First Drive: Iveco Daily 2.3

Date: Thursday, March 22, 2012

Iveco has upped its game in the heavy van segment with the launch of the new Daily, which has been well received since its international debut in the final quarter of 2011.

  The new range is available at six different vehicle weights from 3.5 to 7.0 tonnes and with a bewildering array of more than 7000 product variations, but in 3.5-tonne LCV mode the Daily is offered with 2.3- and 3.0-litre Euro5 diesel engines.
On the international launch we tested the larger powertrain with 205hp, which Iveco has proudly dubbed “the most powerful engine” in the LCV sector, so this time we concentrated primarily on the 35S11, propelled by a more modest 2.3 Multijet 11 unit with 106hp, 270Nm torque and which is mated to the Agile automated transmission system.
This version is not likely to be the choice of operators tackling high-speed inter-city links or needing to lug heavy loads or tow trailers; it is more suited to local delivery runs or making multi-drops on shorter journeys within a city environment.
The load area is accessed through twin rear doors and a nearside sliding door, and Iveco placed what it estimated as a typical half-load in the back of our test van, which was enough to keep the engine hard at work and at times, on sharp ascents or at higher speeds for example, even a little laboured. Admittedly we were testing the van on a mixture of rural roads and motorways – more natural habitats for the larger engines in the line-up – but a bit more power on tap would probably suit most operators.
The Agile six-speed automated transmission takes some getting used to and is sometimes lurchy and delayed in its reactions, especially when accelerating away from roundabouts and traffic lights. But to be fair, Iveco says the system is designed for “urban missions”, but out on the open road it worked far more smoothly in sequential, manual mode.
The van we tested costs £27,560 and Iveco is to be commended on the fact that it features ESP stability control as standard, as does every other vehicle in the Daily range.
The manufacturer prides itself on the truck-derived toughness of its Daily vans but the latest incarnation is considerably more refined than its rough and ready predecessors with the re-profiled cab offering a good illustration of improved comfort levels. The addition of a height- adjustable steering wheel is welcome and the new, dash- mounted gear-shift is easy to
reach and simplifies cross-cabin movements. The adjustment range for the driver and passenger seats has also been increased. The cab in the basic Daily trim we tested has adequate storage provision.
The new Daily is a handsome beast. The redesigned front end incorporates a new radiator grille, shaped to accommodate the new optimised engine cooling system and new headlamp units featuring daytime running lights.
As well as the 2.3-litre, we also took a spin in the 3.0-litre 146hp. This larger engine suffered from no sense of being underpowered and its six-speed manual gear box went sweetly through the motions. But, as they say, horses for courses.

 

Verdict
The 2.3 Daily is well suited to local delivery runs but lacks muscle on the open road



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