Since its relaunch on the Australian market, back in 2002, the Iveco Daily continues to hold a steady position in the van and small truck market. It has not grown to dominate the market and a number of other players have come and gone, but it has kept up steady numbers year in, year out.
The Daily does some simple things well in its cabin design. There’s a really handy small bin on the top of the dash into which the driver can put phone, pens, keys etc, and know they are not going to go sliding anywhere, even going around a tight bend. There’s also a long document box as well which is equally as secure, as well as two USB sockets on either side and a headphone socket. There are big bins in the doors for drinks and documents. It’s true that the Europeans do in-cabin storage better than similar vehicles from elsewhere in the world.
The central dash is the home of the usual controls which are used intermittently. This is also the home of an impressively crisp screen for the radio, which, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to support Apple CarPlay, but it can be connected to on Bluetooth. Surprisingly the air con controls seem to be quite basic.Image: Prime Creative Media
The screen directly in front of the driver is relatively small, sitting between the speedo and the tacho. It may be small, but its clear and crisp design make it easy to understand. The layout is clear and the driver can keep tabs on the useful information, especially when using adaptive cruise control.
The engine stop function is a very useful device, especially for any Daily which is involved in urban delivery work. This is where the engine turns itself off when the van is stationary and fires it back up when the lights change and it’s time to get going again. This does make the cabin quieter and more comfortable when in heavy traffic.
When it come to the Hi-Matic eight speed auto transmission fitted in the Daily, life is improved for the driver by its ease of use and for what it adds to the driving experience The transmission contributes to a feeling from behind the steering wheel that this van has plenty of ‘get up and go’. This ZF-made gearbox comes with a stylish controller fitted to the dash board which makes controlling what’s going on the road easy for the driver.
When the Daily pulls up to a stop there’s a button up at the top of the controller, press that and you’re parked. Taking off after a delivery is simply a matter of pulling the controller across and down into drive. Pushing it across to the left gives you neutral and then across and up is reverse gear. Push it over to the right and it toggles between power and eco mode. There is a difference between the modes, but in most driving scenarios it’s simple enough to leave it in eco and it handles the job easily.Image: Prime Creative Media
Another design element which works well in the Daily is the visibility, which is very good with deep windows going well below waist level. It’s just about impossible to lose sight of people around the van, with the mirrors and the low windows.
Sitting in this cabin, it’s probably not the roomiest on the market, but is certainly big enough, but it does look good, there are elements of Italian design. It looks modern.and has a much different feel from competitors from Japan or Korea.
On this test drive the van was from the basic range, whereas the cab chassis with a flat body was the model with the higher specification set-up. The active cruise control worked well, especially when travelling on urban motorways, in and out of the city.
The Daily now features one of those things which appeared a few years ago and is now becoming a standard fitment from small vans up to the heaviest prime mover, and that is the flat bottomed steering wheel. There doesn’t seem to be a strong argument for this to be a better design, the world has just decided this is a good idea. It is difficult to discern whether there are good practical reasons for its introduction, or whether it’s just a style thing, or that drivers are just getting fatter.