GREG CARLOSS: I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to drive a tractor. And, so far, this is as close as I’ve come. Well, today that a big way. To many people, the word “tractor” conjures up images of rusty old machines with metal seats and tiny front wheels. But, today’s farmer is working with something a bit more complex.

BRIAN GOTT: My name is Brian Gott, I work for Hoober Incorporated here at New Windsor, Maryland.

GREG CARLOSS: Hoober Inc. has multiple farm equipment dealerships, and Brian was nice enough to indulge my desire for a tractor test with the cream of the crop.

BRIAN GOTT: This is a 2021 Mag 280 AFS Connect from CNH...this tractor would be used in a row crop application. Pulling a planter, pulling a tillage piece...

GREG CARLOSS: Pulling all that equipment takes torque...and lots of it. So, similar to the Cummins you’d find in a RAM Heavy Duty pickup, this Case-IH Magnum 280 uses an inline 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. But at 8.7-liters, it's bigger than anything you can get in a pickup truck. And if you think modern cars have big wheels, this sends power to the soil through 50-inchers wrapped in 6-foot tall rubber. Once inside I feel like I’m in the cockpit of a luxury 747.

BRIAN GOTT: Everything you need to do is viewed...touch screen as controls, heat, AC, radio controls, your cell phone. Fuel, oil pressure, temperature, transmission pressure.

GREG CARLOSS: I’m intimidated by this thing. What happens if I pull or push or anything?

BRIAN GOTT: That’s got a lot of things going on there. That’s your throttle, that’s your shift lever. You can raise or lower the far as the auto guidance, you know, it’s gonna do 90% of your work.

GREG CARLOSS: Yeah, you heard that right. Using GPS, This thing can drive itself with accuracy down to the sub-inch. Letting an 11-foot tall tractor navigate around a field on its own is cool and all, but I came to drive. And here we go out on the road. Full throttle! This model uses a Powershift transmission with 19 forward gears as well as 4 reverse gears. Can I go up through the gears pretty quickly or?

TYLER RAHMER: Oh yeah you can just hold it up.

GREG CARLOSS: Just hold it and just get up to speed? 28...29...30. We hit 30!

TYLER RAHMER: Downhill you could probably hit 32

GREG CARLOSS: I think we could. Maybe at the hands of a better driver. She rides pretty smooth, man. It feels good.

TYLER RAHMER: It’s like you’re floating.

GREG CARLOSS: Yeah that’s exactly what it’s like. Not only does this tractor float like a Bentley, it’s priced like one too. At $200,000, this Magnum 280 costs about the same as a Bentayga. But the buyer is likely to see a much bigger return on investment. 

BRIAN GOTT: These are more designed for the guy that’s making a paycheck with it. It’s not a play vehicle, no. It’s a workhorse. 

GREG CARLOSS: For me, piloting this 30,000 pound tractor was like playing with a big toy. But it’s really an indispensable tool for today’s farmer and without a doubt more vital to our society than most of the cars and trucks I’ve ever driven.