Iveco Daily 4x4
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Truck people know Iveco well, but the average 4WD enthusiast might not. This Turin-based truck arm of Fiat was the result of amalgamation of several European truck makers in 1975 and has no tie-up with Fiat-Chrysler, other than product sharing of some diesel engines.
As with the Ducato line-up the Daily range includes vans with different wheelbases and heights, cab/chassis, including crew cabs and single-tyred and dual-tyred rear-axle variants.
Now in its fourth generation, the Daily comes as a rear-wheel drive 4x2 or a 4x4. Principal buyers of 4x2 models are pick-up and delivery fleets and the 4x4s go mostly to miners, councils, fire brigades and recreational vehicle owners. The latter usually mount motorhome or camper bodies behind short-cab or crew-cab versions.
Daily 4x4 history
The original 4x4 van and cab/chassis version was available in the second-generation Daily, from the mid-1990s and some of these made their way to Australia.
I remember testing a Daily 75PC 4x4 Britz campervan version and, while being impressed with its excellent off-road ability, I understood why Britz abandoned the marque soon after: final drive ratios more suited to pushing a mini-snow-plough blade around European ski resorts meant very high engine revs at highway speeds and most of these ‘renters’ blew up.
There are still a few of them around: an ex-Britz campervan was spotted on the Pacific Highway in mid-2018 and there is still a cab/chassis working for the local council at Nukurr in Arnhem Land.
Iveco rethought the Daily 4x4 for some time and came up with a new concept in 2011. The new-design Iveco Daily 4x4 range was released in 2013.
Post-2013 Daily 4x4 design
In place of the first model’s independent wishbone front end was a live, rigid front axle, suspended on taper-leaf springs. Ground clearance was greatly improved, along with gearing that suited highway cruising as well as off-road crawling. However, a flexible ladder-frame chassis meant that a box-body van version was not available, so the 2013 Daily 4x4 was restricted to short-cab and crew-cab bodywork.
Brilliant off road credentials and more than twice the payload of a ute ensured good business for this capable machine. Refinements were added in mid-2016 and in 2018 and a greatly expanded range was released in Europe in late 2018.
Interestingly, in what will be a MY2019 model when released in Australia, Iveco has abandoned the live front axle, in favour of a return to the torsion-bars of yesteryear and the reintroduction of van bodies as well as cab/chassis.
Ground clearance is less, but centre of gravity is lower and ride and handling should improve greatly. Let’s look at the Iveco Daily 4x4’s score Down Under since 2013.
Iveco Daily 2013 models
The Daily 4x4 version was built around a turbocharged diesel engine, six-speed main transmission and, unusually, a three-speed transfer box, front and rear live axles fitted with across-axle diff locks and an additional diff lock in the transfer case.
Two turbochargers operating in series helped the engine punch out 125kW (170hp) at 3000-35000rpm, with peak torque of 400Nm in the most-used 1250-3000rpm band.
The Daily also appealed to buyers who wanted ute-like wheel track width, single tyres front and rear and a semi-forward-control configuration.
The Iveco Daily 4x4 came as a two- or three-seat short cab or a six- or seven-seat crew cab and all outboard seating positions had lap-sash seat belts. The standard driver’s seat in both models was an ISRI air-suspended and heated seat and the standard passenger seat was a two-place bench. However, an air suspended, heated single-passenger seat was optional. The rear bench in the crew cab seated four.
Equipment levels were carry-overs from the class-leading Iveco Daily 4x2 models and included ABS/EBD vacuum/hydraulic, disc and drum braking (ABS was 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; USB outlets; cruise control; climate-control air conditioning/heating; engine fan cut-off; engine immobiliser and headlight beam-height adjustment.
Both Daily 4x4 models were built on a 3400mm wheelbase, giving excellent approach, departure and ramp-over angles of 50, 30 and 150 degrees, respectively.
In the interests of car-licenced driver operation the standard gross mass rating was 4495kg, but for those with a light-truck licence the vehicle could be purchased with an increased 5200kg GVM rating, without any modification being necessary.
At the lower GVM rating the single cab had a body and payload capacity of 1795kg, and 2800kg at the higher rating. The crew cab had a standard payload of 1505kg and 2510kg at the higher GVM rating. All Daily 4x4s could pull a 3500kg trailer.
On road, the main transmission operated in either direct-drive (1.0:1.0) or under-drive, via a lever that selected a 1:1.24 reduction. When driving with the transfer case in high range the truck’s highway gearing dropped cruising revs at 110km/h to a shade over 2500rpm.
In this mode, fuel consumption worked out around 11.5-13.5L/100km, when we tested a part-loaded 2013 model.
It’s as well that the fuel consumption was good, because the standard fuel tank capacity was only 90 litres.
In under-drive the transmission was set up for dirt-road and track driving, with a lower-speed gearset. For example, in under-drive the road speed at 2500rpm was only 90km/h. The under-drive-into-direct shift could be done with the vehicle moving.
For serious off-road work the vehicle was operated in deep-reduction low range, but had to be stopped before the low-range lever was moved. As with high-range operation the transmission could operate in under-drive or direct in low range and the reduction ratios were 1:3.87 and 1:3.12, respectively.
In low-low the overall reduction was a class leading 100:1! Typical 4WD ute low-range reduction is in the 40:1 to 70:1 region.
Daily 4x4 single-cab/chassis model tipped the scales at 2.7 tonnes – about the same weight as a LandCruiser 200 Series station wagon!
Daily 4x4 2017 upgrades
For 2017 the Daily 4x4 configuration was unchanged, but the new model was more civilised. The cab exterior and interior were noticeably different.
The post-2017 engine variants were Euro 6 complaint, although there was no legal need in Australia for that level of emissions control. The Daily engine had a 25-litre AdBlue tank for its selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emissions control system.
With series turbocharging the three-litre engine obviously could produce more than 430Nm, but the torque curve was capped 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 engine revs change.
Another, mechanical, reason for limiting the peak torque is the Daily 4x4’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 optional GVM was raised to 5500kg.
SRS airbags were made available in September 2018.
An obvious omission from the 2013 specification was Bluetooth connectivity, but that was remedied in the 2017 model. Another inclusion was a battery isolation switch, to ensure the starting battery couldn’t be accidentally drained.
Also added was an ESP9 braking system that included automatic skid reduction (ASR); trailer recognition with trailer sway mitigation; a hill holding feature; brake-fade pressure boost and roll-over intervention.
RRPs in August 2016 were $88,000 for the single-cab/chassis and $94,000 for the crew-cab/chassis – up eight grand on the previous post-2013 models.
By February 2019 pricing had increased still further, up to $104,000 for the short-cab and $111,000 for the crew-cab.
Daily 4x4 problems
No matter how much testing truck makers do, there are inevitable issues that develop with first-generation products in the Australian environment. The Iveco Daily was no exception.
An ongoing problem with the Daily – as it is with all highly-electronic 4x4s – is diagnosis of issues in the bush. Unfortunately, Iveco country dealers are heavy-truck oriented and not so familiar with the Daily innards.
Like all common-rail diesel engines the Daily engine needs perfectly clean fuel and any contamination can cause major problems. Also, the engine is Euro 6 compliant from 2017, dictating a full kit of exhaust after-treatment devices, including AdBlue for the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system.
Several owners have had braking issues, quoting situations where the front discs became red hot while the rear drums remained cool. The culprit was invariably a poorly-set-up load proportioning valve on the rear axle. That was eliminated from the 2017 model by the fitment of an ESP9 braking system.
Another common complaint from owners of Dailys that travelled on corrugated roads was mangled transfer case mounting bushes. Iveco reckons the latest-generation bushes have solved that problem and they can be retro-fitted to post-2013 models.
Although the Daily 4x4’s overall ground clearance was class-leading the front axle/steering design puts the anti-sway bar and the tie rod in front of the axle, behind a protective grate that intrudes into the approach angle and invariably bangs into rock shelves. It’s a shame the anti-sway bar couldn’t have been designed as a higher installation, with rod connections down to the spring plates. The tie rod, ideally, should be behind the axle housing.
On and off road
We’ve driven 2013 and 2017 Daily 4x4 single- and crew-cab evaluation trucks with varying loads on and off road. We’ve also driven several Dailys that have been fitted with motorhome bodies, including some Earthcruiser variants with GVM increased to six tonnes.
All these machines had a definite presence, because the slightly modified Daily 4x2 cab sat up high on a purpose-built, box-section frame. Doing pre-trip checks under snub-nosed bonnet meant standing on the new three-piece bumper!
Fortunately, getting in and out of the skyscraper cab was easy, thanks to an additional step bolted under each doorsill. The crew cab got rear-door entry steps as well.
Seat adjustment for reach, rake and driver’s weight was easy and the 2017 seats were lower than the previous perches. Also, the new steering column and smaller wheel were better positioned.
The 2017 cab had a taller windscreen, improving off-road, steep-country vision and pedal disposition was more central than previously, although the pedals were a tad close together for fat-boot work.
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, or to the rear seat in crew-cabs.
All Daily 4x4 vehicles drove well on sealed roads and had no trouble keeping up with traffic. Ride quality was firm, but better than that in Japanese 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 OK for town work. However, the 2017 cab had changed headlight positions that suggest worse lighting, so driving lights should be high on the shopping list.
On dirt the Daily was in its element and the under-drive gear set was perfect for these conditions. The vehicle took corrugations in its stride.
In off-road conditions the 2017 Daily 4x4 maintained the marque’s stature as one of the world’s most capable machines. Despite the Daily’s height the wheel track wasn’t much different from that of smaller 4x4 machines, so it fitted comfortably on bush tracks.
Most off-road challenges were done in first-stage low range and the deep-reduction gearing was needed only for the steepest sections.
The diff-locking procedure was logical and easily performed: Button One on the dashboard locked the centre differential and Button Two locked the rear diff. The Daily handled most obstacles without the front diff needing to be locked, but when it was engaged a beeper reminded the driver that steering was heavily compromised. Diff lock engagement and disengagement was quick.
The diff locks operated faultlessly and disengaged automatically as road speed increased.
The 2017 hill-hold function was a boon in steep country, allowing easy restarts without stress on the driver or machine.
The standard tyres – a mixture of 9.5R17.5 and 255/100R16 - were fine in hard-surface conditions, but for sand work fatter rubber was available in the form of approved after-market 37x12.50R17 LTs on steel-spoked wheels.
We inspected several motorhome conversions on the Daily 4x4 platform and test drove two Earthcruisers, based on post-2013 and post-2017 models.
In comparison with its Japanese light truck counterparts the Daily 4x4 has better ergonomics, better access, better on and off-road ride, handling and performance, as well as offering bodybuilders the option of a walk-through cab to body corridor.
This latter feature isn’t possible with Japanese vehicles that have the engine located between the driver and passenger seats.
The Iveco also has the option of a two-seat passenger bench, making the short-cab a three-seater.
The Iveco-based Earthcruiser models had a fibreglass pop-top body, with inbuilt shower/toilet. Standard layout had an aft-set, transverse double bed, a dinette and an electric cooktop.
In 2013 we checked out the first Earthcruiser Iveco prototype, based on a long wheelbase crew-cab chassis.
The shower/toilet module was located in the doorway, forming a 'wet-entry' into the living space. This was a practical change that meant wet boots and rain gear could be left in this draining area, rather than trudging mud into the cabin.
There have been many detail changes to Iveco Earthcruisers since 2014, but the proved layout continues.
In 2017 Iveco introduced its Euro 6 compliant model, with revisions to the cab ergonomics and seating. This dictated some interior changes to the Earthcruiser models, but essentailly the current model has similar on and off road manners to the post-2013 range.
Pricing for a 2017 Earthcruiser model started around $280,000.
2019 Daily 4x4 range released in Germany
In late 2018 Iveco released new Iveco Daily 4x4 models at the IAA Show in Hanover. They’re due for release Down Under in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The current Daily 4x4 is a military-style, high-mobility vehicle with live axles front and rear, high ground clearance and three-speed transfer case. That’s fine for those who need to conquer extreme terrain, but the configuration has some limitations for those who want a less ambitious vehicle.
Put a motorhome body on this truck and it develops a high centre of gravity that’s not desirable in side-slope conditions.
The 2019 variants are built around a dual-wishbone, independent front suspension and a chassis that’s much closer to the ground. In place of the three-speed transfer case with an ultra-low-speed bottom ratio is a more conventional two-speed transfer.
Standard is a six-speed manual and there’s an eight-speed Hi-Matic automated manual transmission option.
Billed as the most comprehensive line-up in its class the 2019 Daily 4x4 range includes cab/chassis, van, chassis/cowl and crew-cab versions, with a choice of single wheels all around or duals at the rear.
Also, there are GVMs up to 7.0 tonnes, with 4.3-tonnes payload, maximum load of 2700kg on the front axle and 5000kg on the rear axle.
All variants are powered by the current 180hp, three-litre engine and come with four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
Traction gear includes centre, front and rear differential locks.
The Daily 4x4 vans are 5.5- and 7.0-tonnes GVM models, with a choice of manual or auto boxes. Cargo volumes are 9.0 to 18 cubic metres for the single wheel off-road models and from 16 to 18 cubic metres for the dual-rear-wheel, all-road models.
We’re looking forward to providing more details of the 2019 Daily 4x4 range and an on- and off- road test.