First Drive: New Claas Arion 600

By: Harrison Hunkin, Video by: Freddie Gittus

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The new Claas Arion 600 series has been enhanced for contractors and dairy farms


Claas Tractors for sale

With a slight facelift and an upgraded tier 4 final engine, the new Claas Arion 600 series looks good on paper, but does it check out?

The simple answer is yes!

On a recent trip down to Victoria’s western districts, Landpower (Australian distributor for Claas tractors) were kind enough to show me around their latest addition to the Australia market.

A freezing cold day with rain coming rolling in – I sure as hell looked like a fool without a jumper. Looks like I’d just have to stay inside the Claas a bit longer then!

The Brand new Claas Arion 660 tractor
The Claas Arion 660 is great on the eye

Let me make this clear early on; I think the new Claas Arion 600 series are awesome machines.  Jumping into a Claas gives me the same feeling as driving a German car – you just know the quality is going to be spot on. The little things that make you relax and its appearance makes you proud.

And the machines I drove that day were at two ends of the spectrum – the bells-and-whistles Arion 660, and the midrange 610. Both are great machines.

While numbers are never going to rival rusted-on John Deere nuts, if you’re a dairy farmer or a high-end contractor, definitely have a look at these bad boys.

KEY FEATURES

To the power supply! The latest Claas Arion 600 series has obviously been in the gym, because it’s now pushing out a max 205hp (153kW) through its 6.8-litre six-cylinder CPS engine, which is actually a John Deere engine. This is a fair bit more than the previous Arion 600 max hp, which topped out at 184hp (137kW).

Servicing intervals have been pushed out to 600 hours on the engine and 1,200 on the transmission, which also helps to keep running costs down – a good move from Claas, which will surely gain some eyeballs.

Landpower product manager Michael Pudnt explained that the whole frame is more or less the same on the new Claas Arion 600, except that bigger tyres are used, "for more traction and ground clearance".

"These changes have come following feedback from contractors and bigger dairies wanting these bigger tyres," Pundt adds.

The Claas Arion 600 series is expected to be a good seller
A stunning tractor with a stunning back drop

Fuel tanks have also changed, with the Arion 600’s bumping up from 330L to 370L to "fulfil the requirements of more professional customers".

You may recall around this time last year we test drove the Claas Axion 810 with its new CIS + cabin, which Claas was labelling as ‘backpacker ready’; a simply laid out cabin, designed to be easy to operate for everyone such as inexperienced backpackers.

I was a huge fan of this addition – not because I don’t like fancy armrests, etc., but because it’s so practical. Well CIS + is now an option on the new Arion 600 series (which we had on the Arion 610 on this occasion) and it probably fits this range better than the Axion.

I say this because I think it suits the nature of the Arion, which is predominately seen in dairy operations and medium-end contractors.

And it’s not just for the backpacker labourer, it’s also for the old man (or lady) on the dairy farm who is crying out for his old International or Massey 35. They much prefer the simplicity and ease of use compared to that of the high-spec’d machines that occupy the majority of the market these days.

Claas sold five of these straight away before they had even been introduced to the market, which says a bit.

"It needs to be simple as possible – this is reducing risk, this is reducing failures and mistakes operators are making while working and [gives] the customers more comfort," Pundt says.

Don’t get me wrong, the top of the line Arion 660 was AMAZING, and comfortable, but more for the tractor nerd, and owner-operator type – similar to that of owner-driver truckies – who just have to have the full kit and caboodle.

The Claas Arion working a field
The Claas Arion 660 packs a punch with its 184hp engine

Another change is the Arion’s Proactiv front axle suspension system. This combines a rear pivot point further back under the chassis and large rams angled outwards for stability.

The maintenance was just too high on the previous front axle with 22 grease points. With this new suspension, you’ve got just four main points.

 

VERDICT

All-in-all, I’m a huge fan of this Claas Arion 600 series. Plenty of grunt, plenty of refinements and plenty of options, which at the end of the day is important. The new Arion 600 series will tailor to plenty of needs.

Claas, if you’re reading this – let me get behind the wheel for a bit longer on a sunny day please.

For more info on the new Claas Arion 600 series, head to Claas.com.au

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