SPECIALIST 4X4 CAB CHASSIS VEHICLES ARE AVAILABLE FROM A NUMBER OF MANUFACTURERS IN AUSTRALIA, BUT IVECO IS DEFINITELY AIMING FOR THE QUALITY END OF THIS MARKET SEGMENT, DIESEL TOOK THE IVECO DAILY 4X4 OUT INTO THE HIGH COUNTRY OF NSW's FAR NORTH COAST.
The Iveco Daily remains an anomaly - it is neither fish nor fowl. The design is very different from its competitors and Iveco tends to celebrate this difference in the way it markets the range. The stiff ladder chassis design gives the platform a rigidity and robustness unusual in the modern world of vans. At the same time, the very modern European styling and design, as well as a sophisticated modern engine, differentiate it from the Japanese trucks with an equally stiff and robust chassis design.
The Daily 4x4 is another example of this difference. We don't have a modified version of the van or cab chassis able to handle some four wheel driving. Instead we have a vehicle, using the Daily platform, but able to go anywhere, and I mean anywhere.
The Daily 4x4 tested by DIESEL is based on the previous model. A version using the new shape is due with us soon, but it is not the sweeping lines of the bonnet or the comfort of the cabin we are looking at here. It is the 4x4's sheer capabilities.
Powered by the three-litre Iveco FIC engine rated at 170hp (125kW) with 400Nm of torque on tap from 1250 to 3000rpm, the Daily has the capacity to drive through a sophisticated transmission system.
It is the driveline which impresses in this vehicle, as well as the build quality of the whole unit. What we have here is a solidly built machine with the power and capability to go just about anywhere. A simple test drive in the forested hills out the back of Coffs Harbour certainly didn't take it out of its comfort zone.
The transmission is simply an Iveco six speed synchro with overdrive. The transfer box is where the really good stuff gets done. The Iveco 32019 has a permanent all wheel drive distribution, giving the driver 32 per cent at the front and 68 per cent at the rear. Both axles, front and rear, have diff locks and a ratio of 4.87:1.
The ratios in the transfer box give this model its bite. Starting from a normal 1:1, changing to low range takes the ratio to 1:1.244. However, go into off-road mode and the normal setting sits at 1:3.115, with low taking the ratio right down to 1:3.866.
In this bottom ratio, the truck can go anywhere the normal laws of physics will allow. Sitting in front of a sheer wall, it is possible to engage one of the lowest gears, set cruise control at two km/hr and simply steer the truck up and over the obstacle. The Daily 4x4 never misses a beat.
The question probably needs to be asked about where this vehicle actually sits in our market. This is no bargain basement 4x4. There are, clearly, commercial and emergency services uses for something with this kind of capability.
From the point of view of this vehicle test, the Iveco Daily 4x4 is also great fun to drive in the toughest conditions.