First Drive: Iveco Daily Euro 5

Date: Monday, November 28, 2011

Bye-bye Popeye, hello Superman. Iveco has quietly dropped the pipe-smoking sailor man with the spinach fetish in favour of using the big-screen super hero to promote the latest version of the Daily.

In a marketing initiative that almost – but not quite – overshadows the changes that have been made to the vehicle, the company has bought the rights to employ his distinctive logo from Warner Brothers for a year.
In its latest incarnation the Daily gets Euro5 diesels – including a new 205hp/470Nm four-cylinder 3.0-litre – new gearboxes, a handsome- looking front grille redesigned to accommodate the new radiator and cooling system, plus a variety of other detailed changes.
Equipped with inter-stage charge cooling, the twin-turbo intercooled 3.0-litre is joined by a new 146hp/370Nm 3.0-litre with a variable geometry turbocharger
that meets the EEV (Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle) standard. It is alternatively available with a wastegate turbo and 350Nm.
Also up for grabs is a new 146hp/350Nm 2.3-litre with a variable geometry turbo and Multijet II fuel injection with up to eight injections per cycle. It also offers the combination of a new six-speed gearbox plus Start & Stop. The package includes an indicator on the dashboard to tell you which gear you should be in for optimum economy. Cuts in consumption and CO2 of up to 10% are promised.
The new headlamp units incorporate daytime running lights with optional cornering fog lights that follow the road ahead and illuminate it at speeds of up to 25mph as you swing into a bend.
The Daily now comes with the latest electronic stability programme – ESP 9 – as standard.
Cab interior changes include an adjustable steering column – about time too – a repositioned gear
lever housing to ease cross-cab movement and more storage space. A neat idea is the availability of a clipboard that can be attached to the steering wheel and used as a desk. In-cab technology on offer includes Blue&Me Bluetooth, a Blue&Me Fleet telematics package and a TomTom Go Live 1000 satellite navigation system with a 4.7in touchscreen.
It’s good too to see that improvements have been made to the door and ignition key that should make the vehicle more secure.
So what’s it like to drive? The first thing you notice is that the Euro5 Daily is extraordinarily quiet, with next to zero noise from the engine. Quiet engines often mean that all the other sources of decibels on a van are highlighted, but not in this case. There is zero squeaking and creaking from the bodywork, and precious little wind or tyre noise. Iveco has fitted plenty of additional sound insulation and it clearly works.
We’ve no arguments with the quality of the gear change either. OK, the throw is a little long and changes can be slightly noisy, but the gears engage sweetly every time.
The Euro5 Daily’s handling is precise and unlikely to catch you out as we quickly discovered when we pushed Iveco’s newcomer hard along twisting roads running through the hills just outside Turin, Italy.
We were in a 3.5-tonner with the 204hp 3.0-litre lurking under the bonnet – the six-speed ’box fitted is engineered specifically for this engine – so there was certainly no lack of performance. Overtaking was a doddle in a vehicle that has the potential to be the transport of choice if you regularly tackle high-speed inter-urban runs or need to haul heavy trailers.
What especially struck us about this engine, however, is how flexible it is and how un-stressed. We never had the impression it was working all that hard so – assuming it is regularly maintained – it should last forever.
We drove a highly responsive 126hp 2.3-litre too. Both models were equipped with air suspension – smooth and stable, only the roughest roads caused discomfort.
To conclude, the Daily has made a major leap forward and is now a highly impressive package with some of the best engines in the business. As for using Superman in its advertising, it does not need silly marketing gimmicks because It is a grown-up van that can succeed on its own merits.

 

Verdict

An impressive package that means Iveco can now easily match and often out-point its key rivals in the sector. 



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