IVECO’s off-roader sets a new standard for all-terrain load carriers – Delivery heads bush for some real-time Italian action
There’s movement at the station as the word has got around that now there’s a way to carry twice the load capacity of a conventional ute in a 4×4 that has the potential to go almost anywhere off-road. Following several months of testing and ADR homologation, the Iveco Daily 4×4 range is offering brilliant off-road credentials, and Delivery has the story.
There are plenty of people who want more payload than a 4WD ute offers, but don’t want a forward control truck, such as a Fuso Canter, Isuzu NLS or NPS 4×4. Alternatives until now have been limited to a 6×6 conversion on an existing bonneted 4WD ute or the semi-bonneted Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4WD van and cab/chassis. These alternatives have better comfort than the Canter or NPS light trucks, but a 6×6 conversion is very expensive and the Sprinter’s basic 4WD system without proper low-range gearing, no diff locks and limited ground clearance makes it marginal for serious off-road work.
Iveco’s 2013 Daily 4×4 is an entirely different kettle of fish and much better than the company’s previous Daily 4WD effort. Based on the new, award-winning Daily light truck and van range, the 4WD version is built around a turbo-diesel engine, six-speed main transmission, ladder-frame chassis, taper-leaf springs and front and rear live axles fitted with across-axle diff locks. There’s an additional diff lock in the transfer case.
The 4WD system is a full-time design, with a torque-proportioning transfer case that splits drive 32-percent to the front axle and 68-percent to the rear. It can be mechanically locked by the driver, preventing ‘spin-out’ of the front propshaft when the vehicle is climbing steeply.
The main transmission operates in either direct-drive (1.0:1.0) or under-drive, via a lever that selects a 1:1.24 reduction. When driving with the transfer case in high range, the truck can operate with highway gearing that drops cruising revs at 110 km/h to a shade over 2500 rpm. In this mode, fuel consumption worked out around 11.5-13.5 l/100 km. In under-drive the transmission is set up for dirt-road and track driving, with a lower-speed gearset. For example, in under-drive, the road speed at 2500 rpm is only 90 km/h. The under-drive-direct shift can be done with the vehicle moving.
For serious off-road work the vehicle can be operated in deep-reduction low range, but must be stopped before the low-range lever is moved. As with high range, the transmission can operate in under-drive or direct in low range, and the reduction ratios are 1:3.87 and 1:3.12, respectively. In low-low the overall reduction is a class-leading 100:1! Typical 4WD ute low-range reduction is in the 40:1 to 70:1 region.
Back in the olden days, a truck would be given deep-reduction gearing to mask a lack of torque, but not in the case of the Iveco Daily 4×4. Power comes from an award-winning, 3.0-litre diesel four, with two turbochargers operating in series and helping the engine punch out 125 kW (170 hp) at 3000-35000 rpm, with peak torque of 400 Nm in the most-used 1250-3000 rpm band.
With series turbocharging, this engine obviously could produce more than 400 Nm, but the torque curve has been tailored to deliver peak torque across a very wide rev band – ideal for an off-road machine, where the driver doesn’t want a sudden, traction-busting wallop of torque as the engine revs change.
Another, mechanical, reason for limiting the peak torque is the Daily 4×4’s considerable gearing reduction. With more engine torque, the driveline and axles would have to be made larger – heavier – and that’s not in the interests of keeping tare weight to minimum.
Speaking of weights, the Daily 4×4 single-cab/chassis model tips the scales at 2.5 tonnes – about the same weight as a LandCruiser 200 Series station wagon!
The Iveco Daily 4×4 has been released with a two- or three-seat short-cab and a six- or seven-seat crew-cab, and all seating positions have lap-sash seat belts. The standard driver’s seat in both models is an ISRI air-suspended chair, and the standard passenger seat is a two-place bench. However, a second air suspended single-passenger seat is optional. The rear bench in the crew-cab seats four.
Equipment levels are carry-overs from the class-leading Iveco Daily 4×2 models and include ABS/EBD vacuum/hydraulic disc and drum braking (ABS is cancelled when the centre differential is locked for off-road driving); seat belt pre-tensioners; power windows; remote central locking; powered, heated main mirrors and manual-adjust spotters; trip computer; three DIN slots, including a CD player/radio; cruise control; climate-control air conditioning/heating; engine immobiliser; and headlight beam-height adjustment.
Both models are built on a 3400 mm wheelbase, giving excellent approach, departure and ramp-over angles of 50, 30 and 150 degrees, respectively.
In the interests of car-licenced driver compliance, the standard gross mass rating is 4,495 kg, but the vehicle can be purchased with a 5,200 kg GVM rating, without any modification being necessary. At the lower GVM rating, the single-cab has a body and payload capacity of 1,950 kg, or 2,655 kg at the higher rating. The crew-cab has a standard payload of 1,750 kg, or 2,455 kg at the higher GVM rating. All Daily 4x4s can pull a 3,500 kg trailer.
However, a glaring problem is the standard fuel tank capacity of only 90 litres. Iveco needs an auxiliary tank for this truck.
RRPs are $80,000 for the single-cab/chassis and $88,000 for the crew-cab/chassis.
On and off-road
Our evaluation vehicle was a single-cab Daily 4×4 that had been used for ADR homologation, and, as such, it had covered 17,000 km and was nicely run-in. The vehicle was decked out with emergency services bodywork and fitted with optional two-place seating.
The 4×4 had a definite presence, because the familiar Daily 4×2 cab sat up high on a purpose-built, box-section frame. Doing pre-trip checks under the snub-nosed bonnet required a footstool!
Fortunately, getting in and out of the skyscraper cab was easy, thanks to an additional step bolted under each doorsill. The crew-cab gets rear-door entry steps as well.
Seat adjustment for reach, rake and driver’s weight was easy, but the seat cushion felt a tad short. Pedal disposition was offset slightly to the right, but didn’t create an ergonomic problem. The main transmission lever poked conveniently out of the dashboard and the two transfer case levers were close by the seat, allowing unfettered walk-through to the near-side door.
Once I adjusted to the cab height, the Daily 4×4 was a pleasure to drive on sealed roads and it had no trouble keeping up with traffic. Ride quality was firm, but better than that in forward-control light trucks, and fat sway bars – front and rear – did a good job of limiting body roll in corners.
On the open road, the Daily was happy to cruise all day at legal speeds, and noise was minimal.
Vision was excellent in all directions, the wiper/washers worked a treat and the standard headlights were okay for town work.
On dirt, the Daily was in its element, and the under-drive gearset was perfect for these conditions. The vehicle handled corrugations in its stride and the only downside was an annoying rattle behind the dashboard.
In off-road conditions, the Daily 4×4 proved to be one of the most capable machines we’ve driven. The diff locks operated faultlessly and the driver couldn’t accidentally drive off with the front lock engaged, because a beeper sounded continuously while it was activated. The standard tyres were fine in demanding conditions, but, for sand work, fatter rubber would be handy.
Iveco is on a winner with this most capable machine. Hopefully, they’ll be able to keep up with demand.