Test Drive: Iveco's baby Daily out on the town

By: Matt Wood


With a new styling and more modest footprint, how does the smaller of Iveco’s Daily van range compete in the busy delivery van market? Matt Wood finds out

Test Drive: Iveco's baby Daily out on the town
Iveco's smaller Daily model.

 

There are some situations that automotive engineers can’t replicate on a test track. Often it’s not until the new product has been let loose upon the market that some things come to light.

For example, some two years ago I was observing the newly launched Iveco Daily at its global launch in Turin.

Admittedly Iveco operatives had made sure that I’d been suitably subdued with copious amounts of rich food and champers during the launch festivities.

A Daily van sat on static display at the Royal Palace as mood lighting played over its bold new lines which were reflected in the polished terrazzo floor beneath.

Fountains bubbled quietly in the gardens and chamber music softly echoed around the vast halls.

The new look of the Daily was clearly a welcome turn about over the old bulbous styling of the past.

Clutching a fresh glass of bubbly I climbed aboard for a better look inside. Again the interior was a new look and much improved.

I sat in the suspended driver’s seat, placed my glass in the cup holder and tried to impress media colleagues from around the globe with my authoritative opinions. Luckily they were viewing all this through a bubbly induced haze as well.

We were expansive in our opinions, we even indulged in a little hyperbolic praise. I laughed, they laughed, we all laughed. It was a good time.

Little did I know that I’d be cursing that same fresh looking interior two years later all because of a car park ticket.

I recently had the keys to the baby of the Daily range, a very well dimensioned 35S13. Which basically means it’s a 9 cubic metre van with a payload capacity of 1.5 ton.

I decided to park it for the night at a pay and display car park in Melbourne’s CBD and purchased a $40.00 parking ticket. I placed the ticket on the dashboard and shut the door.

 

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The gentle waft of the closing door ruffled the ticket and it disappeared from view. I swore and opened the door again. The ticket had slid down a yawning gap between the windscreen and dash pad, and completely out of sight.

Three pipe cleaners and an hour’s worth of swearing, muttering, and threats of violence later I emerged triumphant. The ticket was retrieved, which saved me the bother of removing the dash. Which considering the only tools at my disposal was the jack handle from under the seat, some at Iveco may have had an issue with this.

I bet Iveco engineers didn’t see that scenario coming.

Comedic car park antics aside, dimensionally the baby Daily is quite a useful little load lugger. It’s modest footprint means that it just fits into a standard car parking spot yet it has a much bigger capacity than the more run of the mill competitors in the mid-sized van segment.

It’s a big van wearing a little van’s clothes.

A 2.3-litre, 93kW F1A turbo-diesel sends power to the rear wheels via an 8-speed full auto (read torque converter) cog ‘box.

The front end features a double wish bone IFS set up that uses a single leaf spring that runs across the front cross member.  

The rear barn doors open 270 degrees to make forklift access easier. The side sliding door also allows forklift and Aussie sized pallet access.

Well-placed tie-down rings dot the cargo area but are not recessed. In roles where unpalletised boxes are being transported the tie-down boltheads are box rippers for sure. 

An IVECONNECT multi-media touch screen on the dash displays media, nav and the view from the reverse camera. Additional cameras can be fitted if required.

The driver’s seat is an ISRI suspension unit and the driver can dial their weight into the spring for efficient damping.

As the baby Daily is essentially from a large van lineup, it retains the high seating position of the rest of the range. This gives a commanding view of the surrounds.

Driver access is also good with a decent sized step into the cockpit.

 

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This van had been set up for a parcel delivery fleet and as such featured a load rated mesh bulkhead.

For walk through duties the Daily had plenty of room between the seats to walk into the cargo area if the mesh wasn’t fitted.

The dash uses hard plastics which, while not especially luxurious, fit the bill for a hard working vocational box on wheels.

The star of the Daily show however is the ZF-sourced Hi-Matic 8-speed auto. It turns what could be a fairly pedestrian commercial offering into a slick round town delivery machine.

The F1A donk isn’t exactly brimming with power but the auto puts that output to good use. It’s a set and forget proposition in urban traffic.

Maneuverability too is excellent and I put this to the test around Melbourne’s CBD laneways. Height restrictions aside, there really wasn’t anywhere I couldn’t go.

On the highway however the Daily wasn’t as composed.

The larger models with their long wheel bases, torsion bar front ends and bigger 3-litre engines handle freeways well. The shorty Daily however, isn’t overly comfortable on the open road.

 

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The short wheelbase gives a choppy ride and the price paid for excellent maneuverability is twitchy handling. And the smaller engine is rather coarse at higher rpm. But it does do the job well, especially at the high end of the torque curve between 2,500 and 3,000rpm.

We didn’t load it to max weight but with 300kg of bagged product on board it rode and hauled well. As you’d expect from a 1.5ton payload van the ride was pretty jiggly without some weight on its springs.

Fit and finish does let the Daily down though. Gaps in the hard plastics are uneven and then there’s the aforementioned dash/windscreen gap.

In the work day hurly burly of a courier it’s not hard to see a con note disappearing down there.

The overhead storage shelf isn’t deep enough to hold a clipboard properly either.

The lidded storage on top of the dash is handy though and means that items like phones can be hidden away from prying eyes.

Unfortunately the Daily’s climate control system also hasn’t improved, it struggles to maintain a consistent temperature sometimes switching randomly from blowing cold to hot if a shadow passes over the cab in traffic.

My only other niggle is the speedo markings. The speedo shows 50, 90 and 110km/h markings while the more common Aussie limit markers for 60, 80 and 100km/h are blank markers on the dial which takes a while to get used to, especially in a speed camera happy state like Victoria.

 

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Final thoughts

The 35S13 has all the hallmarks of a great urban delivery unit.

It’s easy to see out of and steer. And the performance of the driveline in auto guise is fantastic.

I also found it pretty frugal on juice with a combined economy figure of 10L/100km. It’s only the small details that let it down somewhat.

The Iveco Daily 35S13 (auto) as driven here has a list price of $52,873 excluding GST and on-road costs and comes with a 36 month/200,000km warranty.

This includes 100 per cent coverage on parts and labour.

 

 

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