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Car reviews - Iveco - Daily - range

Our Opinion

We like
Torquey diesel engines, quality eight-speed auto, huge variant choice, suspended seat, driveability
Room for improvement
Heavy and tiring steering feel, cabin still noisy despite improvements, manual needs taller gearing for highway driving, extensive options can push price up

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Iveco logo24 Nov 2017

By ROBBIE WALLIS

Overview

TWO years after its last update, Iveco has given its Daily van and cab-chassis range a workover to keep it competitive against its rivals.

Changes include a minor change in exterior styling, tweaks to the interior, improvements in noise levels and the introduction of a new variant sporting a segment-leading seven-tonne gross vehicle mass (GVM).

With 964 Daily sales to the end of October, Iveco is 165 units ahead of its figure at the same point in 2016.

Drive impressions

GOAUTO had the chance to drive Iveco’s new Daily range through the outer regions of Melbourne on a mix of roads suited to testing the load-carrying capabilities of the light-commercial vehicle.

Each Daily contained a load in the back to simulate real-world driving, with payloads ranging between 698kg and 1794kg.

Seeing the vehicles for the first time, it would take a keen eye to notice the changes in styling. For those that need a hint, the honeycomb grille has been swapped out in favour of a horizontally louvred grille, which Iveco says helps increase airflow and engine cooling.

Inside, a black-and-blue two-tone upholstery is the main difference, as well as a new centre storage compartment on the dashboard which also contains a pair of USB ports.

Being a commercial vehicle, practical applications such as ample storage are valued above fancy bells and whistles on passenger cars, and the Daily is certainly not lacking in options.

To go with the regular glovebox, additional storage compartments are included on the top of the dash on both the driver and passenger side, on the roof above the sunblind, smaller nooks embedded in the dash and a cupholder on either end, while the front passenger bench seat can fold forward to reveal a sizeable storage cavity underneath.

As is the case with most commercial vans, the interior of the Daily is on the spartan side, with hard cabin plastics, a basic optional infotainment system, analogue buttons and cloth upholstery.

While not the quickest or most well-equipped system around, the Iveconnect multimedia interface (part of the Business Premium option pack) ticks all the boxes required of a light-commercial vehicle.

It contains a satellite navigation system with route guidance, which is updated regularly by Iveco.

Mobile phone integration and media compatibility is also made easier by the inclusion of the touchscreen, which also has a rearview camera as part of the Business Professional pack – a particularly useful feature for longer wheelbase variants and models with poor rearward visibility.

The highlight of the interior has to be the driver’s seat with air suspension and heating function, which greatly helps becalm an otherwise bumpy ride, and offers superb comfort.

After over 300km of driving in a range of roads and situations, the suspended seat ensured that driver comfort remained high throughout. The only disappointing aspect, particularly for drivers who may not have a say in the purchase decision, is that it remains part of the optional Comfort pack.

This pack also adds automatic climate control, which includes more high-end air-conditioning switchgear and is another option that would be considered greatly valuable to whomever spends the majority of time in the vehicle.

We drove a mix of cab-chassis and van variants, but only experienced the two more powerful engines in the range – the single- and twin-turbo 3.0-litre units, which produce 125kW/430Nm and 150kW/470Nm respectively.

With a generous payload in the rear of each vehicle, the proper capabilities of the engines are able to be tested, and the 3.0-litre mills provide plentiful grunt for load-hauling applications.

Torque comes on in a steady stream throughout the rev band, and offers particularly consistent acceleration and pulling power regardless of throttle input.

The constant stream of torque makes the Daily an easy driving prospect, as there are no power surges or lapses to catch the driver off guard, and it allows the payload to stay safely secured in the rear.

When driving the 150kW twin-turbo version, which Iveco claims is the highest power output in its class, the difference in output is noticeable but not staggering.

Pulling a 1794kg load, the more potent engine chugs along as though it is pulling a much smaller haul.

The single-turbo 3.0-litre donk also manages to perform almost as well as its big sibling, offering more than enough grunt for everyday applications.

In the range update, Iveco worked on improving sound insulation for the cabin, claiming a noise reduction of 4dB as well as a better articulation index rating.

Despite the improvements, the diesel engine is still a noisy one, and cabin noise could still be reduced.

When the vehicle is accelerating, powering up a hill or using engine braking down a hill, occupants need to raise their voice to be heard, and the thrum of the diesel engine can get tiring after extended periods behind the wheel.

The engine is also too noisy at highway speeds when paired with the six-speed manual gearbox, due to engine rpm sitting at around 2500 at 100km/h.

When mated to the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, revs are brought down to a much lower level at high speeds, and overall the auto makes for an easier driving experience.

The manual is still a user-friendly unit, but when driving through heavy traffic, as a commercial van driver can be expected to do, the ease of operation of the auto shines through.

With a GVM of just under five tonnes, the Daily is among the largest vehicles one can drive on a regular car licence, but aside from factors such as its obvious length (up to 7373mm in those tested here), the Daily is a very driveable vehicle.

The ride is a bit firm and bumpy, but the suspended seat alleviates much of that problem.

One element where the Daily loses its car-like feel is with the steering, which is overly heavy and slightly cumbersome.

It has a small turning circle for its size, but turning the wheel can be tiresome after a full day of driving with loading and unloading cargo in between.

Iveco has put together a compelling package for the updated Daily, with a huge range available to suit just about any business owner’s needs.

The range of engines and body styles offer robust hauling ability and performance, and quoted real-world fuel economy figures of between 9.3 litres per 100km for the 35S17 van and 12.7L/100km for the 50C21 cab-chassis is impressive.

To stand out more against its competitors, the Italian manufacturer could add more optional features to the standard equipment list, as well as lightening the steering and further improving sound deadening in the cabin.

For those with a specific need when it comes to business logistics, the Iveco Daily should certainly be on the shopping list.

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