Soon to be as ubiquitous as the hot dog stand. The Taxi of Tomorrow is here...almost. The Daily News takes a first ride in the new yellow cab during a test run in New York City.
New Yorkers’ idea of a luxurious ride is a taxicab that doesn’t stink. That’s according to Peter Bedrosian, Nissan’s product planner for the upcoming NV200 New York taxicab, which goes on-duty this October. Nissan’s taxi-related research clinics found that, amongst other features, New Yorkers desperately want a clean cab, one that is free of funky odors.
In that regard, the Nissan NV200 “Taxi of Tomorrow” is off to a sweet-smelling start. The model we recently rode in, for a short loop on the streets of Manhattan, still had its new car/new cab smell. Credit goes to the antimicrobial and breathable rear seats, along with a carbon-lined headliner designed to absorb odors. Time will tell whether or not the NV200 remains this fresh once it enters regular service, of course.
That happens later this year, on October 31, to be exact. From that point onwards, and for the next 10 years, the NV200 is slated to be the official New York taxicab. As older cabs are retired – at a rate of roughly 2,500 per year – the NV200 will gradually take their place.
The rear seat of the Taxi of Tomorrow holds three passengers, much like most of the current fleet. What sets them apart? Anti-microbial fabric keeps odors away while loads of legroom keeps passengers comfortable — even in rush hour traffic.
Based on Nissan’s NV200 utility van, the New York taxi variant has undergone a grueling amount of testing and evaluation ahead of its launch. Nissan even recreated a ‘New York City style’ road at its proving grounds in Stanfield, Arizona.
The inspiration for this stretch of punishing asphalt came from an actual New York road, located near JFK airport. Nissan’s engineering team found this was a particularly rough patch, with plenty of bumps and large undulations that would unsettle a taxi – not to mention the increasingly queasy occupants.
Nissan’s engineers have confirmed this particularly ‘inspiring’ road has since been paved over. Could this be some sort of taxicab cover-up? Might Nissan be filling potholes in the middle of the night, purely to protect top-level taxicab engineering secrets?
Um, no. Our apologies to any cab conspiracy theorists out there.
Ride like the city is yours! A panoramic glass roof on the latest taxi will allow for breathtaking views of the city, making that old Crown Victoria seem even more like an ancient relic.
If Nissan had anything to hide, all would soon be revealed during our ride-along in the NV200. Dual sliding doors make getting in and out easy, as does a low and flat floor – which, incidentally, also makes the NV200 much easier to clean after each shift.
Lights at the back of the NV200 (on either side of the rear window) signal when the cab is vacant, and a ‘walking man’ icon alerts other drivers and bicyclists that someone is getting in or out of the cab. The doors glide easily and, once inside, there is a ton of legroom. The width of the rear bench seat can comfortably accommodate three adults, at least for a short cross-town ride. There is also room for one passenger up front. When that front seat isn’t in use, however, it can be folded down and the back functions as a work table for the driver.
Source: Daily News online 06/06/13