By on November 15, 2010

That’s right kids, automotive design does matter… even in the search for New York City’s Taxi Of Tomorrow. Which weird-looking van do you prefer? Vote here.

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41 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Tomorrow’s (Stylish) Taxi Today Edition...”

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    The Ford is a complete non-starter. It looks cheap and clunky.

    The Karsan 1-box is just a bit too 80s funky – it tries much too hard to be “futuristic”.

    The Nissan minivan splits the ground nicely, as something which looks practical and efficient.

    • 0 avatar
      slow kills

      I agree that the Karsan is a bit too deliberately modern in sci-fi stylistically, but am of opposite mind on the others.

      The Ford is straightforward, honest, timeless.  And it has a decent greenhouse.

      The Nissan looks worse than an Aztek, has a botched beltline and gun-slit windows that afford a very poor view.  The sliding door is the only positive, and I’m not so sure how positive it really is.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m with Slow Kills here – the Ford doesn’t look cheap or clunky at all, it’s well proportioned and has the look of a design that will age well.
      The Karsan already looks like yesterday’s idea of tomorrow’s car, and the Nissan’s just nasty.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Man, do I miss Checkers…best cabs ever. And New York just looked right with them around…

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz


    • 0 avatar

      You beat me to it!

      They could keep the Panther platform alive just for police/town car/taxi use and keep making them for another 25 years . . . oh well.

      I’ve started seeing all kinds of “non-standard” taxi vehicles, Sienna vans, a few Accords, even yellow Prius (Priui?  is that the plural?) which I guess makes sense given that the drive cycle of a taxi makes a hybrid the perfect choice on paper.

      Not sure how these other vehicles are holding up to the taxi-duty use, however.  Anybody else know?

  • avatar

    The notion that the City of New York should be involved in distorting the market for taxi vehicles is, well, par for that economic and social wasteland. The state as a whole continues to bleed people, industry, and tax revenue to more attractive business climates.

    • 0 avatar

      Live here, couldn’t agree more.  The level at which the state/city governments are out of touch on the most basic economic principles, and the level of bleeding they have been willing to let happen staggers the mind.

    • 0 avatar

      First of all, NYC is the only place in America where taxis aren’t almost entirely one-step-from-the-crusher castoffs. Second, without our tax money being  redistributed by the Federal government, a lot of other states would be completely insolvent.  Finally, we buy a hell of a lot of taxis. That makes us the number one single customer in the country. That’s why we should have a say in what a taxi looks like.

      I like the Ford. It’s designed already, it’s already sold in volume and it has both a low floor and a high ceiling and a vertical seating arrangement as well as a practically-sized space for packages in the back.

    • 0 avatar

      More Rush inspired idealistic garbage that has no basis in reality.
      Take some time and get aquainted in how the livery comission works in NYC before you spout some dumb talking points.

      The Transit Connect should be the defacto choice, its roomy for both passengers and cargo, realitivly fuel efficient and good visibility.

    • 0 avatar
      also Tom

      Best city in the world. Growing up there was a great experience. You feel alive in Manhattan. The envy and bile directed toward NYC is transparent  and obvious. Don’t like it? Fine. Stay away.You know who you are- lobbing bile with your code words: “liberal”, “elitist”, etc. and then showing up anyway: the  fat white sneakers and Mom jeans crowd waiting to see Mama Mia. That’s just the start…..

    • 0 avatar

      ‘The level at which the state/city governments are out of touch on the most basic economic principles’
      Toronto has them beat, guaranteed.
      Anyway, it does make sense to replace the Panther.  It has it’s virtues, but around town it’s mileage isn’t exactly stellar.

  • avatar

    Looks? A taxi should be cheap to buy and operate, and functional. The Checker looked like a ’54 Chevy for 30 years. Looks are irrelevant. I vote Transit Connect.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I am gonna be getting a Ford Transit for a new van. The outfit doesnt like the MPG the E150 super duties deliver.

  • avatar

    The Nissan van looks the best…the other two look like they were designed in the 1990s.

  • avatar

    Who cares what it looks like? From a passenger perspective, anything is better than the back of a Crown Brick. My favorite Taxi at the moment is the Ford Escape hybrids in San Francisco. Easy to get in and out of, and the drivers say they are both rugged and economical. Prius and Altima hybrids suck as taxis, no room in the back. I think hybrid drive makes perfect sense in a vehicle that spends most of its time sitting in traffic.

    Of these, the Transit probably makes the most sense.

    • 0 avatar

      @krhodes: +1 on the Transit Connect. Make it a hybrid, which is perfect for that environment.

    • 0 avatar

      we have the escape hybrids in new york, too. they’re probably the second most popular after the crown vic. hybrids make a lot of sense for city taxis. crown vics seat four to the escape’s three (vs. 5 for the checker!). the cv also wins for luggage space. cv’s are not uncomfortable for short rides certainly better than the escape.

      transit looks interesting. right size and very space efficient with seating for four in the back. i like that it’s a domestic brand. is it hybrid? also, the sliding doors need to be electric. the drivers don’t get out to help passengers in here and seniors can’t handle sliding doors…

  • avatar

    Checker Marathon

  • avatar
    Tree Trunk

    Who cares what they look like?, none of those are easy on the eye anyway.
    The deciding factor really should be based on who offers the best combination of MPG, durability and initial purchase price.

  • avatar

    It should be the Transit Connect. Ford already sells them in the US, so initial purchase price and parts availability are probably the best of the choices.

  • avatar

    It should be the Transit from the options listed.  Taxis, just like police cars, should be vehicles from domestic companies.  If GM or Chrysler want to submit a proposal, there could be discussion.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Did you notice that the Transit Connect is a real vehicle whilst the other two are computer graphics renderings? Keep it real, please.
    Good riddance to the Crown Vic. They are inefficient, not very comfortable and take up way too much room for a city vehicle. Those monsters are at least ten years past their sell-by date already.

    • 0 avatar

      The Nissan looks like a stylized version of the Nissan Caravan/Urvan, which has been on sale since 2001, with a nose job, judging by the greenhouse. That would make it a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive vehicle with essentially the same layout as the Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi vans sold in the States in the 1980’s, as well as the Previa of the ’90’s. Bringing the Caravan to the US as a taxi would lead to Nissan going from one van offering to three; the Quest, the Caravan/NY Cab, and the NV full-sizer.

    • 0 avatar

      Not to mention that the new designs have more room inside for filming the tv show Cash Cab.

    • 0 avatar

      Upon further research, it isn’t a Nissan Caravan after all, but an NV200, a front engine, front wheel drive commercial vehicle Nissan already sells in Europe and Japan. And it does have an awkwardly squashed greenhouse with next to no visibility for passengers. Transit Connect please!

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    I vote for the Nissan – in spite of the computer rendering here it is a real vehicle and as opposed to the Transit Connect it was designed for passenger use, so it will have a working suspension. Anyone ever riding in one of the London cabs will know the pains of a commercial vehicle designed suspension system (which the Transit Connect has – it’s probably still not so poor as London cabs (the LTi TX4 being the current model)). The Nissan will be a fully functional people carrier, so it is designed for harsh use as well, the slightly higher seating position should also be an advantage to both driver and passengers.

  • avatar

    I live in a fly-over state. So, I’m not going to vote on this one. Plus, none of them look like they’ll last 300,000 miles.
    The best taxi I ride I ever had was in the rear seat of short wheel-base Dodge mini-van.  I was in Houston and ferrying tools and spare parts to one of my old VW Buses – which was broken down in edgy part of town.
    The driver of the cab, a retired cosmic hippie chic who was about 50. She had removed the middle bench seat and decorated the van as a mondo bordello with throw rugs.  Quite a talker she was and knew her town, too.

    • 0 avatar

      Plus, none of them look like they’ll last 300,000 miles.

      Guess again. The Transit Connect has been on sale over this side of the Atlantic for 8 years now and they have a bomb-proof reputation. Many of the early models will have already covered that kind of mileage and still be going strong.

      True, the version being proposed for the NYC Cab will likely have different drive train options and a revised “load area” (Connects here are mostly cargo vans) but the basic mule itself is a solid, proven, yet innovative design… unlike the pie-in-the-sky Karsan, or the uninspiring 90s style Nissan.

  • avatar

    Is that a japanese/chinese/european Nissan NV200 dressed up as a NY taxi? Makes sense that it competes against the Ford Transit Connect.

  • avatar

    The Nissan, maybe. However I have other option:
    Chrysler minivan, diesel engine or CNG/LPG powered. Gaseous fuel has less CO2 than both gas and diesel.
    Why they need such a big vehicle to be taxi? They should put some Cobalt in taxi service over there.

  • avatar

    I don’t know from Turkish engineering but I do know this: sliding doors are a pain in the ass whether power assisted or not. All these finalists are dogs in the swimsuit portion of the contest, but the Turks have got the rear doors right at least.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not sure how you think sliding doors aren’t the best option here. They don’t swing out into the street, they open wide for anybody or anything to enter. If somebody has problems with opening sliding doors, then there are other issues at hand.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Sliding doors are a huge asset in a crowded city.

    • 0 avatar

      No question, you don’t door cyclists, you don’t ding parked cars. Those are advantages. But! Swing doors are easier and more ergonomic to operate, and I daresay simpler and lower maintenance. And whether you’re putting your door or your body into traffic, neither one is a good option. Having a sliding door doesn’t remove the need to look for cars and cyclists, nor to wait til its safe to get out.

  • avatar

    Sliding doors are great, the Connect also has a lot of space for it’s size, but it was designed as a utility vehicle, so I doubt the comfort is in the premium segment… Also, for those who thinks it will age well, all European Ford utility cars are designed to age well, and it was launched in 2002, so it was probably designed in the 90’s as someone mentioned. I’m not sure i can picture NY crowded with little Connect taxi’s though?

  • avatar

    What a sophomoric idea, that astetics are among the most significant attributes in a taxi.  In a weighted comparison, a pretty taxi should never be able to overcome defecits in functional use attributes.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Someone correct me if my memory is deficient…  But didn’t NYC attempt to force all taxis to be hybrids a few years ago and lost in court when taxi drivers sued?
    How are they going to force this choice on the drivers?

  • avatar
    Tree Trunk

    What kind of drive train is supposed to be in them and what it the MPG goal?
    All city driving considerable amount of time spent stuck in traffic or limbering along at a crawling speed, this situation seems to scream for a hybrid setup.

  • avatar

    Do the Escape Hybrid taxis really ride around on dubs?

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