Iveco took its time in introducing stop/start technology to its 3.5-tonne Daily line-up, with the fuel-saving feature already commonplace on many brands’ vans. But the Fiat-owned manufacturer has never claimed to be a pioneer in the light commercial vehicle sector. Rather, it aims to make sure new systems are as robust and reliable as possible before fitting them to its vehicles.
As a spokesman says: “It’s more difficult to get stop/start onto a CV in diesel than in petrol. We wanted to make sure it works – we don’t trailblaze, we’ve tested it to the Nth degree.”
Iveco unveiled stop/start Daily models at the CV Show in April in panel van and tipper modes. The models, which are powered by a 2.3-litre diesel engine with outputs of 106, 126 and 146hp are now starting to come onto the market. Iveco is only offering stop/start with six-speed manual transmission and expects the option to be popular with urban operators and those running short routes that can maximise the system’s fuel-saving potential.
Perhaps surprisingly, stop/start Dailys will not find their way onto the fleets of supermarket giants Tesco and Asda, which use the Iveco vans on their gruelling delivery runs due to their renowned durability. Both companies prefer to use Iveco’s Agile semi-automatic transmission because they believe it is less susceptible to wear and tear than a manual, clutch-operated gearbox, particularly when driven by relatively unskilled drivers.
We tested the stop/start system on a 126hp 2.3 Daily 35S13 Eco van built on the mid-sized 3300mm wheelbase and with the medium- height H2 roof. These dimensions combine to give the van a 12m3 loadspace coupled with a payload of 1345kg. The load box was laden with bags of gravel weighing about a tonne.
We spent most of our time in the van weaving about Luton town centre taking in lots of traffic lights, roundabouts, speed humps and the odd traffic jam. But we also ventured out onto dual carriageways and country lanes too.
The 126hp drivetrain coped reasonably well with the weight in the back, especially when we’d built up a head of steam, but climbing up steep hills did put it under a bit of strain, so if you’re regularly planning on carrying close to the maximum payload, we reckon the 146hp engine would be a better bet.
The stop/start mechanism, which adds an extra £395 plus VAT to the van’s starting price, works smoothly enough, cutting out the engine when you come to a halt and put the engine into neutral and, most of the time, firing up without a fuss when you pull off again.
Our van did have an occasional tendency to stall, however, either when the engine did not have sufficient revs when re-starting or when the vehicle was only required to stop momentarily in traffic or at lights before moving on. The same flaw is also suffered by Iveco parent
firm Fiat’s stop/start system. It is probable such problems would disappear once you become familiar with the system, but in the meantime they can prove slightly stressful.
Stop/start is combined with Iveco’s Gear Shift Indicator, which displays the number of the most economical gear to select on the dashboard. This makes a change from the more commonly used arrow icons.
Iveco claims the eco devices can deliver fuel savings of up to 10%. The manufacturer carried out a comparison of fuel consumption with the stop/start system enabled and disabled on the city test route at Millbrook Proving Ground. It concludes that if a van’s daily route covers 60 miles with diesel priced £1.50 per litre, the cost of fuel would be £21.60 with stop/start and £24.51 without – a saving of £2.91. Iveco calculates it would therefore take 135 working days to recover the £395 cost of the device for each van on a fleet.
The H2’s load box is accessed via a sliding nearside door as well as twin rear doors that can open through to 270o, folding back against the side of the van. The load space features a handy shelf at the top of the steel bulkhead and a spotlight, and the van we tested came with the £370 option of a phenolic-coated plywood floor.
Stop/start models get the same cabin options as the rest of the Daily range. Our van came with the Daily Plus Pack, which for £340 (all prices exclude VAT) comprises
cruise control, provision for TomTom satnav, heated electric mirrors and over-screen storage. Our van also got useful additions such as an adjustable speed limiter for £100 and storage under the passenger seat for £80. The £330 suspended driver’s seat, which can be adjusted for springiness by a dial on its side, is an acquired taste.
For a van likely to take a fair amount of punishment in its daily routine, including mounting kerbs, the £690 alloy wheels seem like an unnecessary extravagance. It would be more sensible to spend your money on rear parking sensors (£240) or air-conditioning, although the £900 price tag for the latter may get you hot under the collar.
Welcome frugal addition to the durable and robust Daily range