Thursday 27 February 2014

Gas Bus Comparison: MAN v Scania

I love Scanias. The favourite bus from my youth was a Metropolitan Scania. The best bus I drove was a Scania. The best coach I ever drove was a Scania. I love the Omnicity Dekkas - the ride more than the seats! I think the Scania 113 engine is one of the best bus engines ever built. So when I read yesterday that Anglian are trialing a Scania gas bus it seemed like all my Christmasses had come at once.

So this morning I set off to sample this Mecca of buses, and at 1147 precicely boarded Anglian 999 at Lowestoft Station.

Anglian 999 AD Scania E300 gas bus YT13 YUK at Lowestoft Station just realised showing completely the wrong destination!
Minus destination which is due to my camera not the bus.
So where to start. I had initially arrived at Lowestoft on MAN Eco City gas bus 102 so a quick comparison was easy. I'll break it down into different sections.


A tough act to follow as I have publicly said I adore the MAN gas buses and find them really comfortable. The Scania did not match the level of comfort of the MAN's in my opinion, despite the leather seats. In fact the interior as a whole didn't set me alight - the floor looks like something you were made to sit on at Primary School, and it doesn't look as warm or welcoming as the MAN's

Ride Quality

First of all the Scania is noisier than the MAN. Sometimes it's difficult to tell if the MAN engine is on or not. That is not possible with the Scania. It whines and is not anything like as good a soundtrack as the MAN. The suspension is rougher, the acceleration not as smooth and the air con is noisier than the MAN.


Oh dear. Can someone tell me how Portugal can build a bus body that doesn't rattle and Britain - who built the best bus in the history of buses - the Routemaster which doesn't rattle 50 years on - can't! I checked with the driver who said the Scania had done 17,000 miles and the rattling was embarrassingly more accute than the MAN's. I'm not sure what the mileage on the MAN's are but I'm willing to bet it's more than that! All the more baffling is that in the 80's and 90's Alexander built the least rattly bodies going - I drove Volvo Citibuses in London that had Alexander bodies and not a rattle between them, so what's happened? Why do Britain's new buses rattle so much?


I didn't intend to have this category but it was the one positive I found with the Scania. I know the MAN's can be a tad difficult to brake at times, and the Scania felt safe and solid in the braking - the driver confirmed that. He really liked the Scania.


The Scania looks great from the outside. I saw it from above in Market Gates Shopping Centre later and it's really streamlined on top. I also like the MAN's look so I guess it's a tie there.


I went out today to really like the Scania. I wanted to like the Scania and I'm seriously annoyed that I can't like it. I'm sick of writing negative reviews and comments about vehicles I want to like, and SHOULD like if the quality and yes workmanship were up to scratch. Quite simply Britain can't build a bus these days that retains quality and comfort like the Routemaster or Olympian did. Very sad indeed. So Scania or MAN? Man that's an easy decision.

Scania E300 gas bus YT13 YUK leaves Yarmouth for Norwich
Just realised how appropriate the last three letters on the registration are!


  1. Top roadtest there Steve must be a job somewhere for ya lol I saw the very machine on the a12 and in yarmouth I did comment "oo that looks nice" only to be told by herself....."its a bus!!!" Hmm conversation over then lol

  2. LOL last week when I went down to Kent I was about to proudly display the blog to my mother, who gave me a piercing look and said "Steve, I know what a bus looks like". Oooooookay!!