Smart all-rounder 12 November 2015

New looks inside and out, revised engines and improved electronic driver assistance mark the arrival of the latest Iveco Eurocargo. Dan Gilkes reports from Brescia, northern Italy

Iveco’s popular light and medium truck range has seen a face lift inside and out, adopting a similar appearance to the ‘floating-bonnet’ Daily van launched last year. Externally, the emphasis has been on improving the vehicle’s aerodynamics, with revised wind deflectors said to contribute up to 2% in drag reduction. New light clusters also include LED daytime running lights, while Xenon headlights are now on the options list. These sit above a new bumper featuring a larger step, for easier windscreen cleaning, as well as space for the AEBS (advanced emergency braking system) radar.

Eurocargo is available with a day cab, a sleeper, a high-roof sleeper or a full crew cab and there is a choice of 15 wheelbases for a wide range of bodies. As previously, it can be ordered with 4x2 and 4x4 drivelines, and there are DriveAway Options models too, with JC Payne box and curtainside bodies and Brit-Tipp tipping bodies available from dealers.

Beyond these, Iveco is also offering a full line-up of urban artic models, catering for gross combination weights of 18—35 tonnes. And the company will sell the truck with a specialist road sweeper conversion, too. This truck has clearly been developed to cope with compact urban work while also coping comfortably with longer distance inter-urban trunking.

As for power, two engines are offered, with seven power and torque options. The smaller 4.5-litre Tector 5 engine gets two new power outputs, of 160bhp/680Nm and 190bhp/700Nm, while the previous 210bhp/750Nm rating stays. That said, all offer 8% higher torque, thanks to new pistons and injectors, as well as a revised turbocharger. Fuel-saving measures include a two-speed smart cooling fan with electromagnetic clutch, while fully synthetic Petronas engine oils contribute to up to 8% improvement in urban operations.

Meanwhile, the heavier models come with the larger 6.7-litre Tector 7 engine, delivering four outputs, from 220bhp/800Nm to 320bhp/1,100Nm. Unsurprisingly, both Tector 5 and 7 engines use Iveco’s Hi-SCR (selective catalytic reduction) emissions control, with no EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) and only passive regeneration of the DPF (diesel particulate filter). The higher combustion temperatures reduce the requirement for DPF regeneration, resulting in lower fuel consumption.

Iveco is also offering its urban truck with the option of a CNG (compressed natural gas) engine, delivering 204bhp with 750Nm of torque. The firm points to the fact that the CNG motor produces 10% less CO2, 35% less NOx and 95% less particulate matter than a diesel equivalent, with no loss of performance.

Eleven transmissions are offered, though the standard fit for UK customers will be one of four automated ZF EuroTronic boxes, depending on engine size and output. There are also five optional manual gearboxes and two fully-automatic Allison transmissions for those who that prefer them.

Trucks with the 12-speed automated transmission get an EcoRoll function, which automatically shifts the gearbox into neutral to reduce consumption when over running. There is also an EcoSwitch on all six- and 12-speed automated gearboxes, designed to reset the gear change logic for fuel efficiency. EcoSwitch activates the speed limiter, deactivates kick-down on the throttle pedal and only permits automatic gear shifts. It also holds sixth gear for longer and limits down-shifting to fourth, rather than third, gear.

There are changes inside the cab too, with a new steering wheel incorporating audio and Bluetooth controls. Tougher seat fabrics and improved controls for the air conditioning, lights and automatic transmission complete the retrim, while drivers who use their cabs as offices can specify an optional 20-litre central box to house a laptop or tablet. With two USB connectors for charging electronic devices, the office compartment replaces the central passenger seat, but still allows reasonable cross-cab access.

To meet new legislation this month, all Eurocargo trucks come with LDWS (lane departure warning system), using a camera installed at the base of the windscreen. They also have EVSC (enhanced vehicle stability control) with AEBS (advanced emergency braking system).

The latter uses a radar sensor mounted in the front bumper to measure the distance to the vehicle in front. The system constantly recalculates collision potential and provides the driver with audible warnings before automatically reducing vehicle speed, if required. These systems all contribute to the vehicle’s ACC (adaptive cruise control) while cruising, with the brakes, throttle, radar and engine brake combining to maintain a safe distance to a vehicle in front.

Finally, two levels of telematic support are on offer. For the first, a DriverLinc display in the cab allows communication between the driver and the office. This includes a ‘driver coach’ function, to help reduce fuel consumption. As for the second, advanced telematic option, this includes a detachable Android tablet for navigation, job orders and signature capture deskigned for delivery drivers.

On the road

Driving the new Eurocargo part-laden on the streets of Brescia, where the new Italian stallions arebuilt, it was immediately apparent just how quiet the latest Euro 6 engines are. Equally, first impressions confirmed Iveco’s claims of improved comfort.

There is plenty of space in the cab, too, and a new full-width rail across the rear wall of the cab provides somewhere to store coats behind the seats. Cross cab access is also good, even with the optional mobile office box in place.

A simple D/N/R button on the dash controls the EuroTronic transmission, which moves smoothly through the gears both up and down. Meanwhile, the exhaust brake has plenty of power, automatically dropping gears downhill to achieve maximum retardation as engine revs rise.

The trucks are also manoeuvrable, with light steering and very good visibility making it easy to place them on the road, even when driving an RHD model on Italian roads.

My first drive – albeit relatively short – was enough to confirm that Iveco has achieved useful improvements that should be well received by both fleet managers and drivers.

Dan Gilkes

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