By on June 15, 2018

2019 Fusion Taxi

The next time you’re in a new town and decide to hail a cab instead of opening Uber or Lyft on your phone, there’s a chance you may find yourself in one of Ford’s new fleet offerings.

Two new options are now available through the Blue Oval: an EcoBlue-powered Transit Connect and a Fusion Hybrid Taxi. The latter is apparently purpose-built for livery service, and includes a few bits from the 2019 Police Responder Hybrid Sedan — news that’s sure to please Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues.

2019 Transit Connect Taxi

The Transit Connect Taxi, a machine that looks like a compact car which has been caught in a taffy puller, is now be available with Ford’s 1.5-liter diesel engine, marketed under the EcoBlue banner. It is targeted to return an EPA-estimated highway rating of at least 30 mpg, although official numbers are not yet available.

Beyond the usual Transit Connect features, the van comes equipped with a taxi upfit wiring harness in order to handle the extra electronics that cab companies shovel into their machines. Bill Ford himself will personally drill a roof access hole for future taxi signage for those who want it (not really, but the modification is available), and the whole works can be sprayed in School Bus Yellow paint right in the factory. Other players in this field include the Nissan NV200 Taxi.

2019 Fusion Hybrid Taxi

Fleets not looking for a van can cast their eyes and purchase orders on the Fusion Hybrid Taxi. For improved durability in a livery duty cycle, the cars share parts with the Police Responder version, including heavier-duty chassis and suspension parts. Sure beats the days when taxi drivers would tool around Times Square with the hoods popped on their Crown Vics to forestall the 4.6-liter from turning into Mount Pinatubo.

The police-spec suspension actually affords the Fusion an increased ride height — perfect for clearing curbs when your fare commands a quick trip to Terminal 4 at JFK. Steel wheels with (sorta) dog dish hubcaps and an optional vinyl interior – seats and floors – will make this car a good option for beater status at the auctions in a few years. Ford predicts 38 mpg combined.

The 2019 Transit Connect Taxi and 2019 Fusion Hybrid Taxi can be ordered now. Both models will be on sale by year end.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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27 Comments on “Cab, Forward: Ford Introduces Hybrid and Diesel Taxis...”


  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The Diesel Transit isn’t too surprising. The question is will it be available in the non-taxi versions? I would bet yes as it would probably be hard to justify the cost of certification for just the taxi version.

    The Fusion on the other hand is a curious development. I’m guessing it was planned before they decided to drop it. It could however help with amortizing the police spec springs and interior pieces if they can move a few of them.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yes, the diesel T.C. was announced before the Taxi version was revealed.

      I see the Fusion sticking around for a few more years at least.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Well when it came time to start negotiations with suppliers for 2021 MY and beyond Ford said no need. So I think at this point 20 is going to be the hard stop for the Fusion unless they have a serious change of heart in the next few days.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      The Transit looks like one of Ford’s most interesting offerings. Not quite a minivan, but three rows, and it doesn’t sit up high like a CUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Its a minivan that is actually mini which of course is why the passenger version sells so poorly. It is practical and the right size and people want impractical and large enough for that 1-day when they might need that extra space for……

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Why pay the same amount for a hard to find and underpowered transit connect when a Pacifica/Sienna/odyssey gets the same real world mpg with more power, more comfort, etc? The ones I mentioned aren’t exactly difficult to drive either. I personally think the transit connect is neat but fully understand the lack of sales in the US to consumers.

          • 0 avatar
            anomaly149

            gtem, what’s interesting is that there’s a big gap in price here. The Sienna and Odyssey start at 30k, the Grand Caravan at 29 (lol!), the Sedona bridges at 27k, and the Pacifica and Transit Connect (passenger) start at 26.

            I would bet that when configured up, the TC undercuts the others by several thousand, especially the Japanese.

          • 0 avatar
            brn

            anomaly149, the GC can often be had for about $19K. It may list at $27, but it undercuts everyone on out the door price.

        • 0 avatar
          spookiness

          I like the TC a lot, but size isn’t the reason it doesn’t sell much. Unlike most of today’s minivans, this ones utilitarian roots are very thinly disguised. You can get something with more power, way more refinement, and as much utility for same or slightly more money.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            This. Today’s Sienna/Odyssey/TC are seriously nice is top trims. Smooth, punchy V6s, comfy interiors and low NVH. Transit Connect is a utility vehicle for florists and dog groomers. Its crude and underpowered in comparison.

  • avatar
    RSF

    I didn’t realize cabs still exist..

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      New York, Chicago, and DC still have very large fleets. Though you certainly can (bad) luck into a clapped out vehicle or scary driver, I tend to prefer them over rideshare drivers. In my experience, the latter often tend to be exurbanites who have no idea where they’re going. YMMV outside those three markets and outside cities proper.

  • avatar
    PhilMills

    I’m curious what these fleet-specific vehicles tend to sell for. I’d totally be interested in a Fusion Hybrid with beefier components, steelies and a little more ride height.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Well they already offer a Fusion Hybrid in S trim and I’d bet the list pricing would be similar. The vinyl floor, seats and P71 center caps presumably would cost less than the cloth, carpet and wheel covers. The additional metal in the springs and sway bars should be negligible in the actual cost to produce.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Assuming Ford is aiming to woo NYC taxi fleets, diesel seems like a poor proposition when these vehicles are mostly on surface streets. Not to mention, while it may be able to get 30mpg or more, you’re asking drivers to pay more for diesel fuel which many won’t probably be thrilled with.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I can just imagine someone being outside a TC diesel Taxi when it decides that a regen is needed. “Ewww, what’s the burning rubber smell? I think that weird looking taxi might blow up!”

      They should have engineered a Hybrid TC.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I occasionally drive a fleet version of the prior generation Fusion Hybrid and I quite like it. Nice solid feel and quiet.

  • avatar
    NN

    who in the US cares about diesel cabs? Most cabs are now Toyota hybrids, and for a reason. They’ll run 400k miles and at 40-50 mpg of regular cheap 87 horse p!ss gas. Why spend more money (diesel = expensive) for lesser fuel economy, less reliability, more maintenance, and dirtier air? The cities of Europe are banning diesel cars left and right. And Ford in the US is just getting started???

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      The diesel is alive and well in Europe. I just spent three weeks there. Some cities are banning older models of diesel cars, like Euro 4 and older.
      Everything I’ve seen in Europe from small Hyndai Accents or I30 they call it to big BMWs is diesel. Their diesel fuel comes in two grades. 51 Cetane and 55. Ours is mostly 42-45. We get screwed here.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      Not disagreeing. If F is not working on hybridizing the TC then they are idiots.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’d bet that the move to offer a US spec version of the TC is in part due to the declining popularity of diesel in Europe. They now have the capacity to send a few to the US. Since it is already put in the TC for other markets the only real cost was doing the EPA certification and some new decals.

      Hybridizing the TC is a more involved endeavor but they have already shown a prototype over a year ago. https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1108123_ford-transit-connect-hybrid-taxi-prototype-to-appear-in-detroit

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      I question if Rav4 Hybrids get 40-50 mpg in US gallons, especially in clogged city traffic. More like 34 mpg US, 42 Imperial.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I’ve driven the Fusion Hybrid and liked everything but the trunk. The battery steals a LOT of trunk room. This is a big problem for taxis on airport runs.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Seems to me this is a response to the Escape Hybrids aging out, since the last of them were 2012’s. All the remaining Escape taxis seen on the streets of large US cities are hybrids.

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