Heavy-duty grunt, responsive handling, liveable cabin and smooth drivetrain
Not so much
Light on standard spec, no pedestrian AEB, noisy climate fans
When it comes to spruiking what Iveco’s refreshed large van named the Daily E6 can do, the Italian brand is not ignoring the elephant in the room.
In fact, Iveco has embraced the animal, going so far as to wrap the image of one on the van it’s lent to us for testing, stressing that the Daily E6 offers a surprising payload.
Although you might struggle to find an adult elephant that could fit in the back of any van, the model’s sixth-generation facelift – which includes more safety tech, a new face and a fresh interior – still offers plenty of body sizes.
Before we drill into them, though, the first thing to consider is where our 50C model sits within the Daily E6’s three-step range. First, there is the smaller 35S and then the larger 70C. All wear a new three-piece front plastic bumper and updated fountain grille.
Your choice of van relies on how much stuff you need to haul. The Gross Vehicle Mass of the 35S is rated at 3800kg, while the larger 70C boasts a 7000kg GVM. The 50C takes the middle road with a GVM of 4495kg, thanks to four rear tyres. Meanwhile, it can be upgraded to 5200kg if you have a heavy vehicle licence.
As for payloads, the E6 50C can swallow 1806kg worth of stuff in its cargo area. And that’s in the ballpark of other long-wheelbase rear-wheel drive vans like the Renault Master, Volkswagen Crafter, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit.
Within the 50C’s range, Iveco offers four body sizes – so bear with us for just a while longer. There are two wheelbases, three body lengths and two internal cargo roof heights. We’re in the second option, using the longer 4100mm wheelbase, middle 7274mm body length and higher 1900mm roof. It adds $4004 to the price of a standard size E6 50C.
A spacious cargo area, measuring 16 cubic metres, is towards the upper end of the segment against similar-spec rivals.
Parked up, it’s a lot to visually drink in. That 2.1m rear overhang is significant, and at 2.75m tall, the E6 begins to look more bus-like than a regular van. But the upside to this is a spacious cargo area, measuring 16 cubic metres – which is towards the upper end of the segment against similar-spec rivals.
The cargo area is accessed through a sliding door on the kerb side or rear barn doors that open to 270 degrees. They move easily on their tracks but close with an unconvincing softness. It’s worth mentioning you can option a sliding door on the road side and windows on any door. You can also tint and heat the rear windows for extra again.
Plastic grab-handles assist entry into the load bay. However, they’re black so hard to spot in low light and flex under load. Metal handles in a brighter colour would be more helpful, especially at night.
Space wise, the Daily E6 in this size offers a cargo area that measures 1740mm wide and 4680mm long. Sliding something along the floor? The rear load sill sits 774mm high above the rear differential. The rear doors open 1530mm wide, while the side door opens 1260mm. Both doors are 1800mm tall.
Inside, load space is narrow, but the floor is at least 130mm longer than any of its rivals. Meanwhile, the distance between the wheel arches is just 1032mm – thanks to the four rear tyres – so you will have to load a pallet through the side door.
Iveco carries over the Daily’s four-cylinder 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine that was revamped to comply with Euro 6 regulations back in 2017.
Outputs are 132kW/430Nm, sent through a six-speed manual gearbox. But for $2805 extra, you can upgrade to 155kW/470Nm and then add an eight-speed ZF torque-converter automatic for another $4565, as is the case with the 50C on test here.
All powertrain options are formatted with rear-wheel drive, helping the 50C offer a 3500kg braked towing rating across its range – something only the Ford Transit 450L RWD among its rivals can match. It contributes to a 7995kg Gross Combined Mass rating that accounts for a full payload, kerb weight and towing load.
A standard-fit bulkhead separates cabin from cargo. It can be deleted, but it’s well insulated. The cabin of this updated Daily also adds new features to the standard and optional equipment list.
Every Daily E6 now has a new cluster with dials trimmed in silver rims. Iveco has also introduced a new 3.5-inch colour LCD screen that boosts visibility while displaying your speed in a large readout.
There is also a new electronic park brake. It’s a strange choice for a workhorse like the Daily E6 but works fine in practice, as you’re able to load up the torque converter for smooth getaways on steep hills.
Overall, the interior layout and workstation are spacious and ergonomically sound, with plenty of storage for tape measures, clipboards and large drinks bottles. And drivers using a manual transmission might miss a manual handbrake – as there’s a lot of room between each seat for one.
Downsides? It’s hard to reach the volume dial, the seat padding is thin, and a middle bench seat would be handy as a makeshift desk or keeping items off the floor and away from the pedals. You might also need to option a lot of features before the place feels well equipped.
Our tester was fitted with a $1320 Hi-Comfort Pack. It adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, tyre pressure monitoring system, auto wipers, auto lights and automatic climate control.
Is it worth it? The new D-shaped steering wheel is vastly more modern looking and functional and the tyre pressure monitoring system reads all six tyres accurately, but strangely our tester’s climate control was manually adjustable rather than automatic as the brochure claims.
At the same time, the central infotainment screen is upgraded on Daily E6s fitted with the $2310 Hi-Business pack. The pack also comes with front fog lights, a reversing camera and wireless phone charging. The reversing camera is handy when towing, given it allows you to monitor rear traffic for 10 seconds at a time while on the move.
But the highlight of the interior remains the standard air-suspended driver’s seat. It’s adjustable for your weight and feels strange at first, jiggling you about as the seat deals with disturbances on urban roads.
As time goes on you appreciate the technology more. Especially when the cargo is unladen. The leaf-sprung live rear axle tends to buck over bumps, but the seat filters out the shock transfer to your body, reducing fatigue.
We also had the chance to test the 50C loaded with 900kg, or half of its payload, strapped down using four of the 14 tie-downs in the cargo area. As expected, the load improves ride comfort, particularly at the rear axle, while failing to burden the powertrain and suspension.
The 3.0-litre diesel pulls hard, relying on the turbo’s variable turbine geometry to deliver its full 470Nm from as low as 1500rpm, which gets it off the line more convincingly with 900kg on board than some dual-cab utes do with 500kg.
Our tester’s ZF transmission coped well with heavy-duty work, shifting smoothly during both full- and part-throttle. The software mapping is good but it can sometimes be overeager to upshift and drop revs when you need mid-range tractability. At other times, it will helpfully drop gears on descents to provide engine braking.
Iveco’s efforts to qualify the engine for Euro 6 emissions compliance pays dividends at the bowser. During our testing, the 50C E6 drank 11.07L/100km of diesel while laden with 900kg. Unladen, that figure dropped to 7.97L/100km. Pretty decent for a 2689kg van that looks as aerodynamic as a shipping container.
Speaking of aerodynamics, Iveco claims you should be confident to venture through high winds. The Daily’s safety package has been upgraded with software including crosswind assist, car-to-car AEB and adaptive cruise control.
And, through some of the strongest winds Melbourne has seen in recent memory, the Daily E6 felt stable on the highway for most of the time. Only once did a forceful gust push its nose off course.
Some of the Daily’s other safety systems were less consistent, though. The adaptive cruise control would sometimes be unavailable, as well as the AEB, while the lane departure warning remained on and overzealous.
Although the Daily’s AEB misses out on pedestrian detection, which contributed to a poor score with Australia’s safety watchdog ANCAP before this recent update, the van is easy to pilot through urban settings.
The steering does become particularly heavy mid-corner but remains easy to use, needing only 2.6 turns to go from one lock stop to another. And despite the awkward shape of the steering wheel, three-point turns are easy to complete.
Switching between drive and reverse is also a cinch, thanks to the shift pattern on top of the lever being easy to read, and the automatic transmission responding quickly to inputs.
You’ll have to give the van’s long dimensions consideration through tight corners, though, a fact that along with the air-suspended seat and the steering column being adjustable for height but not reach, stresses the Daily’s commercial origins above its aspirations to drive like a car.
Thankfully the Daily E6’s side mirrors also come with concave lenses for a broadened field of vision. The mirrors can generate a bit of noise at high speeds, but they’re nothing compared to the climate fans, which loudly blow air even when they’re supposedly switched off.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the Daily E6 50C. It’s a rugged workhorse at its core, with a strong engine and sturdy ladder-chassis construction that allows it to haul cargo without a flinch.
Iveco has worked hard to soften off its edges, as well, and the Daily E6 is something you’d enjoy driving, well, daily – with comfy suspended seats, decent handling and a functional interior.
You do pay for it, however. At $70,843 before options or on-roads, the 50C is expensive even without our tester’s option packs, upgraded engine and automatic gearbox. And that’s with a three-year 200,000km warranty that lags behind Volkswagen, Ford and Renault’s five-year options.
In the end, though, the Daily E6 remains a meaningful option worth considering in the hard-fought large van segment, even if it won’t swallow a full-size elephant.