Nissan NV200. Click image to enlarge
Article and photos by Paul Williams
New York City, NY — One of the pleasures of visiting New York City is how easy it is to get around. The subways are quick, cheap, and frequent, but many people, especially tourists, simply use a cab. They, too, are quick and cheap. And they’re everywhere.
As you would expect, there were many types of vehicles on display at the 2012 New York International Auto Show (April 6–15). Family cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, sports cars, and some exotics were the norm, but this year there was one commercial vehicle of particular relevance for New Yorkers, and that was an all-new taxi.
It was dressed in the livery of New York’s famed yellow cabs, although in a form quite unlike the iconic Checker of the 1960s–1980s or the now-ubiquitous Ford Crown Victoria that many visitors likely used to get to the show.
Billed as “The Taxi of Tomorrow,” the 2014 Nissan NV200 made its global debut at a special event in the SoHo district featuring Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, then made its way to the Jacob Javits Center for the show.
Carlos Chosn, CEO Nissan/Renault, describes Nissan’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” to journalist at New York introduction. Click image to enlarge
“The exclusive Taxi of Tomorrow draws on Nissan’s global experience in commercial vehicles, as well as insight from New York City taxi drivers and passengers, who helped identify important improvements over today’s cabs,” said Mr. Ghosn.
As you might expect, the introduction of a new taxi to New York City is a very big deal. There are 600,000 daily taxi riders there, and over 13,000 taxis in service travelling more than 800 million cumulative kilometres a year. The Nissan NV200 underwent a rigourous, two-year competitive bid selection process, emerging as the exclusive taxi of New York City for ten years beginning in 2013.
“The Nissan NV200 unveiled today will be the safest, most comfortable and most convenient taxi the City has ever had,” said an enthusiastic New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Designed to accommodate four passengers, an NV200 is considerably smaller than the Crown Victoria it most frequently will replace (other popular New York taxis are the Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid). Even though it gives up fully 660 millimetres in length, the Nissan’s 2,921-mm wheelbase more than equals the non-commercial version of the “Crown Vic” (the commercial Crown Victoria’s wheelbase exceeds the NV200’s by 157 mm). Unlike the sedans, the front-wheel drive NV200 has a flat floor, adding to its convenience and utility.