New black cab revealed: Nissan's NV200 London taxi

6 Jan, 2014 11:50am Tom Phillips

UK design team revise van-based Nissan NV200 Taxi for ’friendlier’ feel, plus electric version in 2015

These are the first official pictures of Nissan’s taxi for London. It’s the brand’s second attempt at designing a new black cab, and as with the original effort unveiled in 2012 it’s based on the Nissan NV200 van. The New taxi goes on sale in December 2014.

• Nissan NV200 Taxi review

However, the latest taxi has been given a new look by Nissan’s European design centre in Paddington – the same studio that’s responsible for the Juke and Qashqai. After consulting local cab drivers, Nissan’s stylists discovered concerns that the first taxi looked too much like a van, and could confuse customers. So they went back to the drawing board to give the model a more familiar look.

The changes include replacing the NV200’s angular headlamps with round lights similar to those used on the Juke. There’s also a new grille and redesigned front bumper, while the rooftop taxi sign is now lit with LEDs to make it more obvious at night.

Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said that the design is supposed to epitomise everything that a black cab should be - it was designed in London, for London. He also said that it's a design that's instantly recognisable as a cab, and that the face is going to prove popular across London whether you're a cabbie or customer. 

Nissan plans to build140,000 NV200 Taxis per year worldwide. That's the same number as black cabs have been sold in total since 1948 in the UK.

An electric Nissan cab will be available in later 2015, to be launched in an as-yet unconfirmed UK city. This model is distinguished by blue Nissan badges and a different, more geometric grille that hides the charging point, as you can see in the gallery pictures above.

As with all London cabs, the Nissan meets the requirement for a 7.6-metre turning circle. However, it achieves this with clever front suspension geometry, rather than requiring electric rear-wheel steering at low speeds in the way the Mercedes Vito taxi does.

The NV200 is built in Barcelona, and then imported to the UK to be converted into this taxi. Currently Nissan is evaluating which UK business will get the contract for this. 

Power comes from a 1.6-litre petrol engine, linked to a CVT gearbox. Nissan claims economy of around 38mpg and CO2 emissions of 179g/km – considerably better than the stated 32mpg and 233g/km of the current 2.5-litre diesel TX4 London taxi. Emissions of NOx and other harmful particulates are also much improved. A spokesman added that an all-electric version of the taxi is still on track to go on sale within two years.

• Nissan NV200 review

While a standard London cab currently starts from £32,995, the Nissan is expected to cost less than £30,000 when it goes on sale from a purpose-built Canary Wharf showroom in December. The cab is part of Nissan’s global taxi programme, which includes New York, Barcelona and Tokyo.

Darryl Scriven, Nissan's design excellence manager, took us around the new cab. He told us that the lights are actually from the Juke, and that the front axle has been widened by 75mm each side over the van version. The front bumper is in three pieces so can easily be replaced, while the front wings are new too. Side running boards also feature on the new taxi.

The sliding doors at the side are bigger than the standard for better wheelchair access, and a ramp is stored in the boot. The main luggage space is next to the driver.

Most taxis are hailed from the front, so that's where the changes have happened. However it does come with a chrome strip at the back and the silver taxi logo to make sure it isn't too van-like.

We first reported on Nissan’s taxi for London in August 2012. The spacious interior impressed us with its panoramic roof for sight-seeing, while the new front suspension hit the mark, ensuring the cab could tackle the tight roundabout at London’s Savoy Hotel. However, we did say it lacked the looks of the iconic black cab – but not any more!

You can find out all about the new car by watching our Nissan NV200 Taxi video review.

Nissan isn’t the only company trying to muscle in on the London cab market. Metrocab is looking to be the first to put an all-electric model on sale in the UK.

The Metrocab EV is designed, engineered and assembled in Mytchett, Surrey. A trial fleet is set to hit London streets very soon, beating the battery-powered version of Nissan’s taxi by around 12 months. There’s no word on range yet, but it’ll be powered by a lithium-ion battery pack and driven by two electric motors on the rear axle.

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Quite possibly the ugliest vehicle ever. The TX4 was a pastiche but this is beyond words. People aren't as stupid as the LTDA think - the clue is in the big orange TAXI sign on the roof. People can spot taxis well enough in New York and they no longer look like checkers cabs.

Oh my god....

Oh dear....

Hideous.

Each member of the so-called Nissan 'design' team should be lined up and forced to have one in their driveway.

It's so ugly ........I'm lost for words

Yum!

I like New Black Cab revealed: Nissan's NV200 London taxi

Oh Boy...Whoever designed this should be flogged in public for shaming the nation, in the middle of Trafalgar Square.

How can u charge 30 grand for a petrol van with seats and a ramp

the design? which design???? (awful)

Was it designed by the Chinese to save cost? Grotesque. Dirty money & politics should be separated from design...

Well done for turning a modern vehicle into a time warp wannabe. Why not go the whole hog and attach a fake horse to the front and tudor beams on that back. England does not need to be a giant vintage theme park. Still at least we have answered the question "what happened to the Rover design team."

Personally I wouldn't been seen dead in this....but then again, maybe I would because it looks like a particularly poorly designed hearse conversion.

No thanks...

I imagine that the team at LTI breathed a huge sigh of relief when they saw this hideous pig. Wow, it's even uglier than their effort.

Almost achieves the design flair of an early SsangYong...... and this is the unique look commissioned as the distinctive face of a London icon ? More like a North Korean reject.

Even Noddy would think twice about becoming a taxi driver if the cab's THAT ugly!

Absolutely! Believe me, if it's late and it's raining, ANYTHING with an orange light on the top looks like a taxi!

What a lovely piece of design this is. I'll look forward to taking using these new black cabs.

You're right - on a cold, wet night, it's the orange taxi light that counts.

Even so, why Nissan feels the need to inflict such a hideosity on London is a question that needs answering.

Over to you AE: please ask Nissan!

It's a van with seats.......

An absolute disgrace. I've never seen such an ugly taxi! I really do hope customers and drivers will prefer "made in UK" ones made by LTI or Metrocab!

This is so bad, even Paris Hilton wouldn't do it!

I have to admit that Nissan have done nearly as bad a job of designing the exterior of the taxi as Ford have of designing the ecosport. I certainly would prefer the old style cabs or I'd book private hire car.
A benefit of the Nissan is you could fit in all your tools, the kitchen sink and that bargain 3piece you saw at dfs.

For a taxi, I think this is quite beautiful. All it needs is the engine from the GTR. A NISMO version might be nice too with some 19" rays and a bodykit.

I agree Mr Pickles. Shes a beauty.

It reminds me of one of those cheap Chinese knock-offs

This is spectacularly disastrous and clearly a contender for the must ugly taxi on Earth.
You say this was designed?
By people drugged so that their sense of style, of panache, of verve, not to mention harmony, beauty or good taste, was obliterated.

Yet another reason for those Brits now living overseas to remain overseas and for those hapless enough to still be un-United Kingdom residents, another reason to shift to the Isle of Man or the Orkneys.

If this is the best that a London based team can come up with, then heaven help London.

Oh dear god, why?

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