Ford Transit 2014 Review
Joshua Dowling road tests and reviews the new Ford Transit van, with specs fuel economy and verdict.
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July 7, 2015
The daily grind of the delivery person has just got better with the introduction of a new van in Australia.
The aptly named Daily, from the Italian commercial vehicle manufacturer Iveco, certainly lives up to its title of 2015 World Van of the Year, bestowed on it by 23 of Europe's leading vehicle journalists.
In a tight contest the Daily came out on top judged on total cost of ownership, comfort, safety, durability, productivity and innovation. Iveco is not new to the last, with the van being the first to take on an independent suspension as far back as 1978.
A raft of new technology has since followed, with direct injection coming in 1985, common-rail diesel being added in 1999, electronic stability program in 2006, 4x4 a year later, and new transmissions and Euro 5 emission compliance in 2012.
Now comes an entirely new product, which includes a cab chassis, with the option of a clever three-way tip tray, dual-cab, plus a bold go-anywhere 4x4 off-roader.
Aimed at the metropolitan market with its couriers, mail carriers, food and beverage suppliers and tradies, as well as regional and interstate long-range haulers, the Daily can be optioned to fit a multitude of requirements of the owner or renter.
Emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, are also in the sales sights.
The range has just been paraded to us in the Australian automotive media at the industry research and development centre at Anglesea in Victoria with a drive program that generally was received with approval.
Completely new van architecture, with a new range of wheelbases – the shortest with a 10.5 metres a class-leading turning circle – producing a reduction in rear overhang, results in the Iveco Daily, at 19.6 cubic metres, having the best load carrying capacity in its class.
A new chassis with high-strength side members, together with reinforced suspension, allows the van to carry up to a 200 kg greater load than the previous model.
The new design includes a stylish exterior, set off by a range of 'un-vanlike' colours, including Maranello Red that pays homage to Iveco's family link with Ferrari.
A spacious new cabin has a new ergonomic dashboard. When it comes to storage, there is everything that opens and shuts including five closable compartments, three drink holders, slots for phones and tablets, plus a space under passenger seating big enough to take a sizeable cooler.
A 55 mm lower load platform – one of the lowest in class – is the perfect introduction to a range of load capacities from nine to almost 20 cubic metres. The rear doors swing open 270 degrees flat to the vehicle sides for easy entry in tight spaces and there is side access through a slider.
There are three roof heights available – 1545, 1900 and 2100 mm – vehicle length varies from 5648 to 7628 mm and the wheelbase from 3520 to 4100 mm. Roof heights are 1545, 1900 and 2100 mm enabling most people to stand upright inside while loading, even so, aerodynamics have been improved with a co-efficient of friction now at 0.31.
While the figures are impressive, the star of the show is the automatic transmission - an eight-speed automatic from ZF
Two purpose-built turbo-diesel engines of 2.3 and 3.0 litres, offering the choice of three power ratings from 126 hp (93 kW, 320 Nm) to 205 hp (151 kW, 470 Nm), mated with one of four transmissions (three manual, one automatic) drive the Daily through the rear wheels.
While the figures are impressive, the star of the show is the automatic transmission - an eight-speed automatic from ZF. An industry first, the auto is operated via a stubby dash-mounted multifunction lever and, at a simple flick, can engage Eco or Power mode with resulting fuel economy or performance, respectively.
By pressing an Eco switch on the dashboard, further fuel savings can be made by modulating engine torque and reducing maximum speed of the vehicle to 125 km/h. The air-con also makes savings by taking into account cooling / heating needs for the whole cab.
Automatic gearshifts are performed in 200 milliseconds, producing smooth transitions up or down, even on steep inclines while hauling a payload of up to 4500 kg. A differential lock, engaged via a dash-mounted button, delivers greater traction on low grip surfaces such as mud or snow. It's simply the best in class.
On launch, the quad-leaf suspension kept an Iveco Daily van, with a one tonne payload, well under control, even on sharp turns, some on steep inclines, all with minimum body roll.
It all translated to a comfortable ride for driver and passenger. Long forgotten when it comes to driver comfort, in these days of occupational health and safety, the person behind the wheel is front and centre and ergonomics and occupant wellbeing are designed into commercial vehicles.
An optional spring suspension seat can keep the driver in the comfort to which he or she quickly becomes accustomed. Simply by dialling in the driver's weight, the seat will adjust springing to take in harsh movements.
Pricing for the van range starts at $49,501, plus on road costs, for the 9 cubic-metre 35S13 model and runs to $71,477 for the 20 cu m 50C17 model. The cab chassis starts at $50,547 for the 45C17 and peaks at $63,602 for the 70C17 variant.
Dual cabs start at $70,137 for the 50C17, while the Daily 4x4 has a starting price of $86,402 for the 55S17W cab chassis (single-cab) and $93,278 for the dual-cab 55S17W. Iveco says a 22-seater bus could find its way Down Under.
Warranty is three years / 200,000 kilometres and there is 24-hour roadside assistance and a range of servicing agreements.
In Europe, natural gas power gives Iveco Daily a range of up to 560 km, while a fully electric version has topped 200 km/h with zero emissions.