Rod Chapman




There's no two ways about it: in the commercial vehicle world, size does matter. Well, size and payload – and price and whole-of-life costs, for that matter. And, with its Daily 70C18V, Iveco has neatly addressed the lot, while also producing what it proudly proclaims to be, "Australia's largest van".

It's not wrong – with an internal volume of 19.6 cubic metres and a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of seven tonnes, this Daily eclipses any other current volume-production van offering in this country. And with a payload of 3924kg, the company is touting it as a viable alternative to a light-duty pantech truck – with the van benefits of better handling, ride and comfort.

Light rigid licence

Of course, on the other side of the commercial coin, as it were, is the fact you'll need a light rigid truck licence to drive it (at least you will in Victoria – check with the road authorities in your state or territory for the legislation in your neck of the woods).

With a 4100mm wheelbase it's also a reasonable bit of gear to manoeuvre around town – Iveco quotes a kerb-to-kerb turning circle of 14.1 metres – and with a maximum travelling height of 3050mm you can forget multi-storey car parks (while keeping an eye out for low bridges, while you're at it!).

However, despite these inherent issues, the Daily 70C18V is a remarkably easy drive – as Trucksales recently discovered over the course of a week (and roughly 600 kilometres) spent plying Melbourne's motorways and inner-city roads.

Our test van had two blocks of concrete chained down in the load bay for an all-up running weight of 5260 kilograms, or roughly 80 per cent of its GVM. That gave us a good idea of the van's performance with a decent load.

Power and performance

Powering the show is Iveco's FIC 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, which puts out a claimed 180hp (132kW) from 2800 to 3500rpm, and 430Nm from 1500 to 3000rpm. Updated early last year, it's a Euro6 unit with Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) – so there's a 24-litre AdBlue tank in addition to the 100-litre main tank.

Maintaining an AdBlue tank isn't a pain: our test vehicle had nearly 4000 kilometres on its odometer and the AdBlue tank was only down to 50 per cent. Besides, AdBlue is now readily available from many petrol stations.

Getting back to this Daily's performance, the four-cylinder donk really did make light work of the load. There was still decent acceleration on offer from a standing start and the eight-speed auto shifts quickly and smoothly through its ratios, also downshifting readily when braking to add engine braking to the mix.

As an eight-speeder this 'HiMatic' transmission (add $3970) is class leading, says Iveco, and it offers drivers full auto or manual sequential operation, plus 'Eco' and 'Power' modes – all easily accessed via the dash-mounted shifter.

Over our 600-kilometre week, all of it conducted within a 50-kilometre radius of Melbourne's CBD and largely in 'Eco' mode, our loaded Daily achieved an average fuel economy of 14.3L/100km – or nearly 7km per litre. We think you'll agree that's good going, and it also spells a safe working range of over 600 kilometres per tank.

The seven-tonne GVM isn't just a figure stamped on a plate, either. Iveco says this model features thicker chassis rails and uprated front and rear axles compared to its lighter 50C range, plus wider tyres, dual rear wheels and, in our test vehicle's case, Iveco's optional ECAS adjustable rear airbag suspension ($3010).

Handling and comfort

While the performance and load-lugging ability is impressive, the 70C18V isn't let down on the handling, comfort or safety fronts, either.

Dynamically this van – which should be a lumbering hulk of a thing on the road – is no more difficult to drive than your average large SUV or 4WD. Sure, it's over 7.5 metres long and it has a hefty turning circle, but after a short period of acclimatisation it really feels far smaller to manoeuvre than it actually is.

As a rear-wheel drive vehicle there's plenty of steering range on offer up front. It's a fairly fast steering box too, with 3.75 turns of the wheel lock to lock, while the power steering requires only a light touch at the wheel and you sit high in the cab. Forward vision over the bonnet is good.

Executing U-turns soon becomes second nature but we were mindful of the Daily's travelling height, giving South Melbourne's infamous Montague Street bridge (with its 3.0-metre height) a wide berth!

The ride is compliant; between the suspension set up (rear airbag, front coil/shock) and the suspension seating, the Daily offers an appreciably better ride than your average cab-over-engine truck.

Feature-packed cabin

A recent cabin update has given the interior an appreciable lift, with dark blue panels breaking up the sea of black, and all the various control just a short reach away. This test vehicle sports driver and passenger seats both equipped with fold-down armrests, seat heating and lumbar support (add $400 each), in addition to all the usual (manual) adjustment.

It's also fitted with Iveco's Comfort pack which, for $700, gets you a leather-wrapped steering wheel, padded seat headrests, and climate control air-conditioning.

Cabin storage is healthy. There's plenty of floor space between the driver and passenger seats, plus triple-deck door side pockets, overhead shelves, and three dash-top compartments – the outboards ones with hinged lids, the centre one with two USB ports and a 3.5mm jack. There's also a small glovebox (sans lock) on the passenger side, plus a further storage bin at the base of the centre stack.

There are bottle holders in each door side pocket, and a well-placed cup holder at each end of the dash.

The cab is partitioned off from the load bay by a full steel bulkhead with small window. Apart from the obvious safety benefits of not having a range of projectiles spearing straight for the back of your head in any frontal impact or emergency stop, the bulkhead also keeps ambient noise in the cabin to a minimum and boosts the efficiency of the cabin's heating and cooling.

Our van was fitted with a basic head unit with AM/FM radio but no sat-nav. It does have Bluetooth streaming, however, plus voice commands for a Bluetooth-paired mobile phone. Pairing is a quick and easy process, and the sound quality from the twin speakers is good.

For a commercial vehicle the Daily 70C18V has an extensive features list, spanning electronic headlight beam adjustment, fog lights ($200), cornering lights, cruise control, two trip meters, and the aforementioned climate control. This van was also fitted with lane departure warning ($600) which, when combined with its electronic stability control, ABS braking with electronic brake-force distribution, and four airbags (front and curtain), adds up to a comprehensive safety package (for an LCV, anyway).

Voluminous load bay

Aft of the bulkhead is that cavernous load bay, accessed in this instance by barn-style doors at the rear (add $205 for the windows) and a sliding door on each side (the nearside one an all-steel affair, the outside one glazed).

It's a massive space with a tough and reasonably grippy synthetic cover on the wood-topped steel flooring, plus full-height plywood wall protection. There are also 14 sturdy tie-down anchor points and three internal lights, plus grab handles right where you need them.

We measured the load bay at 5170mm long by 1750mm metres wide, with an internal roof height of 2090mm and 1030mm between the wheel arches. That last stat means you can't fit a standard Australian pallet (1165mm x 1165mm) between those wheel arches, but that's no biggie because there's ample room behind them to fit one, even with the presence of the side-mounted spare wheel.

Those rear doors open to nearly 270 degrees, and can also be set at 90 degrees and 180 degrees, while there's a brilliant full-width step to aid rear access that offers plenty of grip.

The load bay floor height is 820mm high when the ECAS air suspension is right down (and with this particular load), and 940mm when fully extended. It takes while pump itself up but it's all done at the press of a button, and there's a mid-height setting too.

We measured the side apertures at roughly 1160mm wide (from the forward grab handle to the shortest point at the aft edge of the entrance, and 1770mm high).

The wiring for the rear window demisters looked exposed and fairly fragile and there were no load bay power sockets, but otherwise this space has everything a courier could want – plus the room to have it decked out with racking and all manner of other fit-outs to suit a multitude of commercial needs.

As for gripes, the spot mirrors in the side mirror assemblies are fixed and I found the one on the driver's side wasn't in the best position. The suspension seat had some irritating squeaks too – nothing that couldn't be fixed with a can of WD-40, we suspect – while the steering wheel is only adjustable for reach, and not tilt.

Finally (and another minor irritation), the speedo of this Italian-made vehicle features the usual European calibrations – i.e. 30, 50, 70, 90, 110km/h etc – and is a mismatch for the common Australian speed limits.

Despite its length our test vehicle wasn't fitted with a reversing camera (a factory option) – although it did have a reversing buzzer ($100) to alert bystanders.

This Daily 70C18V comes with a three-year, 200,000-kilometre factory warranty, with extended warranties available (at extra cost) up to limits of five years, 300,000 kilometres, and 6000 hours. Iveco Australia also offer four different tiers of planned maintenance contracts, from basic servicing up to everything including non-scheduled repairs, each of which comes backed by 24-hour roadside assistance.

Summing up

Punting a van of this size and weight around a major city shouldn't be this easy, but this high-roof Iveco 70C18V is a dynamically impressive, comfortable and capable vehicle.

It may well require a light truck licence to drive and it boasts a light rigid truck's GVM and payload, but it's anything but truck-like on the road, and it has any number of features to keep drivers both safe and smiling.

Add in the healthy fuel economy and the comprehensive warranty, and the benefit of knowing you have the back-up of a commercial vehicle specialist, and this gargantuan Daily gets a big 'thumbs up' from us…

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Iveco Daily 70C18V

Price (as tested, plus GST and ORC): $85,685
Price (starting from, plus GST and ORC): $76,100
Engine: Iveco FIC Euro6 3.0-litre turbo-diesel
Power: 180hp (132kW) at 2800rpm to 3500rpm
Torque: 430Nm at 1500rpm to 3000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed HiMatic automatic
Configuration: 4x2
Front suspension: Independent coil/shock with steel torsion bar
Rear Suspension: ECAS air suspension
GVM: 7000kg
GCM: 10,500kg
Towing capacity: 3500kg (braked)
Payload: 3924kg
Fuel tank: 100 litres
AdBlue tank: 24 litres
Emissions compliance: Euro6 (ADR80/04)
Brakes: Four-wheel disc with ABS and EBD