The IVECO minibus range has been boosted with the inclusion of a 22-seater to do battle with a couple of established brands. We got one for an extended drive around Melbourne
The IVECO Daily is a massively versatile machine. It can be purchased as a van, a cab/chassis (lending it to all sorts of bodies), and even a minibus. It can come with GVMs from 4.5 tonnes, meaning it can be driven on a car licence, right up to seven tonnes or more.
Of late, the Daily minibus has been available in minibus guise with seating for 11 plus the driver or 16 plus the driver. However, recently, the team at IVECO in Melbourne have reconfigured the Daily Minibus so that it can now accommodate 22 people plus the driver taking it up into the realms of the established players like Fuso with the Rosa which has seating for 24 or the Toyota Coaster with a similar capacity to the IVECO.
The Daily is powered by a four-cylinder Euro 6 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine that has quoted outputs of 135kW at 2800 to 3500rpm and 430Nm at 1500 to 3000rpm. Co-incidentally, the Fuso Rosa has figures of 129kW at 2860 to 3500rpm and 430Nm from 1600 to 2860Nm.
The Daily has an eight-speed ZF fully automatic transmission which, on test, proved to be a really good match for the engine.
The configuration of the Daily is such that the driver isn’t sitting right over the front wheels but slightly aft, and the driving position is not bolt-upright so it’s a pretty comfortable drive.
The driver gets a very nice suspension seat which is multi-adjustable and very comfortable. The steering wheel is telescopic but not adjustable for tilt. That said, it’s not hard to find a suitable setting.
All the controls are close to the driver and within easy reach. I found the vision to be particularly good and the mirrors are fabulous. They’re not exceptionally big, but they’re positioned so that you get a really good view behind and down the sides of the bus. The thin A pillars and big quarter windows really help here too.
The Daily is fitted with the IVECONNECT infotainment system for all your connectivity and also a pretty good reversing camera.
There are separate air-conditioning units for the driver and the passenger compartment with the passenger A/C coming out from vents near the luggage racks.
And there is separate heating in the floor and an extraction fan in the roof.
Getting in and out isn’t a chore with a wide step for the driver, but I would like a grab handle on the A pillar for climbing in as I found I was grabbing the steering wheel, which is not ideal.
For the passengers there is a big ‘plug door’ that pops out and slides back to reveal a couple of good-sized stops up to the passenger area. Head height is quoted at 1.82 metres, which meant I could walk the length of the bus with no trouble.
The seats are locally fitted in six rows of a two-one pattern with four across the back. The seats are comfortable and have integrated seatbelts but like the other buses of this size, the width precludes the addition of arm rests.
The trade-off for the extra seating over the 16-seater is that there is no room behind the last row of seats for luggage. That said, the Daily does have the best tow rating of the sector at 3500kg.
The other two protagonists in the 22-seat bus category have tow ratings under 2000kg.
The IVECO Daily Minibus in Euro 6 guise does have plenty of safety features including driver airbag, four-wheel discs with ABS, lane departure warning, and IVECO's 'ESP9' stability control, the latter packaging features like brake force distribution, traction control, adaptive load control, trailer sway control, rollover mitigation and a hill holder, among others.
The Daily also has independent torsion-bar front suspension and dual wheels and air bag rear suspension, meaning that it rides at the same height whether it's laden or not.
GVM for the Daily is 6100kg, meaning that you’ll need a light-rigid truck licence or better to drive it.
On the road
The Daily Minibus is surprisingly easy to drive. As mentioned, vision from the driver’s seat is great, comfort levels are car-like and it has a quiet and refined ride.
The engine and transmission are well matched and it’s quick off the mark and can more than easily keep up with the traffic – even on the freeways.
This is no doubt due to the fact that the seventh and eighth gears are both overdrives. Sixth gear is direct 1:1, seventh is 0.839 and eighth is a tall 0.667.
This makes for some pretty good economy figures and although we didn’t get to do a proper economy run on the Daily we were told that in testing by IVECO, they were achieving around 12-13L/100km, which is great for a bus of this size.
The transmission has two modes, Economy and Power, with Economy being the default, and it’s no slug in that mode. Power obviously holds onto the lower gears longer and higher in the rev range, but it will also hold gears on hill descents for a bit of extra engine braking.
It’s a very manoeuvrable beast too with a kerb-to-kerb turning diameter of 12 metres, which is better than some dual-cab utes we’ve tested. This is mainly due to the tight steering afforded by the independent front suspension, and the fact that although the vehicle has an overall length of 7.515 metres, it has a relatively short wheelbase at 4.10 metres.
The IVECO Daily Minibus E6 22+1 Shuttle is a worthy contender in this category. In fact, it’s more worthy than I thought it would be. After recently driving the Fuso Rosa, which I thought to be the benchmark bus in this category, I was pleasantly surprised by the Daily.
It's quick, it's comfortable to drive and ride in, and it has all the necessary equipment for a bus that could be used in many applications such as airport transfer, school, aged care, short-haul tours or even rental.
The Daily’s manoeuvrability lends itself to urban and city applications, although it is equally capable of highway touring given its long-legged gearing and torquey engine.
The IVECO Daily is reasonably well equipped in the safety department but it doesn’t have autonomous emergency braking as the Fuso does. One omission which may sway some buyers, but apart from that it’s right up there.
The IVECO is covered by a two-year, 200,000km warranty and service intervals are a lengthy 40,000km.
Type: 180hp IVECO FIC (EURO 6) four-stroke diesel with direct-injection, variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) and intercooler
Maximum Output: 180hp at 2800-3500rpm
Maximum Torque: 430Nm at 1500 -3000rpm
Emissions Technology: Exhaust Gas Recirculation system + Selective Catalytic Reduction
Total Displacement: 3.0 litre
Exhaust: Horizontally positioned muffler on the right side and tailpipe located mid-way down right side of vehicle.
Eight-speed ZF Torque Converter Automatic (Hi-Matic with ECO mode)
Type: 8V470A (180hp)
1st 4.696, 2nd 3.130, 3rd 2.104, 4th 1.667, 5th 1.285, 6th 1.000, 7th 0.839 OD, 8th 0.667 DOD, Rev. 3.297
FRONT AXLE & SUSPENSION
Axle: Independent wheels
Suspension: Independent with torsion bar
REAR AXLE & SUSPENSION
Axle: Rigid, Twin wheel
4100L: Ratio 4.3
Suspension: Pneumatic Air Suspension with ECAS
Type: ABS + ESP
Front: Disc brakes
Rear: Disc brakes
Parking Brake: Manual brake operating on rear axle
Service Brakes: Dual circuit with vacuum servo
Pad wear warning light for front and rear brakes
Fuel Tank Capacity: 90 litres
AdBlue Tank: 25 litres