Quiet, smooth-running and flexible engines, a slick gear change, surprisingly good handling and a roomy cab that can accommodate three occupants without feeling overcrowded are all sound reasons for awarding Iveco’s latest Daily our Large Panel Van of the Year accolade.
On top of all that you get a standard of construction that is a vast improvement on the hit-and-miss quality customers were faced with a few years ago and a comprehensive range supported by a dealer network that understands the needs of CV operators.
As well as vans, the line-up encompasses chassis cabs, chassis double cabs, crew vans and Irisbus-badged minibuses. With gross weights of from 3.2 to 7.0 tonnes, and with a van body offering up to 17.2cu/m of load area space, the rear-wheel drive Daily can be ordered with the optional AGile automated manual gearbox and with four-wheel-drive.
Iveco will be launching a ready-to-go-to-work line-up of bodied Dailys in a few months time including tippers, dropsides and Lutons in a bid to compete with similar packages already marketed by rivals such as Ford and Citroen.
When Iveco recently launched the Daily in Euro5/EEV (Enhanced Environmentally friendly Vehicle) guise, it took the opportunity to make a number of other changes. They include the introduction of a restyled, and handsome-looking, front grille. It features headlamp units incorporating daytime running lights with optional cornering fog lights that track the highway ahead and illuminate it at speeds of up to 25mph as you turn into a bend.
The Daily now comes with the firm’s latest electronic stability programme – ESP 9 – as standard. The technology incorporates a number of new features such as Hydraulic Brake Fade Control, Roll Movement Intervention and Roll Over Mitigation.
Cab interior alterations include a repositioned gear lever housing – to ease cross-cab movement – an adjustable steering column and more storage space. A clever feature is the availability of a clipboard that can be attached to the steering wheel and used as a desk so that the driver can complete paperwork more easily.
In-cab technology on offer includes a TomTom Go Live 1000 satellite navigation system with a 4.7-inch touch-screen, Blue&Me Bluetooth and a Blue&Me Fleet telematics package.
The engine line-up is better than it has ever been, including as it does a new and hugely impressive 205hp/470Nm Euro5 twin-turbo 3.0-litre and a new 146hp/370Nm 3.0-litre. Equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger, it meets the EU’s EEV standard. It is alternatively available in Euro5 trim with 20Nm less torque.
Another newcomer is a 146hp/350Nm Euro5 2.3-litre with a variable geometry turbo plus Multijet 2+ fuel injection with up to eight injections per cycle. It offers the combination of a new six-speed gearbox plus stop/start.
As well as the engines referred to above the Daily can be ordered with Euro5 106hp and 126hp versions of the 2.3-litre – they are scheduled to be offered with stop/start too – and as a 170hp 3.0-litre with either a variable-geometry turbo (Euro5) or twin turbos (EEV). A 140hp 3.0-litre EEV model that will run on landfill gas continues to be available alongside an electric Daily.
There are two Highly Commended winners: Renault’s Master and Vauxhall’s Movano, the joint What Van? 2011 Vans of the Year. The fruits of an agreement between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and General Motors, Vauxhall’s parent company, and sharing the same basic design, they win laurels for their engines, cabin, handling, build quality and the breadth of the range on offer.
Buyers can choose either front- or rear-wheel drive, and both configurations are available with a spacious and well-equipped cab with oodles of storage space.