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BUSRide Road Test:



BUSRide Road Test:

The DUR-A-BUS™ Grand Touring (GT)

Ready for North America, the DUR-A-BUS™ Sprinter van and cab chassis conversion rises to the next level

GTA coach driver Orlando Amorim drove the GT leisurely through downtown Toronto, noting the qualities and features that caught his attention.


ettling in behind the wheel of the new DUR-A-BUS™ Grand Touring (GT), Orlando Amorim, a 20-year veteran driver for GTA Coach, Toronto, ON, says he felt more at home than he expected — considering the obvious differences between this midsize Sprinter and the Prevost H3-45 Amorim usually commands. DURA-BUS™ builds on the proven Mercedes Benz Sprinter van and cab chassis to provide what it considers comparable passenger comfort, spaciousness and expansive views. BUSRide traveled to Toronto to meet with DUR-A-BUS™ for an Official Road Test of the new GT model, with GTA Coach and Amorim providing a third-party perspective. At two years, DUR-A-BUS™ is a young organization that is off to a fast start. Following on the heels of his long, successful career as a fleet operator and bus sales & service center based in Toronto, ON, Canada. Lorenzo D’Urso founded the company following a trip to Europe where he saw firsthand what the Spanish bus and coachbuilder, UNVI, was doing with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Returning home inspired and motivated, D’Urso formed a partnership with UNVI to develop a new line on the Sprinter platform that would appeal to coach operators and transit agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada. Through the reverse engineering, development and new product testing complete, DUR-A-BUS™ is presently delivering on initial orders across North America, and entering into full production in its new

By David Hubbard

The DUR-A-BUS™ GT features an exceptionally spacious rear-drop luggage compartment with room for 20 bags.



66,000-square-foot facility. The company says all testing showed the DUR-A-BUS™ Sprinter Van to exceed all existing standards and specifications, including those from Mercedes-Benz. Shortly after arriving in Toronto from his home country of Portugal in 1990, Amorim launched his career as a coach driver with GTA Coach in 1996. He returned to Portugal for a brief five-year stint driving coaches and escorting tours throughout Portugal, Spain, France and Italy, and has since settled in with GTA as senior driver. “I am very familiar with the Sprinter in Europe,” Amorim says. “But this treatment is unlike anything I have seen before. I think DUR-ABUS™ has created a remarkable concept for this well-known brand.” Rui Marcelino founded GTA Coach in 1987 with one limousine and one client. Always priding itself on safe, high quality transportation services, the company has grown to provide a mixed fleet that is equally divided between Prevost motorcoaches and assorted small and midsize vehicles for charters and specialized shuttles, such as those used for transporting airline crews. The transformation to the DUR-A-BUS™ models begins with cutting and refitting the standard Sprinter van and cab chassis as they arrive at the plant in Toronto. The patented features include; elevated seating over the wheelwells to create spacious and unobstructed views for each passenger; as well as an exceptionally spacious rear-drop luggage compartment with room for 20 bags. According to DUR-A-BUS™, this is the only Sprinter with such a feature. Additionally, a flip-up ledge in the luggage compartment is an option that allows standing room for skis and golf clubs. The spare tire stores inside in an enclosed space behind the baggage compartment for clean, easy access. “Baggage storage can be become very problematic for drivers,” Amorim says. “Drivers and passengers will certainly appreciate the extra space in the rear of the bus.” The most dominant top-of-the-line feature on the GT is the greatly expanded one-piece windshield that reaches to the roofline and larger side windows, which differentiates the GT from the T model. “Opening the view through the windshield is a terrific idea,” Amorim says. “The driver always has an outstanding view, but I find that most the passengers want to be able to see out the front. Through my rear view mirror, I often see passengers scrunching down in their seats trying to get a better look at the road ahead. The GT truly has more of a motorcoach feel.” As Amorim drove the GT leisurely through downtown Toronto on what was as much a personal guided tour as a test drive, he noted the qualities and features that caught his attention. “I find this vehicle’s ride to be exceptionally quiet,” he says. “I also notice how much more stable this bus handles than other mid-size cutaways. Of course, that has a lot to do with the Sprinter chassis, but the weight seems very evenly distributed, and it feels very secure.” The reduced noise level is due to the extra insulation throughout this minibus, as well as the attention given to the window seals. The entry is a MASATS airtight automatic plug door that further reduces outside noise. “Typically, a windshield replacement such this would create some wind noise,” Amorim says. “There is none of that here. I heard nothing. “We are introducing a Touring model that comes in at a much lower price point, but will come standard with a plug door and our patented rear drop luggage and elevated seating, features that set us apart from the competition,” says Joseph D’Urso, marketing and business development manager for DUR-A-BUS™. “With the exception of the larger windshield, every upfit is available as an option on the standard T (Touring) model as budgets and customer needs allow. Once an operator opts for the windshield, he has chosen the GT.” Two-and-one seating configurations featuring reclining Lazzerini coach seats range from 10-passenger up to 21-passenger cab chassis floorplans. | BUSRIDE


SUPERIOR QUALITY. UNRIVALLED PERFORMANCE. As a Mercedes-Benz® Sprinter preferred upfitter, the DUR-A-BUS™ line of minibuses maintains the reputation of quality, durability and value that you can expect from a proven brand. Precisely upfitted with high-quality North American components means you’ll experience an unrivalled performance and exceptional long-term savings.

Airline-style overhead parcel racks are an option that provide reading lights and adjustable airflow. USB ports and 110-power outlets are available to operate electronic devices at each seat. Advanced safety technology includes adaptive ESP, electronic brake-force distribution, acceleration skid control, brake assist and start-off assist. While the Mercedes Benz six-cylinder diesel engine with BlueTEC SCR technology is standard, DUR-A-BUS™ also offers a four-cylinder engine option. Popular in Europe, it is now available to North American operators as of this year. Of particular interest is that Mercedes-Benz literature claims its new four-cylinder turbo-diesel results in an 18-percent improvement in fuel efficiency over the diesel V-6. A model with All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) is also available. “Of utmost importance in the development and long-term success of the DUR-A-BUS™ Sprinter lines, is our effort put forth to ensure all systems, components and parts are sourced in North America,” says Lorenzo D’Urso. “We want to make the operation and maintenance of our products as seamless as possible for companies and agencies in the U.S. and Canada.”

Above: Combined with spacious views, luxury seating by Lazzerini on an elevated platform lends a distinct coach feel to the DUR-A-BUS™ GT. At right: Orlando Amorim, a 20-year veteran driver for GTA Coach, conducted the Road Test in Toronto.


Blue Tech Diesel Engine // Smoother Ride, Longer Service Intervals

More Luggage Storage

Multiple Configurations

New Impressive Space and Comfort

New 2.1-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel // Maximum Fuel Efficiency

New Airtight Plug Door

New Illuminated Overhead Storage

Better Visibility

DUR-A-BUS COACH BUILDERS LTD. 87 Disco Road, Toronto, Canada M9W 1M2 4


*Compared to leading minibuses. Contact DUR-A-BUS™ Coach Builders Ltd. for more information. | + 1 844 DURABUS (1-844-387-2287) © ™ 2015 DUR-A-BUS Coach Builders Ltd.


CHASSIS Make / Model Engine

Mercedes-Benz 3500 Series MY2012


7346 mm (289.2’’)

V6 3.0L BlueTEC SCR Diesel engine


2020 mm (79.7’’)


2955 mm (116.3’’)


4326 mm (170.3 ‘’)


3500 kg (7,714 lbs)

Maximum payload

1503 kg (3,316 lbs)

Maximum towing cap.

2269 kg (5,000 lbs)


5003 kg (11,030 lbs)

with AdBlue


140 kW (188 HP) @ 3800 RPM


440 Nm (325 lb-ft) @ 1400 RPM


6-cylinder/7-speed automatic (*5-speed available) rear wheel drive

Fuel tank capacity

100 litres


12 V/100 Ah


220 amp


All-season – LT215/85R16 HVAC

INTERIOR # of passengers Int. standing height Seats

16 1839 mm (72.4’’) - lower section 1659 mm (65.3’’) - podium section Lazzerini GTS3600 (different options available)

Roof top system

Thermoking SR350

Cooling capacity

9.5 kW (32,415 BTU/hr)

Heating capacity

10 kW (34,120 BTU/hr)


R134a Duct with dedicated vents for each

Parcel racks

Full length (on each side)


Cabin lighting

LED standard

Floor heating system

Stepwell lighting

LED standard


TV monitor located in front

Floor covering



WARRANTY Basic chassis


Convector (water based system)

Passenger door

Masats plug-in door


Roof hatch

Spheros Vision



Regular or extended version


Egress windows

One on each side

Standard windows

Single glazing (regular or extended)

Luggage bay

Located at the rear

60 months / 160000 km (100,000 miles) 60 months / 160000 km (100,000 miles) 36 months / 60000 km (36,000 miles)


60 months 24 months /

Upfit HVAC system

40000 km (24,000 miles) 24 months / 40000 km (24,000 miles)

Dur-A-Bus GT 16+D+extra luggages Pax

16 Passenger with luggage

The only Sprinter in North America with the luggage capacity to hold



DUR-A-BUS COACH BUILDERS LTD. 87 Disco Road, Toronto, Canada M9W 1M2 †

We have multiple configurations available. Contact us today to speak to a representative. | + 1 844 DURABUS (1-844-387-2287) © ™ 2015 DUR-A-BUS Coach Builders Ltd.

Official BUSRide Road Test: The DUR-A-BUS Grand Touring (GT)  

BUSRide conducts a test drive on the DUR-A-BUS Grand Touring vehicle.

Official BUSRide Road Test: The DUR-A-BUS Grand Touring (GT)  

BUSRide conducts a test drive on the DUR-A-BUS Grand Touring vehicle.