Ag machinery maker John Deere has released details of the new 5M models set to hit the New Zealand market next year.
The RMax 2 is what the manufacturer describes as being “truly dual-purpose”… “equipped for the toughest of on-farm duties” but just as capable of a high-voltage “blast” on the weekend.
Featuring subdued green paintwork, broken up by camouflage inserts, the look gives little indication of the machine’s capability. However, the large wheel arch openings and wheel and tyre equipment might just give a clue. Cranking things up leads to a grunty, burbling exhaust note – a further clue to this potential.
At its heart, a 1000cc, DOHC parallel twin revs freely to an 8,500rpm redline – with a smooth, linear action that delivers more than enough power for any job. Housed in a solid, durable frame, its power is directed through Yamaha’s well-known Ultramatic transmission, with a sprag-clutch layout that offers controlled engine braking in downhill terrain.
In use, the ease of selection of the High, Low, Neutral, Reverse and Park positions, via a stubby lever on the centre tunnel is noteworthy. Meanwhile, the handbrake – located in the same position – also falls easily to hand.
The final part of the transmission sees the option of choosing On-Command 2WD, 4WD with Limited Slip Diff or 4WD with a locked front diff. The latter combines with the locked rear assembly to give go-anywhere capability. Choices are made by a simple rotary dial to the left of the steering column, with a selection of driving modes on a similar dial to the right.
Sport Mode offers maximum acceleration, fast engine response and smooth engine braking. A flick to the right engages Trail Mode, offering a more relaxed driving style – with smoother acceleration and full engine braking. Crawl Mode delivers smooth throttle control, with slower more controllable response.
Although the latter suggests it is for extreme terrain, our test found it ideally suited to on-farm duties. It keeps the machine more restrained in places like muddy gateways, steep inclines or on lateral traverses.
Also deserving of a special mention is the heavy-duty suspension system. This is set up to offer maximum articulation at low speeds, with good balance as speed increases, leading to a predictable ride in all types of terrain. At its heart, wide A-arm components are combined with long-travel Fox-2 shocks for impressive damping, with the choice of three settings, easily adjusted by hand.
In the cabin, a tilt steering column makes access easy through the saloon-style lower doors. This also serves to keep the leg area clean and within the vehicle perimeters. A bucket style seat offers firm support, with the extra security of a diagonal seat belt, which also combines an engine output inhibitor function if not engaged.
At the business end, the tilting cargo bed incorporates hydraulic assistance, a drop-down tailgate and 270kg capacity, while the rear 2-inch receiver offers a very useful 907kg towing capacity.
The shoulder guards are a little intrusive for wider shouldered drivers and the lack of a gutter around the roof assembly leads to a wet left leg if it’s raining. Well thought out, the Rmax2 doesn’t throw up much not to like.