Iveco Daily van range review

By: Matt Wood


The new Iveco Daily was unveiled in Europe last year. Now the new range has arrived down under, Matt Wood goes for a drive.

 

 

 

 

Daily

 


 

There must be something seriously out of whack with the new IVECO Daily because as I was steering the new van at the local launch recently, it made me smile.

Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) more often than not fall into a yawning, sleep inducing bracket, with the heavy duty big bangers taking all the commercial vehicle glory. But, not this time.

The new Daily has finally been launched down under and the Dandenong mob is excited, in fact they seem barely able to contain their enthusiasm for the new LCV line up.

This rear-wheel-drive van range has had an almost complete redesign, 80 per cent of its structure is brand new. The line-up also has two new engines on offer.

The new Daily range offers quite a few notable new features. There’s a cavernous 20 cubic metre capacity model which looks big enough to park your car in. This would have to be the ultimate hippy bus.

The cab chassis range goes out to 7 ton GVM and has a GCM of 10.5 ton. Factory fitted trays are also available, and there’s even a rather nifty 3-way tipper version of the factory tray.

There’s also a 140hp/350Nm Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) model with claimed range of 560km. Though given the almost complete lack of incentive to adopt alternative fuels in the current political climate it’s hard to see the spark ignition CNG model or even the fully electric Daily model gaining much traction in the near future.

The big beefy off-road 4x4 model misses out on an update until next year which will see it turn up in Euro 6 guise and wearing the new updated shed on its chassis.

Models up to 3.5 ton get Iveco’s new Quad Leaf independent front suspension. Quad Leaf uses a transversely mounted four-leaf spring to take the flex of the double wishbone front end. The heavier models use the Quad Tor torsion bar suspension and there’s also the option of air suspension.

The floor height for van models is just 672mm off the deck which will no doubt make it harder to fall on your face when trotting out with an armload of cartons. The Iveco team are naturally quite chuffed that they nabbed the International Van of The Year gong with the new van and truck range so there’s quite a bit of optimism amongst the local mob about the new line up.

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Engine

The new 205hp 3-litre twin turbo donk pulls like a train and sounds slightly awesome. Which some may say is just downright un-van-like.

It emits a satisfying turbo charged whistle under boost, and even a little bit of exhaust note as it channels its energies into getting a move on in a hurry, even with a load in the back.

I’m always a sucker for some aural induction action, as long as it’s backed up by some performance mumbo along the way. Which thankfully appears to be the case with this new engine in particular as it whistles along to its own distinctive tune.

While the 3-litre engine has 470Nm of torque, the smaller 2.3-litre engine has 106hp of power and 350Nm of torque.

Transmission

The smaller engine gets a new 6-speed manual tranny while the larger engine retains the old 6-speed of the previous model.

The Iveco Daily also uses a smart alternator that engages and disengages depending on load as a part of the chase for fuel economy.

But what really puts some pep into this van for Australian buyers is the availability of an 8-speed ZF sourced torque converter automatic. Iveco call this ‘box Hi-Matic, though it can also be found in other Fiat family vehicles from Jeep to, somewhat jarringly, Maserati.

There are now two players in the large van segment of the market that offer a ‘proper’ auto, the other being the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter which offers a 7-speed 7G-Tronic auto.

Importantly it spells the end of the constantly compromised and widely maligned automated Agile transmission. In fact, self-shifting manual transmissions always seem to struggle with low speed performance.

LCV is a hard application for these robot ‘boxes as the constantly changing load and road conditions of some applications still tends to confuse even the best of them.

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Cab and Controls

The interior is claimed to be more car like. And I have to admit I take exception to this. Why is car like the measure of a good interior? Why can’t it be ergonomic, comfortable and van-like? Why is being like a commercial vehicle such a bad thing?

In fact, ergonomics are even more important in a commercial vehicle than in most cars as the driver spends a lot more time behind the wheel. Be comfortable, be van-like, be ergonomic and be proud!

End of sermon.

A locally developed sat nav multi-media unit keeps the tunes coming as well as providing a screen for reverse cameras etc.

However, work is continuing on developing a unit that can use Iveco’s proprietary IVECONNECT telematics system. At this stage the system is confined to Euro 6 product on its home turf.

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Performance

Iveco Australia kindly lined up a cross section of the range for us to drive at the Australian Automotive Research Centre at Anglesea in Victoria. Big little, loaded and unloaded it was actually my first drive of the new platform in right hand drive guise.

Entry and exit is easy and visibility once planted behind the wheel is quite good. The Hi-Matic transmission selector, however, takes a little working out and is a little fiddly to use for the first time. You’re left scrabbling about a bit with the stick until you get used to the set up.

Once you get rolling you soon realise that NVH isn’t really the Iveco Daily’s strong point.

Regardless of powerplant both engines make themselves known when put to work. But what the Daily lacks in silence it makes up for in road manners. And only a few paragraphs ago I was waxing lyrical about the 3 litre engines soundtrack so it just goes to show where my priorities lie.

The torsion bar front end does a nice job under the bigger models. And the cab-chassis is a great example of a little Euro truck. Bear in mind that the largest 70C model will take a payload of 4,500kg. The 205hp engine is a nice fit in this part of the range.

But the sweet spot in the range for me is the lighter end of the spectrum. The Quad-leaf front end is a cracker on the road. It provides nice feedback through the wheel and changes direction very nicely.

Dropping a wheel of the edge of the asphalt doesn’t upset it very much either. Again I’m reluctant to go down the car-like path but it is a very nice handling van. Turning circle isn’t too shabby either; the 9 cubic metre model has a 10.5 metre turning circle.

The bigger engine and the new auto are a great match and performance is smooth and impressive. And while the engine note may seem a little raw and lacking in finesse it’s still at the same time a rather satisfying drive.

The Australian Iveco team has high hopes for this engine and transmission combination in emergency roles like the Ambulance services. Of course postal and courier work will also favour a true full fluid auto.

It will probably find favour with the motorhome crown as well. 

Of course the target markets for this vehicle won’t really care that much about what it sounds like. Uptime and reliability and cost of ownership are much more of a concern in this market segment.

The redesign has seen improved aerodynamics with Iveco claiming a four per cent reduction in fuel consumption. And if planet saving is your thing there’s also a torque reducing ECO mode that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy about yourself until the next big hill.

And if you happen to be an evil fleet owner you can also choose to reduce your running costs by locking your fleet into ECO mode. You may also have to start wearing headphones in the office so you can turn the music up when drivers start whingeing.

Iveco Daily 2, ATN

 

Verdict

Standard warranty is three years, 200,000 kilometres and capped price servicing applies for three years or 120,000 kilometres. Service intervals are up to 40,000 kilometres or every 800 hours.

The new Iveco Daily range and the new auto ‘box is a nice package with some real highlights. And while fit and finish still lets the side down a little there’s every reason to think that the new van stable at Iveco will be ticking over nicely in the near future.

 

Specifications

Engines: 2.3-litre 4 cylinder turbo diesel / 3-litre 4 cylinder turbo diesel

Power: 106hp / 350Nm (2.3) 205hp / 470Nm

Transmission: 6-speed manual / 8-speed torque converter automatic.

Van Cubic Capacity: 7.3 cubic metres to 19.6 cubic metres.

Cab Chassis GVM: 3,500kg to 7,000kg

 

To read the full Iveco Daily van range review in ATN’s August issue, subscribe here.

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