From world exploration to safer post-pandemic commuting, Torsus has quickly adapted the design of its Praetorian 4×4 bus to the needs of very different types of users. Its latest adaptation is sure to make children around the world grumble and grimace: a school bus that threatens to eliminate the terms “snow day” and “delayed opening” from the vernacular. On the plus side, the ruggedized all-terrain yellow bus is one of the coolest ways a kid could ask to show up at school doors.
If a school happens to service remote job site workers and sparse local populations somewhere like the Canadian Arctic or Australian Outback, it’ll probably need something a little more robust than the average bus. So Torsus has developed the MAN-chassised Praetorian it calls the world’s toughest off-road bus.
The process of converting the Praetorian from off-road work bus to go-anywhere school bus is a fairly straightforward one. The exterior get a classic yellow paint job that just screams “school bus” and a safety package brings stop signs, child crossing designations and added lighting that we presume flashes during stops. There’s also an emergency exit on the side.
The base Praetorian chassis and mechanical package remains unchanged, bringing in the 286-hp 6.9-liter MAN diesel engine, 4×4 system with front and rear differential locks, parabolic-spring front and rear suspension, and Michelin off-road tires. There goes the snow day.
Schoolchildren of all ages will be further disheartened to learn about the Praetorian’s ability to swim across waters nearly 3 feet (90 cm) deep and clear obstacles up to 13.4 inches (34 cm) high. There goes the guarantee of post-storm flooded roads and downed trees closing down local schools for days on end.
But all hope is not lost for children yearning for the surprise delight of a restful morning and free weekday. The Praetorian school bus has no way of navigating around a school-darkening power outage or teachers’ strike.
Inside, Torsus can equip the school bus to carry up to 35 children. It has splashed the seats in a protective polymer coating and finished them in STEM-inspired graphics that should quietly inspire occupants to start thinking about school on the journey there. Much safer than the unbuckled bench seats we used to bounce around on as kids, the individual Praetorian bus seats are all equipped with seat belts and offer available options like folding armrests and aisle-side hip support.
There’s no word on pricing, but existing Preatorian bus variants carry base prices starting at €153,000 (approx. US$180,700) for an empty shell and rising into the €300,000s for more complex versions like the anti-riot bus and expedition command center.