The IVECO Daily range has been a story of continuing improvement since its launch, as the Italian manufacturer fine tunes the specification for the Australian market to make it very much more competitive and decidedly more attractive to purchase.

The Daily light-commercial range encompasses vans of all sizes, from low-roof models to high-roof, varying length wheelbases, and increased cargo volumes that maximise space through different roof height options.

It pays to be very specific when looking at Daily van specs as the interior cargo volumes now available include models with 7 cu m, 9 cu m, 11 cu m, 12 cu m, 16 cu.m, 18 cu m and a massive 20 cu m. What this option range provides is everything from an around-town local delivery van to an on-highway, interstate delivery truck for express parcels or even light removals, given the amount of interior space.

In this mix of product IVECO adds to the light and medium vans and cab/chassis versions with single-cabs or crew-cabs, together with larger vans that require specialised drivers licences in the 4.5-7.0 tonnes categories. Finally, there’s minibus version, offering an eight-speed fully automatic transmissions and a choice of different interior trim levels.

As commercial vehicle operators know well, the service departments of car dealerships usually shut at 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and don’t open at weekends. To find service and maintenance options running into the evening or over weekends you have to take your trusty van or truck to a commercial vehicle dealer, where service options exist to suit the operator, not just the service manager.

Commercial vehicles need to be out working and not off the road during business hours. Unless a similar loan vehicle is available, the operator loses revenue earned by the vehicle and increases their operating costs by having to hire in a replacement. That’s where buying a Daily or similar alternative through a commercial vehicle dealership pays dividends.

IVECO Australia has looked closely at the Daily range and reduced the complexity of the product variations so that a typical specification brings with it an inclusive list of standard safety features and benefits.

When considering alternative vehicles in this highly competitive segment it’s worth comparing the active and passive safety systems to see just what you get for your money. Remember that with Chain of Responsibility legislation getting greater attention each year, you have a responsibility to place your employees in a safe working environment. With the Daily and its ESP9 list of safety features you will be gaining the following benefits:

ABS (anti-lock braking), EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution) to share the brake force safely between the front and rear axles; ESP (Electronic Stability Programme), maintaining vehicle stability by selective brake application; and ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation), which prevents the driving wheels from losing traction.

There are of course more inbuilt safety features, and these include DTC (Drag Torque Control), which acts on engine speed to reduce the braking torque; Hill Hold Control, which holds the vehicle stationery on an incline; LAC (Load Adaptive Control), which compensates for the load distribution; and TSM (Trailer Sway Mitigation), which detects the presence of a trailer and adapts the ESC control strategy in order not to negatively influence the dynamics of the trailer being towed.

And yet there are more safety features, with HRB (Hydraulic Rear Wheel Boost) to increase brake pressure to the rear wheels in an emergency braking situation; HFC (Hydraulic Fading Compensation), which detects the potential for brake fade and increases circuit pressure; and RMI (Roll Movement Intervention), which mitigates high speed roll over situations that can develop from sudden driver input. The RMI system extends its operation to Roll Over Mitigation to prevent the onset of a rollover situation, again caused by external influences or sudden driver inputs that affect stability.

In choosing the right Daily for your van or light truck operation, IVECO suggested the single-cab 50C17A8. With a wheelbase of 3750 mm and a GVM of 4495 kg, this can be driven by a car licence holder and it comes with a price tag of $60,995 including the tray.

Next up for the challenge was the 35S17A8 V Daily medium van with a high roof that offered a 12-cubic-metre capacity with a wheelbase of 3520 mm and a GVM again of 4495 kg. Its price tag, which includes a plywood floor, is $60,200.

The third Daily off the rank was in the form of the large 16-cubic-metre volume 50C17A V model with a wheelbase of 4100 mm and again with a GVM of 4495 kg, which in this example provided a payload of 1954 kg. Again supplied with a factory optioned hardwood floor, the retail price is $71,000.

Power for the Daily range comes in several choices, all being four-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled diesels, but with different power and torque outputs. The test vehicle featured the 170 hp/125 kW version with variable geometry turbo and leaving the 205 hp/150 kW alternative on the wish list. Torque ratings here are 430 Nm at 1500-2600 rpm, stepping up to 470 Nm at 1400-3000 rpm.

There’s no doubt that the latest Daily models to join the Australian market are better built than their earlier siblings. Steering response has been improved and for a driver running over broken road edges there’s little influence on the directional stability.

The cab itself is easy to enter and comfortable for a day behind the wheel. The performance from the 170 hp engine is well up to the demands of shifting even a full weight cargo, and with the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission it becomes a pleasure to drive any of the different versions available.

The cabin is well equipped with intuitively-placed instruments and controls and an efficient climate control system. Other benefits include four-speaker audio system with FM/AM tuner, CD/mp3 player, mp3 player with USB drive, AUX input and Bluetooth connectivity. Radio and phone controls can be accessed by the steering wheel.

When the Daily models first surfaced in the Australian market they were accompanied by some annoying rattles and the occasional originating from the front suspension. Not so for the latest versions, with better road manners all-round and a much quieter cab interior. Options such as interior plywood lining for the walls and floor protect the van from damage resulting from the load, and there are plenty of tie-down points to keep loads secure.

The Daily cab/chassis is also impressive and it proves the Europeans are well ahead of the Asian manufacturers when it comes to providing creature comforts in a light truck habitat. In crew-cab form there is seating in the rear for four passengers, complete with storage space under the seat.

We would recommend Daily to anyone looking for a van larger than the typical one-tonner, and, with pricing that is much more cost competitive, the Daily as a package is now extremely attractive.

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