Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles has bolstered its commuter bus offering with the launch of its OF 1723 bus chassis. The timing is perfect with a number of transport operators, particularly municipalities, looking at upgrading fleets in the coming years. Not that the offering is a big upgrade, at least not by international standards. We drove the chassis, yes the actual chassis, at the launch of the vehicle in Johannesburg and it is extremely easy to drive. Without a body on it, the Mercedes-Benz chassis was surprisingly quick and demonstrated superb braking ability. We also drove a version with a bus body on it and that too proved to be nimble around a series of cones and traffic signs with easy gear changes through the manual box and a good turning circle. The chassis is equipped with Mercedes’ OM 906LA engine. It offers power of 175kW (235hp) and 850Nm pushed through a G85 six-speed manual transmission. The gearbox uses a cable-shift mechanism and includes an overdrive gear to r...

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