CommercialFleet

Driven: Iveco Eurocargo (2015) truck review

Review

While Iveco may have its work cut out in the UK at the heavier end of its product line-up, the same cannot be said of its middle-weight offering Eurocargo. More than half a million customers have chosen the product, not just in the UK but across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Latin America.

Even with this level of success, and having only recently upgraded the Euro 6 version two years ago, Iveco has decided to launch a completely new Eurocargo, encompassing cab and chassis and including two new engine power levels. This is contrary to recent industry norms, with most truck manufacturers usually staggering the introduction of new products between cab, chassis and then engines to prevent an overload of new technology.

Having said that, this approach is typical of Iveco which, along with Daimler Trucks, prides itself in taking the lead in introducing new technology to the industry. For instance, Iveco was the first to bring us independent front suspension on vans and common-rail diesel engines on trucks.

Once again, diesel engine technology is at the heart of Iveco’s new offering with the Eurocargo becoming the only Euro 6 medium range vehicle in its category to adopt a single emission system: Iveco’s unique HI-SCR system with passive diesel particulate filter (DPF). As this allows fresh and clean air intake rather than exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), the combustion temperature is higher and the percentage of particulate is so low that an active DPF is not needed.

Both the Tector 5 and Tector 7 Euro 6 engines do not use EGR. From an operator’s perspective, this means there is no need to make periodic stops for DPF-forced regeneration, an operation which, according to Iveco, puts people and objects in “potential danger” when they get too close to the device.

The Tector 5 is a four-cylinder, 4.5-litre engine with two new power ratings, at 160hp and 190hp (there is an existing 210hp as well). These feature new pistons, injectors and  a faster response turbocharger, helping the engine to produce 8% higher torque over 1,200rpm (680Nm and 700Nm, respectively) and, perhaps just as importantly for longer engine life, the maximum revs have been reduced to 2,000rpm (from 2,500rpm).

The Tector 7 is the familiar six-cylinder, 6.7-litre engine with four power ratings, from 220hp to 320bhp, delivering between 800Nm to 1,100Nm torque. They are also joined by a CNG-powered 204hp offering, which Iveco appears to suggest is the answer to inner city pollution problems.

All the engines are mated to a six-to-nine-speed manual gearbox, or six- or 12-speed automated/automatic gearboxes with torque converter. As is already the norm in the UK, the ZF automated EuroTronic gearbox will be standard with the Eurocargo, with the others available as an option.

One of the main reasons Eurocargo has made its name has been because of the astronomical number of variants. The new model is no exception, with gross vehicle weights (GVW) ranging from 7.5 tonnes to 18 tonnes (and 22 tonnes, by adding a single wheel lifting axle with servo-assisted hydraulic steering), three cab types with two roofs, 15 wheelbases, two drive types and various suspension, and axle ratios. Officially, there are more than 11,000 factory versions available.

The wheelbases range from 2,790mm to 6,570mm, catering for body lengths of 4,265mm to 10,175mm. Suspension is provided by parabolic, semi-elliptical or air-suspension, dependent on the GVW. The disc brakes on the 4x2 are helped by air-hydraulics, up to 10 tonnes and, above this, full air disc brakes all-round.

The 2.1m-wide cab has a new grille which helps to give the truck a ‘smiley’ appearance, and which takes design cues from the recently launched new Daily. The air deflectors have also been redesigned, allowing Iveco to improve the drag coefficient (Cx) by 2%, helping to contribute to reduction of fuel consumption during extra-urban and motorway use.

There are eight cab derivatives, including a day cab and sleeper cab available with two roof heights to accommodate either one or two bunks, as well as a seven-seat crew cab (six, plus driver) catering for the municipal/fire sector.

Inside, the brand new electro-welded fabric design seats have been upgraded and there’s a new ‘high-comfort’ air-suspended driver’s seat, available with a fully adjustable backrest, height-adjustable seat belt, heating and ventilation.

As expected, there are plenty of compartments and pockets for storing objects and documents. The central console has two 0.5-litre bottle holders, a 12V plug and (on request) a compressed air line, in addition to special comp-artments for cards and a hanging rail.

New generation technology is at work in the cab too,  helping the driver and his or her boss keep in touch with people and the truck itself.

The new Eurocargo is pre-configured for integration with most smartphones, tablets and GPS navigation systems as well as an optional Iveco UTP telematics box, which allows remote data collection and fleet management services. Under the DriverLinc brand name the system allows structured communication flow between driver and back office. It also includes tools to improve fuel efficiency, such as the ‘driver coach’, which supports their drivers in improving performance in real time.

The one area that appears to really benefit from the advances in new technology is truck safety, and Iveco has taken this opportunity to upgrade the Eurocargo to the highest level. In addition to the obvious steering wheel airbag and steering wheel controls, features such as lane departure warning system, enhanced vehicle stability control, LED daytime running lights and advanced emergency braking system are all standard.

Also available are enhanced vehicle stability control,  advanced emergency braking system applications and adaptive cruise control, which automatically maintains the distance from the preceding vehicle by adapting cruising speed using several functionalities (radar, throttle, engine brake and brakes).

As mentioned above, the cab has contributed to the improved fuel economy. But that’s only part of the story, as Iveco claims the new engines respond more dynamically when accelerating and upon start-up. This, combined with their EcoSwitch system, which lengthens sixth speed engagement times and limits down-shifting into fourth, and the EcoRoll function (on 12-speed transmissions) result in fuel savings of up to 8%. This has to be one of the key, if not ultimate, deciding factors for distribution operators.

Verdict

The 4x2 rigid sector has been Iveco’s bread and butter market, so great things are expected from the Eurocargo. On first looks, it would certainly seem this next generation should continue the appeal to distribution fleets.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.