You actually want a bigger engine for fuel economy when you are traveling distance. There are no distances in europe. The streets are narrow and unless you are on the autobon, you are not talking much speed for much distance. We had an old 78' triaxle dump truck with a 175hp moter and a 13 sp tranny. Got good fuel economy per hour, but horrible fuel economy per ton hauled. Just too slow going up and down hills. One local dump truck is now turning over 800 hp just to get better fuel economy as the speed he goes up the hills translates into how many trips he makes per day and what gear ratio he can pull the hills, etc.
when you are making 25-50 mile trips with the lory, an extra 5 minutes to climb the hills is not a big deal, when you make 500 miles in a day, those extra minutes add up to money.
If you have the money to spend, a horse van or lory is a wonderful way to haul horses as all the weight is on the axles, not being pulled by them, thus they can go in mud, snow, etc very well.