Too Easy

Want a payload of 1500 kg and a great workplace, try the ECODaily

There’s nothing better than climbing into a new van and immediately feeling at home. You realise that somewhere there has been a team of people responsible for the design and the final presentation of the vehicle, and that they obviously spoke to each other during the development process. The result is that everything comes together, and you, the driver, are the sole beneficiary.

That’s how the Iveco ECODaily 35S14 feels from the first drive. And it continues to satisfy long after the initial enthusiasm might have waned slightly.

The cabin is big, it’s easy to walk through from one side to the other and there’s plenty of storage space. There are even two hooks for coats and jackets, plus a clipboard, an A4 sized note locker, overhead storage across the width of the windscreen, and a cup holder for the morning coffee on each extreme end of the dashboard. Add enough storage space in each door pocket to accommodate a small tribe of pygmies, and you are immediately struck by how much thought has gone into the execution of the design.Iveco-Daily_10

The seat, for the driver, is supplied by ISRI, and, in line with their big truck products, this seat is one of the best. The base is adjustable for rake, and although this is not an air-suspended design, it’s supremely comfortable.

Next, we come to vision, and here there’s no suggestion of a blind spot when the driver is trying to see down either side. The visibility is best-in-class here, thanks largely to each mirror head having two, almost equally sized, large mirrors. The top mirror is a straightforward vision to the rear, while the lower mirror is convex for a wider view. Other manufacturers have a similar set-up, but here, because Iveco has really large mirror heads, the driver gets the best vision possible. There’s also rear vision available from the centre windscreen-mounted rear-vision mirror through a glass panel in the cabin rear bulkhead. There’s also rear park assist warning to make life dent free.

The dashboard and instrumentation is again clear and easy to understand, and the knobs on the dash are big round things that are easy to grab and twist. Some vans have car-like controls with tiny little knobs, the ECODaily has big things you can find without having to divert your attention from the road ahead.

There are also lots of goodies that come with every ECODaily. As well as the now commonly included air conditioning, there’s cruise control, a trip computer that provides information on average fuel, average speed, trip details and time taken, and gauges that you can read without having to put on your reading glasses (one for the older generation there). The driver gets an SRS airbag as standard, for the passenger it’s optional.

To the left of the steering column, in the under-dash section, there’s adjustment for headlamp levelling to compensate for a variance in load weight, and also to drop the headlamp beams when running through inner city streets to avoid dazzle for oncoming traffic.

Our 35S14 came with a full-width and height bulkhead, which meant the cabin was supremely quiet. It also enabled the fitment of two passenger seats with space for storage underneath.

It doesn’t seem to upset the ECODaily as to whether the road surface is as smooth as a billiard table or full of corrugations. The ride quality is good, and, thanks to independent front suspension, the directional stability doesn’t ever seem to be compromised. Iveco’s background as a truck maker also becomes evident when you look underneath and find a full-length chassis, which supports the body. No such thing as monocoque assembly here, and a tribute to additional durability that comes from all ECODaily’s featuring this assembly method. Iveco is the only van maker to stay with the strength afforded by this type of construction.

Iveco-Daily_2All Iveco Dailys are rear-wheel-drive and the rear axle, in this example, was sitting on single reinforced leaf springs with rubber rebound stops, an anti-roll bar and shock absorbers. Electronically controlled rear air suspension is available as an option, and so too are side window SRS airbags, a full electronic stability programme with traction control, anti-slip regulation, brake assist and hill holder.

The 35S14 comes in a choice of three wheelbases, 3000 mm, 3300 mm and 3950 mm, and with a variation of roof height of 2270 mm, 2640 mm and 2670 mm. This ends up, of course, with the overall length varying with each model, and, in this van, the overall length dimensions are 5477 mm, 5997 mm and 7012 mm respectively.

The three van versions all share the same GVM of 3,800 kg, so, as each weight differs through the additional steel of the larger bodies, the payload decreases from a maximum of 1460 kg, for the smallest van, out through 1350 kg for the mid-sized van, and to 1230 kg for the largest. The floor height for the cargo area stays the same throughout the three alternatives, at 695 mm, and of course, the cargo volume changes from 8.3 cu. m through 12.0 cu. m, and finally out to 15.6 cu. m.

The heart of this van is its engine, and with a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder, direct-injection diesel engine under the bonnet, and driving the rear wheels, it’s a highly efficient powerplant provided by Fiat PowerTrain systems.

Using a variable geometry turbocharger means that the power delivery is consistent throughout the rev range, producing 100 kW (136 hp) between 1700-3000 rpm and with peak torque of 320 Nm rated through an identical rev band.

In manual form, the gearbox features five speeds controlled by a handy short stick mounted on the outer edge of the dashboard. For an automatic option, the ECODaily also offers a six-speed overdrive automated manual transmission that it calls the AGile. We haven’t driven the latest version of this, but will report back as soon as we find one in service.

Out on the highway, the ECODaily is well able to keep up with freeway speeds, and, in our evaluation, we found the engine rpm ratio to road speed came out at 2200 rpm in 5th at 100 km/h, and increased to 2400 rpm in 5th to maintain 110 km/h. This engine rpm was achieved on an accurate SATNAV speed indication, as we found the standard speedo in the vehicle was over reading by approximately 6-8 km/h at 110 km/h, as authenticated by SATNAV.Iveco-Daily_7

Our test van was fitted out to a standard courier specification, similar to that of DHL Couriers, and, consequently, sported plywood interior walls and floors to prevent damage to any of the load.

We’ve actually left the big benefit of this van until last to mention, and that’s fuel economy. Considering this version had a virtual payload capability of 1,500 kg and a cargo volume of 8.3 cu. m, the fuel economy was outstanding, with a recorded 7.1 l/100 km for the first 200 km of the day. This dropped back to 7.6 l/100 km for the overall daily consumption, after a full shift spent in the centre of Sydney.

With this exceptional fuel economy, and with service intervals destined for once a year or at 40,000 km intervals, this is one efficient van that’s going to contribute to your profitability. It’s extremely economical, good to drive and handles well. It offers good sized, easy to access interior space, and with a range of body options available, there’s sure to be one model, out of the three available, that will suit your business in this weight category.

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