What Is The Difference Between Class 1 And Class 2?

What Is The Difference Between Class 1 And Class 2

When it comes to driving a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) in the UK, getting the correct licence is a must. There are two main categories you need to know about: Class 1 and Class 2. In this article, we’ll break down the differences and help you figure out which path is best for your training and career goals.

What Is A Class 2 HGV Licence?

A Class 2 HGV licence, or Category C licence, allows you to drive rigid vehicles. These vehicles have a fixed cab and trailer, typically with two or more axles, and can carry a substantial amount of cargo.

Examples of Class 2 Vehicles

  • Delivery trucks
  • Waste collection vehicles
  • Large construction vehicles
  • Fire engines

Key Features of Class 2 Vehicles

  • Structure: Rigid body with the cab and cargo area as a single unit.
  • Length and Weight: Generally shorter and lighter than articulated vehicles, with a maximum weight of up to 32 tonnes.
  • Manoeuvrability: They are easier to handle and manoeuvre than Class 1 vehicles, making them ideal for urban deliveries and shorter distances.

Training & Requirements

To obtain a Class 2 HGV licence, candidates must:

  1. Be 18 years old or over.
  2. Hold a valid car driving licence.
  3. Pass a medical examination.
  4. Complete and pass the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests, which include theory, case studies, practical driving, and practical demonstration.

Training for a Class 2 HGV licence focuses on operating a rigid vehicle safely, including vehicle control, road safety, and efficient driving techniques.

What Is A Class 2 HGV

What Is A Class 1 HGV Licence?

A Class 1 HGV licence, also known as a Category C+E licence, allows the holder to drive articulated vehicles. These vehicles consist of a cab (tractor unit) and a detachable trailer and are often called “artics”. A Class 1 licence is ideal for drivers aiming for careers in long-distance or international haulage, where flexibility and the ability to carry larger loads are crucial.

Examples of Class 1 Vehicles

  • Long-haul lorry trucks
  • Large container transporters
  • Tankers

Key Features of Class 1 Vehicles

  • Structure: Composed of a tractor unit and a detachable trailer.
  • Length and Weight: Longer and heavier than rigid vehicles, with a maximum weight of up to 44 tonnes.
  • Flexibility: The detachable trailer can transport various types of cargo, making it suitable for long-distance and international haulage.

Training & Requirements

To upgrade from a Class 2 to a Class 1 HGV licence, candidates must:

  1. Already hold a Class 2 (Category C) licence.
  2. Pass additional practical tests for the Category C+E licence.
  3. Undergo further training focused on the complexities of driving an articulated vehicle, including coupling and uncoupling trailers, reversing with a trailer, and handling longer, heavier vehicles.

Training builds on the skills acquired during Class 2 training but adds advanced techniques for operating articulated vehicles safely.

What Is A Class 1 HGV

What Are The Key Differences Between Class 1 and Class 2 HGV Licences?


1. Vehicle Structure:

  • Class 2: Rigid vehicles with a fixed cab and trailer.
  • Class 1: Articulated vehicles with a separate tractor unit and trailer.

2. Vehicle Size & Weight:

  • Class 2: Generally smaller and lighter, with a maximum weight of 32 tonnes.
  • Class 1: Larger and heavier, with a maximum weight of 44 tonnes.

3. Manoeuvrability:

  • Class 2: Easier to handle, making them suitable for city deliveries and confined spaces.
  • Class 1: More complex to manoeuvre, requiring additional skills for tasks like reversing with a trailer.

4. Types of Jobs:

  • Class 2: Often used for local and regional deliveries, construction, and waste management.
  • Class 1: Typically used for long-haul and international transport, requiring longer driving periods and more extensive travel (refer to HGV tramping).

5. Career Progression:

  • Class 2: Often considered a starting point in an HGV driving career.
  • Class 1: Represents a higher qualification, offering more job opportunities and potentially higher pay due to the additional skills and responsibilities.

Choosing Heads of the Valleys For Your Driver Training

At Heads of the Valleys Training, we offer comprehensive LGV HGV driver training for both Class 1 and Class 2 HGV licences. Our experienced instructors are dedicated to providing high-quality training tailored to each individual’s needs. Whether you are just starting your HGV career or looking to upgrade your skills, we ensure that you receive the best training to succeed in the industry.

Our full list of HGV driver training includes:

If you are unsure which driver training you require, get in touch, and we will try to assist you where possible.