For many tradies a one tonne cab-chassis ute will do the job. However, if you need much greater load space and much higher GVM and GCM ratings, the obvious solution is to upgrade to a cab-chassis that competes in the Light Duty (3501-8000kg GVM) segment of the Heavy Commercial vehicle market.
One of many competitors in that space is Italian truck manufacturer Iveco with its Daily E6 range. We recently put one of its latest cab-chassis models to the test, which with a 4495kg GVM rating can conveniently be driven with a normal car licence.
Our example is equipped with the 'Hi-Business Pack' (one of four optional upgrade packs) which consists of the 'Hi-Connect' multimedia system with GPS navigation, wireless and USB phone-charging, fog lights and full LED headlights. So, drive-away price (not including tray) is $73,364.
You get a workhorse that’s well equipped for hard yakka, starting with its six rugged steel wheels (duals at the rear) with 195/75 R16 truck tyres. (image: Mark Oastler)
For that money you get a workhorse that's well equipped for hard yakka, starting with its six rugged steel wheels (duals at the rear) with 195/75 R16 truck tyres and a full-size spare.
The single-cab has a suspended, heated and fully adjustable driver's seat with fold-down inboard armrest plus a two-passenger bench seat, adaptive cruise control, heated and power-adjustable door mirrors with direction indicators, electronic parking brake, daytime running lights, 3.5-inch driver's info display and four-speaker multimedia with multiple connectivity including Apple and Android devices.
There's also plenty of cabin storage and connections are provided to facilitate the installation of service bodies.
Our example is equipped with the 'Hi-Business Pack' (one of four optional upgrade packs) which consists of the 'Hi-Connect' multimedia system. (image: Mark Oastler)
Design – is there anything interesting about its design?
The latest Daily E6 range features a revised and more streamlined grille design with more prominent horizontal louvres.
It has also switched from hydraulic to electric power-steering, bringing numerous benefits including steering wheel height/reach adjustment and the new ‘City Mode'.
The latter allows the driver to reduce low-speed steering effort by up to 70 per cent when negotiating tight worksites or loading zones. A welcome feature that allows turning with one or two fingers.
It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. (image: Mark Oastler)
Iveco claims catering for big Aussies was of primary importance when refining its driver seating comfort which includes a taller headrest, longer seatbelts and seat-rails for greater adjustability, plus what it claims to be the first use of memory foam in commercial vehicles.
The only thing missing for RHD markets like Australia is a driver's left footrest, even though LHD markets get them as evidenced by the one residing in the passenger footwell, which is of course the driver's footwell in LHD models.
Passenger seating is often overlooked in single-cab designs but our test vehicle is unusually comfortable, particularly in the central position where even tall people can sit with sufficient knee clearance from the dash and with ample room for large boots on a flat floor.
There are plenty of places to store things in the cabin starting with three tiers of storage in each door. (image: Mark Oastler)
The steel ladder-frame chassis rides on torsion-bar independent front suspension and a live rear axle, located by substantial double-stacked leaf-spring packs.
Braking is by four-wheel discs and it has a compact 13.5-metre turning circle, which certainly takes the stress out of U-turns, particularly at busy intersections.
The front bumper and lower sections of the doors, where most bumps and scrapes occur, have a low maintenance dark grey finish.
The bumper is now made in three pieces to minimise repair costs, as each section can be replaced independently if damaged rather than having to replace the entire unit.
IT features fog lights and full LED headlights. (image: Mark Oastler)
Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside?
With its 2135kg tare weight and 4495kg GVM, our test vehicle offers a substantial 2360kg payload rating, which is about double that of the sturdiest one-tonne cab-chassis models.
Even after you deduct the 304kg weight of its aftermarket aluminium tray from that figure, you're still left with 2056kg or more than two tonnes of payload capacity.
It's also rated to tow up to 3500kg of braked trailer and with its 7995kg GCM that means it can legally tow its maximum trailer weight while carrying its maximum GVM.
The steel ladder-frame chassis rides on torsion-bar independent front suspension and a live rear axle, located by substantial double-stacked leaf-spring packs. (image: Mark Oastler)
In other words, this jigger can legally haul just under 8.0 tonnes of combined payload and trailer, which opens the door to many working tasks requiring big load capacities.
The aluminium tray has a sturdy bulkhead with rear window protection and pivoting load retainers up top to ‘book-end' long lengths of pipe or timber.
It also has side-steps up front plus external rope-rails and internal load-anchorage points along each side.
According to our tape measure, this tray’s internal work surface is 4070mm long and 2055mm wide with a drop-side depth of 330mm. (image: Mark Oastler)
There are two drop-sides along each flank separated by short and sturdy pillars to boost strength and rigidity.
According to our tape measure, this tray's internal work surface is 4070mm long and 2055mm wide with a drop-side depth of 330mm.
There are plenty of places to store things in the cabin starting with three tiers of storage in each door, with the largest equipped with small and large bottle-holders. There's also a full-width shelf at roof height.
The aluminium tray has a sturdy bulkhead with rear window protection. (image: Mark Oastler)
The top of the dash has two large bins with clamshell lids, plus a central bin with two USB ports. There's also cup/small-bottle holders on each side of the dash and an open shelf and small glove box on the passenger side.
In the central dash there's a pop-out cupholder, shallow drawer for small items and a larger swing-open bin below them.
The centre seat's backrest folds forward and flat to provide a small work desk complete with a spring-loaded document clamp.
With its 2135kg tare weight and 4495kg GVM, our test vehicle offers a substantial 2360kg payload rating. (image: Mark Oastler)
This desk can be raised to reveal a padded compartment below that's ideal for storing pens and slender electronic devices (phones, iPads etc).
Both base cushions in the passenger seat can also be tilted forward to access a large hidden area beneath, so there's good use of limited cabin space to maximise storage.
Under the bonnet – what are the key stats for its engine and transmission?
Iveco's 180EVID F1C is a heavy-duty 3.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel with variable geometry turbine technology and tough Euro 6 emissions compliance using AdBlue.
It produces 132kW at 3500rpm and 430Nm of torque at 1500rpm.
Iveco’s 180EVID F1C is a heavy-duty 3.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel with variable geometry turbine technology and tough Euro 6 emissions compliance using AdBlue. (image: Mark Oastler)
The optional ZF eight-speed torque converter automatic sends drive to the rear wheels and offers a choice of 'Eco' (Economy) and 'Power' drive modes plus the option of sequential manual-shifting, all using the stumpy dash-mounted shifter.
It also has overdrive on its seventh and eight ratios to optimise fuel economy, particularly at highway speeds.
Efficiency – what is its fuel consumption? What is its driving range?
When we stopped to refuel at the completion of our 303km test, the dash display was claiming average consumption of 11.3L/100km, of which about one third of that distance was hauling a heavy payload on a mix of city and suburban roads plus some highway travel.
Our own number, crunched from fuel bowser and trip meter readings, came in slightly lower at 10.9, which is excellent economy for a vehicle weighing more than 2.4 tonnes unladen and almost 4.0 tonnes for part of our test.
So, based on our figures, you could expect a realistic driving range of around 900km from its 100-litre tank.
Driving - what's it like to drive?
It's easy to find a comfortable driving position given the memory foam bucket seat has adjustments for lumbar support, base-cushion rake and driver weight for its inbuilt suspension.
The fold-down inboard armrest, in partnership with the door's armrest, ensures balanced elbow support to reduce neck and shoulder strain.
There are good eyelines to the big door mirrors, with the bottom thirds of each offering wide-angle views. However, with the seat in its most rearward position, the slim column that separates the fixed and sliding glass in the driver's door slightly obscures the outside edge of the driver's door mirror, which suggests the single-cab has more rearward seat travel than the van version we've previously tested.
The electric power-steering is nicely weighted (particularly the new ‘city mode' in tight spots) and the four-wheel disc brakes have good stopping power.
It's a no-brainer the ride quality is harsh over bumps when unladen, given it's designed to cope with 8.0-tonne GCMs.
Braking is by four-wheel discs and it has a compact 13.5-metre turning circle. (image: Mark Oastler)
Fact is, in a working role, this vehicle would rarely if ever be driven without a substantial load to engage its big rear springs, which we did when forklifting 1.3 tonnes onto the tray. With driver this payload totalled 1.4 tonnes, which was still more than 600kg below its peak rating (with tray).
Even so, it was enough to make the ride much smoother, which is most relevant in this context. The 3.0-litre turbo-diesel maintained good performance hauling this load in city and suburban driving, displaying useful flexibility either side of its 1500rpm torque peak in Eco mode.
We did sample the Power mode, but found the engine was more than capable of handling this task in its economy setting, with the eight-speed auto doing its best work if left alone without the need to manual shift.
The engine only requires 2000rpm to maintain highway speeds, so engine (and tyre) noise is low at 110km/h. The most cabin noise comes from wind-buffeting around the mirrors, bulkhead frame and payload hanging in the breeze.
It features a 3.5-inch driver’s info display. (image: Mark Oastler)
In Eco mode it performed well on our 13 per cent gradient, 2.0km-long set climb at 60km/h, comfortably hauling this load to the summit in third gear without the need to select Power mode.
Engine-braking on the way down, in a manually-selected second gear, pegged the road speed at 50km/h without the brakes needing to being applied for most of the descent, until it overrode our manual gear selection and shifted up to third when the engine was approaching its 4500rpm redline on overrun.
In our experience, these engine-protecting protocols are common in European commercial vehicles. However, it can spring a surprise if you're leaning on the engine to help restrain a big payload on a steep descent and it suddenly changes up a gear.
Even so, the engine-braking performance was good given its sizeable payload.
Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating?
Heavy commercial vehicles are not eligible for ANCAP ratings but the 50C cab-chassis is equipped with numerous standard passive and active safety features including driver, passenger and curtain airbags, AEB,adaptive cruise control, a suite of nine electronic stability programs and more.
Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?
Standard warranty is three years/200,000km (three years is short) but the option of up to five years/300,000km is available at extra cost.
Scheduled servicing is every 50,000km/12 months whichever occurs first.
Iveco offers a range of maintenance agreements to help owners manage maintenance costs.
This workhorse combines good cabin comfort and storage with an expansive tray (or other service body if you prefer) and GVM/GCM ratings large enough to cater for a multitude of heavy work requirements. It would be worthy of consideration if you have a car licence and need more than a one-tonne ute or full-size US pickup to get the job done.
Fuel economy/turning circle
No driver's left footrest
Trans can override manual mode when engine braking
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