Seeking a capable off-roader? Iveco’s 4x4 proves the Eurocargo is not simply a city slicker.
When the latest generation of Eurocargo was launched in 2015, Iveco’s Turin-based marketing team called it “the truck that likes the city”, reflecting the fact that a vehicle covering the 7.5-to-18 tonne gross vehicle weight (gvw) sector was likely to spend a lot of its time in an urban/city environment.
But, while accurate, the city-liking claim could have been viewed as potentially limiting the Eurocargo appeal.
What happens, for example, when key fleet customers such as the utilities and local authorities need a light- to medium-sector truck to operate in less than ideal situations, maybe attending broken power lines or blocked pipes in fields or mountain areas?
The answer is simple, these customers have to forget the standard product offerings from the manufacturer and look for a solution a little more specialised.
That’s where the Eurocargo 4x4 steps in, offering a combination of solid engineering matched by off-road capabilities.
At its nominal weight rating of 15 tonnes gvw, the right-hand drive 4x4 Eurocargo has seven basic models ranging from the short wheelbase 3.24m with the standard short day cab MLC to a 4.15m wheelbase model with the longer sleeper MLL cab.
For once, when describing a truck’s engine and power line up, it’s simple! All models make use of Iveco’s Tector 7 Euro VIc 6.7-litre engine, with a power of 285PS (207kW) developed at 2,500rpm and the 1,000Nm of torque holding from 1,200rpm until 1,970rpm, an impressive flat line of almost 800rpm.
In line with almost every Euro VI model, there’s turbocharging, aftercooling, Selective Catalytic Reduction (AdBlue), DPF and a catalytic converter, all to take care of the post-combustion issues.
Behind the 285PS engine is a 395mm diameter single dry plate clutch which connects to the standard ZF based six- speed manual gearbox, with gear ratios from first of 6.75 to the overdrive 0.78 on sixth.
Moving further down the driveline we find Iveco’s 451146 hub reduction rear axle.
Of course, this is a 4x4, so we can’t mention the driveline without making reference to the transfer box, and this is a VMM TC 1100 strengthened box with three shafts which distributes the torque 33% to the front and 67% to the rear.
The normal on-road ratio within the box is 0.99 but when low ratio is selected for off-road use this changes to 1.94.
As mentioned, the seven wheelbases range from 3.24m to 4.15m and each offers minimum ground clearance of 390mm and unladen frame height of 1,315mm, reducing to around 1,160mm when loaded.
The front axle is plated at 5,700kgs and rear at 10,000kgs, with kerbweights starting at 5,895kgs up to 6,195kgs.
Consequently, maximum body and payload allowances range from 8,805kgs to 91,05kgs, not too bad for a dedicated 4x4 off-road rigid.
All the chassis have bolted, front cross-members, although the middle and rear are riveted and use the standard ‘C’ section steel frame. Suspension is provided by three leaf parabolic steel at the front and two plus two on the rear.
There’s a 120-litre fuel tank on the off-side of the chassis and a 30-litre AdBlue tank by the side. The front and rear tyres are 14.00R20s all round with optional 395/85R20s.
As well as the exhaust braking system within the Tector 7 engine, the service braking is slightly different than your conventional on-road Eurocargos (and for that matter, all modern on-road trucks) as both the front and rear brakes utilise drums rather than discs.
ABS is standard, accompanied by electronic braking limitation (EBL), where the braking effort is corrected to match the load on the rear axle assembly by the ABS sensors on the wheels, which measure any tendency to jam when braking, and modulate the pressure delivered to the brake cylinders.
Flexibility is the key when it comes to cab offerings on the 4x4 Eurocargo as Iveco offers both day and sleeper cabs.
The MLC day cab has an easy-clean vinyl-style driver’s seat with integral head restraint and seatbelt matched to a similarly covered dual fixed passenger seat with 50/50 split back rest with seatbelts and head rests.
The back of the centre seat can be tipped and made into a small table.
The MLL sleeper cab has the same specification as the day version plus a single two-way adjustable passenger seat with integral head restraint and seatbelt and opening roof vent.
The sleeper section has a single low-level bunk, with protection net and curtains to enclose entire cab area. By the side of the bed is an alarm and small control panel for electrical functions such as lighting, windows and so on.
As far as the exterior is concerned, as befitting an off-road vehicle, it has steel front bumper featuring light protection grilles.
There’s also an external engine starter, including a safety device, and the side spoilers act as splash protection when entering deeper water hazards.
Climbing into the cab is helped by the steel pivoted ‘J’ shaped bottom step which leads you onto the standard Eurocargo step and into the cab, all without much effort considering how ‘tall’ the 4x4 sits compared to its on-road cousins.
In essence, inside the cab is pretty similar to a standard Eurocargo with an instrument panel featuring a central LCD screen flanked by two large and two small dials for speed, revs, fuel and coolant temperature.
Just behind the driver’s left elbow, in a slightly awkward position are three dials controlling the cross and inter-axle diff locks, which, as we progress, are definitely needed.
To test the capability of the Eurocargo, Iveco picked one of the most demanding courses available in the UK, the off-road track at Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire.
As we progress along the course, the demands on the vehicle increase, but the wading test presents no issues for the Eurocargo nor do the increasing inclines with varying terrains from stone to simply lots of mud.
The ride and suspension handled all the obstacles perfectly, although some of the lateral slopes had myself and the demo driver grabbing the interior handles.
Obviously 4x4 15 tonne trucks are a specialist market. But, as mentioned, a diverse and large fleet may have the need for this either itself or for its customer operation.
If this is the case, the Eurocargo 150E28 should be on the shortlist.
Model driven: Iveco Eurocargo 4x4 ML150E28WS