Chris Mullett




There have been some productive changes in the way that Italian van and truck maker, IVECO, has been faring in the Australian market, all largely due to the increasing oversight of its business by its parent company, Case New Holland Industrial.    

In the commercial vehicle van and light-truck segment, IVECO has been quietly improving its sales performance for the Daily over the first six months of this year (YTD June VFacts).

In real terms this sees the sales performance for the vans rising from 45 units to 63, compared with the first six months of 2015, while the cab/chassis versions have increased their retail performance from 310 to 361 units, over the same period.    

The renewed interest in the Daily range of products comes off the back of the launch of the latest Daily back in 2015 in Europe, where its arrival was acknowledged by the award of International Van of the Year.    

Delivery Magazine spent a week recently with the 35-170 van, complete with rear barn doors, sliding side load doors on each side and a size that IVECO calls small, but any other manufacturer would call medium.    

You get a lot for your money, especially when you start the evaluation by looking at the engine and driveline. Supplied by Fiat Powertrain, there’s a choice between two engine options, a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder diesel using a standard turbocharger with a wastegate and intercooler, or a 3.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel with a variable geometry turbocharger and intercooler. Both engines conform to Euro 5 emissions legislation and use exhaust gas recirculation rather than selective catalytic reduction, hence, at this level of emissions standards, there’s no need for AdBlue (diesel exhaust fluid).

It pays to pick your engine choice carefully, with those around town perhaps opting for the 2.3-litre and those intending to head out on longer runs picking the 3.0-litre. The power outputs are 93 kW at 3000-3600 rpm or 125 kW at 2900-3500 rpm with peak torque of 320 Nm at 18002500 rpm and 430 Nm at 1500-2600 rpm respectively.    

If you like manual cog-swapping, the standard sixspeed double overdrive synchromesh transmission shifts smoothly and is a highly capable unit, with 6th ratio offering 0.685:1 with the 2.3-litre.    

The 3.0-litre engine is matched to a single overdrive unit with a final drive ratio of 0.791:1. The jewel in the crown here, as far as specs go, is the availability of the ZF eightspeed fully-fluid automatic. With a double overdrive ratio on 7th and 8th gears, topping out at 0.79:1, you will be able to see fuel economy figures as low as 8.4 l/100 km for those with a tendency to light pedal pressure. The rear axle ratio as tested was 3.6:1.   

The 35-170 as tested by Delivery Magazine came with the 3.0-litre engine matched to the eight-speed ZF Hi-Matic automatic transmission and was immediately impressive in its acceleration off the line, despite it carrying a 400 kg load everywhere.   

With a full width and full height bulkhead separating the driving compartment from the cargo area, there was very little evidence of road noise generation working its way into the cabin. Both the driver and passenger seats were upmarket suspension units, individually adjustable for occupant weight and also heated. There’s room for a twin passenger seat if you forgo the suspension seat, but by having two singles there’s plenty of room for a floor-mounted fridge unit between the seats.

Driver and passenger safety is right up there with the highest of levels. Both occupants are protected by SRS airbags with seat belt pre-tensioners, plus side curtain SRS airbags. Although an integral GPS unit is available, our test vehicle came without this feature, but did include a rearvision camera for reversing.    

The suspension under the front end is a double wishbone set-up with a transverse leaf spring, while at the rear there’s a single long parabolic leaf spring, rubber bump stops, shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar.    

The brake pedal felt slightly on the soft side, but, with disc brakes all round with ABS and EBD, ASR for traction control and ESP to keep everything behaving in line and under control, the on-road stability and handling gets as much intervention as the best of the competition. The exception here being the lack of crosswind stability assistance such as the system available on Mercedes-Benz.  

The difference between the Daily construction and that of its competition sees the Daily body mounted onto a box section chassis rather than using the body to provide the integral strength of a unit on which to mount the suspension. This form of construction means the chassis provides the rigidity rather than the body, which can subsequently be made lighter to reduce weight.    

The interior of the cargo area featured panelling in the sidewalls with thick felt-type insulation held in place behind the panels by duct tape. While undoubtedly reducing any interior noise transmission, the final impression of being a quality fit could have been to a higher standard. Duct tape also featured as a means of securing wiring to the cabin floor behind the heated suspension seats.

The cargo areas itself is very large for what IVECO refers to as a medium van. Floor length is 3200 mm with a floor to ceiling height of 1600 mm, and each of the sliding side doors will accept a 1200 mm width pallet. Due to the top half of the fixed bulkhead sloping backwards, the pallet height when loading could not exceed 750 mm for safe ease of access.     

The GVM of the Daily as tested was 3800 kg, with a GCM of 7000 kg and a consequent payload of 1520 kg through having a tare weight of 2280 kg and a cargo volume of 9.0 m3.    

The heated suspension seats are both fitted with inner armrests and are extremely comfortable. There are two 12-volt sockets at the lower edge of the centre of the dashboard, together with a USB socket, and each outer end of the dashboard locates a standard cup holder.    

Visibility is excellent but rear vision through the large door mirrors is affected by the lower convex mirrors not being adjustable and consequently not displaying the widest possible view of the road to either side of the vehicle. One really good inclusion, though, is the fitment of a cornering light function that illuminates the inner area of a bend when turning at low speed.    

The matching of the 170 hp/125 kW 3.0-litre engine and the eight-speed ZF Hi-Matic transmission is excellent, and the driveline makes for a very impressive and smooth power delivery. There’s a power and economy mode that alters the shift pattern through the ratio changes and drops the rpm to suit a more relaxed driving style. The driver has to be slightly wary of placing too much left pressure on the shift lever, as it is possible to select neutral by mistake. 

Cruise control is operated by a steering column stalk and so too are the controls for the trip computer readouts on the dashboard. The climate control system features its own temperature setting, and with a full-sized bulkhead the HVAC system is well capable of holding its own against extremes of weather.     In summing up, the Daily provides a large and easy to access load space, a quiet and comfortable driving environment, impressive fuel economy and an excellent driveline.