Car reviews - Iveco - Daily - 35S-170 Hi-Matic 9 cubic mts
Massive rear compartment, willing turbo-diesel powertrain, silky-smooth automatic transmission, relatively-tight steering
Room for improvement
Uncomfortable driving position, thirstier than expected, bumpy unladen ride, NVH needs further improvement
Versatility is the name of the game for the business-focused Iveco Daily van
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27 Jun 2018
ITALIAN commercial vehicle-maker Iveco has built its reputation on producing tough trucks, buses and vans that are always ready to tackle the most challenging tasks.
Its models are often called upon to serve in the most demanding conditions, whether it be on the battlefield, firefighting or the construction site.
The sixth-generation Daily van launched in July 2014, ushering in big improvements over the old model. Fast forward to November last year and the brand has released the facelifted version, with an overhauled interior, restyled front end and increased sound deadening headlining the changes.
The Daily is already one of the most versatile offerings in its segment, so have the changes improved the big van? We test the Daily in 35S-170 Hi-Matic nine-cubic-metre form to find out.
Price and equipment
The Daily is priced from $54,800 before on-road costs in 35S-170 Hi-Matic nine-cubic-metre form. Standard equipment includes 16-inch steel wheels wrapped in 235/65 tyres, a full-size spare wheel, halogen headlights, daytime running lights and tail-lights; power windows, and heated and power-adjustable side mirrors. Inside, USB and auxiliary inputs, and Bluetooth connectivity feature.
Our test car came equipped with the $2000 Business Premium package (reverse buzzer, front foglights, 6.2-inch Iveconnect touchscreen infotainment system, satellite navigation and reversing camera) and the $1100 Efficiency package (lane departure warning).
It was also fitted with a suspended and heated driver seat with three-way adjustment ($350), climate control ($300), tinted rear-door windows ($200), a nudge bar ($1276), headlight protectors ($145), a bonnet protector ($185), weather shields ($230) and Premium Blue floor mats ($115), while white solid paint was a no-cost option. As such, the price as tested was $60,701.
Measuring 5648mm long and 2340mm tall with a 3520mm wheelbase, the Daily 35S-170 nine-cubic-metre is a big beast capable of carrying a huge load thanks to its massive rear compartment, which is 3130mm long, 1740mm wide and 1545mm tall internally – equating to a whopping nine cubic-metres of volume. It is so big, in fact, that children and some shorter adults would be capable of standing upright inside of it.
While there are plenty of helpful tie-down points and lighting, the walls are lined with ill-fitting plywood that does not lend itself to being hard-wearing. Nevertheless, owners could easily partition the rear compartment themselves, adding shelving or a cage to suit business needs.
The sliding side door (1440mm tall and 1100mm wide) and barn-style rear doors (1450mm tall and 1530mm) lend themselves to easy access, making this Daily a versatile offering. With a loading-floor height of just 755mm, the van is perfectly set up to load items from outside of the vehicle.
In the 35S-170 nine-cubic-metre, braked towing capacity is 3200kg, while maximum gross vehicle mass (GVM) and payload are 3800kg and 1630kg respectively. Business owners in need of more space and capacity can, of course, opt for one of the four larger Daily 35S vans.
In the cabin, the space is nicer than the pre-facelifted model. Hard-wearing plastics are the name of the game here, but navy trim on the dashboard and doors adds some theatre to what would otherwise a pretty utilitarian set-up. There is plenty of internal storage, including a couple of non-discriminatory cupholders.
Unfortunately, the 7.0-inch Iveconnect touchscreen infotainment system is already dated, slow to respond and lacks functionality beyond the usual media, phone and satellite navigation functions.
However, the Daily’s biggest shortcoming is its driving position, which is severely limited in adjustment. As a result, we weren’t able to slide into a more comfortable position that would’ve stopped our legs from cramping up us as they hovered directly above the pedals.
Furthermore, while suspended seats are fun in concept, we’re still not sure how well they translate in reality, often throwing the driver around as opposed to traditional seats that make occupants endure the tougher bumps in the road.
Despite the addition of more sound-deadening materials, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels are still high due to a combination of wind noise over the side mirrors and a loud turbo-diesel engine. Needless to say, there isn’t much peace and quiet when the Daily is motoring along, but then again, this the norm for its segment.
Engine and transmission
The Daily 35S-170 is motivated by a 3.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 125kW of power from 2900 to 3500rpm and 430Nm of torque from 1500 to 2600rpm. It is a punchy unit that has plenty of urge down low – somewhere it is desperately needed when carrying a big load.
As a result, the 2170kg van is more than happy thumping along unladen, although heavier loads inevitably curb performance. If the latter is a regular occurrence, a more potent 150kW/470Nm twin-turbocharged version of this powertrain is available for business owners that need even more punch.
An upgraded eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with torque convertor, dubbed Hi-Matic, exclusively sends drive to the Daily’s rear wheels. This unit is one of the best on the market today, whether it be in a passenger car, an SUV or a light-commercial vehicle, such as the Daily.
It is silky-smooth thanks to its imperceptible gear changes and always willing to kick down a gear or two when called upon. While its gear lever can be initially confusing to operate due to its non-traditional gate, it proves to be quite a nifty set-up in the end.
Key to the Daily’s experience is its Eco and Power driving modes, which modify engine and transmission settings to suit. Eco lowers maximum power and torque and grabs a higher gear earlier to maximise fuel efficiency, while Power offers peak outputs and holds onto gears to ensure there is plenty of push and pull to deal with heavier loads. In practice, both execute their intended purpose beautifully.
Claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle test for the Daily van range is 7.9-8.6 litres per 100 kilometres, while carbon dioxide emissions have been tested at 209-226 grams per kilometre. During our week with the Daily, we were surprised by how quickly it chewed through its 100L tank, particularly when it was unladen. Unfortunately, we were unable to acquire our own figure due to issues with the trip computer.
Ride and handling
The Daily 35S-170’s suspension consists of a transversal leaf-sprung double-wishbone front set-up and parabolic springs at the rear. It might not be surprising to hear that the van’s ride is less than forgiving. This is especially true when it is unladen as the Daily bounces along as it fails to absorb contact with unsealed and uneven roads, and potholes. Again, that is par for the course in this segment.
Loading up the rear compartment does help to settle things down, but the Daily is not the first word in comfort, not that it ever intended to be in the first place. Nevertheless, bodyroll is less noticeable than expected, meaning the van never feels out of control.
The hydraulic power steering system is surprisingly good. Stereotypically, it does feel like you’re manoeuvring a truck, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Guiding the Daily around tighter corners is not as intimidating as some may think, as its steering is relatively direct.
However, being a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, it does tend to oversteer, so it pays to not be too cute with it.
Safety and servicing
Neither the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) or its European counterpart, Euro NCAP, have crash-tested the Daily yet.
Its standard safety equipment extends to four airbags (dual front and curtain), anti-skid brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, hill start assist, and the usual electronic traction and stability control systems.
Advanced driver-assist safety technologies are restricted to lane departure warning, a reversing camera and cruise control. Aids like autonomous emergency braking and lane-keep assist are not available.
The Daily comes with a three-year/200,000km factory-backed warranty, including three years of 24/7 roadside assist, while a five-year/300,000km extended warranty is optionally available. Service intervals are every 12 months or 40,000km, whichever comes first.
The Daily continues to be one of the most versatile offerings in its segment, offering plenty of space for prospective buyers. If more space or capacity for a larger load is required, then there are four other variants with large rear compartments than the nine-cubic-metre variant tested here.
Other than that, the Daily experience translates across all of its variants. Performance from the turbo-diesel is strong, especially when its paired with the sublime ZF automatic transmission, while the steering is relatively tight considering its size.
However, typical commercial-vehicle traits are prevalent in the Daily, such as poor NVH levels and a bumpy unladen ride, while prospective buyers should also be aware of its uncomfortable driving position, which could prove tiresome for drivers on long-haul journeys.
Nevertheless, the Daily is unwavering in its commercial focus, proving to be a smart choice for the right task. Another tough Iveco model? You bet.
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