One of the best ‘dad jokes’ is when someone asks you to call them a cab and you reply with “okay, you are a cab.” Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe NV200 is already a cab, but could its price be calling you?
I think one thing that modern culture has made plainly evident is that class is something that needs to be cultured, and cannot just be bought. That’s not to say that certain accouterments of a well-bred lifestyle can’t be obtained through asset transfer, it’s just that it most often takes more than just that.
One accoutrement that could put you on your way to more elegant and dignified comportment is a classic—and undeniably classy—Jag saloon. We looked at just such a car last Friday, a 1980 Jaguar XJ6 Series III to be exact, and I felt like I should have been wearing an ascot and smoking jacket and not enjoying the sound of my own farts just to look at it. The was no denying, it was just that swank.
At $5,500, that Jag was deemed a decent deal too. At least that was the opinion of the 69 percent of you who crowned it with a Nice Price win. I must say, that was a very classy thing for you all to do.
Not everybody can drive around in a Jag. In a number of cities in fact, many people find it onerous to own any kind of car at all. A large faction of urban dwellers instead choose to make use of various forms of public transportation available, and/or the ubiquitous ride hailing options our modern society now affords us.
Long before the gig economy was a thing, independent cab services—i.e. unlicensed shuttlers—were often referred to as ‘Gypsy cabs.’ Yes, calling anything ‘gypsy’ other than Gypsy Rose Lee is offensive to some, but that’s just what the era coined for the practice.
Today we call such entrepreneurial efforts Uber, or Lyft, and it’s set the traditional licensed taxi business on its ear. That may very well be why this 2014 Nissan NV200 taxi is now on the market. Old taxis often get decommissioned and sold to private buyers, that’s why you used to see a lot of beat-up Checker Marathons and later Ford Crown Vics with bad paint jobs in the hipster parts of towns.
This NV200 on the other hand looks like it’s never carried a pre-lit bachelorette party to a bar, or a beat-down businessman back to the airport. In fact with just 25,883 miles showing on the odo, this taxi seems to be just getting started.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding New York City’s original attempt to embrace the VN200 as the city’s taxi of choice. The van’s lack of a hybrid drivetrain seemingly violated the Taxi & Limousine Commission’s mandate, and the van ended up the unfortunate object of litigation. This one hopefully will stay out of the courts.
Why would you want to drive around in a bright yellow taxi-van at all? I think the more accurate question is why wouldn’t you? I mean the NV200 as a base is a pretty compelling size and package. If you go back to the earliest episode of Top Gear, one of its segments had Jeremy Clarkson espousing the benefits of driving a small family van via the road test of a Citroën Berlingo. He liked the semi-agrarian Citroën a quite a bit back then, but since has thought less of a later version. Perhaps they have both grown older and fatter.
This NV200 is very much like the Berlingo in concept—it’s a commercial van given windows and seats and just enough civility not to make you think you’ve taken up the plumbing trade while driving it.
The coolest factor here however, is that it’s a taxi. That means it has a privacy shield between the front part of the passenger compartment and the back. If you have unruly kids or a carpool buddy who’s unfamiliar with the whole concept of personal hygiene this can be a godsend.
Behind the wall is a trio of individual seats and a baggage area behind that. An intercom provides communication between the spaces and there’s separate A/C controls for each. The interior looks to be in excellent shape with no evidence of wear and tear on upholstery or the utilitarian hard plastic surfaces that surround them. The front passenger seat may be flipped down as well, offering additional storage space or perhaps a handy perch for a cat.
Underneath all the taxi trappings lies a chassis co-developed by Nissan and Renault, and unfortunately internally coded as ‘BO.’ In other markets, a shorter wheelbase version underpins cars like the Renault Clio and Datsun Go. Here in the U.S., the NV200’s underside looks a lot like that of the Juke.
Power is provides by a 131 horsepower 2-litre four and is guided to the front wheels by Nissan’s rubberband man Xtronic CVT transmission. The ad notes no issues with the car and claims it to have been privately owned and never used for its intended purpose.
It comes with built-in navigation, a panoramic moonroof in back and an extra set of alloy wheels to play dress-up. The title is clear and the price is a nominal $14,777.
It’s now time for you to weigh in on this taxi and that price. What do you think, is $14,777 a fair fare for this taxi? Or, is that too much for a one-trick pony?
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