With ever-tougher regulations making 7.5-tonners less and less appealing, some operators are wondering if it might make sense to run a 3.5-tonner or two instead. Whichever one they pick, though, will have to be robust and capable of standing up to the relentless hammering that some types of activity – parcels delivery work for instance – can dish out. And that is where Iveco’s Daily comes in.
Unusual for a 3.5-tonner in having a separate and highly robust chassis, it is favoured by everybody from Tesco’s home-delivery fleet to local authorities nationwide. It is favoured by What Van? too: we’ve given the latest Daily our Large Panel Van of the Year award, which means it has repeated the success it achieved in the same category last year.
Strong, flexible and smooth- running engines, a dependable gear change and remarkably good handling for a vehicle of its size have all contributed to its victory. Add to these plus-points a comprehensive range, a capacious cab, and support from a dealer network with an in-depth understanding of the requirements of CV customers and you’re talking about a winner.
Although we have trumpeted the rear-wheel drive Daily’s virtues as a 3.5-tonner, the line-up, in fact, extends from 3.3t all the way up to 7.0t, with a van body offering up to 17.2m3 of load area space.
As well as vans, the Daily portfolio encompasses chassis cabs, chassis double-cabs, crew vans and even Irisbus-badged minibuses, and Iveco has recently started to offer a ready-bodied 3.5t chassis – tippers, dropsides and Lutons – under the DriveAway Options banner. There’s a a 4x4 too.
Marketed in Euro5/Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle (EEV) guise, the Daily can be ordered with the optional AGile automated manual gearbox and with an engine line-up more impressive than it has ever been, including as it does a four-cylinder Euro5 twin-turbo 205hp 3.0-litre. We tested it in a 3.5-tonner recently and were bowled over. “We’re talking about phenomenally brisk acceleration here,” we said. “The Daily really gets a shift on, sprinting away from rest, thundering up through the gears and easily maintaining the maximum-permitted motorway speed up hill and down dale even when fully laden.” Nor did fuel economy suffer unduly.
Also available is a new 146hp 3.0-litre. Equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger, it meets EEV. It is alternatively available in Euro5 trim with a turbo wastegate and 20Nm less torque.
Also figuring in the line-up is a Euro5 146hp 2.3-litre with a variable geometry turbo plus Multijet 2+ fuel injection with up to eight injections per cycle. The Daily can also be specified with Euro5 106hp and 126hp versions of the 2.3-litre and as a 170hp 3.0-litre with either a variable-geometry turbo (Euro5) or twin turbos (EEV). A 136hp 3.0-litre EEV model that will run on landfill gas continues to be available alongside the, seldom seen, electric Daily.
Highly commended are Renault’s Master, Vauxhall’s Movano and Nissan’s NV400. Sharing the same basic design, they deserve plaudits for their engines, handling and roomy cabs – we’ve rarely
seen so much in-cab storage space in a light commercial – and the breadth and depth of the line-up presented.