It’s a Daily drive for emergency services and adventurers
Designed mainly for commercial applications, it still has appeal for retirees or Lotto winners who love the Outback. The dual-cab is big enough to seat six with exemplary head and legroom, full tilt-and-rake steering adjustment and heating for the two front seats. The cabin gets an audio system, airconditioning, electric windows, cruise control, power external mirrors, big storage areas and cooled glovebox.
Rivals include the Fuso FG and Isuzu NPS though both are physically bigger and, depending on GVM, may require a truck licence. Volkswagen is yet to import the Crafter 4Motion cab-chassis and van.
Big, squared off yet almost cute. It’s huge in the metal though looks Tonka toy-like in photos. It stands 2.7m high, is 2m wide (plus the giant side mirrors) with an impressive 300mm ground clearance on sand tyres.
It also has a massive 50-degree approach angle and up to 41 degrees departure, which are hard to rival. It has a commanding seating position yet is as simple as many vans. Indeed, the 4x4 is based on the Daily two-wheel drive van. The flat cabin floor allows occupants to slip fore and aft.
The rear seat takes four adults and has a storage bin beneath the cushions.
The 3.0-litre four-cylinder biturbo and intercooled diesel engine (125kW/400Nm) will drink about 15.0L/100km. Peak torque comes in from 1250rpm3000rpm.
Drive goes to all wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox with two sets of transfer ratios, effectively creating 24 forward cogs. Three differential locks can be engaged sequentially — centre diff, rear and front — while the axles are heavy-duty jobs on leaf springs.
It’s built tough so has a 4.5-tonne GVM (5.2-tonne optional) and this doesn’t affect its 3.5-tonne towing ability. There are also front disc brakes with rear drums and hydraulic power-assist rack and pinion steering. Tyre choices from Michelin include the aggressive sand tyres (as tested) which are rated to 100km/h.
Probably more of a concern for other road users. The Daily 4x4 carries no crash test result. It has two airbags, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution but no electronic stability or traction control. The gigantic heated side mirrors have two sets of lenses each and there’s a kerbside mirror.
Once you get over the driver’s seat height, the Daily 4x4 is as easy as most other vans to drive on the road. The sand tyres whine (the standard road-bias 110km/h-rated tyres are better) and at 100km/h the engine is spinning at 2200rpm, making it a leisurely country cruiser.
It’s comfortable and its size gives occupants a sense of security. Steering is pleasantly firm while the gearbox shift and clutch action feel is as good — and as light — as most midsize passenger cars.
The visibility is like the view from a third-floor apartment. In the dirt, at Perth’s RAC Driving Centre, the Daily 4x4 is almost unstoppable.
All the clever stuff starts with the grunty engine and the spread of the reduction box’s gear ratios. It’s better to let the engine lug rather than rev it. Only in desperation will the front diff be needed.
An extremely capable, surprisingly comfortable and well-engineered machine for select ownership.