You call that a ute? This is a ute — Iveco's Daily 4x4.

The go-anywhere hauler is finding favour with country fire brigades, which are using it as a fire support vehicle instead of Toyota LandCruiser wagons.

Iveco will soon introduce a new-generation Daily in Australia, with the 4x4 version arriving here next year.

It certainly is an imposing truck

Working Wheels couldn't wait. We managed to get into the 4x4 Daily, a crew-cab version that had just gone through some tough testing by the Victorian CFA.

Pricing depends on the specification but as tested ours was in the $85,000 ballpark. It certainly is an imposing truck, sitting up so high, with the optional big bullbar and driving lights dialling up the aggression.

The standard truck has 255mm of ground clearance but this beastie is fitted with super chunky Michelin off-road tyres (255/100/R16) that further increase the ride height.

The seat base of the special truck is about 1.7 metres off the ground

Climbing up on to the step and into the cab is much the same as making your way up into a full-size truck.

It is a strange sensation to sit up so high in the cab of a van that is usually so close to the ground.

The seat base of the special truck is about 1.7 metres off the ground so the driver's view is much the same as piloting a full-size heavy-duty truck.

It is interesting to be so high, bridges seem much closer, probably because they are.

More at home conquering rugged terrain, the 4x4 Daily can easy do highway speeds. The only problem is that the aggressive tread of the tyres — which help it move easily through mud — generate quite a howl on smooth tarmac.

The Daily 4x4 might be based on a regular load-hauling van but this version is a serious off-road weapon. Its continuous 4WD set-up sends 32 per cent of power to the front and 68 per cent to the rear.

It has the ability to lock the front, centre and rear differentials and there are not one but two low-range gear sets. There is pretty much a gear for every occasion.

Choose the ratio, dial up a healthy serving of power and torque, and the Daily can climb some extremely tight gradients, as Working Wheels discovered during a brief off-road foray.

If the family is keen, you can take them all along thanks to the six seats in the crew cab version

The Daily's 3.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel has outputs of 125kW (170hp) and 400Nm — very handy if you tow your trailer with the maximum 3500kg or want a payload of 1750kg (including the weight of the tray).

The power is fed through a six-speed manual gearbox, which is quite civilised and has a light clutch. You can also order an automated manual transmission.

If the family is keen, you can take them all along thanks to the six seats in the crew cab version. Iveco does a single cab model with a longer tray. The 4x4's interior continues the existing Daily's plain and practical home.

Little luxuries include power mirrors, trip computer and, to make life easier, climate control aircon and cruise control.