Iveco has revamped its entire Daily range, with new engines, a step up into a higher weight category and a modest cosmetic facelift.
The new engines include a 3.0-litre fitted with twin turbochargers to improve combustion and performance. Producing either 140hp or 170hp, it meets the EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) standard with peak torque outputs of 350Nm and 400Nm respectively. It’s fitted with common rail fuel injection that operates at a pressure of 1,800 bar and employs piezo injectors.
Also complying with EEV is a 136hp, 350Nm 3.0-litre that will run on compressed natural gas. It comes with a small, 15-litre, get-you-home petrol tank for use if you run out of cng.
Designed with the future Euro 6 exhaust emission regulations in mind, EEV compliance is voluntary. It requires lower particulate outputs and it’s worth noting that the cng 3.0-litre comfortably meets the limit it sets without having to be equipped with the particulate filter fitted to its twin-turbo diesel stablemates. All Dailys that meet EEV are promoted under the EcoDaily banner to emphasise their environmental credentials.
Two new versions of the existing 2.3-litre diesel have been introduced at 106hp and 126hp. With peak torque figures of 270Nm and 290Nm respectively, they are offered alongside the existing 96hp, 116hp and 136hp options; the last-named is fitted with a variable-geometry turbocharger.
The familiar 146hp and 176hp 3.0-litre diesels remain available, with the more powerful of the two also employing variable geometry turbo technology.
Iveco has also decided to market Daily at 7.0 tonnes in both van and chassis cab guise, despite the fact that it risks stealing sales from its Eurocargo 7.5-tonner. Payload capacity is well in excess of 4.0 tonnes.
Because it looks virtually the same as a 3.5-tonner — most of the Dailys sold in the UK gross at 3.5 tonnes — Iveco believes that some operators will conclude that deploying the 7.0-tonner on home delivery work around housing estates will be more acceptable to householders than employing the truck-like Eurocargo. The Daily 6.5-tonner continues to be available.
Turning to the facelift, the key external changes include a new, honeycomb-style front grille. Internal alterations include a revamped, aluminium-effect, dashboard.
Increased stress is being placed on safety, with ABS, Electronic Stability Programme, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Hydraulic Brake Assist and Anti-Slip Regulator among the devices fitted. Hill Holder, which stops you rolling backwards if you’re trying to move away on a steep incline, is another feature. Synthetic engine lubricant is being used to allow drain intervals to be set at 25,000 miles and to reduce component wear.
So what’s Iveco’s latest offering like to drive? We flew to Turin in Italy, where Iveco is based, to find out. We first took to the roads just outside the city in a 170hp 40C17 EcoDaily four-door crew cab fitted with a San Marco dropside body and half- to three-quarters laden; and we were instantly impressed.
The twin-turbo 3.0-litre pulls strongly right the way across the rev range. It runs quietly too bar the occasional, muted, whine from the turbos, and to be honest packs a lot more punch than the average owner of a 4.0-tonner is ever going to need; unless they regularly haul a fully-laden trailer. Even then, the 140hp version of the 3.0-litre would probably make more sense.
A user-friendly gearchange allowed us to make the most of what the crew cab had to offer, and a relaxing drive permitted us to take in the improvements made to the cab interior. Iveco’s designers have done a good job on the facia, no question about it.
We went on to sample the 50C14 cng-powered EcoDaily 5.0-tonner in single cab guise, again with a San Marco dropside body and again laden to roughly half- to three-quarters of its payload capacity. The cng tanks are mounted beneath the chassis in order not to steal cargo space and offer a 160 to 190 mile range between refills.
No complaints about performance or noise here either, and the vehicle’s handling proved to be better than we expected around twisting mountain roads from which motorcycles are banned to discourage boy racers with a death wish.
After that we tried out the 170hp 3.0-litre in a 7.0 tonne van, this time married to an AGile semi-automatic gearbox. It’s pretty much the ideal partnership and it would make sense for Iveco to standardise on this ’box at 7.0 tonnes in the same way that it fits a semi-auto box as standard to Eurocargo at 7.5 tonnes.
A doddle to use, the AGile ’box executes changes smoothly, with none of the jerkiness often associated with gearboxes of this type. On hilly sections, however, we switched from automatic to manual mode to stop it constantly changing gear to no good purpose.
New Daily will be available in the UK from early 2010 onwards, with the 7.0-tonner breaking cover on this side of the Channel mid-way through next year.
Electric and diesel-electric hybrid versions of Daily have also been developed, and ten hybrid Dailys are on trial with global parcels giant FedEx Express in Northern Italy. Hybrids don’t come cheap, however, and volume production is likely to depend on the willingness of politicians to offer operators suitable tax breaks says Iveco vice president, sales and marketing, Franco Miniero (pictured).
Some alternative fuel technologies, battery power for instance, can impose weight penalties on a vehicle. Miniero believes that drivers whose licence doesn’t permit them to drive anything heavier than a 3.5-tonner should be allowed to drive a 3.6-/3.7-tonner if the higher gross weight is a result of the environmentally-friendly power source it uses. “Legislation to this effect has been adopted in France and should be introduced in other EU countries,” he says.
On offer at 3.5 and 5.2 tonnes and marketed in van, window van, and chassis cab formats, the electric Daily has a range of from 60 to 80 miles between recharges — they take eight hours — depending on the model and the number of Zebra Z5 traction batteries fitted. It’s speed-restricted to just over 40mph.
Iveco is owned by Fiat, which has just taken control of ailing Chrysler in the USA. Could this result in Daily being sold in North America? “We’re evaluating our options,” Miniero replies. “We’ll have some news at the end of the year when the situation should be clearer.”
There’s nothing like an off-beat approach to marketing your products, and Iveco has come up with a cracker. It’s decided to use a black-and-white version of cartoon character Popeye to promote the new Daily.
Why? Because Popeye is universally recognised as being strong, durable and dependable in a crisis; just so long as he’s got a tin of spinach to hand. No arguments with that, although we’d advise against stuffing spinach into your Daily’s tank. We have, however, spotted one flaw.
Popeye is (gulp) a smoker. He’s invariably depicted with a pipe clamped firmly between his teeth, something that’s bound to give the politically-correct a fit of the vapours. Maybe Olive Oyl should have a quiet word in the Sailor Man’s ear and persuade him to give up…
First launched over 30 years ago, Daily — a former What Van? Van of the Year — has improved steadily ever since. The latest changes can serve only to enhance the reputation of what has become a hugely impressive package with few if any significant flaws.
Click here for the PDF brochure of the new EcoDaily range.