Review: Claas Arion 620 CIS tractor | Full Test & Specs

By: Brent Lilley, Photography by: Brent Lilley

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When Smart Stop is on and the brake pedal is pushed, the tractor electronically disengages the clutch When Smart Stop is on and the brake pedal is pushed, the tractor electronically disengages the clutch When Smart Stop is on and the brake pedal is pushed, the tractor electronically disengages the clutch
The 7-inch colour CIS screen Improved 7-inch colour CIS screen The 7-inch colour CIS screen
The Arion 620 has great visibility for loader work Great visibility for loader work The Arion 620 has great visibility for loader work
The controls The controls are well laid-out The controls
PTO speed buttons Buttons to select the four rear PTO speeds PTO speed buttons
The toolbox A toolbox is cleverly tucked away between the steps The toolbox
A purpose-built loader is factory fitted A purpose-built loader is factory fitted A purpose-built loader is factory fitted
The Arion 620 from behind Manoeuvrability was good for a 6-cylinder tractor when scraping off the feed pad The Arion 620 from behind

Brent Lilley believes the Claas Arion 620 CIS tractor is an impressive all-rounder that would be equally well suited to cultivation and drilling or baling and feeding out

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Field trips were always a highlight when I was studying at uni in New Zealand. Looking back, it was probably similar to the reviews I do now – a trip to see something exciting, followed by a report that usually involves staying up all night to write the day before it’s due.

A regular excursion was to Ashley Dene, which has been a research farm for more than 100 years. Back then, Ashley Dene was a dryland sheep farm but, following the trend in Canterbury, part of the farm has recently been converted for dairy research.

Claas Landpower New Zealand, the importer of Claas machinery, has generously supplied the farm with a couple of tractors and other machinery required.

So it was a return to old stomping grounds when I headed to Ashley Dene to catch up with Dave Knowles from Landpower and check out the new Claas Arion 620 CIS tractor.  

The latest Claas Arion 620 CIS is powered by a 6-cylinder 6.8-litre PowerTech engine, putting out a maximum 158hp. This engine is well proven in other machines for its reliability and for being virtually bulletproof.

Claas has developed the software that controls the engine, and uses a variable geometry turbo to give more torque across a wider engine speed range to improve productivity and save fuel. 

the Claas Arion 620 CIS tractor front on
Brent Lilley gets to grips with the Claas Arion 620 CIS tractor

Emissions meet the Tier 4 interim standard. With exhaust gas recirculation and a diesel particulate filter, burn cycles to clean this filter are automatic and barely noticeable, other than a light on the dash and slightly high rpm for a short period of time (although there is a button to delay it if the timing is unsuitable).

So for now there is no AdBlue requirement, which is a bonus in my opinion, although a Tier 4 final model is on the horizon that will most likely require it.

Servicing is easy thanks to the improved large single-piece bonnet that opens without tools and lifts clear of the engine for easy access. A cooling pack opens out on gas struts by simply unlatching two clips for excellent access for cleaning.

Service intervals are 500 hours on the engine and 1000 hours on the transmission. Like most manufacturers, they suggest genuine oils should be used and the engine should be serviced at least yearly if less than 500 hours are being clocked up.

Fuel tank capacity sits at a healthy 270 litres.

 

Transmission

The Claas Arion 620 uses the same Hexashift transmission that has been around in Claas tractors for some time and so will be familiar to many.

This is essentially a 24-speed powershift with six gears in four ranges and no requirement for using the clutch. Even when changing ranges, just tap the short gear lever forward to change up a gear or push it further forward to jump up a range. This is simple, and speed matches to the optimum gear when changing ranges.

There’s also an automatic mode with two driving choices. In the field position it automatically shifts gears up and down in the range as required, and in the transport position it changes through all gears and ranges in the gearbox as required. This is a great feature.

Another new feature is what Claas has coined Smart Stop. It can be turned on/off and, essentially, when it’s on and the brake pedal is pushed the tractor electronically disengages the clutch to stop the tractor. When you take your foot off the brake, drive is re-engaged.

This works particularly well in stop-start operations such as loader work or round baling. 

 

In the cab

The five-pillar cab gives the best of both worlds: great visibility out the right side along with good accessibility and an opening window on the left side.

Four-point mechanical cab suspension gives an excellent ride. Once in the cab, there’s plenty of room with a comfortable spot for both operator and passenger.

Visibility is good out the front and rear. Controls are well laid out with most found on the right armrest, including gearshift, linkage, engine speed controls and the loader joystick. Anything not found on the armrest is within easy reach on the right console, including mechanical remotes and four-wheel drive/diff lock.

Buttons to select from the impressive four rear PTO speeds are found on the rear cab pillar. The CIS screen on the right front pillar has been upgraded to a 7-inch colour screen. This displays information such as the direction of travel, gear selected, linkage height and forward speed.

More importantly, it gives access to change settings such as Smart Stop on/off, the flow rates on the electronic spools, and whatever the F3/F4 buttons are set to control.

There’s also a simple headland management system that can be programmed, as well as preset engine rpm buttons. Air-conditioning lights and a Bluetooth radio are located in the roof panel.

 

Hydraulics and linkage

First impressions around the back-end are that everything is well laid out and uncluttered. Three sets of mechanical remotes are standard with an option for a fourth, and it’s great to see improvement here. They are paired in order from left to right and colour-coded to match the levers inside, making it simple to couple up external hydraulics.

All use high-flow couplers with release levers to make uncoupling easy and have adjustable flow rates with four positions for float, neutral and pump in either direction. This is great to see, as is having power beyond and trailer brakes as standard.

Another clever feature is a 12-volt ‘D’ plug with an on/off switch in the cab – an excellent idea for external power to an implement that can be turned off without having to pull the plug out.

As well as the standard clevis drawbar hitch, there is a piston hitch that allows heavy trailers to be coupled as close to the rear axle as possible for the best weight transfer.

The three-point linkage uses Cat 3 quick link arms and has an impressive lift capacity of 6.9 tonnes.   

 

A Mach Quick coupler is standard, making it easy to take the loader off
A Mach Quick coupler is standard, making it easy to take the loader off

The loader

The well-built standard factory-fitted loader fits the tractor well with built-in features such as boom suspension, a third service, and a Mach quick coupler for the hydraulic hoses.

Although not fitted, hydraulic self-levelling is available as a retrofit that simply sees another ram added. If fitted, it has two settings: one to maintain the level of the attachment as it’s raised, and another with a seven-degree rollback as it’s raised.

The loader uses an electronic mid-mount valve and an electro pilot joystick, giving smooth and seamless control over loader movement. The flow rates and, therefore, the speed of the loader actions are easily adjusted from in-cab to suit the operator.

F3 and F4 buttons on the side of the joystick, which control the third service of the loader, are also configurable to a variety of different functions. The most impressive of these, in my opinion, is the ability for F4 to be set as the forward/reverse, which is useful when using the loader.    

 

The bottom line

For me, Claas tractors are one of the few brands I have never spent hundreds of hours driving. But every time I climb into one I’m impressed with the feel and layout of the cab.

Even with the limited amount of time I’ve spent in this range of tractors, the cab always feels familiar. Everything tends to be where you remember it, which is a great trait to have, and the new Arion 620 is no different.

For a 6-cylinder 160hp tractor, it doesn’t feel overly large and was surprisingly nimble when we used the loader to scrape the feed pad on the day of the test.

Features such as Smart Stop and the ability to programme direction change onto the loader joystick worked well in the situation.

It’s definitely more than just a loader tractor. It’s an all-rounder that would be equally well suited to cultivation and drilling or baling and feeding out.

 

PROS

6.7-litre PowerTech engine

Long servicing intervals

24-speed Hexashift Transmission

Smart Stop active stop

High-spec factory-fitted loader

Electro pilot programmable loader joystock

Four-speed PTO

 

CONS

For those concerned about emissions, the Tier 4 interim rating is one level below what is considered best technology

 

Claas Arion 620 CIS 

Engine 6-cylinder, 6.7-litre PowerTech engine with variable geometry turbo 
Rated engine power 158hp
Transmission

40km/h, 24-speed powershift

Max torque  659Nm
Fuel tank capacity 270L
Service intervals

500hrs engine, 1000hrs transmission

PTO 540, 540E, 1000, 1000E
Max hydraulic output

110L/min

Rear lift capacity

6700kg

Wheelbase 2820mm
Length 4759mm
Weight 6570kg

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