Meet the new London Taxi: hybrid TX5 black cab revealed

23 Oct, 2015 1:30pm Richard Ingram

Cleaner, greener, more practical and similar enough to the classic black cab to avoid upsetting the purists, the new London Taxi is here!

London’s black cab is a globally recognised icon. Like the red phone box, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, London’s famous Hackney Carriage has lined the streets of our capital for decades, with the most recent model remaining largely unchanged for almost 20 years.

Now though, current owner of the London Taxi Company (LTC), Geely, has debuted an all-new model for 2017 – called the TX5 – complete with a super-efficient hybrid powertrain, enough room for six passengers, and a bold new look. The new black cab be built at the company’s state-of-the-art production facility in Warwickshire, following a substantial £300m investment programme.

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TX5 design draws on the classic lines of the black cab

The TX5 design concept captures the spirit of past generations of LTC models and draws on more than sixty years of style that has made the black cab and iconic sight on the streets of London. Senior vice president of Geely design, Peter Horbury, told Auto Express: “The brief was clear. It has to look like a London taxi.”

The new design uses a similarly vertical front grille, and rounded headlights, with a more upright stance and classy chrome touches. While the interior design is still under consideration, the six-seat layout has been confirmed, alongside the large panoramic glass roof for a more “premium experience.”

David Ancona, Design Director of Geely Barcelona said: “This decision was market driven. The [Mercedes] Vito quite successful because it had that extra seat. It allowed three couples to go out together, or people to go to airports in groups. So it was decided to go that way.”

It makes use of a new lightweight aluminium structure and composite panelling, and benefits from a futuristic plug-in hybrid drivetrain that will return a realistic range of “well over 100 miles” along with a “full five-star Euro NCAP score” – according to Geely bosses.

As before, the new London taxi will use a front engine, rear-wheel drive layout, allowing it to boast the same market-leading tight turning circle. Despite its obvious associations with the outgoing TX4, Geely tells us all 2,000 components have been designed from the ground up.

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The taxi isn’t due to hit the streets until late 2017, though a production-ready version with prices and specs is expected a little earlier. Despite the higher specification and complex drivetrain, Ancona insists the TX5 won’t cost any more to buy or lease than the current model – thanks to government subsidies for low emission vehicles. 

Do you like the look of the new London taxi? Let us know in the comments section below...