Meet the 2019 Iveco Daily. It might not look much different at a glance, but stare a little harder and you’ll spot a new front bumper and grille treatment, plus (optional) new all-LED headlights.
Beneath the skin lies upgraded 2.3-litre and 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engines – the first in the large van class to officially meet the new Euro 6D Temp emissions regulations – plus new electrically assisted power steering, enabling new safety technology plus a modest improvement in weight and efficiency.
In the cab, the overall design is unchanged as is the fit and finish, which singularly fails to get anywhere near the immense Volkswagen Crafter – but you will find a new TFT multi-display in the instrument cluster, and a smaller, somewhat strangely shaped steering wheel, which now features rake and reach adjustment. The squared-off bit at the bottom is to make more room for knees.
There’s also an electronic parking brake and an (optional) Hi-Connect infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with a further upgrade to TomTom’s truck-spec sat-nav system available, too – the truck part meaning it accounts for the Daily’s not inconsiderable exterior dimensions.
On top of this, Iveco is launching a new (optional) ‘connectivity box’, which is like a telematics system on steroids. This will not only interface with existing telematics software as well as Iveco’s own, it offers monthly ‘smart reports’ for instant fleet analysis (handy especially if you don’t have a fleet manager), as well as features such as vehicle tracking, geofencing, predictive maintenance and remote fault diagnosis. It can even do software upgrades ‘over the air’ like a Tesla, reducing the need to bring the van into the dealership.
On the road, the Daily’s 2.3-litre engines feel more potent than ever, thanks to new electrically variable geometry turbochargers (e-VGTs) boosting response; the only engine to actually get a power increase is the top spec 3.0-litre, however, which now peaks at 210PS instead of 205PS, thanks to its own e-VGT.
Given the Daily range stretches from 3.5-tonne to 7.5-tonne gross vehicle weight – the latter effectively competing against light trucks – having plenty of power isn’t so much a luxury as a need.
The smaller wheel and electric power assistance make the steering sharper than before, while a new City mode reduces steering effort by up to 70% at low speeds, making this big van surprisingly easy to manoeuvre.
The ride and handling doesn’t match the latest Crafter and Sprinter, but load it up with some weight and you’ll find the Daily is stable at speed with suspension that remains composed over even bumpy surfaces.
The structure certainly makes for a great tow van, too, with all versions able to haul 3.5 tonnes.
New features include an autonomous emergency braking system that works from just 3mph, crosswind assist to counteract side winds, ProActive lane-keeping assist that can steer the van for you for short periods, and even a queue assist function available on the Hi-Matic eight-speed automatic transmission that can take care of all the accelerating and braking in a traffic jam.
Unsurprisingly, all of these cost extra – though Iveco will be offering packages of popular options to improve value.
Iveco typically deals with smaller, specialist fleets in the UK – the Daily is expensive and not great for payload at 3.5-tonnes, which means it rarely does large fleet deals here – although operators may be attracted by brand’s truck service centres, which offer considerably longer opening hours than conventional car dealerships.
Service intervals have been stretched to more than 37,000 miles for the 2019 model, helping to reduce running costs as well.
However, there are only 18 Iveco main dealers in the UK and Ireland (though 87 authorised service centres overall), and the company resolutely refuses to publish fuel economy data, which makes wholelife cost calculations difficult, to say the least.