On a recent visit to King Coaches, Jonathan Welch took the opportunity to put the new Tourismo Access under the microscope
A few weeks ago, in issue 1516 we paid a visit to Aberdeen-based King Coaches to have a look at the renewed fleet recently placed into service by the FirstGroup-owned Scottish coaching operation. The rebrand and relaunch with a refreshed look and updated vehicles saw a pair of Mercedes-Benz Tourismo Access coaches join the fleet, and the visit gave CBW the first chance to take a look at the latest version in its natural working environment.
The Mercedes-Benz brand has never been one associated with ‘cheap’ so it comes as somewhat of a surprise to learn that the Tourismo has its roots in the O340 which was launched back in 1992 at the International Motor Show in Hanover. The O350 was intended to be a less expensive alternative to the manufacturer’s premium O404 offering.
Available between 1992 and 1999, the O404, itself a replacement for the O303 (known for being the first coach to offer ABS), was offered as a complete coach and as a chassis, and available in three lengths, three heights and a choice of two or three-axle versions. Its more basic sibling the O340, however, was a somewhat more simple proposition, retaining a lot of the familiar traditional mechanicals of the O303. Built in Turkey to help maintain the low price point, the O340 adopted a rather more plain, smooth and somewhat nondescript look, and a rather unremarkable presence. Underneath, it stuck to tried, tested and familiar technology, using rigid axles and drum brakes.
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