The era of the Crown Victoria, the predominant face of New York City taxis, is nearing its end as the new Nissan NV200 yellow cab is unveiled to the public today in SoHo.
For sure, the Crown Vic, which has been the primary taxi since the Chevy Caprice was discontinued in 1996, has never won an award for beauty and the new Nissan probably won’t either. However the new cars, set to replace the aging 13,200 strong fleet, have a definite leg up on previous models. Envisioned as the Taxi of Tomorrow, the NV200 is the first cab designed from the ground up to meet the needs of New Yorkers.
Features include a roomier cabin and a full length glass roof to allow riders to admire the city architecture. To cut down on the smell of passengers past, the seats will be made of a microbial, leather-like, fabric and the interior will have a carbon lined header. And, in what is sure to be a great boon for tech savvy Gothamites, each cab will have a recharging station with 12V outlets and USB ports.
The new taxis will be a brighter yellow and have improved safety features such as traction control and passenger airbags. Unlike the old Crown Victorias, which were gas guzzling V8s, the Nissan NV200 hosts a modest 2.0 4-cylinder engine. Perhaps one of the most puzzling features that are standard on the Nissan NV200 is the low-annoyance horn. Horns are supposed to be an annoyance to get other drivers attention.
Current yellow cabs, which ferry over 600,000 people a day over a cumulative 500 million miles annually, are to be phased out in 2013 when the new cabs go on sale. All current medallion holders will have to retire their older cabs by 2018.
The Nissan NV200, which will retail for $29,700, was chosen after rigorous competition between manufacturers for the Taxi of Tomorrow, which would bring the entire taxi service into the 21st century. Mayor Bloomberg, along with other city officials, announced the winner in May 2011, and the NV200 will have its public unveiling a week before the New York Auto Show.
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