/On test: Valtra T215 Direct

On test: Valtra T215 Direct

Valtra’s 175-250hp T-series is available in four specs, with the Direct CVT at the apex © MAG/Oliver MarkValtra’s 175-250hp T-series is available in four specs, with the Direct CVT at the apex © MAG/Oliver Mark
Massey Ferguson and Fendt might reign supreme in Agco’s tractor portfolio, but Valtra is closing in after unleashing a blizzard of major updates to its tractor cabs and controls.

No longer content with being the stable’s junior member, the Finnish firm has been on a seven-year mission to reinvigorate its range, transforming it from niche campaigner to mass-market contender. The work of its seemingly supercharged R&D team has seen UK market share almost double to 6.5% and it is now snapping at the heels of Fendt in the annual rankings.

Although it may not be able to match its pricier sibling for sophistication and doesn’t have the global heritage of Massey Ferguson, it has a solid base on which to build – the firm’s Sisu engine division has always had a stellar reputation and its transmissions have required only mild titivation in the past decade.

The revolution was kickstarted with the long-overdue launch of a new five-pillar cab in 2014, followed by the addition of a fancy armrest three years later and, most recently, a series of nips and tucks to form what is now the fifth generation of the 175-250hp T-series.

The company has also tapped into a growing demand for an automotive-style ordering system, with its Unlimited studio offering buyers the chance to customise their tractors with everything from alternative cab trims and exterior colours to forestry guards and logging cranes.

This has been an unmitigated success, with an estimated 20% of new tractors now passing through the facility. However, it also has the potential to cause production jams that can extend waiting times and delay deliveries.

To speed things up and alleviate some of the pressure, Valtra has now decided to package the most common upgrades into “comfort” and “technology” spec bundles that can be fitted on the main factory line, rather than post-production.

There is a cost-benefit, too, with the premium interior (leather steering wheel, dark trim and chrome details) priced at £1,967 – roughly 75% cheaper than making the equivalent upgrades in the Unlimited studio.