In the market for a studio apartment in Sydney or Melbourne? Feel burned by the prices being asked for tiny little boxes with barely any light and hardly any room to move? You could instead buy one of these: a 2017 Iveco Daily van which, in this spec, has a huge 19.6 cubic metres of living space cargo capacity.
), Ford Transit 470E Jumbo (15.1m
) Mercedes-Benz Sprinter super-high roof extra-long (15.5m3
) and Renault Master long-wheelbase (17.0m
It also makes the cargo space of the 50C about the same size as a studio apartment that sold in Sydney recently for $350,000. I guess this isn't worth as much because it doesn't have a built-in bathroom...
It does, however, offer plenty of space for your money – but the list price is high, at $69,330 plus on-road costs, or about $80,000 drive-away as tested – and because it has the dual-rear-wheel option it can also haul plenty of weight.
The payload for the 50C as specified is 1804kg, which gives it a big advantage because its GVM (gross vehicle mass) is just 4495kg. That means it can be driven by mugs like myself on a regular driver’s licence. And, to be honest, it doesn’t feel that big to drive at all.
If you need to lug more mass, there’s a GVM upgrade available that sees the payload increase to 2509kg, while GVM jumps to 5200kg.
Sure, you need to be aware of the fact the rear overhang is a huge 2.52 metres long, and the thing itself measures 7.62m from nose to tail. Forget underground car parks, too, with its height looming a huge 2.90m.
The cargo area, as you’d expect, is huge. There is 5.12m of floor length to use, 2.10m of load height and 1.74m of width, with just 1.03m between the wheel arches – meaning it isn’t wide enough to house a standard pallet between the housings. That’s not a massive issue, though, because there’s space behind the arches and in front of them to strap down a pallet, and there are 16 floor-mounted D-hooks to secure loads to.
The practicalities are all taken care of: there are barn doors that open up 270 degrees at the rear (allowing an opening of 1.53m wide by 2.00m high) and a single solid sliding door on the kerb-side (opening: 1.26m by 1.80m), with a step-in height of 77cm. Just watch your thumb when opening the side slider – it can pinch your skin.
The load space has two lights – one at the rear and one at the side – and it is fully lined, but I have to say, I don’t think I’ve seen worse craftsmanship since I tried my hand at plastering. There were screws hanging out of the plastic sheeting all over the place.
We loaded in 750 kilograms of ballast, thanks to the guys at Crown Forklifts, in order to conduct a laden road loop, and the Daily barely felt the weight, partly because this big van had the biggest engine available in the range.
Powering our test van is a 3.0-litre four-cylinder twin-stage turbo diesel producing 150kW of power (at 3100-3500rpm) and 470Nm of torque (from 1400-3000rpm).
There’s a lower-spec drivetrain with a variable geometry turbocharger that churns out 125kW/430Nm, and that’ll save you $2200. Our tester also had the optional eight-speed automatic transmission, which adds about $4300 to the price tag.
The turbo diesel was completely unfazed by the weight. It exhibited excellent roll-on acceleration, and it spools up and takes off from a standstill without too much hesitation. The automatic transmission, too, was very well sorted, with a smooth shift action, and it held gears very well.
Without weight the drivetrain is even stronger. We didn’t need to put it into power mode, but that does liven up the throttle response and lengthen the space between gearshifts.
If you leave it to its own devices in the default eco mode, the gearbox will keep the engine in its most effective torque range around town, where at higher speeds it’ll happily upshift to one of its two overdrive gears to keep revs low on the highway. Approach a hill and the transmission will cleverly drop back a gear, two or three to maintain momentum, and the cruise control system worked well, too.
Being a dual-rear-wheel van (with all wheels fitted with Michelin Agilis 195/75/16 tyres) the ride is a touch more rigid than a standard version, but with weight or without, the ride was decently settled at lower speeds at the rear.
The front could be a touch sharp over speed-humps and potholes, and at higher speeds we noticed a bit of a resonant shudder through the entire vehicle when un-laden. Of course, the driver doesn’t notice the bigger bumps in the road as much as the passenger thanks to the Iveco’s brilliant pneumatic suspension seat, which even features heating.
The biggest surprise, though, was the ease of manoeuvrability offered by what is, a very large van. Its steering is very accurate, making it easy to hustle around town despite its large turning circle (14.5m kerb to kerb). It’s also stable and predictable at higher speeds, though the wheel can jostle in the driver’s hands over sharp bumps.
It really shrinks around you – it almost feels like a van a segment smaller – and that’s in part thanks to the vision from the driver’s seat. There are split side mirrors to ensure you don’t have someone in your blind spots, and the rear-view camera is very high mounted, offering an excellent top down view of where you are and where you need to be when approaching loading docks and driveways.
Of course, you can’t fight its size in every way. Over-the-shoulder vision is non-existent, with the solid side door and steel bulkhead with latticed glass protector making it hard to see anything behind you. Mesh would help in this regard, but thankfully that rear-view camera makes it easier than you’d think when reversing out of driveways, and there are rear parking sensors to ensure you have two safeguards.
The media screen the camera feeds to is a touch-capacitive unit, and while the resolution isn’t terrific and the image from the camera fuzzes out at the edges, it is invaluable.
The media system itself includes satellite navigation and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, and it’s relatively easy to connect to and it reconnects adequately, but the boot-up time is slow and it can glitch between menus at times. There’s a CD player and USB/auxiliary connectivity, too, but they’re all placed down out of sight, so it’s not ergonomically ideal.
Being a work van there is storage aplenty, including an overhead folder holder, massive door pockets with bottle holders and lower bin sections. There's a flip-down centre armrest with clipboard, but no cupholders and no tilt adjustment to the steering (it has reach adjustment, though).
Some of the plastics in our test vehicle were poorly finished, too, including the passenger side airbag cover. But, we can appreciate that the large, plasticky sun-visors will be ideal for those who drive east in the morning and west at sunset.
There’s an additional storage bin on top of the dashboard for storing smaller items which, again, had average fit quality.
The knobs for the single-zone climate control offers decent tactility, though, and the captain’s chair-style armrest on the inner side of driver’s seat makes light work of longer trips. Both the windows at the front are auto down, and the driver’s is auto-up, too.
The driver information screen has detailed trip computer analysis, but misses out on a digital speedometer. On the screen we saw fuel consumption averaged at 10.3 litres per 100 kilometres, which is exceptional for such a big piece of moving machinery.
Iveco offers a three-year/200,000km warranty as standard and roadside assist is included for the duration of the standard warranty program. Business buyers can see how much it will cost to run a Daily van by using the brand’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculator.
On the whole, the Iveco Daily 50C in this specification doesn’t drive as big as it is, and that can’t be understated. It lacks the polish and refinement of a big Benz, and it isn’t as cheap as a larger Renault, Fiat or Ford, but if you need the most metal (enclosure) for your money, it’s one that should be on your shopping list.
Click the Gallery tab for more images by Sam Venn.
Thanks to the team at Crown Forklifts for helping us out with loading up the Iveco Daily, and to Nigel for his images on site.