Class action: Daily 4x4 range reviewed
Its big truck business might be sluggish but in the light commercial sector Iveco’s rejuvenated and highly versatile Daily continues to make strong inroads. Born to blaze even more new business is a revamped Daily 4x4 range launched recently in Victoria.
Here’s an interesting and surprising fact revealed at the launch of Iveco’s new Daily 4x4 range: Australia represents around 20 per cent of the world market for Daily 4x4 models.
Given the huge extent of Iveco’s interests in regions like the Middle East, Eastern Europe and throughout Africa, where off-road capability is largely essential, it’s a statement that took a while to sink in.
It was, however, Iveco Australia’s amiable product chief Marco Quaranta who pressed home the critical influence of this rejuvenated off-road specialist on Iveco’s business in our part of the world. “We are a heavyweight in the [off-road] market for Iveco,” he said emphatically. “Iveco listens to what we want.”
Yet Quaranta wasn’t just referring to the newly updated Daily 4x4. As he succinctly put it, offroad models are ingrained in Iveco’s heritage, today covering many bases from Daily through to heavy-duty EuroCargo and Trakker trucks in 4x4 and 6x6 configurations, right up to the formidable 8x8 Astra.
To push the point even further, all offroad models were part of Iveco Australia’s presentation and test drives at the launch of the new Daily 4x4 held in the diverse and highly demanding conditions of the 4x4 training centre near Werribee, half an hour or so from Melbourne.
Star of the show of course, the Daily 4x4 follows the earlier launch of its substantially upgraded single-drive sibling, with both versions now sharing the same modernised exterior and interior designs that separate the new models from their immediate predecessors. In singledrive or double-diff guise, it’s a cab with car-like comfort unlike any in its class.
Yet in an undisguised bid to extol the importance of its new off-roader, and obviously separate any past issues from what it sees as a truly bright future, Iveco Australia says preparation for the local launch of the new model started in February this year with an extensive homologation and testing program.
Despite extensive overseas testing by Iveco prior to the new 4x4’s launch in other parts of the world, the local test program included a threeweek, 13,000km outback run by Iveco Australia product support manager Claus Hoffman at the wheel of a test unit operating in temperatures up to 48 degrees celcius, at close to its maximum GVM of 5.5 tonnes.
While diagnostic equipment recorded all relevant performance data of a drive traversing rough dirt throughout central and eastern Australia, an Iveco statement says Hoffman found noise levels and dust entry to be significantly reduced compared with the previous Daily. Importantly, regular oil sampling was
also part of the test program, with no negative findings. As Iveco puts it: “The adoption of the new cab brings a new level of refinement to the Daily 4x4 highlighted by great improvements in noise suppression, the virtual elimination of dust ingress, and ergonomic benefits for the driver and passenger.”
Importantly, the driver now sits on an Isri airsuspended seat, which is also optionally available for the front passenger.
Available in single and dual cab forms, the
Daily 4x4 comes in two gross weight capacities: 4495kg, which allows the vehicle to be driven on a car licence; and 5500kg, available as a no-cost upgrade.
Both versions have a braked towing capacity up to 3500kg and, depending on whether it’s a single or dual cab, payload ratings ranging from 1500 to 2800kg.
Among the new model’s biggest attractions are a host of performance and comfort gains over its predecessor, which, like its 4x2 counterpart, includes a cab rated to Europe’s ECE-R29 crashworthiness standard and a 3.0-litre engine now compliant with the Euro 6 emissions standard.
The engine is, in effect, the same turbocharged 3.0-litre four-cylinder diesel as before with unchanged outputs of 125kW (170hp) on tap from 3000 to 3500rpm, and top torque of 400Nm from 1250 to 3000 rpm. What has changed, however, is the introduction of an SCR (selective catalytic reduction) emissions system with its requirement for the addition of AdBlue to meet Euro 6 requirements.
Fortunately, AdBlue is now widely available even in many remote regions and likewise, with Iveco reporting that the engine uses only around three litres of AdBlue for every 100 litres of diesel consumed, the 25-litre AdBlue tank should be more than ample for most needs. On the other hand, a standard 90-litre fuel tank may struggle to satisfy those consistently towing heavy loads in remote regions.
Meantime, service intervals of 40,000 km in normal use and 20,000 km for operations in extreme off-road conditions are generous and certainly signal Iveco’s confidence.
When it comes to transmission gearing, the
Daily 4x4 continues to be largely in a class of its own. Coupled to the engine is Iveco’s slick sixspeed overdrive manual gearbox feeding into a double low-range transfer case, which together provide 24-speed ratios, including an ultra-low 101:1 bottom slot for what Iveco describes as “unparalleled crawling ability and off-road control”.
The transmission system also includes two power take-off outputs for operating auxiliary equipment such as hydraulic pumps.
A light truck with serious off-road capability, the new Daily continues to be based on a full-time mechanical 4x4 system with front, centre and rear diff locks fitted as standard equipment and engaged by a simple layout of dash-mounted buttons.
Approach and departure angles are particularly impressive at 48 and 39 degrees respectively,
The adoption of the new cab brings a new level of refinement to the Daily 4x4.
while wading depth with the standard 9.5R17.5 tyre size is 660mm.
For those venturing into deeper water, the Daily’s bag of off-road goodies also includes a button to disengage and re-engage the engine fan to counter the problem of water pushing spinning fan blades onto the radiator.
The new model also accommodates the aftermarket fitment of the more aggressive and wider 37-inch 12.5R17 tyre size, with recalibration of the electronic speedo performed by an Iveco dealership.
While on the tyre topic, Iveco makes a strong point about the Daily’s use of single wheels and tyres at all corners, rather than dual wheels on the rear. As a company statement asserts: “Compared to many of its Japanese cab-over competitors which retain dual rear wheels, the Daily 4x4’s ‘super single’ configuration ensures the same track width front and rear for greater mobility off-road.”
It’s a fair point, particularly given Iveco’s firmly stated intention to target a wide range of applications requiring a genuine off-road capability, such as a mining service unit; maintenance vehicle for power lines and railways; construction work; firefighting; forestry and public utility roles; and last but no means least, for grey nomad motorhome travellers and four-wheel drive addicts generally.
As for those heading for particularly remote regions and intending to install dual battery systems to power fridges and the like, the new model wisely has a dash-mounted battery cutoff button to deactivate the vehicle’s electrical system, keeping the battery fresh for actually starting the vehicle.
On the safety front, significant change has been made to the braking system, with Iveco Australia’s Joel Read – a self-confessed
Daily disciple – saying, “Iveco has listened to customer feedback requesting added braking performance”.
According to Iveco, while the new Daily 4x4 maintains the previous model’s front disc/rear drum assembly complete with ABS anti-lock, the braking system has been dramatically enhanced with the addition of Iveco’s advanced ‘ESP9’ system.
Incorporating a wide range of new safety functions including electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability program, a hill start hold function and anti-slip regulator, Read insists “the addition of ESP9 and other revisions to the braking system now see the Daily 4x4 pull up considerably sharper, even with the larger and heavier 37-inch tyres”.
Still, it needs to be pointed out that engagement of the diff locks automatically cancels out the
electronic stability program and ABS functions, but maintains the electronic brake-force distribution and hill hold systems.
For now, driver and passenger airbags are unavailable on the 4x4, but Iveco insiders were quick to emphasise they’ll be available by March next year and, importantly, bullbar compliant.
A range of the new Daily 4x4 models in single and dual cab configurations, with both standard and optional tyre packages, was made available for test drives at the launch event.
Almost all were cab/chassis units which are obviously far from the most appropriate for evaluation purposes, particularly on some of the seriously steep and twisted tracks dotted around the 4x4 training centre. That said, though, there was nothing to stop the new Daily off-roaders from showcasing some equally serious skills when it came to crawling, climbing and generally conquering anything put in front of them.
The combination of excellent approach and departure angles, extensive suspension travel, incredibly versatile gearing and three diff locks all combine to deliver exceptional off-road capabilities. It’ll be interesting, to say the least, to see how they perform if and when loaded vehicles are made available for test. But judging from what was performed at the launch, the Daily 4x4 has the foundations to be impressive in almost any form.
For Iveco, perhaps the greatest task will be to back the newcomer with the levels of service support it deserves, and the market has come to expect from the likes of Toyota and Isuzu – two brands Iveco will squarely target with its Daily 4x4.
1. Stepping up. Parabolic springs front and rear provide high degrees of wheel travel. 2. Extremely low gearing provides exceptional crawling ability, up and down.
3. Tilt angle was put to the test at Victoria’s 4x4 training centre.
4. A Daily disciple: Iveco’s
5. Iveco’s Astra 8x8. The European conglomerate proudly insists heavy-duty off-road trucks are an integral part of its heritage.