Iveco Daily van review

By: Matt Wood


We got behind the wheel of the new-look Iveco Daily van range

Iveco Daily van review
The new Iveco Daily is expected to be launched in Australia in early 2015.

 

The new Iveco Daily van and cab chassis models have been unveiled to dealers and media from across the Asia Pacific region.

I had the chance to test drive the new range at the Fiat proving ground at Balocco in northern Italy.

A complete cross section of the range was available to drive on a number of varying circuits and road surfaces.  

The new vehicle has had 80 per cent of its architecture completely redesigned and new drive trains have been launched.

However, the Iveco van retains the traditional ladder frame chassis that has long been a characteristic of the rear wheel drive Daily.  

The line-up displayed at the event showcased vans with cubic capacities from 7.3 cubic metres to a massive 19.6 cubic metres.

GVM for the van range also tops out at seven tonnes.

Cab chassis variants also cater for task from 3.5 to seven tonnes GVM.

The significant redesign has meant that the Daily has a new look that shies away from the somewhat bug-eyed look of many contemporary European brands.  

The cockpit and drivers seating position has been revamped with focus on driver comfort and seating position.   

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Engine

New engines from Fiat Power Train (FPT) are a part of the range with capacities ranging from 2.3 litres to three litres and power outputs from 106hp to 205hp.

Euro 5 versions use exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) while Euro 6 versions use a combination of EGR and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for exhaust after treatment.

I climbed into the short wheel base 35-150 Iveco Daily van early on in the day and found this to be a definite sweet spot in the range.  

The new 2.3 litre engine and the new manual transmission was a nice combination and punted the rear wheel drive van along nicely.

The seven-tonne Daily cab-chassis with the three-litre engine at 170hp also performed nicely.

The long wheel base van and the twin-turbo 205hp/470Nm three-litre engine also made for a sweet combination.  

At speeds as high as 160km/h on the closed circuit the 4100mm wheel base van proved exceptionally stable and well-behaved. Clearly an Autobahn stormer with long distance legs.

Transmission

Transmission options are currently limited to a six-speed manual or six-speed automated AGile gearbox.

Iveco has confirmed that a torque converter auto is currently in development and should be available by mid-2015.

The downside of the three-litre engine is the use of the older generation manual transmission which does feel a little heavy and truck-like to operate in comparison with the new box behind the 2.3 litre.

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Handling

A new ‘Quad Leaf’ double wishbone independent front end has been fitted to vehicles at the lighter end of the range, while higher capacity units however use a torsion bar front end.  

What highlighted the 2.3 litre Iveco package was the handling of the new wishbone-leaf front end which even at maximum capacity provided excellent road manners in tight off-camber corners and at high speed.  

The three-litre Daily variant was equipped with pneumatic rear suspension that rode tight corners nicely and the torsion bar front end provided nice feedback and handling.

Cab and Controls

The cockpit has also been redesigned and the interior now boasts five covered storage areas, and the driver’s seating position has also copped a make-over.

However, the Daily still doesn’t get a tilt steering column. I’m told that this is due to the driver’s airbag and safety concerns regarding the angle of the wheel in an accident. The battery compartment has also been relocated to under the driver’s seat.

An Eco pack is available on the new Daily line-up that includes a start-stop function and a soul destroying torque and speed-limiting function.

The options list for the European range is made up of most of the usual extras like climate control, rear vision camera, a touchscreen MP3 Bluetooth sound system with navigation. But also on the European options list is rear air suspension on some models, a Telma electromagnetic retarder, and an air suspended driver’s seat.

The cockpit of the new Daily is well set out and a nice place to be and everything is where you need it to be.

Like most of its European contemporaries the manual gear shift is also well-positioned and intuitive to use. Document storage, cup holders and storage bins are also well placed for the working day.

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Performance

It didn’t take long to identify the sweet spot in the Daily range. The lighter duty 35-150 has benefited significantly from new developments.

The 106hp (77.9kW) 2.3-litre engine was a willing performer and backed by a new slick shifting 6-speed tranny which made the whole driveline a nice package, but the best test of any LCV is handling at speed with some weight on its back and again the little 35 was a stand-out, something I put down to the characteristics of the Quad-Leaf front end.

On tight undulating curves the 35 handled so beautifully I even cut the apex of a few turns and dropped a wheel of the tarmac at speed to see how the Daily would cope but it refused to be unsettled.

Jumping behind the wheel of the larger 3-litre variants also showcased the agility of the revised platform. However, the older transmission from the previous model that has been slotted behind the new engine takes some of the gloss off the package.

A car-like driving experience is what Iveco promotes in the Daily, however, with the heavier tranny, the shift is slower and you can feel some driveline kick-back through the stick. It also gets a little noisy when worked hard.

Admittedly the larger 7-tonne cab chassis is in light truck territory rather than in the automotive domain but it still lacks some finesse when compared to some of its European and Japanese competition.

Yet it was the top of the power tree 205hp (150.8kW)/470Nm twin turbo that really stood out in the heavier Daily variants.

Enough so that I was prepared to overlook the less civilised feel of the older cog-box.

Really this is about as sporty as it gets for a truck journo.

In a standing 400m sprint the largest van variant on super single wheels had a terminal speed of 115km/h and comfortably maintained 160km/h on the high-speed circuit with a good couple of tonnes in the back.

Pedal layout and plastic panelling in the driver’s foot well were a bit of a gripe as I kept snagging my feet on parts of panels as I drove, especially during emergency braking manoeuvres. Admittedly, most won’t come across this in everyday use on the road.

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Verdict

Overall the new Daily appears to be a neat LCV package with some real standout models in the range. It will be here before you can learn to say "more Limoncello" in Gaelic.

 

Specifications

(EUROPEAN)

Make/model: Iveco Daily

Engines: 2.3-litre F1A turbo diesel variable geometry turbo (VGT) or waste gate turbo depending on power rating. 3-litre F1C turbo diesel VGT, waste gate or twin turbocharging depending on power rating. CNG option also available.  

Power/torque: F1A; 106hp-146hp (77.9-107.4kW) / 270Nm-350Nm. F1C: 146hp-205hp (107.4-150.8kW) / 350Nm-470Nm. CNG: 136hp (100kW) / 350Nm

Transmission: 6-speed manual, 6-speed Agile automated, torque converter automatic in development.

Wheel base: 3,000mm-4,100mm (Van); 3,000mm-4,750mm (cab-chassis)

GVM: (Van/Cab-chassis): 3.3-7 tonnes / 3.3-7 tonnes

Capacity: 7.3-19.a6 cubic-metres

 

 

 

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