The line between a van and small truck has been blurring in recent years and Diesel News asks, how big can a van get? The light duty truck market in Australia has been traditionally owned by the three Japanese truck brands, Isuzu , Hino and Fuso. However, the European van brands have been developing larger and larger vans with higher and higher GVM for their domestic markets.
Looking at the numbers of light duty trucks sold in Australia, the van importers have seen their specifications entering a market segment where they believe they can compete directly with the Japanese. One of those van manufacturers which has been active in this area is Iveco with its Daily offering. Included in the release of the latest version of this van range, Iveco have introduced a 7 tonne GVM Model. The Iveco Daily van range has been renewed and included in the new model specifications is the 70C
Climbing into the new Daily 70C, we can see a restyled interior. The new dashboard has some blue inserts in the design. A digital radio is now fitted as standard on the Daily models. The new design also includes more storage, USB ports and chargers, all of the things a modern commercial vehicle cabin should include. The controls for the digital radio and the telephone, if it is connected through Bluetooth, are on the the steering wheel.
One of the things a driver needs to remember about the 70C is the sheer size of it. It is the equivalent of a longish light duty truck. The vehicle is 7.5 metres long, with a 4.1 metre wheelbase. This is not to say it is too big, but sitting in the van cabin can be deceiving, it doesn’t feel like a big van and it’s a good idea to regularly check in the rear view mirror to remind oneself of its size.
The van driven on this test was just about fully loaded, but the Iveco FIC engine’s power, at 180 hp (132 kW) and with torque at 430 Nm (317 ft lb) has plenty in reserve to get moving and travelling easily with surrounding traffic. This engine is not working too hard. It uses both EGR and SCR to clean up exhaust gases and is compliant with the planned ADR 80/04 (Euro 6) rules. This means the van owner will also have to fill up the ad blue tank on the van regularly, not something many light duty drivers have to remember.
The model tested uses the excellent Hi-Matic auto gearbox. This ZF eight speed, double overdrive, torque converter, automatic transmission makes life easy for the driver and really does get the best out of this engine. The seamless nature of the shifts, even under load make this an option whose box it is a good idea to tick.
The contemporary design of the transmission control reminds us of the van’s Italian heritage, a culture where style is everything. The alternative is a more perfunctory six speed synchro manual, which will do the job well, but is nothing like as much fun.
At this kind of mass the van sits well down on the road. This has always been one of the strengths of Daily range, right back from its early days in the eighties, a well designed suspension. It functions well at the higher end of the mass scale, unlike some of its opposition.
On the other side of the equation, it would be interesting to see how this van performs with no load on and in a high cross wind. This body at 7.5×3 metres could well act like a large sail and be a bit skittery at high speeds. Unfortunately, there was no opportunity to check out this theory, as theory it is. Making a van this big means it has the capacity it has 19.6 m³ of interior space to be used, if needed. This makes it comparable with its opposition in terms of space, but with a lower centre of gravity.