While 4×4 vans may only make up a handful of sales compared to the more mainstream pickup trucks, their greater practicality and range of body options means they’re an essential tool for a select few rural-based companies.
We put one of the more extreme 4×4 vans, the Iveco Daily 4×4, to the test.
Iveco Daily 4×4: Built for the Extreme
Just from glancing at the vehicle, it’s not hard to tell that the Iveco Daily 4×4 means business. Compared with their road-going counterparts, 4×4 versions of the Daily feature Michelin XZL AT tyres, skid plates, underbody protection, a three-piece front bumper and have been raised to give 255mm of ground clearance and that distinctive, off-roading look.
Constructed from a solid steel truck chassis, the Daily 4×4’s frame is built tough for tough conditions. The beams and cross members are made from high strength tubular steel (Fe490), with a C section of 5mm.
The result is a rigid structure capable of withstanding the torsional stress and fatigue typical of extreme off-road applications. The 3.4-metre wheelbase gives ample ground clearance to drive with confidence in off-road conditions. A strong chassis also allows easy fitment of a wide range of body types.
The front axle is fitted with parabolic 3 leaf springs while the rear it is fitted with parabolic 4 leaf springs offering cushioning from the harshest of conditions. The telescopic shock absorbers and anti-roll stabiliser bars, coupled to the rigid axles, offer excellent performance on any type of terrain and gradient without penalising load capacity.
In terms of dimensions, there is a 48° approach angle, 39° departure angle and a 153° ramp angle – despite having a long 3.4-metre wheelbase. Even when fully laden, the Iveco Daily 4×4 has a 255mm ground clearance and a fording depth up to 660mm.
Iveco Daily 4×4: Cab and Interior
Available as a three-seater single cab or seven-seater crew cab, the interior of the Iveco Daily 4×4 is extremely utilitarian when compared with pickup trucks as you would imagine, but there’s great visibility, it’s extremely spacious – which is accentuated by the large windows. The driver’s seat is elevated and uses air suspension to soften the impact of uneven ground.
The hard plastics used may lack the luxurious feel that we’ve been accustomed to in pickups, but it’s durable and will take the knocks of everyday use.
In terms of spec, there is very little difference to the standard, road-going version. Only the very basic features come as standard, like a DAB radio with Bluetooth and USB connectivity, electric windows and a trip computer.
A popular upgrade is the Iveconnect, which allows you to control the functionalities of your Daily’s infotainment, telephone and navigation integrated system with a seven-inch touchscreen.
Iveco Daily 4×4: Engine and Driveline
FCA’s own Euro-6 compliant 3.0-litre, four-cylinder engine provides the power, which also features in the Fiat Ducato and Citroen Relay. The engine is incredibly punchy, and delivers up to 180hp (3,200-3,500rpm) and 420Nm (1,250-3,000rpm).
The six-speed ZF transmission (with overdrive in 6th) is coupled to a central transfer box with two reduction stages giving a total of 24 forward speeds, 12 for road/trail use and 12 for off-road use (6×2 + 6×2) plus 4 reverse gears. The broad availability of low range ratios allows the Daily 4×4 to safely negotiate the steepest of terrains.
Additionally, the first synchronised reduction gear can be selected (half speed) with the vehicle in motion. The second reduction stage is dedicated to extreme off-road use and can only be engaged with the vehicle stationary.
Torque distribution is optimised (32% to the front and 68% to the rear axle) on the permanent four-wheel drive system to give the best possible grip on all types of terrain. With all differential locks engaged (front, centre and rear), all wheels are locked to the same speed and turn in unison delivering outstanding traction.
Iveco Daily 4×4: Loading and Towing
The Iveco Daily 4×4 is available in short (3,050mm) or long (3,400mm) wheelbase, as a 3.5 or 5.5 tonner and as a panel van or chassis cab, with a wide range of bodies to fit. Our 5.5t version came with a Scattolini dropside body, which offered a payload of over two tonnes.
Weighing in at over 2.5 tonnes, the 3.5t variants offer very little in terms of payloads but you’ll avoid the increasing amount of red tape that comes with operating of a heavy goods vehicle, although there is also a 3.5t towing capacity.
Long wheelbase models can accommodate bodies of up to 3.3 metres in length (2.75 metres on the short). The vehicle can be equipped with two Power Take-Offs (PTOs) to drive external equipment via hydraulic pumps and Cardan shafts making the Daily 4×4 an extremely versatile vehicle.
Iveco Daily 4×4: Verdict
The Daily 4×4 plugs into a nice gap between other offerings; it’s far more capable, though more expensive, than other 4×4 vans (Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 and Ford Transit AWD), yet far cheaper, though less practical, than the Mercedes-Benz Unimog. This makes it an ideal candidate, therefore, for that small crowd (off-road support, utilities, forestry, etc.) looking for an affordable yet capable off-road commercial.