Friday, August 15, 2014


Taxi culture is integral to life in New York, and to a lesser degree most cities in the United States. Where we can’t go by car, we hail a cab. Yes, in places like Los Angeles where transportation is scattered and there is neither rhyme nor reason to traffic patterns, taxis take a back seat, but are still there for those nights when you can’t otherwise get home.

The New York yellow cab is an icon that has global and wide-reaching impact. It has defined my city as other fads have come and gone. And I’ve always wanted to sit at the helm and deliver people to their destinations. (I do it all the time in test cars, as it stands.) Being a New York cabbie commands a certain kind of rough attitude, and an intimate knowledge of the city’s thoroughfares and secret passages.

I studied the routes from behind the plexiglas barrier for years, and then applied all the taxi drivers’ rules to my own driving. Where the cabbies turn, I turn. The gas stations where they fill up must be the least expensive and quickest. The ramshackle eateries where cabbies from around the world stop to get a quick plate of food are probably the most authentic tastes of home that the city has to offer. I longed to try out a day in this world.

So, when Nissan offered five days driving the new NV Taxi, which had won over the hearts of New York’s bureaucrats to become the Taxi of Tomorrow -- legal implications notwithstanding -- I accepted without hesitation.

There is enough legroom in back that jump seats, like the ones rumored to be fitted to the new London black cab, make total sense. Of the 10 "fares" who had the chance to try it out, there was nary a complaint. Like some older minivans, the bench does not adjust its individual seats, so it's going to stay in position regardless of the demand for cargo space. Sliding doors made entry and exit easy, and reduce the chance of nailing a wayward cyclist with one half flung-open.

In addition to the separate climate controls, passengers can utilize two USB ports and a 12-volt outlet for charging mobile devices on the go.The Nissan NV200 Taxi has a 2.0L 4 cylinder engine and gets 24mpg/combined. It does not have a ton of power, but provides a comfortable drive and will surely fit in well in the busy environment of the Big Apple. When the low-effort sliding doors are open, the rear passenger light is illuminated. Much like a yellow flashing light of a school bus, this is to alert drivers that a person is exiting. That seems to be a particularly helpful feature. 

There is also a "Call 911" light at the top. This is controlled by a switch on the drivers dash.When the doors open, you are greated with much more leg room than any Crown Victoria. The Taxi seats 4 total: 3 in back and one up front. Right over the drivers shoulder is the intercom system. The plexi-glass partition doesn't make it impossible to hear, but the intercom makes communication easier. Driver and passenger can activate or deactivate the intercom with a flick of the switch.If the passengers want to get some fresh air or the party went a little long, there is a small window on each sliding door. It opens pretty easily to allow some fresh air into the cabin. A great feature for easy in and out is this electric step that moves out when the door is opened. 

 A newly designed light for the taxi number and on duty indicators look like a small Alien craft has landed on the roof, but it looks like Nissan took everything into account for fuel mileage and efficiency. I almost forgot another great feature; the passenger section has a panoramic roof for viewing of the incredible New York atmosphere. You can get a peak of the roof in the shot. In summary, enjoy the legroom; don't talk bad about the driver because he could turn the intercom on

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