The next time you’re in a new town and decide to hail a cab instead of opening Uber or Lyft on your phone, there’s a chance you may find yourself in one of Ford’s new fleet offerings.
Two new options are now available through the Blue Oval: an EcoBlue-powered Transit Connect and a Fusion Hybrid Taxi. The latter is apparently purpose-built for livery service, and includes a few bits from the 2019 Police Responder Hybrid Sedan — news that’s sure to please Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues.
The Transit Connect Taxi, a machine that looks like a compact car which has been caught in a taffy puller, is now be available with Ford’s 1.5-liter diesel engine, marketed under the EcoBlue banner. It is targeted to return an EPA-estimated highway rating of at least 30 mpg, although official numbers are not yet available.
Beyond the usual Transit Connect features, the van comes equipped with a taxi upfit wiring harness in order to handle the extra electronics that cab companies shovel into their machines. Bill Ford himself will personally drill a roof access hole for future taxi signage for those who want it (not really, but the modification is available), and the whole works can be sprayed in School Bus Yellow paint right in the factory. Other players in this field include the Nissan NV200 Taxi.
Fleets not looking for a van can cast their eyes and purchase orders on the Fusion Hybrid Taxi. For improved durability in a livery duty cycle, the cars share parts with the Police Responder version, including heavier-duty chassis and suspension parts. Sure beats the days when taxi drivers would tool around Times Square with the hoods popped on their Crown Vics to forestall the 4.6-liter from turning into Mount Pinatubo.
The police-spec suspension actually affords the Fusion an increased ride height — perfect for clearing curbs when your fare commands a quick trip to Terminal 4 at JFK. Steel wheels with (sorta) dog dish hubcaps and an optional vinyl interior – seats and floors – will make this car a good option for beater status at the auctions in a few years. Ford predicts 38 mpg combined.
The 2019 Transit Connect Taxi and 2019 Fusion Hybrid Taxi can be ordered now. Both models will be on sale by year end.
[Images: Ford Motor Company]