Terrastorm 4x4 minibus shuttles full crews into unexplored territory
Sometimes you need a rugged, rowdy full-size off-road bus, and sometimes you don't. Other times, you need something smaller, like a rugged, rowdy off-road minibus. For times like those, Torsus presents the all-new Terrastorm, a VW van turned go-anywhere crew-mover. Torsus leans hard on its experience building the meanest-looking 4x4 bus on Planet Earth to create a rough, tough compact off-road bus aimed at mining, search and rescue, overland touring, and general adventure into parts unknown.
Torsus starts its Terrastorm work with the 236-in (600-cm) high-roof VW Crafter 4Motion/MAN TGE 4x4 siblings. All four wheels get power from the 2.0-liter biturbo diesel engine, all-wheel drive with rear differential lock, and choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. Engine tunes of 138- and 174-hp outputs are on offer.
Four/all-wheel drive is often treated like the be-all and end-all of an off-road vehicle, but it is really just the starting point for creating a van that can handle everything Mothers Earth and Nature throws at it. More important to the Terrastorm is what Torsus classifies a rally-grade off-road suspension.
The MacPherson setup in front includes Bilstein B6 shock absorbers and Ironman 4x4 adjustable camber bolts, while the upgraded leaf spring system at the rear gains Ironman 4x4 Load Plus Helper Springs and optional Profender Dakar shocks with remote auxiliary reservoirs. With help from the 17-in wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A KO2 tires, ground clearance rises up over 11 inches (290 mm). Full Duralumin skid protection down below keeps the vitals protected when terrain eats through all that clearance.
The revised suspension helps create the 26-degree approach angle, 20-degree departure angle and 27-in (690-mm) wading depth. Those who really plan to get wet can up that depth to 32 in (820 mm) by adding the "Deep Wave" package option to their order sheet.
Eliminating any chance of sibling rivalry between Terrastorms, Torsus blanks out the VW/MAN origins by adding its own badging atop a reconfigured front-end with reinforced bumper and embedded 5,500-kg (12,125-lb) Ironman 4x4 winch. Moving farther back, a protective scratch-resistant coating on the bodywork below the character line beefs up resilience.
Those specs are included as part of the TT1 Coach base model, and the TT2 Nomad adds a bull bar with protective grilles around the headlamps, protective taillamp grilles, a roof rack with auxiliary lighting, and a spare tire and ladder assembly hanging off the rear door.
Torsus deletes the basic passenger van layout you'd expect in a Crafter and installs a proper miniature bus floor plan accommodating between nine and 20 people on seats affixed to floor rails below. The nine-person base floor plan has three rows of two seats behind the driver's seat and front and rear passenger seats across the aisle, all facing forward. The bus-style overhead luggage shelf runs the length of the van to provide space for personal tools and belongings, adding in dedicated speakers, lighting and air conditioning for each seat.
Torsus can also face some seats rearward or install swivel seats, setting up interesting possibilities for a rugged adventure motorhome, a smaller alternative to its large Overlander. "A customer can easily install modular components to convert a bus into a personal camper," the company says.
Torsus drops its own touchscreen atop the Terrastorm dashboard for the heating, lighting, A/C and audio control and all-systems readout. The Terrastorm includes a 180-A alternator and 92-Ah battery, and optional driver-assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, lane assist, blind spot assist and driver alert system.
In addition to the crew-moving Coach and Nomad configurations, Torsus also offers a Terrastorm cargo van and job-specific models like ambulance and mining vans. Prices start at €57,461 (approx. US$67,450), and deliveries are planned to begin in Q3 2020. Torsus currently sells in Australia, Chile, Germany, Peru, Poland and the Ukraine and says it is in negotiations to expand to markets like North America, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Argentina.
See what the TT2 Nomad can do in the 1.5-minute clip below.