The Torsus Praetorian is a bus built to take on inhospitable turf

Torsus vehicles are made for transporting large groups of people into remote places

02 October 2020 - 10:20
By Phuti Mpyane
The Torsus Praetorian is the terrain-conquering flagship of the brand.
The Torsus Praetorian is the terrain-conquering flagship of the brand. Picture: SUPPLIED

Chances are that you’ve not heard of the Torsus automotive brand before. 

The company produces off-road buses at its production plant in the Slovakian village of Horné Srnie. With body lengths of 8,700mm and 6,000mm respectively, the Torsus Praetorian and Terrastorm are vehicles tailor-made for the rigours of driving in the most inhospitable territory.

The Torsus brand was established in 2016 and the bedrock of the idea of an extreme bus emanated from clients who inquired about a solution to a specific problem.

“With an understanding of the heavy toll in fuel, maintenance and repair costs of convoys of SUVs driving into the brush came the idea of these special busses,” says the company’s Ukranian CEO, Vakhtang Dzukashvili.

His team applied expert knowledge gained from modifying trucks, bakkies and SUVs tailor-made for the rigours of life deep inside the most inhospitable territory.

“This was the solution we came up with to fulfil the needs where many people and their luggage and equipment needed to be transported into remote places. Not only this but as a solution for other specialised industries,” he said.

Torsus custom makes for any application. The standard Praetorian bus takes up to 37 passengers and the vehicle can also be specified for a host of duties for crew, safari, as a command centre, evacuation as an ambulance, a ski group, antiriot and even an assault bus.

Some of the features that can be equipped inside the heated or cooled Praetorian cabin include safety belts for all passengers on seats with reclining backrests and a rear view camera. You can fit other luxury options such as entertainment screens.

It’s based on MAN mechanicals and is powered by a 210kW and 1,150Nm 6.9l diesel motor driving all the wheels through a nine-speed ZF automatic transmission. A manual is optional. Ground clearance is 400mm and approach and departure angles are 32° and 26° respectively.

For those needing something a little less cumbersome there’s the new Terrastrom. It’s based on a Volkswagen Crafter platform and it too is engineered with maximum 4x4 off-road capabilities thanks to a 290mm ground clearance. It can accommodate 20 occupants in coach guise and like its larger cousin can be transformed for a multitude of applications including a  delivery car or an ambulance.

It’s offered in two trim levels — TT1 Coach and TT2 Nomad with upgraded chassis and off-road suspension, all-wheel drive with diff-lock, a specific Torsus front bumper, winch, scratch resistant coating and a protective skid plate underneath. It can tow up to 5,500kg.

It uses a standard issue Volkswagen 2.0l bi-turbo engine in two power outputs, 103kW and 340Nm or 130kW and 410Nm, mated to a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission.

It can wade at a depth of 690mm but an optional “Deep Wave” pack allows increased fording in 820mm deep water.

Dzukashvili plans to launch the brand in SA in the second half of 2021.