After high demand from end users for a mid-sized shuttle bus, Starcraft Bus brought back the Allstar XL, a longer version of the company’s best-selling vehicle, Allstar.
From the early 2000s to 2009, the former Allstar XL model was in circulation and popular among dealers for its greater passenger capacity. It was built on a General Motors chassis; however, that particular chassis model was eventually discontinued, which forced Starcraft to stop manufacturing the Allstar XL. This left a huge void for Starcraft’s customers.
“We knew that need for a vehicle with greater capacity was there, but we waited to pick out what we thought was the best chassis for the new, updated Allstar XL,” said David Wright, president of Starcraft Bus, a division of Forest River Inc.
The company finally partnered with International on two different chassis: the UC chassis, with a 19,500 pound GVWR, and the TC chassis, which has up to 30,000 pound GVWR. Since the current 96-inch wide AllStar XL ranges anywhere from 28 feet to 40 feet in length, depending on customer preference, having two chassis to work with gave the Starcraft flexibility it needed.
“The range in size allows for a variety of seating arrangements to fit a wider end-user spectrum,” Wright said. “Universities have used these vehicles to transport a 22-person sports team that needs greater legroom and more luggage space, yet there’s an option to fit up to 45 passengers.”
Wright also said the vehicle has been purchased as a prisoner transport and the company has also sold Allstar XL models that have only six permanent seating positions with a number of wheelchair positions.
“You can make the Allstar XL as luxurious as you want, or you can use it to simply move a decent number of passengers in an economical way,” Wright said.
Beginning the building process in the winter of 2011, Starcraft made minor adjustments to the materials, cosmetics and construction of the Allstar XL. The updated model was eventually available for purchase starting in the fall of 2011.
Changes were made to the vehicle’s fully welded steel cage, which was modified to fit the International chassis. Although some of the bus’ structural changes are not terribly visible to the naked eye, the exterior of the vehicle was also given a “freshening,” according to Wright, which gives it a more stylish look.
Equipped with a longer engine warranty, the Allstar XL’s features also include an electric actuated passenger entry door, a black powder coated steel rear bumper, pre-painted white aluminum side walls and skirts, fiberglass front and rear caps and a one-piece seamless fiberglass reinforced plastic roof.
In the new model, passengers enjoy a quiet interior and drivers benefit from a more comfortable and desirable Air-ride seat that’s standard on the International chassis.
Another advantageous feature of the AllstarXL is that it comes with seat belts, which is a detail carried across Starcraft’s entire line of products.
Starcraft said that their partnership with International won’t end here. “We look to continue to build that relationship and the volume we do with them into the future,” said Wright. “A goal is to continue broadening the product spectrum while still doing a good job with the individual models we’re currently building.”
The company’s newest vehicle will be introduced at BusCon in September of this year.