THIS BARE-BONES BUT FIT-FOR-PURPOSE IVECO DAILY PANTECH IS WELL-EQUIPPED FOR BUSINESS-SAVVY FLEETS…
After the double-takes, gawking and jaw-dropping stares provoked by the towering new IVECO Daily 4x4 that Trucksales reviewed recently, it felt like we were suddenly flying 'under the radar' in this distant cousin, the IVECO Daily 45/50C17.
Fitted out with a Pantech body courtesy of Melbourne-based body builder, A 'n' J Transport Solutions, this car-licence-friendly truck is aimed squarely at fleets, and as such is light on accessories and bling but big on practicality, value, and ease of use.
As such it's powered by IVECO's 3.0-litre FIC four-cylinder VGT turbo-diesel, good for a claimed 170hp and 430Nm, although a higher-output twin-stage turbo, producing 205hp/470Nm, is available as a factory option.
Underlining that ease-of-use aspect is this truck's eight-speed HiMatic transmission, from leading Euro transmission specialist, ZF. It's a slick fully automatic unit that first appeared at the last generational update of the Daily, which arrived in Australia back in 2015, and it's a pleasure to use, with integrated Eco and Power modes and a choice of auto or manual sequential shifting.
The addition of the auto broadens the driver pool on which fleets rely to keep their vehicles moving, while this truck's Pantech body is complemented by a Dhollandia tail lift ($15,000). Rated for 750kg, it will do its bit to keep work-related strains and injuries at bay.
In an effort to drive down cost this particular truck sports little more than the bare essentials. It does, however, have a couple of accessories, namely an aftermarket reversing camera ($650, with colour rear-view mirror display) and a parking sensor setup ($500), both from Melbourne-based firm, Go Technologies.
Beyond that, it's a simple affair, although you still get an effective air-conditioning system and the benefit of recent Daily platform updates, like the partially concealed centre dash tray with twin USB charging points (and flanked by concealed compartments either side), and the two-tone fabric upholstery and dash, with a dark blue hue to soften the expanse of black plastic.
It's given the cab a lift, for sure, but this is still clearly a workhorse with strength and durability at its heart. To that end this cab interior should be able to withstand the beating it will invariably cop over its working life, with its mix of hard plastics and a sturdy synthetic flooring well up to some rough treatment.
That said, life is far from unpleasant in this Daily. Ingress and egress are easy thanks to the low step, large door apertures and A-pillar grab handles, and while the driver's seat is basic, with four-way manual adjustment and no armrest, it's comfy enough.
Visibility is excellent, the large side/spot-mirror assemblies providing a good view to the rear, and the aftermarket camera is a welcome addition.
Between the multi-deck door pockets, the dash-top trays, the overhead parcel shelf, the large glove box and the flip-out tray at the bottom of the centre stack, there's no shortage of in-cab storage, and a heap of gear can be stowed underneath the twin bench passenger seat unit.
There's no multimedia system but you do get a basic AM/FM stereo with Bluetooth connectivity. It's a less than intuitive unit to pair with a phone, however, and the reception generally isn't great, but then such concerns aren't going to top most fleet buyers' priority lists. At least the Bluetooth facility has integrated steering-wheel controls.
Electronic cruise control, electric windows and heated and electric mirrors are all part of the deal, and we like touches like the document holder that folds out of the middle seat back, and the electric headlight adjustment.
On the road
Thanks to that HiMatic auto and the punchy turbo-diesel, driving this Daily couldn't be easier.
Our test truck is plated with a GVM of 4495 kilograms and has a GCM of 7995 kilograms, but these figures can be increased to 5200/8700 kilograms respectively, should the driver in question have an appropriate light-rigid truck licence that allows them to take advantage of the payload boost.
Speaking of payload, with this Pantech body fitted IVECO says this particular truck still has a handy maximum payload limit of 1200 kilograms. Of that figure, our load of seven truck wheels accounts for 714 kilograms, or just under 60 per cent of its total permissible payload.
Even so, the performance afforded by the Daily 170hp engine is athletic – it leaps away from a standing start and has enough grunt on tap to make light work of most traffic situations. Certainly it offers plenty of poke for running around town which is, after all, its native habitat.
At 100km/h in eighth gear the tacho is nudging a relaxed 1850rpm, and we left the transmission in Eco mode for most of the week the Daily was in our care. That week saw us cover a mix of city and motorway driving, and at the end of the period we'd achieved a not-too-shabby average fuel economy figure of 12.8L/100km. That also spells a safe range of over 700 kilometres from the 100 litre tank.
The model on test has a 4100mm wheelbase – other wheelbases include 3000mm, 3450mm, 3750mm, 4350mm and 4750mm – and it has a claimed wall-to-wall turning circle of 15.2 metres. To be honest, it feels tighter than that when you're on the road, and you don't need to put in a heap of effort at the wheel either.
With a reasonable load out back the Daily also delivers a pretty decent ride – at no stage did we start wishing we had a higher-spec sprung suspension seat, because the suspension package seemed pretty effective at ironing out the worst of the bumps and potholes.
IVECO's ECAS rear air suspension is available as an option, as is a rear diff lock for those who regularly contend with slippery surfaces, like wet grass or muddy work sites.
The instrumentation looks a little dated in our opinion but it's clear and easy to read, with a central digital display situated between an analogue speedo and tacho. The trip computer is comprehensive and offers up a range of info, from actual and average fuel consumption to ambient temperature, trip time and distance and more.
For those wanting a little more from their Daily, a number of factory option packs are available. The Business Premium Pack adds the IVECONNECT multimedia system with integrated satellite navigation plus fog lights and a reversing buzzer, while the Comfort Pack adds padded headrests, climate control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Finally, the Efficiency Pack adds an Eco mode to models fitted with the six-speed manual transmission (it's standard with the auto), plus an instrument-based oil level indicator and a lane departure warning system.
On the subject of safety, this Daily is equipped with driver and passenger front and side airbags, four-wheel disc brakes, stability control and antilock brakes, the latter with electronic brake force distribution. A hill holder is also provided.
Servicing and backup? IVECO offers a three-year/200,000-kilometre standard warranty and that can be extended at additional cost. Service intervals are pegged at every 40,000 kilometres or 12 months, whichever comes first, and new Dailys come with complementary roadside assistance.
For buyers seeking additional surety of on-going costs, a range of fixed service and maintenance agreements are available, and IVECO also offers its own in-house finance to approved customers through CNH Industrial Capital.
This Daily 50C17 Pantech is a basic little truck but it's well-equipped and well-suited for its intended role. Strong, practical and fitted with a limited but pragmatic list of features, for fleet buyers it makes for a strong commercial proposition.
2019 Iveco Daily 45C17 pricing and specifications:
Price: $76,800 (as tested, drive away)
Engine: Iveco FIC 3.0-litre turbo-diesel
Power: 170hp at 2900rpm to 3500rpm
Torque: 430Nm at 1500rpm to 2600rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed ZF HiMatic automatic
Front suspension: Independent coil/shock with adjustable steel torsion bar
Rear Suspension: Semi-elliptical spring
GVM: 4495kg (5200kg opt)
GCM: 7995kg (8700kg opt)
Towing capacity: 3500kg
Payload (with Pantech body): 1200kg
Fuel tanks: 1 x 100 litres
Emissions compliance: Euro 5/ADR 80/03; EGR
Brakes: Four-wheel disc with ABS