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Car reviews - Iveco - Daily - Van range

Our Opinion

We like
Strong and linear engine, clever and abundant storage, vision, safety features, carrying capacity
Room for improvement
Red dash display hard to read, more steering adjustability, some plastics hard and flimsy

Iveco logo1 May 2015

By STUART MARTIN

IVECO itself acknowledges the competition is fierce in the light-commercial segment – and the overall Australian market – but it believes the new Daily has key new features that will put it on the fleet lists.

The powerplants themselves have been largely carried over and the hard-working engines toil diligently, with smarter ancillaries helping to reduce thirst by around four per cent.

The first of the new breed – being test-driven around the 1000-hectare Australian Automotive Research Centre (known to many as the Anglesea Proving Ground) in Victoria and not on public roads – was the 16-cubic metre 50C16 van, equipped with the six-speed manual and powered by the 125kW/430Nm 3.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder.

After the driver’s suspension seat was adjusted to the correct weight, substantially less than the 400kg load in the rear, the Daily quickly set about impressing with its driveability.

Steering is light and while not passenger car sharp it’s not overly vague either.

Quickly reaching highway cruising speeds is not laborious and even with the E-mode in action (which drops power and torque by around 20 per cent for better fuel economy) the second most powerful engine in the range keeps the van rolling easily.

Up hills and through bends didn’t deter the Daily either – even with the reduced power mode in use it made relatively easy work of the inclines.

Most of the range (the 35S is 3.2 tonnes) rated to 3.5 tonne braked towing capacity, utilising that might make the more powerful engine desired but not required.

The van sits on the brand’s quad-leaf independent front suspension, using double wishbones, dampers and a transverse leaf spring to reasonable effect, returning a reasonable ride.

The heavier duty models use what the company calls quad-tor suspension – with a torsion bar instead of the leaf spring – for heavier load work and it too is more than serviceable.

Both set-ups endow the Iveco breed with reasonable (for the segment) ride quality as well as cargo carrying prowess.

But the key weapon is the eight-speed auto and it was sampled in the single cab chassis test vehicle – with only the ladder-frame skeleton to the rear – and when teamed with the top-spec 150kW and torque to 470NmGiven the absence of weight in the rear, the stability control did an admirable job of remaining calm when under acceleration as it quickly reached highway speed.

The eight-speed auto teams well with the twin-turbo, offering quick (Iveco says 200 milliseconds) and smooth changes, as well as intuitive downchanges and solid engine braking.

The dash-mounted selector dictates power and economy modes, as well as offering a manual change but that wasn’t required given the smarts of the transmission.

A small dirt section further demonstrated the stability control’s well-programmed attitude maintaining solid forward momentum despite being provoked into action by full throttle on an unsealed surface.

The suspended seat disconnects the driver from the more rugged parts of the drive but even with limited adjustment in a single cab, allows a good driving position.

Reach only steering adjustment could do with tilt range movement as well but a set-up behind the wheel that’s good enough can be achieved.

The eight-speed auto was further tested in the 35S van, powered by the 3.0-litre producing 125kW and 430Nm, wearing a bodyshell with 12 cubic metres of capacity and 500kg strapped to the floor.

The range offers good in-cabin and under-seat storage, as well as other nooks throughout the cabin and the only complaints would be the red centre display not being the easiest to read and some of the storage compartment lids were on the flimsy side.

The van acquitted itself without issue, feeling strong enough in output to the point where there would be no regrets about not ordering the twin-turbo.

Even when equipped with the heavier-duty torsion-beam based suspension – also sampled in the three-way tipper at the proving ground – it delivered a decent ride.

The brand’s renewed presence in the market on the back of automatic availability is not difficult to understand – the already strong powerplant line-up has been teamed with an intelligent transmission and you can expect to Iveco vans and cab-chassis products to become a more common sight on the road.

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