Reviewing new cars for The Times Media Co. over the past 18 years has introduced Times readers to most everything that rolls off an automaker’s assemble line - from a HEMI-powered Dodge Charger Police Car to a $300,000 Rolls-Royce Ghost.
Never a taxicab.
But recently Nissan dropped off their 2015 NV200 Taxi edition decked out in Broom Yellow paint with taxi appliqués and top LED light bar.
During my week-long loan I was hailed three times, asked directions twice and picked up scores of curious glances from on-lookers.
Though the direction seekers were accommodated, I politely passed the hand-raisers at the curb. Some people were not pleased.
The factory-built Nissan Taxi is adapted from Nissan’s NV200 compact cargo van with windows that replace solid body-color upper side and rear door panels.
Inside, NV200 Taxi is set for service with soft-cushion seats covered by anti-microbial easy-to-clean vinyl upholstery on the front passenger and three person second row bench. The driver seat is vinyl-appointed with a durable cloth inset.
A Plexiglas partition and solid lower bulkhead separates the driver and passenger compartments complete with taxi driver identification holder, credit card swipe, video monitor, change caddy and push button intercom.
The second row includes dedicated passenger controlled air-conditioning, ports for charging electronic devices and limo-like head and legroom to accommodate NBA-size riders.
Back seat occupants also enjoy a panoramic glass roof with retractable sunshade for a sun-filled cab ride.
Good thing, because in extremely cold weather, the NV200 heater barely delivers warm air to the cockpit, let along the rear passenger compartment.
Luggage space behind the second row is reached through 40/60-split rear doors to an estimated 33 cubic-feet of cargo capacity - enough to hold two full-size suit cases, three carry-ons, five medium size duffel bags and several small flexible parcels.
The cargo bay doors are flanked by unique information lamps located vertically on the back body pillars.
Separate from the tail lights, these lamps display an amber ‘vacant’ notification along with a pedestrian cutout to indicate which side of the taxi a passenger will be exiting.
An emergency “911” cutout is also part of the light indicator.
PORT OF ENTRY
Access to the passenger compartment comes with manually-operated side-sliding doors with low step-in height courtesy of a power retractable side step that deploys when the sliding door is opened.
A flat passenger floor affords clear entry and exit with convenient high-mounted grab bars located on the inside door frames.
The Nissan NV200 Taxi is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates a 131 horsepower coupled to a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Nissan’s Taxi is under powered considering the vehicle’s load potential yet when unladen achieves fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon city and 26 mpg highway.
Price for the 2015 Nissan NV200 Taxi edition is $30,560 with freight.