Nissan and the City of New York announced yesterday that Nissan’s NV200—a compact, car-based van—will be the exclusive new taxi for the five boroughs beginning in 2013. Since then, Nissan has released additional details about the future yellow submarine, and, just as important, that information gives us a clearer picture of the compact van the company will sell to American consumers, too.
What the Taxi Drivers Get
The NV200, which is already in production and is sold in other countries, is naturally well-suited for the rigors of New York taxi duty: Sliding doors are perfect for narrow streets and pose no risk to passing cars or hapless cyclists; there’s loads of headroom, and ample space for luggage and cargo. To further cabify the NV200, the taxi version will feature a transparent roof, and a mobile device charging system (though Nissan’s mum on whether that’s simply an AC outlet or some kind of induction charging mat). Nissan also touts a “low-annoyance” horn, which we take to mean one that’s less loud, and also flashes the exterior lights simultaneously. Exterior lights will also flash when the vehicle’s doors are open, alerting other drivers who are sure not to care about disembarking passengers. Nissan has set the MSRP of its NV200 taxi at $29,000—it seems pricey, but bear in mind that this includes all the trimmings for non-stop passenger hauling.
What We, the Consumers, Get (Hopefully)
There’s just no sense in Nissan importing or building domestically a small van if the only sales are to the 13,000-strong fleet of yellow cabs in New York. Even if other livery companies in other cities get on board the NV200 road train, the business case isn’t there. We reported previously that Nissan wants to bring an additional small van to the U.S., and it looks like the NV200 will be it.
Underhood, Nissan tells us, the taxi will pack a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It’s difficult to imagine the company paying to federalize a completely new engine for the NV200, meaning the mill is probably the 2.0-liter out of the entry-level Sentra. In that application, the engine makes 140 hp and 147 lb-ft, and is hooked to a continuously variable transmission. It’s possible, of course, that Nissan’s got a new 2.0-liter four in the works for applications in other vehicles, too—unfortunately, it’s just too early to say what will power the NV200, on dealer lots or waiting in front of Gray’s Papaya.
We’ll be looking for news from Nissan about the NV200's rollout in cities—and hopefully, in dealer showrooms too. We love us some vans!