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Review: JCB’s TM420S pivot steer loader proves to be a true all-rounder

Fitted with an eight speed gearbox, a 173hp engine and high flow hydraulics, JCB’s new TM420S would suggest it has all the ingredients to be a capable performer at a number of tasks. Richard Bradley gets behind the wheel to find out more.


Whether it be clamp climbing, feeding stock or generally weaving around a farm yard, JCB’s TM pivot steer, telehandler loader range has found favour on many mixed and livestock farms, both for its performance and jump on and drive operation.


Originally introduced in 1995 with the 409 Telemaster, the TM range now spans six models with lift capacities ranging from 1.8 to 4.1 tonnes. And, it is at the latter end of the spectrum where, as ever, users are seeking more power and more efficiency. With this in mind, the British firm pulled the wraps off its TM420 at Agritechnica in 2017.


Despite sharing the engine, transmission and operator station with the TM320S, a quick glance at the 420 was all you needed to know this was a different weapon altogether. For users looking to shift material in a hurry, the 420 provided a sizeable jump against the 320S. However, its performance as a climber was rather lack-lustre.


Fast forward three years, and JCB finally gave the 420 what it needed all along, more horses and a more refined transmission with torque lockup to climb its way to infinity and beyond.


So, with the offer of an exclusive first drive of the hotly anticipated loader, we sent it to a large-scale dairy farm to see what the 420S is like to live with. Here, a TM420 is in daily use, having clocked up more than 3,000 hours feeding, mucking out pens and assisting in clamp construction during the silly season, all areas which made for some interesting comparison.

Our Verdict

JCB’s engineers have certainly been busy on the TM420S. The standard 420 has proved itself as a materials handler, but thankfully the S offers performance and efficiency gains by the bucket load, both around the yard and most impressively on the pit.


With a good operator at the wheel and a 3m fork on the front, it would be easy to see the 420S keeping up with all but the largest of foragers firing grass into the clamp.


Take it away from the pit and the bendy brute will happily chuck its hand at virtually any job you can think of. Unlike its loading shovel counterparts, the 420S does not require toe tip buckets to load into lorries or mixers, neither does it take as much competence to navigate through traditional farm yards.

  • Bags of power and torque
  • Improved visibility 
  • Cab ergonomics and features
  • 50kph road speed and eight speed transmission
  • Still a large machine for tight yards
  • Steering column is not 'set and forget'
Tech Spec
Machine TypeLoaders
Engine - manufacturerJCB
Engine - capacity (litres)4.8
Rated Power (Hp)173
Maximum torque (Nm)690
Number of gearsEight
Unladen machine weight (kg)9, 800
Featured model's retail price (£)£125, 557
TypePivot steer telehandler
Maximum lift capacity (kg)4, 100
Maximum lift height (mm)5, 450
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