Venture above the all-important 3.5t gross weight barrier and you are entering a different, more tightly regulated, world...
You have become a truck operator and that means you require an Operator's Licence from the traffic commissioner for your area.
Both you and whoever drives the vehicle will be obliged to obey the heavy truck Driver's Hours rules and the driver will have to hold the appropriate driving licence entitlement.
He or she will also need to possess a digital tachograph card plus a driver Certificate of Professional Competence.
Adhere to all these requirements, however, and you will be able to shift a lot more cargo in a single vehicle than a 3.5-tonner can achieve – and the vehicle itself need not be all that daunting.
That is what we found when we took to the roads in and around Dunstable in Bedfordshire in a rear-wheel drive 7.2t Iveco Daily E6 72C21 chassis cab. It was fitted with a 38m3 curtainsider body built by J C Payne with twin back doors, a translucent roof, eight hefty-looking tie-down points set into the side raves and a pull-down rear step for easier load area access.
The heaviest model in a line-up that starts at 3.3 tonnes, the 7.2t Daily will carry as much if not more than many 7.5-tonners despite its lower gross weight.
Furthermore, it is a lot more like a light commercial to drive than, say, a 7.5-tonne Iveco Eurocargo, so the step up from a 3.5-tonner shouldn't be too challenging.
That said, with a 5.1m wheelbase and an overall length of over 8.2m, our demonstrator was on the bulky side – something we were acutely aware of during low-speed manoeuvring.
The pill was sugared by the presence of Iveco's superb eight-speed Hi-Matic fully automatic gearbox – one of the best of its type we have ever encountered.
In our case it was married to a 205hp 3.0-litre diesel with 470Nm of torque on tap. It relies on AdBlue to meet the Euro6 emission rules.
Our demonstrator had a 2,550kg test load on board – below its maximum payload capacity of 3,560kg, but still a fair amount of weight to handle.
From the minute we set off we realised we were going to be well on top of the job. The Daily pulled strongly at all times and we felt no need to flick the gearshift away from the Eco setting and over to Power; something only likely to be necessary when travelling through hilly terrain at maximum gross.
You can move the gearshift away from its automatic setting and over to manual, but why bother? The Hi-Matic behaves so well in auto guise that it simply isn't necessary.
The big Daily rode well, handled well and was remarkably quiet. A fair amount of pressure on the brake pedal was needed to slow it, but once you realised that and allowed for it, it was not an issue, while for a big vehicle its turning circle is surprisingly tight.
Remember that vehicles of this size are fitted with limiters that restrict them to 56mph.
Average fuel economy? Our estimate – and it is an estimate – would be around 24mpg to 25mpg.
Bear in mind that official mpg and CO2 figures and insurance groups are not usually quoted for vehicles grossing at above 3.5 tonnes.
Iveco quotes a mileage rather than a time-based service interval. Vehicles subject to Operator's Licence regulations must undergo periodic statutory safety inspections, however – typically once every six weeks.
For your money you get a roomy three-seater cab with a stylish dashboard and plenty of storage space. Big exterior mirrors with a lower wide-angle section plus a comparatively low seating position makes it easier to spot cyclists and wayward pedestrians than it would be if you were at the wheel of a standard 7.5-tonner; an asset if you are heading into central London.
Iveco Daily E6 72C21 3.0-litre 205hp eight-speed Hi-Matic automatic 7.2-tonner
Price (ex VAT) - £34,495
Price range (ex VAT) £25,000-£48,000 (est)
Warranty - 3yrs/unltd mileage
Service intervals - 31,250mls
Load length – 6,200mm
Load width – 2,300mm
Load bay height – 2,700mm
Load volume - 38m3
Gross payload – 3,560kg
Engine size/power – 2,998cc/205hp
Well worth investigating if you need something heavier than a 3.5-tonner, although you will be subjected to more demanding regulations.