While the HiLux and Ranger may be best-sellers, those after a true workhorse ute will want something like the Iveco Daily 50C.
Despite appearances, most dual-cab utes won't hold much over 1000kg in their trays. So, what do you do if you need a workhorse ute capable of carrying a stack of weight?
The 2018 Iveco Daily 50C may be the answer. With a payload capacity up to 3181kg and a Euro 5-compliant engine, the Daily offers a good balance between drivability and load-carrying capacity.
You may remember the last time we drove an Iveco Daily. It looked like an army vehicle capable of climbing any hill thrown at it. This Daily takes a more utilitarian bent with daily chores at the heart of its premise.
The 2018 Iveco Daily 50C is available in six wheelbases (ranging from 3000mm to 4750mm) and comes with the option of two engines (a 127kW [170hp] engine or a 153kW [205hp] unit) and three gearboxes (two six-speed manuals and an eight-speed automatic).
Two GVM options are also available – 4495kg, which comes in just under the permissible maximum on a car licence, and 5200kg, which requires a truck licence. The former allows up to a 2476kg payload with a 3000mm wheelbase, while the latter caters for 3181kg with the same 3000mm wheelbase.
On test here is the 50C with 4350mm wheelbase, which offers 2399kg of payload in a 4495kg GVM configuration. Under the bonnet is the higher-capacity 205hp engine, which is a 3.0-litre twin-stage turbocharged four-cylinder diesel that produces 153kW of power and 470Nm of torque between 1400–3000rpm. It's mated to a ZF Sachs eight-speed automatic gearbox, which sends torque to the rear wheels and uses a 100L fuel tank.
Priced from $45,680 plus on-road costs for the 3000mm wheelbase and 127kW engine, the 50C tested here with the optional 153kW engine, automatic gearbox and longer wheelbase is priced from $58,600 plus on-road costs, both exclusive of the body.
Inside the cabin, Iveco has worked to offer a more professional interior with two-tone colours and extra storage. All of the cabin's surfaces are durable hard plastic with two tiers of storage within the driver and front passenger doors.
There's additional storage available atop the dashboard, above the glovebox, and within a couple of cavities beneath the infotainment system, along with a storage container along the roof line.
IVECONNECT is the optional Iveco infotainment system that sits top and centre on the dashboard. The colour touchscreen houses the vehicle's audio, telephony and satellite navigation connectivity.
It features a voice-recognition feature that allows the driver to call contacts stored within the telephone. The screen is also used for the reverse-view camera, with up to three camera views configurable.
An LCD display between the speedometer and tachometer offers trip computer information, along with temperature and a lock.
The steering wheel features buttons for the telephone, infotainment volume and voice recognition. Cruise control is managed via a stalk behind the steering wheel.
It's a big step up from terra firma to land on the driver's seat, but once seated it's a very comfortable place to be. An armrest drops to the left-hand side of the driver, while a section of the door on the right offers an additional rest point.
Vision from the driver's seat out of the front, sides and rear is excellent. The huge wing mirrors feature a standard and close view of the vehicle's surroundings to make parking in tight spaces easier.
Measuring in at 7.37m with the 4350mm wheelbase, the Daily 50C is huge. Parking is made easier thanks to a reversing camera and easy visibility of the vehicle extremities.
All of the driver controls are easy to use and the infotainment system is a breeze to navigate while on the move. Bluetooth quality is also good, even at highway speeds.
Our drive in the Daily 50C was only short, but we wanted to ensure it was loaded for the test. Iveco stuck 1794kg of ballast in the rear, which is around 75 per cent of the vehicle's load-carrying capacity.
Weighing in at just over 2000kg without a load, the engine is well-suited to its mass. To put that into perspective, it's lighter than most of the high-end dual-cab utes on the market, so its 470Nm of torque offers extra torque-to-weight than something like a Ford Ranger, which matches this output.
The Daily moves off from a standing start with ease and smoothly gets up to speed. The eight-speed automatic offers Economy and Power modes, which both alter throttle response respectively.
Even with a rolling kerb weight of almost 4000kg, the Daily moves with traffic effortlessly. If you get stuck into it, the 470Nm of torque comes on strong from early in the rev band to offer the torque required for passing.
Stopping the Daily is a decent set of disc brakes that measure 290mm at the front with ventilation (28mm thick) and 290mm at the rear (22mm thick). The brakes perform well, but brake pedal feel could be better. It doesn't inspire confidence, which is precisely what you need with a big load on the back.
Towing is taken care of thanks to a 3500kg braked towing capacity that brings the GCM to 7995kg in this configuration or 8700kg in the optional configuration.
If you're bundling staff into this ute, you'll be pleased to hear it's safe. It comes with four SRS airbags, stability control, the aforementioned four-wheel disc brakes, along with the option of a rear differential lock and four-wheel drive.
In terms of servicing and maintenance, Iveco has tried to take the sting out of regular service intervals, with the ability to change oil every 40,000km, making this a more versatile option than something like a Toyota HiLux, for example, which needs servicing every six months or 10,000km.
If a 1000kg payload isn't enough for your needs and you need serious space and load-carrying ability, it's hard to look beyond the Iveco Daily.