When shopping for a bus you will discover there are as many opinions as there are people on the internet, many of whom purport to be experts.
As to which bus is best you will have the same sort of built in bias in regards to IC, BB, or Thomas as you will asking people which is better Ford, Chevy, or Mopar.
Before you really start shopping you need to determine which type of bus you want--school, transit, or motorcoach.
Each type has definite pluses and minuses.
For the school bus the number one plus is they have built millions of them so their price is relatively cheap. Their big minus is they are built for the most part to go to and from school. As a result they don't always go highway speed.
For the tranist bus the number one plus is they have the greates inside volume of any bus on the road. Some are as high as 96" and most are 102" wide. Their big minus is most left the factory with lots of stops and gos in mind so many of them tach out below 60 MPH and changing gear sets in transit buses can be very expensive.
For motorcoaches the two big pluses for them is they were designed and built to go long distances at highway speeds and they all have huge under the floor luggage comparments. Their really big minus is they are built out of heavy duty components that cost really big $$$$ when something goes wrong. Three axles cost a lot more to maintain than two axles.
Once you determine which type of bus you prefer then you can start getting into specifics as to which power package or manufacturer you want.
I have my personal preferences as to which bus is the best built bus out on the road today. Regardless of which one I think is the best the one I like the least is Blue Bird for a lot of reasons. What I dislike about the BB the most is I really do not like the little "visors" over every side window instead of a drip rail.
Once you determine what are your have to haves and what are your nice to haves you can then start shopping seriously. When you get to that point ther are certain things you need to look at very carefully.
- The power package needs to be in good condition. Unless you can get the bus for scrap prices, if the power package is no good you can end up spending anywhere from 2X to 10X the purchase price to get the engine and transmission back up to snuff.
- Make sure the power package is adequate for your purposes. The IC RE bus you posted with the T444E would be okay for puttering around close to home a couple of times per year. That little engine and transmission would drive you nuts the first time you came to a real hill and had to go up the hill at less than 20 MPH.
- Rust is VERY bad. Going out west and paying a premium for a rust free bus will save you much more in time and $$$ than buying a cheap rust bucket from back east.
- If you are height challenged inside ceiling height is not a big issue. But if the choice comes down to a bus with 9" windows and a 74" interior height or a bus with 12" windows and a 78" interior height, go with the higher ceiling.
- Unless you plan on driving the bus lots of miles right away don't worry about the condition of the tires. Most RV tires die of old age and sun damage long before the tread gets anywhere close to worn out.
If I can help you in your search please let me know.
Good luck and happy trails.