Equipped with a permanently engaged four-wheel drive system with three diff locks, the newcomer will initially be available in chassis cab, four-door seven-seater crew cab and chassis cowl guise. The van version will follow in early 2008.

Up for grabs as either a 3.5- or a 5.5-tonner, Iveco's latest offering will be marketed solely with a 3.0-litre 176 bhp diesel engine married to a six-speed manual gearbox; a package offered in the standard Daily. Two wheelbases will be available — 3,050mm or 3,400mm — and payload capacities will range from 800kg to 1,000kg.

Fitted with a massive steel front bumper that can play host to a heavy duty winch or a snowplough, the 4×4 Daily boasts no less than three power take-off points. There's one on the engine, one on the gearbox and one on the upper shaft of the transfer 'box.

The off-roading Daily is being built on Iveco's behalf by Italian 4×4 specialist Scam — a somewhat unfortunate name so far as the UK market is concerned — at its factory in Varese, to the north of Milan. Each vehicle will be inspected at Iveco's main Italian van factory at Suzzara prior to its dispatch to end users.

Iveco is not aiming to compete with the four-wheel drive versions of Mercedes-Benz's Sprinter and Ford's Transit, says light commercial vehicle business development director, Pier Francesco Pennestri. “We believe instead that it's a rival to the Unimog, and can do a lot of the work that a Unimog can do,” he states.

It promises, however, to be considerably cheaper than Mercedes-Benz's legendary all-terrain load lugger.

Scam is making extensive use of standard Daily components to keep the cost down. Aside from the engine and various transmissions parts, the 4×4 is fitted with the same cab as the 4×2.

A different chassis is provided, however, the better to cope with the demanding life the latest Daily derivative will face.

In designing the vehicle Iveco has been able to draw on its extensive experience with military vehicles and off-roading heavy trucks, says Pennestri. He likens 4×4 Daily to a smaller version of Iveco's Trakker tipper truck.

Likely customers for Daily 4×4 include the utilities, construction companies and forestry undertakings. Although it's unlikely ever to be a volume seller, he'd like to see total registrations across all markets reach 1,000 annually.

Will Iveco launch a low ground clearance Daily with selectable four-wheel drive for customers who just want the ability to keep going on icy roads or get up muddy farm tracks? “It forms part of our plan, but it won't be available in the short-term,” says Pennestri.