Defying the recession, Iveco has revamped the rear-wheel drive Daily, with new FPT (Fiat Powertrain Technologies) engines, a move up into a higher weight category and a modest facelift. The newcomer is now arriving in Britain.
A 3.0-litre fitted with twin turbochargers to improve combustion and performance is included in the new engine line-up. Generating either 140hp or 170hp, with maximum torque outputs of 350Nm and 400Nm respectively, it complies with the Euro 5 exhaust emission limits. It matches the EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) standard too.
The most-powerful of the duo is available now. Its stablemate will arrive during the second quarter of the year. Both versions of the 3.0-litre make use of EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) plus a particulate trap.
Also complying with EEV is a 136hp, 350Nm 3.0-litre that will run on biomethane; landfill gas, a renewable and environmentally-friendly source of energy. The gas model comes with a small, 14-litre, get-you-home petrol tank for use if you run out of its greener tipple.
In theory it should be able to operate on compressed natural gas. In practice, however, this can be problematic in the UK contends Iveco because the cng supplied on this side of the Channel sometimes has too high a moisture content to allow it to work effectively as a road fuel for goods vehicles.
Drawn up with the future Euro 6 exhaust emission targets in mind — the biomethane variant already exceeds them — EEV compliance is voluntary. It involves lower particulate outputs, and it’s worth noting that the gas 3.0-litre meets the restriction it sets without having to be kitted out with the particulate trap that graces its twin-turbo diesel stable-mates.
All Dailys that meet Euro 5 and EEV, including the gas-powered model, are promoted under the EcoDaily banner to stress their environmental credentials.
Two new variants of the existing 2.3-litre Euro 4 diesel have been added to the line-up at 106hp and 126hp. With peak torque figures of 270Nm and 290Nm respectively, they are offered alongside the existing 96hp, 116hp and 136hp options; the last-named is fitted with a variable-geometry turbocharger.
The 146hp and 176hp 3.0-litre Euro 4 diesels are still available, with the beefier of the two also employing variable geometry turbo technology. All the Euro 4 power plants feature EGR.
Gross weights start at 3.5 tonnes and this time round Fiat-owned Iveco has decided to market Daily at 7.0 tonnes in both van and chassis cab guise, despite the fact that it risks robbing sales from its Eurocargo 7.5-tonner. Previously the largest Daily marketed tipped the scales at 6.5 tonnes.
Payload capacity of the 7.0-tonner is well north of 4.0 tonnes and the newcomer can carry more than three standard Daily 3.5-tonners can between them.
As well as cutting costs — only one driver to pay — using a single vehicle to do the job of three brings environmental advantages points out the manufacturer. Exhaust emissions are down by over 60 per cent it calculates.
Because it looks almost identical to the 3.5-tonner — most Dailys sold in Britain gross at 3.5 tonnes — Iveco calculates that some businesses will decide that using the 7.0-tonner on home delivery work will be more acceptable to householders than deploying the Eurocargo truck.
The 7.0-tonner will be available to order on this side of the Channel from the second quarter of this year onwards. The Daily 6.5-tonner continues to be offered.
Turning to the facelift, the key external changes include a new, honeycomb-style front grille. Internal alterations include an aluminium-finish centre console for the redesigned dashboard, a redesigned instrument cluster and new two-tone light and dark grey seat fabrics.
Other changes include the availability of an optional 6.0-litre-capacity storage box which can be mounted under the dual passenger seat.
The Blue & Me hands-free system is an option across the range. Developed as a result of collaboration between Fiat and Microsoft, it uses universal voice-recognition technology; in other words, it does not need time to learn the driver’s voice and works no matter who is talking. After pairing a Bluetooth mobile with the system and downloading the former’s phonebook, calls can be made and received simply by speaking. All the commands can be given without taking hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. An extension of this package is Blue & Me Fleet, a telematics-based fleet management system offered by Iveco in partnership with Qualcomm.
Greater emphasis is being placed on safety with ABS, Anti-Slip Regulator, Electronic Stability Programme, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Hydraulic Brake Assist among the systems fitted. Hill Holder, which prevents you from rolling back if you’re trying to move away on a steep incline, is a further feature.
Load Adaptive Control (LAC) is yet another safety device. It takes the size, weight and position of the cargo carried into account and tailors any interventions from the ABS and ESP systems accordingly. The results include more effective braking, enhanced traction and better stability. Brake pad wear is minimised too thanks to the way in which the distribution of braking forces is optimised.
Disc brakes — ventilated at the front — are fitted to all four wheels and a driver’s airbag comes as standard. Passenger and driver side window airbags are offered as options.
One change, and in our view not necessarily a desirable one, is the substitution of the spare wheel by a tyre inflator and sealer on all 3.5-tonners in a bid to save weight. The spare wheel and carrier are now offered as options on these models. Iveco says that the sealant can repair punctures up to 6mm in size permanently without further damage being done to the tyre. What it won’t do of course is mend big gashes in the sidewall.
Customers are unlikely to moan about a lack of choice. Over 7,000 different versions of Daily and EcoDaily are available. Aside from the fact that they’re up for grabs in van, window van, chassis cab, chassis double cab and MPV guise, and with ten different engine ratings, they’re produced with an almost bewildering variety of wheelbases, overall lengths, van cargo body internal heights and axle ratios. If you really need a lot of space, then it is worth noting that Daily can be ordered with a 17.2m3 load area that can gobble up half-a-dozen Euro pallets.
All van rear doors can now be swung through 270°, with automatic stops at 90° and 180°. There’s no need for a check-strap to be fitted.
A battery-powered version of the latest Daily is now available to order in the UK. Powered by Zebra Z5 sodium nickel chloride NaNiC12 traction batteries, it offers a range of from just over 55 miles to just over 80 miles depending on the number of batteries installed and the way it’s used.
It takes eight hours to recharge the fully-sealed and maintenance-free battery pack completely. Regenerative braking helps keep the pack topped up while the vehicle is in operation.
The 3.5 tonne EcoDaily Electric is fitted with a 30kW traction motor with a peak power output of 60kW while its 5.0 tonne stablemate is equipped with a 40kW motor with a peak power output of 80kW.
Road speeds are electronically limited to a tad under 44mph in each case to preserve the EcoDaily Electric’s range, and can be set lower to extend it further. Driving it is a little like driving an eerily-quiet automatic, with a lever used to select forward, neutral or reverse.
Two batteries are fitted to the 3.5-tonner, with a third one optionally available on long-wheelbase models. The 5.0-tonners take three and long-wheelbase variants can be optionally specified with a fourth.
We took to the chilly highways of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire in a 35S13 12.0m3 van with the new 126hp 2.3-litre diesel lurking under its bonnet and married to the optional six-speed AGile semi-automatic gearbox; and we were instantly impressed.
With none of the creaking and rattling associated with the Dailys of a few years back, the build quality is top-notch. There’s plenty of performance on tap from this model even when heavily laden, it handles well, the steering is responsive and noise levels are well-controlled.
One of the best ’boxes of its type, and now featuring revised control software, AGile executes changes smoothly, with none of the jerkiness so often associated with semi-automatics. You have to push it really hard before it starts to get flustered. The standard ’box on Daily/Eco Daily is either a five- or a six-speed manual depending on the engine.
As far as ctriticisms are concerned the ride could perhaps stand to be better damped, but that’s about it.
Our test van featured an optional rear-mounted camera with a screen above the windscreen that allows you to see what’s directly behind you when you engage reverse.
Having one fitted should make it far less likely that you’ll hit something, or somebody, while going backwards and will save your vehicle from a lot of dents and scrapes. As it happens Daily’s standard exterior rear view mirrors are big and offer a wide field of vision, but they cannot of course see what a reversing camera can see.
After sampling a Daily diesel we ventured out in the biomethane version. Spookily quiet, it performs well and offers a practical alternative to the standard model if you have ready access to a supply of the fuel.
In a bid to make existing and prospective customers smile, despite the grim economic climate, Iveco is using legendary cartoon character Popeye to promote its new Daily. Skating over the fact that the Sailor Man is a smoker who indulges in regular acts of violence, the manufacturer is highlighting his other virtues. Iveco argues that he’s strong, durable and dependable — just like Daily — although Daily doesn’t need regular infusions of spinach to reach peak performance.
The fact that the latest Daily is our Large Panel Van of the Year for 2010 should give you an idea of how highly What Van? regards Iveco’s new offering. It’s a hugely impressive vehicle with next to no significant flaws. Go and check it out.