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Presenting the new Mellor Maxima

Mellor Coachcraft has launched the Maxima – a high-capacity, coachbuilt vehicle which directly replaces models built on the defunct Mercedes-Benz Vario chassis

Mellor Coachcraft has launched an all-new 30+ seat midibus, with applications which span the public and private sectors.

The coachbuilt Maxima is a direct replacement for midibuses based on the defunct 7.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Vario. It is adaptable to almost unlimited accessible configurations, taking as many as eight wheelchairs and offering the ultimate in flexiblity with its large, flat-floor saloon. As standard, it has rear doors and an under-body cassette wheelchair lift, but can be built with a ‘coach’ back.

The Iveco Daily-based midibus is firmly targeted at local authority and contracted accessible work, and with its seating capacity will find a ready market for carrying school groups. It has the new, ZF-built eight-speed Hi-Matic auto gearbox, delivering silky-smooth gearshifts and achieving impressive class-leading fuel economy in the 7.5t sector.

“We believe the new Daily base vehicle with this gearbox is the best available option for a coachbuilt 30-seater,” said John Randerson, Mellor Coachcraft’s General Manager. “The 3-litre, 170bhp engine is quiet, does not intrude into the passenger/driver space, and delivers its torque to the rear wheels through the automatic gearbox with imperceptible gear changes.”

Mellor Coachcraft has opted to create the Maxima’s bodyframe from stainless steel for a long service life, and has used 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) throughout, helping it to achieve the tough, R66 roll-over safety standard. 3D CAD has also been used to create the GRP mouldings, ensuring they are dimensionally accurate. For example, the complex cab moulding has been created in 3D CAD to marry perfectly with the Iveco chassis cowl, a computer-machined pattern having been used to create the glass-fibre mould. Inside the vehicle, Mellor Coachcraft has used its long experience to create a practical but airy interior with robust, modern materials.

The Maxima demonstrator – which is available now – has an electrically-powered in-swing door. It has a luggage pen at the front and high-visibility grab rails and seatback handles to meet DDA requirements. The seat tracking is bolted into the floor bearers, with additional roof-line tracking for specialist restraints, and the vehicle has an easy-clean floor. The demonstrator has moquette-trimmed seats and roof panel, though extensive options are available to order, including flat-weave and stay-clean fabrics.

“We looked at other light truck chassis but we think the Daily is a much better solution as a Vario replacement,” says Production Manager Simon Fletcher. “We have been massively impressed with the Hi-Matic gearbox which has a much smoother, almost imperceptible gear change”

The vehicle has a Bluetooth radio/CD with PA and steering wheel controls, closed-top dash storage and digital tachograph. It can also be equipped with additional saloon air conditioning, pre-heater and most manufacturers’ seats.


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