Engine placement in a shuttle bus matter. Whether you are driving a minibus or a motor coach, engine placement is a pretty important decision as far as driving convenience is concerned. Without further ado, let’s dive down into:

  1. The three types of shuttle buses classified basis body style + engine placement
  2. The two types of engine placements – Front Engine and Rear Engine
  3. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Front and Rear Engine placements
  4. Which one should you opt for



Pic credit – Buslandia.net


The above illustration clearly depicts the shuttle bus body differentiation between a flat nosed shuttle bus and dog-nosed shuttle bus, with engines located at the back and front of the shuttle bus respectively. The flat-nosed shuttle bus is known as ‘RE’ or ‘Rear Engine’ while the dog-nosed bus is known as ‘FR’ or ‘Front Engine’ bus. The third type is when the bus has a flat nose but the engine is placed at the front.


 In FR shuttle buses, the engine placement is at the frontmost of the vehicle, ahead of the front axle line and the driver. Due to FR type of engine placement, there is usually a spacious cabin left around the driver’s seat.

In RE, or flat-nosed shuttle buses, the engine placement is at the back of the vehicle, essentially forming the trunk of the bus.


  1. Ease of Driving – Steering is usually easier in rear-engine shuttle buses. Additionally, even when the bus is empty, the weight of the engine at the back facilitates better traction, even in snow
  2. Lesser Noise – Especially during long-distance travels, or for a driver who drives even short distances consistently, like a school bus driver, engine noise can be extremely disturbing. With the engine placed all the way at the back of the bus in flat-nosed shuttle buses, that problem is thankfully eliminated
  3. More storage room – RE shuttle buses do not have a driveshaft underneath them, so there is more underbelly storage space
  4. Braking and acceleration – Rear Engine shuttle buses provide an excellent brake management system where all four tyres are involved in the braking process, instead of just the front ones. The rules of physics dictate that the acceleration also sides with the rear-engine shuttle bus as compares to its counterpart
  5. Other benefits include
  6. Excellent front visibility
  7. Better usage of space in both the driver and the passenger areas in the middle
  8. Lower floor e. lesser distance from ground making it easier for elderly and differently-abled people to step into the bus



  1. They can overheat – RE shuttle bus engines are not exposed to natural air, and a cooling system has to be operational all the time in order to maintain appropriate engine cooling levels. If the system falters, chances of the engine overheating and causing mishaps increases. On a lesser dangerous note, the engine lifespan is affected due to poor cooling
  2. Less passenger room at the back – While the middle of the bus is spacious, the back tends to get crammed
  3. More Expensive – Due to the increased complexity of manufacturing the chassis and other parts, the cost of RE shuttle buses is comparatively higher



  1. No overheating – The Front Engine shuttle bus is constantly exposed to natural air, which keeps the engine cool free of cost!
  2. Safer in a sense – In case of an unfortunate head-on collision, you would want to be in the dog-nosed shuttle rather than a Rear Engine shuttle. The wide area occupied by the engine will absorb the crash force, preventing greater harm to the driver
  3. Interior Space – These types of buses provide the maximum space, like at the back of the bus, which is especially helpful if you are looking to convert your bus into a home-on-wheels
  4. Easy-to-access engine – If it is a dog-nose, simply flip the cover of the engine. The flat-nosed front engine also has a removable panel that is accessed easily



  1. Less comfortable to drive – The dog-nose bears all the weight at the front of the bus, reducing its ability to brake efficiently and provide a highly comfortable riding experience. In the flat-nosed front engine shuttle bus, the driver’s cabin can heat up often, causing inconvenience
  2. Sound is a problem – A huge one, seriously. The continuous grunting of the engine can ruffle many a calm personality. Go for these only if you have the capacity to manage!
  3. Lesser storage space – To connect the axle to the gearbox, a Front Engine will have a propeller shaft located in the middle, which reduces the storage capacity
  4. Obstructs the view – The long hood of the dog-nose obstructs the view. The flat-nosed front engine, however, has a pretty impressive view owing to its wide windshield



The question itself is very subjective, but here’s an objective guideline you could follow for best results: Know YOUR priorities – Is cost the biggest factor for you? On a daily basis, how much would engine noise disturb you? Prepare a list of priorities, and crease them to perfection. Only then should you venture into the market to purchase.

It would also be wise to seek professional advice from experts who know the industry inside-out. Our team of experts here at Nations Bus Sales are just a call away – 800 523 3262. You can also drop a line at sales@nationsbus.com and we will guide you to the best purchase. Remember to stay safe on the roads, and be it a bus or life, enjoy the ride!

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