The Iveco Daily is a dream to drive, it is advertised as being car-like, as the artwork down the side of the van tells us, and it does exactly what it says on the tin.
To me being car-like is not a particularly attractive idea, I prefer a freight vehicle to feel like one, but the market for these vehicles is not ageing truck enthusiasts, it is young, fresh go-getter businesses who are looking for a functional delivery vehicle, but one that is easy to drive and looks good. That’s the slot where the Daily fits in.
One of the big strengths the Daily has over similar products from the van side of the equation is its inherent structural strength, the ‘C-section’ chassis rails which are the base on which the structure is built. That inherent rigidity is something you can feel and it does make the occupant of the driver’s seat a little more secure.
This has served the motorhome market well for the Daily, giving body builders a firm base on which to construct the body. It also suits pantech and tray bodies fitted directly on the cab chassis. The basic van or truck is a rigid frame with wheels on each corner, onto which you can build a van, a pantech, a tray or a flash motorhome.
Sitting in the driver’s seat, directly in front, the flat-bottomed steering wheel is actually the same as is used on the Jeep product, another part of the Fiat empire. Of course, it has a dizzying array of buttons on it, which we are all getting used to, now that most manufacturers are locating the buttons in a similar pattern.
Toggling in and out of cruise control on the Monash Highway, the way the controls work is simple and intuitive. Although the information screen straight in front of the driver, which shows set speed etc, is quite small, it has been well-designed and the imagery is crisp, aiding visibility. The other information screen for radio, reversing camera etc, is placed more centrally, but is similarly easy to read.
As you would expect from a modern European product, the whole safety suite is available. There’s an automated emergency braking system (AEBS), four airbags, and ESP9 includes ABS, EBD, ASR, Hill Hold and HBA. Also included in this latest version of ESP is some less well known items, such as, motor drag torque control, load adaptive control, trailer sway mitigation, roll movement intervention, roll over mitigation and crosswind assist.
It is not necessary to know and understand all of these systems, all the driver needs to know is that they will be on automatically, and if the van gets into a sticky situation, the safety systems will do their best to keep the van on the straight and narrow and avoid a collision.
Driver comfort is further enhanced with the fitting of a suspension seat. This is not air suspended, but one in which the driver uses the dial to put in their weight and the springing adjusts accordingly. This is more than enough, as the Daily suspension is good enough for most lumps and bumps, the suspended seat is simply the icing on the cake.
One of those other signs of how much the designers have been thinking about the driver’s experience is the provision of drinks holders. This cabin looks after all of those issues. the big bins in the door can hold good sized bottles and there are cup holders in the middle of the dash for the driver’s morning coffee.