BIG ON FLEXIBILITY

Paul Matthei

Diesel Magazine

16/10/2018

A VEHICLE THAT HAS BEEN SELLING WELL FOR THE IVECO BUSINESS HAS BEEN THE DAILY VAN. THE BIGGEST OF THE MODELS ON OFFER IS THE 70C WITH A SEVEN-TONNE GVM ON A 4,100 MM WHEELBASE. THIS IS THE MODEL POD TOOK FOR A DRIVE AROUND BRISBANE, THROUGH THE SUBURBS AND INTO THE CBD.

One of the things that can be said about this van is, it is bloody big. With a seven tonne GVM (gross vehicle mass) and a claimed 20 m3 internal capacity (actually 19.6 m3), the difference between driving this and a competitor from Japan, with a wider chassis and a box on the back, is all about the dynamics. This van is long and narrow, when compared to a Japanese truck with equivalent capacity.

The low floor in the rear also means this option has a lower centre of gravity, even when loaded to the roof. Even with a lot of freight on board, the low load height does make for considerable ease in getting this van around a roundabout, especially compared with a pantech body.

The Iveco Daily 70C is the biggest van on the market with a substantial weight carrying capacity. This Euro-6 van is available in volume capacities of 16, 18 and 19.6cm³. The exhaust gas emissions rules are met through a combination of SCR (selective catalytic reduction) using AdBlue and EGR (exhaust gas recirculation). The engine also uses a variable geometry turbo to maintain boost throughout the rev range.

The design gives the operator a lot of flexibility. It can haul heavy freight, but it can also fit in a large volume of lighter freight. There would be little point in buying this van with the lower roof if you only carry heavy freight. A tray back would be more applicable, but most trucks or vans working at this GVM are expected to handle many and varied loads. This is where this model’s flexibility comes into its own.

Being a narrower vehicle does make it a little easier to get around the tighter areas in the middle of the city and to access some of the more awkward loading and unloading bays, which are the bane of the life of urban delivery drivers. Big sliding doors either side and barn doors at the rear, which open all of the way, make this a flexible and adaptable option.

The 180hp engine is a torquey little three-litre performer, which is brought to life when coupled with the excellent eight-speed Hi-Matic torque converter automatic transmission, supplied by ZF. The driver only ever needs to select Eco mode. Anything more punchy is wasted in a delivery van. Even in Eco it outperforms any of the opposition in terms of getting away at the lights and having some fun.

The Hi-Matic is a smart auto and probably includes an inclinometer as it won’t change up going downhill and picks the correct ratio precisely for any scenario. The transmission reacts well to any impulse from the right foot on the accelerator. If the driver sends a clear message they want the van to get up and go, it does exactly that.

The power along with the 430Nm of torque means this van feels like it’s doing it easy. It sits at just over 2,000 rpm cruising along the highway at 100km/h. The other transmission option available in this model is the Iveco six-speed synchromesh double overdrive gearbox, which is available throughout the Daily range.

The van itself is eminently drivable. The seats are particularly comfortable. The specification includes all of the latest safety features and, for the driver, it is so quiet in the cabin as the van is driving around town or out on the highway.

The level of comfort also makes this a good long distance delivery option. It would be no problem to hit the highway in this van for 10 hours if the need arose. With a comfortable cabin, a good seating position, on the suspended seats, and good visibility all round, this is an excellent highway runner.

Visibility is excellent out through the windows. They are set low enough to mean any obstruction is clear, even very close to the van. The rear view mirrors are okay. Nothing spectacular, with relatively limited adjustment. If the load in the cargo area is low enough the driver can use the rearview mirror to see out through the rear doors.

Another contrast with Japanese trucks, against which this van can compete, is the big storage bins in the doors. There is room to carry quite a lot of odds and ends here. There is also a large tray and a popup lid on top of the dash for more storage and further long-term storage under the floor, under the seats. There is also a substantial drinks holder lined up with the A pillar on both driver and passenger side.

The driver remains well informed with concise data on the dashboard. They remain comfortable with the climate control and bluetooth connectivity delivers an excellent entertainment system.

It is the van’s ease for the driver that is one of the main takeaways from this test drive. This is a simple machine to play with. It’s also a definitely cool Italian interior design, which even in a delivery van does have some value.