New London Cab tries to look the partComment on this story
This is Nissan's new London Taxi, re-designed at Nissan's European design centre in Paddington (the same people who brought the Qashqai and the Juke) to make it instantly recognisable as one of the British capital's iconic black cabs.
Based on the multi-purpose NV200 platform, it was first shown as a bold new vision for the famous London Hackney Carriage in August 2012 - perhaps a bit too bold, because, in response to feedback from the London Mayor's office, Transport for London and other key organisations, Nissan has toned the design down a little to better reflect the traditional black cab.
ELECTRIC VERSION DUE IN 2015
It will be launched in December 2014 with a 1.6-litre petrol engine driving the front wheels via an automatic gearbox, with a battery-powered version in the pipeline for 2015.
Nissan already has provenance in the London taxi market - its 2.7-litre TD27 diesel engine was fitted to the FX4 'Fairway' and TX1 black cabs in the 1980s and '90s - and, in developing the NV200 London Taxi, ensured that it met the strict regulations governing Hackney Carriages, including the mandatory 7.6-metre turning circle.
HERITAGE AND STATUS
The NV200 London Taxi is part of Nissan's global taxi programme, which includes New York, Barcelona and Tokyo, but the London version has specially styled to reflect the heritage and status of London's black cabs.
It has round headlights and a revised grille to echo the traditional black cab 'face', LED lighting to improve the visibility of the traditional taxi sign and special front bumper panels.
MAKING IT LOOK THE PART
Nissan designer Darryl Scriven said: "We'd already sorted out the technical challenges of developing a London Taxi ahead of our launch in August 2012, but the Mayor's office and taxi drivers were very keen that we preserve the taxi's character, and make sure customers could easily recognise it as a taxi.
“Since we're based in London we were able to go out and talk to cabbies about what was important to them as well as look at it a customer's viewpoint.
"It's unusual for us to work on something as specialised as this, specifically for one location in the world, and we are very proud to have been involved."