judges agreed the layout and comfort of this machine was up among the best we tested.

Performance on the kit we were using was impressive and given the engine doesn’t ‘boost’, all the power was available from the get go.

Operator comfort was the best on the day and there is no doubt this is a very smooth tractor to drive, with excellent all round visibility in the cab thanks to the five-pillar design.

Hits:

  • Large well laid out five-post cab offers great visibility
  • Four corner cab suspension and high quality air seat provided excellent operator comfort
  • Availability of engine power, 152 max. hp dyno tested, between 2hp right from 820rpm to 1,060rpm
  • Electronic PTO speed selection and soft start PTO
  • Clutchless shifting through all 24 gears
  • Pressure relief levers on all three couplers

Misses:

  • The position of the top link holder gets in the way of some implements. Being able to move it sideways would easily fix this

 

Top Tractor Shootout 2015 Awards:

  • Best Visibility

  • Best Operator Comfort

  • Best Cab

 

Specifications

Make/model: Claas Arion 630

Engine: 6 cylinder,6.8-litre, Tier3B, common rail diesel

Max Output: 165hp/123kW, 689Nm @1,200rpm

Transmission: Four range/6 powershift gears (24-speed-40km/h)

Suspension: Four-point mechanical (spring and dampener) cab suspension

Max lift on linkage: 6,900kg at ball ends

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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Claas Arion 630 CIS lights Plenty of lights up front or when day turns into night. Claas Arion 630 CIS lights
Claas Arion 630 CIS walkthrough Sales time with Dave Knowles from Landpower NZ. Claas Arion 630 CIS walkthrough
Claas Arion 630 CIS cab Large roomy cab with comfortable driving position. Claas Arion 630 CIS cab
Claas Arion 630 CIS armrest controls Comfortable, well laid out armrest. Claas Arion 630 CIS armrest controls
Claas Arion 630 CIS steering wheel Easily adjustable driving position to suit different operators. Claas Arion 630 CIS steering wheel
Claas Arion 630 CIS engine One-piece bonnet equals time-saving daily service checks. Claas Arion 630 CIS engine
Claas Arion 630 CIS cultivator The Claas ready to rip into testing. Claas Arion 630 CIS cultivator
Claas Arion 630 CIS powerharrow The 5m Flac power harrow provided a suitable test for all 2015 Top Tractor entrants. Claas Arion 630 CIS powerharrow
Claas Arion 630 CIS dyno test While the Claas Arion 630 CIS clearly excelled in the areas of operator comfort, it also made an impression when it came to engine power. Claas Arion 630 CIS dyno test

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