I have a soft spot for taxis, pretty much any taxi. Checker taxis, of course, were good, but so was the Chevy Caprice. I’ll even defend the Taxi of Tomorrow, which is bad. That’s because in any taxi you can go full Michael Clayton, which is always good. Take the new JPN Taxi, available today from Toyota. Would you pay someone $20 to just drive in this thing? Of course you would.
Probably the first thing you’ll notice about the JPN Taxi is the fender mirrors, a once-common feature of Japanese cars that slowly began to disappear after a 1983 law allowed for door mirrors. The fender mirrors remained popular with taxi drivers though, since having them further away from their face meant that they didn’t have to turn their heads, thus allowing their passengers a bit more privacy. Fender mirrors also produce less of a blind spot than door mirrors. They also look like tiny wings, which is cool.
Anyway, this is the first complete redesign of Toyota’s taxi in 22 years, according to Hiroshi Kayukawa, its chief engineer.
Among other features is its low stance, making it easier for passengers to get on and off, in addition to a number of safety features, like big windows, which make for good visibility for drivers.
What’s under the hood? A straight-four, 1.5-liter hybrid engine that gets around 45 mpg. What’s the power output? I don’t know. Don’t worry about it. This is a cab not a race car.
The cab is not just for humans, of course; according to Toyota, the back of this little badass can also fit four full golf bags. Four golf bags!
The cabs come in three colors, but you should get it in deep indigo, which Kayukawa says will bring a smile to your face. I agree.
The Tokyo Motor Show starts Friday and this taxi will be there. Check it out if you’re in town.