IVECO’s crew-cab light truck has much to offer
IVECO is continuing its revitalised restructuring throughout its range, and the Daily is no exception, with the latest models being far superior in terms of quality and appeal than the early production versions.
The Daily dual-cab in light truck form at 4.5 tonnes GVM is a specific case in point. Able to carry six passengers plus the driver, it’s comfortable, the interior is easy for passengers to access, it has an engine and drivetrain that provides some of the best options in the market, and it’s got other benefits that make it unique.
The acceptance of the Daily dual-cab as an alternative to the current crop of Japanese-styled utes means taking a close look at how the marketing teams for those brands have attempted to sell strength in the form of payload and towing ability.
The ad campaigns have literally maxed out in rhetoric about GVMs and GCMs, almost to the point of misleading conduct, based on who can claim to have the highest capacity.
No doubt these same marketing teams are privately hoping customers will not load them to the hilt and couple up to a four-horse float or attach a gooseneck trailer, as they probably don’t have a programme in place to prevent chassis cracking or bending due to overstressing the vehicle design.
Australians do have a requirements for towing heavy weights, and that’s what sets our type of use apart from those in other countries, apart from some Asian countries where overloading is part of daily life.
But consider this, most large 4WDs hauling large caravans or extended horse floats on Australian roads are probably illegal before they leave the driveway.
If you want to tow a heavy trailer, haul a gooseneck or tug along a plant trailer, and still have plenty of safety in reserve, then you could be looking at an American ute, such as a Ford F-Truck, a Chevrolet Silverado or a Dodge Ram.
There is another alternative, which is actually superior, more capable, and, above all, available at a much lower price, and that’s where the Daily makes its mark.
A week spent evaluating the latest Daily 50-210 dual-cab xlight truck was a real revelation. With its GVM rated less than 4.5 tonnes, a car licence holder can drive the Daily dual-cab, or if load carrying is your aim it can be uprated to 5200 kg, without any mechanical alteration, whereupon the driver needs a light rigid (or above) licence classification. The GCM for those pulling trailers extends from 7995 kg to 8700 kg respectively.
The Daily was presented for test with a 4350 mm wheelbase fitted with an all-steel dropside tray body and a steel checker plate floor that weighed 825 kg. It rolled off our local weighbridge at 2980 kg, not including the driver but with 75 litres of fuel in the 100-litre tank. IVECO claims the tare weight for that unit is actually 2220 kg, giving a payload of 1455 kg.
Ten minutes later and with a full 1400 kg of premium mulch dropped in the tray (suitably covered), it was time to head off for a repeat round of our Delivery Magazine road test route.
Normally, a full load really impacts on performance, but with the highest output version of the three different 3.0-litre engine ratings on offer under the bonnet, it was certainly difficult to detect any lessening of acceleration or its ability to hold a gear on a long incline.
The badging on the side of the Daily states 50-210 which basically means five tonnes and 210 hp, but in true Italian bragging rights this overstates the actual power output, which is 205 hp. Buyers can choose between the eight-speed ZF torque converter automatic, or, as in the case of the vehicle under test, a six-speed, double-overdrive, manual synchromesh gearbox.
With a shift gate that is very close between slots, it takes a little time to get used to this transmission. Basically, the standard position is in the 3-4 central plane, with pressure to the left or right taking it into 1-2, or 5-6. Reverse is achieved by lifting a collar on the gear lever shaft and pushing further to the left
The door mirrors are big and effective, with upper standard lenses being power assisted, and lower convexmirrors, larger than those fitted on other Daily’s we tested, giving a very good range of rear vision.
Hill-start assist prevents the risk of roll back when moving off from stationary, and a rear differential lock, operated by a push button on the dashboard, really enhances traction on slippery surfaces.
Diff locks are something with which off-road driving devotees are very familiar. In our book, they are the single most valuable aid to maintaining traction in muddy conditions, when travelling over wet grass or when negotiating really bumpy terrain.
With the diff lock operated, both rear wheels turn at the same rotational speed, resisting the usual tendency of power going to the wheel with the least resistance and causing wheelspin.
It’s not often that both rear wheels are going to spin, meaning that the added traction applied by both rear wheels is going to get you out of the nasty situations. The only disadvantage of a diff lock is that it’s best to keep heading in a straight line, as, when turning a corner, both rear wheels still rotate at the same speed, meaning the inner wheel on a corner is trying to rotate at the same speed as the outer wheel, which is running on a wider radius. This is the time to disengage the diff lock and let the axle return to doing what it does best.
The other really cool thing that makes the Daily unique in this segment is the option of an air-bag suspension at the rear. Providing a softer ride than a full semi-elliptical spring, it can also compensate for high or low weights by adding or releasing air from the bags. This means a level ride height is always maintained, preventing the tail down, nose up behaviour of a heavily laden vehicle.
It’s this spec that makes the Daily ideal for use towing gooseneck trailers. When reversing under the kingpin or ball mounting, air can be bled out of the airbag by pressing a button, lowering the fifth-wheel height. Once under the coupling assembly, press the inflate button and the rear bed of the truck will lift up to connect. Once the coupling has been locked on, wind up the landing legs, press the airbag button for level running and you’ve avoided much of the physical effort involved in raising and lowering the trailer.
There’s plenty of storage space under the full-width rear bench seat, accessed by lifting up the seat base, plus big door pockets and a full-width shelf above the windscreen. A fully adjustable, heated suspension seat also enhances comfort and convenience to operate all the controls for the driver and/or front passenger, when a dual front seat is not required.
Cruise control, decent headlights, great visibility and a full complement of safety features back up all the work health and safety demands, and with the strength of a full truck-type chassis underneath the cab and the body there’s a lot more substance with the Daily than the monocoque design of the competition.
Disc brakes all-round, plus trailer sway mitigation, driver and passenger curtain airbags, independent front suspension, plus the previously mentioned airbag rear suspension, all spells for a comfortable ride, and in comparison with leaf-sprung alternatives this is a standout feature.
The whole aspect of vehicle purchase should depend on buying the right vehicle to handle a specific task. For those intent on towing, with family members or a work crew on board, the Daily crew-cab with air suspension and rear diff lock is a unique proposition that eclipses the competition.