Size of C training truck

Forget about the auto v manual debate what size of truck would wannabe drivers prefer to learn in, either an long wheel base 18 ton or short wheel base minimum specification 12 ton truck?

Presume they are both mechanically sound and in good working order.

I’m talking about the “C” category licence.

Paul :smiley:

by Radar19 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:45 pm

I failed my first test in a 18 ton MAN that had seen better days. During the lessons I kept mounting curbs etc, on the actual test I knocked a pole over. On my second attempt I was in a brand new Ivecco 12-14 tonner and it was so much easier. I wasn’t hitting curbs, I was hitting all the correct positions on the road etc. Now I don’t believe this difference solely came about because the truck was new, I believe that this changed because the truck was smaller. I did an assessment with Boston HGV in one of their old MAN’s with a knock over. Again, old truck, no problems.

The overhang is much less and the handling is more car like which as a newbie is a good thing but it will still challenge you so don’t think you can get away with silly stuff.

IMO, this quote is a balanced view.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

Yes that’s way I posted the thread Pete.

Paul :smiley:

a min spec 12t auto, what’s the point in a class 2 test then. may as well give the license away with a car pass :unamused:

I did mine in a old erf 18t with 4 over 4, trainer was very good and had no issues with the truck or driving it. then went on to a job driving a 26t, so closer to what i learnt in. and a whole different beast to a 12t.

same with class 1, a local trainer uses a 12t wag n drag its tiny, the examiner thinks it takes the mick apparently and will also go the worst routes with it. I choose to do it in a full size artic as thats what i was planning to drive, my instructor gave me loads of tips an advice for the real world during training, i.e not using ref points, sliding 5th wheels etc and that made it easy and have confidence to go for assessment drives and got work straight away.


You mean " Hijacked it from a previous thread " lol.


You mean " Hijacked it from a previous thread " lol.

Ok then it could make an interesting thread so best out in the open :wink:

Paul :smiley:

If I was to choose now, having driven all sorts of class 2’s I’d say a short wheel base 18t 4/4 manual DAF would be my weapon of choice.

I just think the DAF gearbox is idiot proof, easy change and the most like a car I have used.

i prefer big 8 wheeler fully loaded 32 tonne vactor wagon amaging to drive

It’s an interesting auestion. Do I go for the “easy pass”? Or something that could better prepare you for some of the larger trucks you could encounter once you get your license?

I did mine in a fairly old 18ton long wheelbase, not that my training school gave me a choice :laughing:

Although I’m still the worlds worst driver many years later, I’ve not been particularly bothered about what size of rigid you gave me, because I learnt in something that was pretty big to start with. But I think if it had been a minimum specification 12t and I passed, and you handed me the keys to my 8 legger I drive now, I might ■■■■ my pants.

18t long wheel base personally. When I was training for C+E with you Pete I had to stop several times because of the tail sweep on the rigids you’ve got. Very versatile otherwise though.

Cat C I think the less overhang at the back is better. much like anyone going for a C+E do you go for a longer unit or shorter unit.
Anything bigger you might as well be driving a coach,

It also depends on the sort of test area you have really.
With the Cat C slightly smaller ridged, as if you do W+D cat C+E or for any driver wishing to do some additional training to gain experience on W+D.

the tail sweep on the rigids you’ve got.

I’m baffled. Very little overhang on the Ivecos. You must have been really close and needed a lock of lock to have any problem. But it clearly worked, so that’s fab.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

18t volvo fm7 with 4 over 4 was a breeze :laughing:

The question is:

Are you a trainer that wants to produce good quality drivers who can drive realistic vehicles competently from day 1?


Are you a trainer who will make it as easy as the legislation will let you, potentially overcharge on short courses and produce drivers who would struggle on day 1?

I know of a trainee who passed their cat c on 18t 9.6 metre long rigid fitted with a 6 speed splitter gearbox. Could not stop recommending the trainer etc. Booked their c+e with the same trainer but struggled a little with the reverse and then started to get emails and phone calls from another trainer who posts on this site who had never met the trainee. The instructor who had the trainee in his cab could not understand why the trainee all of a sudden stopped listening to him a just did what they wanted! The trainee failed in a 15.6 metre long artic and rebooked with the trainer who had been emailing them. The trainee did another course in a small drawbar outfit and failed on the reverse! Took another test and passed on the drawbar.

Then their first day on the job using a artic they really struggled with reversing!

Did the trainer who used the drawbar do his job correctly by producing a competent driver?

Or is the trainers job just to get a pass?

Its what the customer wants in the end. You could pass your test in a 26 tonner with a rear tag axle yet you may never see one again for your entire working life. Its not that hard to adjust once you’ve passed when you don’t have an examiner breathing down your neck. Most people want to get the test over and done with so they can get out there on the road.

Conversely, a guy who was training with a company down south, called me on Thursday. Was nearly in tears because his instructor had spent 3 days shouting at him cos he couldn’t understand the reverse. His opening line was along the lines that he knew he was going to fail on Friday and could I reserve him a space for another full course and test. This was using an artic.

He had clearly not been taught the basics of reversing and, as a result, nothing made any sense. I spent around an hour chatting with him wishing him all the best for his test on the following day.

Next phone call was to say he’d passed. Yes, he had a shunt on the reverse - so what?

My choice is to use small vehicles for CAT C to ease folks in to larger vehicles. But many of them will elect to train on a full size artic with us. So that argument dies there.

My main problem with the industry is not with the size of vehicles used. It has a lot more to do with the state of many training vehicles. Put unqualified instructors in the mix and you have a potential recipe for disaster.

Pete :laughing: :laughing:

personally i think you should have to pass in one of the larger vehicles for that particular class, that way the examiner knows you can handle any vehicle in the class, but more importantly you know when you get out into the real world doesnt matter what keys you get handed you know you can handle it.

i did a days training in a 20 ton daf, then that was needed for tests and did the rest on my training in a 18 tonner then my first time out in a class 2 on my own was in what felt like a huge 26 tonne cf. that was quite a squeaky bum moment getting out of our tight yard with about 20 other drivers and the bosses watching.

Or is the trainers job just to get a pass?

Yes that’s the ultimate goal using trucks that meets the DVSA specification.

Paul :smiley:

Did my Class C in a Volvo FE. I went for the bigger style of wagon because I wanted to train in something that I would most likely to drive when I started working.

I trained and passed in one of Pete’s EuroCargos, a 12 tonner, 4 over 4 manual. Had driven lorries before but never on the road. Initially thought it was a bit small and the instructor fairly regularly reminded me that larger lorries would need more road space and I’d have to keep this in mind.
Straight after passing I was out in our firm’s rigid - 18 ton ERF with a 16 speeder. It did feel a lot bigger but I quickly found it a lot nicer to drive, probably more to do with me ‘relaxing’ not being in a training or test environment.
In retrospect an 18 tonner would have been ok to train in but there was nothing wrong with the Iveco and I don’t think it has left me ill-prepared for bigger stuff.