Offroad equipped with the spaciousness of a campervan… sound too good to be true?
Bus 4×4 is a Brisbane-based 4×4 conversion company and bus builder specialising in converting vans, mini buses and larger rigs into offroad-ready beasts.
The team at Bus 4×4 offers tour operators and private buyers conversion kits to suit Toyota Hiaces and Coasters, as well as build bus bodies to suit Iveco Daily 4×4 cab chassis rigs.
As you might imagine, these are some pretty specialised vehicles. For those buyers with a need to travel remotely for long-term periods, and for larger families with young kids in tow, a Bus 4×4 conversion might just fill a very specific hole in the market.
But how do these things handle?
Do they really perform well and reliably in tough conditions?
When a tour operator based in Birdsville, QLD, showed interest in a converted Hiace vehicle, Steven Hargreaves from Bus 4×4 hit upon an idea to showcase the vehicle’s offroad touring cred without any trace of a doubt.
Bus 4×4 demonstrated the capability of their full time AWD converted Hiace Commuter van by loading it up for a roadtrip from Brisbane to Birdsville, followed by two days of heavy duty test driving at Big Red and amongst the surrounding outback country.
The test drive team was bolstered with a strong local contingent, including Phil and Maria Van Wegan of Arid Air Outback Flights, Don Rowlands, local ranger of 22 years standing, and Ben Fullagar, general manager of the Birdsville Hotel.
At the end of the test period, the locals were convinced of the Bus 4×4 rig’s credentials – even going so far as to claim that it outperformed their 200 Series LandCruisers and HiLuxs on home ground.
The new 300 Series Hiace range is a broadly appealing people mover with a slew of potential applications, from mining to tourism, private touring and remote transport.
With a new ergonomic design and improved safety standards like ANCAP 5 Star rating (two-seat and five-seat vans only), the Hiace comes in a four-cylinder 2.8-litre turbo diesel or 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine.
The Bus 4×4 AWD Conversion of Hiace complies with the Australian Government Motor Vehicle Standards Act of 1989 under the national vehicle standard (Australian Design Rule – ADR) through a SSM IPA (Secondary Stage Manufacture – Identification Plate Approval) issued when a road vehicle meets all the applicable ADRs.
In addition to the High and Low Range dashboard electronic switch, which allows simple operation from the driver’s seat, the Bus 4×4 Conversion of Hiace Commuter has modified front suspension and upgraded rear suspension with a lift of 180mm over factory standard.
Bus 4×4 also offers mine or tour specifications including ROPS, rear cargo barrier and seat reduction options. The Bus 4×4 Conversion of Hiace Commuter comes with an upgraded GVM of 4,300kg – the highest in its category.