Many?of Britain’s van fleet operators have very particular requirements when buying commercial vehicles.
And to fulfil those requirements, they don’t want to have to source a vehicle in one place and get it converted somewhere else.
Increasingly, van manufacturers are realising this and offering off-the-peg solutions.
Iveco, for example, now has a range called ‘Driveaway’, and can offer tippers up to 6.5 tonnes, dropside, box vans, lutons, tautliners, chillers and freezers.
Buying a vehicle in this range will not only save the customer an awful lot of hassle, but it also gives a single point of contact if there is a problem.
The vehicle on test here is the mighty 3.5-tonne crewcab tipper, which not only has ample seating for seven people but can also cope with a load of 875kgs.
The model is called Titan, and well it might be. In the 3.5-tonne sector they don’t come much heftier than this.
With a massive chassis underneath and a huge hulk of a body on top, I get this distinct impression that this vehicle will still be plugging away merrily long after I’m dead and buried.
At £22,256 ex-VAT, it isn’t exactly cheap, but you do get an awful lot of vehicle for your money.
And if you need to transport a seven-man crew and nearly a ton of goods, then you don’t have a lot of options at this weight.
Warranty is three years/100,000 miles.
In the front
Entry to the cab is courtesy of remote plip locking and once the door is open, there is a steep climb to get into the driver’s seat, which means all occupants are sitting high and have a commanding view of the road ahead.
Meanwhile, side mirrors the size of dinner plates give an equally good view of what’s behind.
The driver’s seat is hard, flat and supportive, just the way I like it, and although the steering column doesn’t adjust, there was no problem finding a comfortable position.
There are two further seats in the front and another four behind.
Surprisingly, legroom in the rear is ample and, as an added bonus, the rear seats lift up to reveal a large storage chest underneath for valuable items.
If the outside of the vehicle looks chunky, the cab feels as though it could have come from a solid chunk of metal.
The dash presents a massive slab to the driver, containing all the knobs and dials and it can be a daunting experience for a driver new to this weight of vehicle.
It certainly commands respect, even though it does prove to be a very drivable vehicle once on the road.
The standard radio/cassette player (why no CD?) has a detachable front – as if anyone bothers to steal cassette players nowadays – and while there are a few cubby holes for the various bits of detritus that van drivers pick up, we could certainly do with more.
For instance, there is only one drink can holder and that is situated in the glovebox on the left side, too far away for the driver to use.
Airbags are a paid-for option at £200 for the driver and £380 for driver and passenger, while ABS brakes come as an extra at £560.