Mercedes Benz has released its very own motorcoach here in the U.S., and I had a chance to go behind the scenes to look at the first two hand-built prototypes of the Mercedes-Benz Tourrider at the 2022 UMA Motorcoach EXPO in Long Beach, California.
Overall, it’s just a really sexy bus. Some of the things that stood out include:
Mirrors. The upper mirror and the bottom mirror are close to each other. You would think they overlap, but when you add an angle, they don’t. It’s just a really interesting design. On the driver’s side, it’s going to be much closer so you don’t have the same thing going on. There’s a huge pylon mount that comes out from a window. The mirrors are offset enough for the driver’s window. It’s not that close to the mirror. You can see the other two mirrors from this angle. They don’t really overlap each other that much.
Dash. The dash is extremely spacious. The amount of legroom lets me stretch my legs completely. This feels really good. Really good visibility. I love how tall the windows are. The mirrors do offset and give you a lot of visibility. There’s an outlet and lots of storage space. I love where the cup holder is. It’s out of sight of the passengers, so if you bring on a big drink, it keeps it hidden so that it looks more professional. There’s a little compartment to store all your drinks or other things that you need during your travel. The steering wheel is very Mercedes. The dash is easy to read.
The difference between the two coaches we explored is that one is designed for business class and the other for a premium class, Zane Grey, Director of Marketing and Development at Daimler Coaches North America, told us: “The business class is really focused on the long haul. It can be outfitted somewhat to mimic some of the features in the premium. But the premium is really built for top-of-the-line luxury coaches,” he said.
Grey and his team have been taking the buses around to customers to gather feedback that might be incorporated in the version that goes into production. There will be some minor changes.
Also check out Magna Håheim and Tom’s channel too? These Norwegian bus geeks – cover the industry with their publication Bussmagasinet – did a great video from the Europeans perspective on the Tourrider with some really good shots. I really appreciate them sharing their footage with me.
Thanks to all viewers who asked great questions and offered better insights. (And thanks for your support after I shared about the personal impact the Ukraine situation is having on my family.)
Here are what a few of you had to say after watching the video:
Francois DUFAU: Bonjour, James !! “This thing looks like a Setra”? Well, you most probably know that Setra and the Mercedes-Benz buses and coach division both belong to the EVOBUS group. So a lot of parts are shared between the two brands. And that includes most of the dashboard.
Jimbo: I’ve noticed U.S. coaches always have pantograph wipers, even on European ones. Is that a legal requirement there?
SiqueScarface: It’s no wonder that it looks like a Setra. Mercedes-Benz bought Setra and joined it with its own coach building division to create EvoBus, which is now the Mercedes-Benz coach building company.