Needless to say I felt more than a bit conspicuous driving the bright yellow NV200 Taxi through the quiet neighbourhood. Eyes ahead and trying to go unnoticed, I half expected someone to flag me down.
What is the 2015 Nissan NV200 Taxi?
Based on Nissan's four-door compact cargo van, the NV200 Taxi was developed purposely as a taxi for large urban centres.
Nissan calls it the "product of a unique development collaboration." Using input from hundreds of taxi drivers and "thousands of passengers from all walks of life," Nissan turned their small van into a well-thought out form of public transit. With room for four passengers and their luggage, and many comfort and convenience features, the NV200 makes an ideal taxi -- at least New York City thought so, and made it its newest cab.
2015 Nissan NV200 Taxi Price & Specs
The 2015 NV200 Taxi features sliding doors and entry steps for easy access. Inside, upholstery is made from a stain-resistant, easy-to-clean fabric that's antimicrobial.
There's a charging station for passengers featuring a 12Vt electrical outlet and two USB ports, and separate HVAC controls.
The powertrain is the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine found in the regular NV200, with an output of 131 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission.
Up front is an independent strut system with sway bar, while the rear suspension consists of a solid axle with multi-leaf springs.
Available technology includes a 5.8" touchscreen with navigation and mobile apps, voice recognition, Sirius XM, and Bluetooth.
While pricing for the New York taxi begins at $29,700, Nissan says "Canadian opportunities for the NV200 Taxi continue to be explored."
Inside and Out of the 2015 Nissan NV Taxi
Our tester was the bright, screaming yellow we've come to associate with New York cabbies. It's a special paint without clearcoat, making it easier to touch up the inevitable scrapes and scratches. On the roof, you'll find the expected vacancy light bar, while behind the grille is an emergency "call 911" warning light that can be activated by a dash-mounted button.
There's a huge amount of legroom and headroom in the NV200 Taxi when compared to a conventional cab. The panoramic sunroof overhead lets in plenty of light making it feel even more open and airy. The passenger compartment is tough and rugged from upholstery to flat carpeted floor with no cracks or crevasses for items to be lost in.
Aside from climate controls and personal device charging areas, passengers also get their own video screens.
Sliding doors with an automatically retracting step not only make passenger entry and exit easy, but there are no doors to swing out into busy traffic.
Upright seating for the driver is comfortable, and the front passenger seat folds down flat to provide a convenient work-space.
Driving the 2015 Nissan NV200 Taxi
Once I got over the feeling of standing out like a sore thumb, I found the NV200 Taxi quite simple to drive. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to gather up any fares, so I had no way of testing how well the acrylic divider worked at blocking out obnoxious and distracting behaviour from the rear passenger compartment. An intercom system enables communication between passengers and the driver.
While the powertrain components are the same as the regular NV200, they've been toughened up to handle the rigours of a busy working taxi. As expected, the NV200 isn't exactly quick (0-100 km/h in roughly 12 seconds), but it accelerates smoothly, providing a comfortable ride.
The steering is a little rubbery, but the NV200 Taxi handles better than its tall, slab-sided profile might suggest, and the brakes are terrific. The backup camera and big side mirrors make threading it into tight parking spaces a snap.
Comparing the 2015 Nissan NV200 Taxi
This bright yellow cab’s main competition resides in the
Ford Transit Connect, Chevrolet City Express, and Ram ProMaster City.