Ashok Leyland Bada Dost Xpress: The ingenious CNG mini-bus | Auto Expo 2023

Designed for both intra-city and highway driving, the Ashok Leyland Bada Dost Xpress scores high on cabin space and practicality, along with the lower running cost and emission advantages of CNG.

Bada Dost Xpress van Review
Ashok Leyland Bada Dost Xpress is powered by a 58-hp CNG engine.

At the recently held Auto Expo 2023 Motor Show, Ashok Leyland’s innovative and novel mini-bus (or ‘van’, colloquially) – the Bada Dost Xpress – stole the attention of the audience. The vehicle prioritizes environment, comfort and performance for profitable operations in both city and highway applications, according to the manufacturer.

Also Read: Ashok Leyland 13.5m CNG coach: Quirky design, frugal intercity option

The design and styling of the Bada Dost Xpress is very appealing, except for the disproportionate rear-end looks. The long-running, high-held window line running across the sides is neatly crafted to give the bus a vivid look.

Taller stance of the vehicle helps in maintaining a decent headroom in the cabin, despite upright seating. Pronounced wheel arches and large tyres with blackened steel rims give the Xpress a macho look.

Check out the walkaround video of Ashok Leyland’s products at Auto Expo 2023 by WagenClub + YouTube channel.

Built on the Bada Dost light truck platform, the passenger van boasts a wheel base of 2,800 mm. The Xpress comes with a wide-opening sliding door that is practical enough for easy ingress and egress. Crawling inside the saloon is easier, with anti-skidding flooring, grab-rails, and safety handles.

The Bada Dost Xpress can seat 12 passengers in the saloon. Thanks to the dash-mounted gear-shift lever, the large front bench seat can easily accommodate two more passengers, right beside the driver. The dashboard layout is simple and utilitarian, while the chunky steering wheel is great to hold, with the driver seat offering a comfortable driving position.

Ashok Leyland Bada Dost Xpress Dashboard Interiors
The dashboard of Bada Dost Xpress is simple, but utilitarian. Note the centre-console mounted gear shifter!

The mini-bus is powered by a ‘P15’ CNG engine that makes 58 hp power and 158 Nm of torque. The gas engine is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Ashok Leyland assures a balanced performance and fuel-efficiency with passengers and air-conditioning on. Non-AC versions are also available, the company adds.

It appears that the Bada Dost Xpress is almost production-ready, although the manufacturer is tight-lipped on commercial launch and pricing details at the moment. The mini-bus can take on the new Tata Winger, and even be better alternatives to the imported Toyota HiAce or Volkswagen Crafter models.

Ashok Leyland Bada Dost Xpress – Image Gallery

Dhiyanesh Ravichandran

Editorial consultant (Automotive and Technology), academic, and blogger based in India. He can be reached at

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