IVECO Daily Hi-Matic
I got to grips with a 35s13 4100 wb H2 roof Daily at Northern Commercials in Irlam, who kindly leant CCV the van for a test drive for a couple of hours driving in & around Greater Manchester on a pleasant Saturday morning. The Daily has been the van of choice for businesses who require a serious workhorse for many years now & with the new model range makes it a van for all seasons. My test model was fitted with IVECO’S H-Matic gearbox, basically making the vehicle an automatic, which for this LWB model I promise you is a Godsend, particularly around town where one less thing to worry about makes for more relaxed & sensible driving, at least from me anyway !
First of all I think that it’s important to explain exactly what Hi-Matic is & what it offers van users over & above a manual gear box.
There are three different versions of Hi-Matic to choose from — Urban, Regional and International — dependent on operator duty cycles. Urban is aimed at those who have to face town and city centre traffic on a daily basis, delivering excellent drive ability and comfort thanks to a self-adaptive shifting strategy which adjusts the gear changing control logic, choosing between 20 different programs.
Regional offers outstanding performance thanks to two driving modes. Eco provides smooth and low speed gearchanges to keep fuel consumption at a minimum while Power mode carries out ’changes at higher speeds for enhanced performance. There is also a third option, Manual mode, which permits sequential shifting via the gearstick. Completing the line-up is International, featuring a double overdrive gear ratio and turbine-torsional-damper torque converter to maximise fuel efficiency on long journeys at high average speeds.
Iveco Daily Hi-Matic can be specified on Daily van and chassis cab models from 3.3 to 7 tonne, and with 9 engine options from 106hp to 205 hp . As with the automated manual Agile ’box it replaces, variants fitted with Hi-Matic can tow braked trailers up to 3.5t and can operate with up to a 10.5t gross combination weight.
There are some other major improvements to the Daily range which we should tell you about as well.The capacity of the van has been strongly enhanced by revising the ratio between wheelbase, total length and the carrying length: this led to the creation of the new 18 and 20 m3 models and the 10.8 m3 version.
GVW of the van models range from 3.3 to 7 tonnes with vehicle loadspace volumes ranging from 7.3 to 19.6 m3. The van comes in heights of up to 2,100 mm, so that even tall users can stand upright in the loading compartment. External lengths range between 5,040 to 7,500 mm, while the load compartment starts from 2,600 mm up to 5,100 mm.
Front & rear suspension has been completely re-designed, making for a much more comfortable ride & which has also lead to a decrease in the height of the load platform by approximately 55 millimetres to facilitate vehicle loading and unloading, and a reduction of oversteer in load transfers when cornering.
Having driven pretty much driven all of the vans available to customers here in the UK including the previous Daily model, what then was the new Daily like & is the Hi-Matic version, which adds £1500 to the asking price, really worth having ?
The Daily has been perceived in some quarters as just a workhorse, a van that will do that tough job, but without offering it’s drivers much in the way of comfort `& flexibility. Not so the new Daily I drove. The new cabin is a belter. Finished in appealing & well constructed black plastics across the dashboard & on ythe inside of the doors & with black heavy duty fabric seats, the Daily is entering the car-like interior domain once reserved for just Volkswagen & Mercedes Benz products.
Everything is pleasing to the eye, with easy to read & reach controls-the temperature dial is the only one which requires a stretch- a huge improvement over the previous Daily. Not only that, but my test model was equipped with an International Pack costing £1590 + vat, which seemed incredibly good value to me, which included a 150Amp alternator, ABS,EBD & ESP, a drivers airbag & seat pretensioner’s, 270degree rear doors, a full steel bulkhead, central locking, auto air-con, IVECO connect, cruise control, front foglight, electric heated mirrors, a fold down desk, overhead storage a 100 litre fuel tank & a suspended drivers seat.
I took the Daily along the A57 joining the M6 at junction 21 & headed north towards Preston. Although the LWB Daily is a large van, the combination of light power steering plus the Hi-Matic gear box makes it easier to handle. There’s no fiddling with a manual lever. The addition of cruise control enabled me to set the speed at 70 mph which in turn allowed the gear box to select eighth gear & make its way calmly northwards at 2000rpm. The suspended drivers seat moves with the chassis & at first feels rather weird as it wobbles with the van over bumps. After 10 minutes though, you don’t even notice it.
I selected the AUX in on the touchscreen & had connected my iPhone to the hands-free phone system before we set off. Importantly, even though my ply-lined test van was unladen, which often increases cabin noise, the Daily, at least at 70 mph, was relatively noise free & I was able to listen in comfort to my favourite pod cast. When required, the 2.3 engine fitted to my Daily was impressive when I needed to overtake slower moving traffic especially on a couple of uphill sections of the M6. The ride comfort has definitely improved too, with little or no bouncing & jarring in the cabin, something I have experienced in some other LWB models recently.
After returning to Irlam I took a look inside the load area. It really is big & was nicely finished off with the ply-lining. I guess that the LWB Daily is in competition with the likes of the Sprinter, Crafter, Relay, Ducato, Boxer & Master, for use as a delivery van & on those long motorway hauls. I have driven all of these & none were fitted with an automatic gear box. It is as I’ve mentioned, a £1500 option, which may put some readers off because you are not going to see a saving in the short term, even though IVECO claim a 4% saving in fuel costs over it’s previous AGile gearbox. However, as I discovered, driving a large van with an auto box makes piloting it so much less stressful than when using a manual, especially in town & on the motorway. I believe that the extra investment is well worth considering for your drivers. After all happier drivers equates to careful drivers & all fleet managers & company directors should see the benefit of these !
Overall, I can see why the Daily has been awarded the title of International Van of the Year. IVECO have made an impressive van, that ticks all of the boxes for business.
The Daily reaches the Premier League 3.5/5.