Vehicles for hire: Top 4 cars for taxi drivers
If you think your daily commute is bad, spare a thought for the thousands of hard-working taxi drivers who work tirelessly around the clock to get us where we want to go.
A quick jaunt up the M6 is often enough to leave our derrieres numb, so we can’t even imagine what it would be like to sit in a car all day long waiting for the next punter to jump in the back seat.
One of the most defining characteristics of a taxi drive, for better or for worse, is that they never stop talking about one thing or another. Being motoring enthusiasts, one of the most common question we’re asked goes something along the lines of: “Oh right, what d’you think the best car is for me, then?”
What seems like a straightforward answer is actually quite difficult to answer; there are nearly as many new car models as there are taxi drivers, each of them different and great in their own way.
So which is right? Well, in order to find out what the best cars for taxi drivers are, we thought we’d ask the only people really qualified to know: taxi drivers themselves.
One driver, Dave, offered us this particular observation on a trip to the post office. “Thing is, I see all these blokes who drive taxis spending their money on fancy cars like Jags and what have you.
“That’s great and all, but they’re so expensive it just doesn’t make an awful lot of sense. Especially on days when there’s not much going on, you end up paying more money than you’re making for the sake of driving a flashy car.
“What’s the point? I’d rather drive something cheap but reliable so I can actually make a wage.”
He raises a good point, surely cost-effectiveness, fuel efficiency and reliability are pretty important, particularly when you’re driving to make a living.
Another, who gave his name only as MD, said: “Best thing I look for is something that’s comfortable. You’ve got to remember, I’m sitting in this thing all day while you’re maybe here for five minutes or so.”
Comfort, then is pretty important as well. Common sense would also dictate that a taxi driver would also look for something with plenty of seats so he take large groups, as well as having a decent amount of storage space for airport trips, etc.
Finally, Chaz told us: “While it doesn’t have to be a Lamborghini or what have you, a decent bit of speed won’t hurt. It has to be fun or else you get bored easily.”
Taking all this into account, we’ve made a quick list of some of the best choices you could make if you’re in the taxi business – minus the Lamborghinis.
One of the nicest looking saloon models currently available on the market, thanks to Mazda’s unique KODO design language, the Mazda6 saloon is also easily one of the most capable.
Don’t just take our word for it; the Mazda6 has won a wide range of awards since going on release, having been named the Best Family Car two years in a row but Auto Express and has also won a variety of awards for environmental friendliness.
As attractive on the inside as it is on the outside, the plush cabin has been praised by the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers for being uncompromising on “space, comfort and practicality”. Good news, then, for drivers on long journeys and who need to transport a huge variety of people.
It’s also filled with a wide range of intuitive kit, with power-operated door mirrors, push button stop and start, plus cruise control and leather upholstery.
Boot space measures in at a more than capable 489 litres, which is more than respectable for a car of its size and leaves plenty of room for shopping, handbags, child buggies or suitcases.
On the road, it’s smooth and highly capable with a wide range of engine options, the most fuel-efficient of which is a 147bhp 2.2-litre diesel.
Managing 67mpg with just 108g/km of CO2 emissions, it offers plenty of punch with incredible fuel economy, while it’s also available with an optional automatic transmission to make things easier in slow-moving traffic.
The Mazda6 saloon is available to buy from Perrys now, priced from just £19,595 for the entry-level trim, so it won’t break the bank either.
Hyundai i30 Tourer
Hyundai’s best-value estate car was engineered specifically by the Korean manufacturer to eat into the family estate market largely dominated by models like Ford’s Focus estate.
Based on the i30 hatchback but with an extra amount of space in the rear, the Tourer is 185mm longer and features a 528-litre boot that can expand to a massive 1,642 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
Perfect, then, for a lot of passengers, or indeed passengers with lots of luggage or particularly long legs. It also costs less than the Focus estate while coming with virtually the same equipment.
What’s more, the cabin also features fully adjustable steering wheels and driver’s seats, meaning that you can get comfy inside it no matter your dimensions and four available trim levels offer a range of equipment to suit every need and taste.
Even entry-level models get air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity, while higher trim levels get power-adjustable mirrors, cruise control and parking sensors to help with tight city spaces.
It’s not quite as pretty as the Mazda6 for instance, but we’re willing to forgive Hyundai for that one, as the i30 Tourer boasts attractive prospects like a five-year unlimited mileage warranty and performed particularly well in reliability surveys conducted by What Car?.
Composed in corners and capable in the straights, the i30 inspires confidence in drivers with its positive steering and good body control, while it also features a choice of one petrol or two diesel engine options.
The 109bhp 1.6-litre diesel is the most economical option, emitting just 109g/km of CO2 and managing just a hair under 70mpg, meaning you won’t have to frequent the petrol station quite so often.
Hyundai’s i30 Tourer estate model is available to buy now from Perrys brand-new Luton Hyundai dealership, priced from £16,905.
Ford Mondeo Hybrid
Previously regarded as cars for snooty Hollywood celebs, hybrid models are quickly becoming more and more popular amongst taxi drivers, who have cottoned on to their cost-saving abilities.
To cater to an expanding market, Ford’s long-awaited new Mondeo line also features a brand-new hybrid option for the first time ever in the Mondeo range.
They don’t come as recent as this; the Hybrid Mondeo only began production in November, but has already received an award for the Best Large Family Car at the Next Green Car Awards last year.
Stylistically, it looks virtually identical to the new Mondeo range, with a sleek new sports coupe design capped with Ford’s signature trapezoidal grille and laser-cut headlights.
Premium touches on the inside include a digital instrument cluster, plus a heated steering wheel, automatic tailgate and Ford’s SYNC 2 infotainment system and adaptive cruise control.
Spacious and comfortable on the interior, the Mondeo also benefits from a large boot that dwarfs even the Vauxhall Insignia’s 530-litre storage space, while a low lip makes it easier than ever to load up.
Not only that, but Ford has also reduced the size of the A pillars to increase visibility, while the Mondeo also comes packed with a range of safety features including autonomous emergency braking.
Powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine and two electric motors, Ford says that the Hybrid model can reach speeds of up to 85mph powered by electricity alone. It can also return over 100mpg in urban environments with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, making it road tax free.
Available to buy from Perrys dealerships now, Ford’s all-new Hybrid Mondeo is currently priced from £24,995.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
While saloons and estate models are both popular among taxi drivers, some would rather opt for slightly larger MPV models like Citroen’s Grand C4 Picasso.
With an extensive range of trim levels, seven seat practicality and ample storage space, the Grand C4 Picasso is one of the most desirable MPVs on the market, with a range of awards to back it up.
Its appearance has been directly inspired by Citroen’s range of upmarket DS models, with its recognisable grille chevrons, chrome highlights and stylish body contours.
Daytime running LED lights and 16-inch alloy wheels also come as standard, adding to its appeal, while it’s equally well-equipped on the interior with four trim levels in total to choose from.
Seven-seat capacity leaves plenty of room for all manner of passengers and luggage, while each row of seats can fold back and offer an incredible 2,181 litres of storage space, rivalling some small vans.
Citroen hasn’t scrimped on the equipment either, with even entry-level models benefitting from air conditioning, adjustable driver’s seats and a seven-inch Touch Drive infotainment interface.
Seats are extremely comfortable and legroom is amongst the best on the market; the second row of seats in the Grand C4 Picasso offers more legroom than any other car available in its segment. Rising up the trim levels will also open up options like massaging seats and leg rests for passengers.
Despite its large size and range of luxury options, the Grand C4 Picasso is also surprisingly jaunty on the road, with light steering and a fun ride which belies its nature as a people carrier.
A wide range of engines is also available, including various petrol and diesel units. The pick of the bunch in terms of frugality, however, is the 1.5-litre 90bhp diesel, which offers CO2 emissions as low as 98g/km with combined fuel economy of 74mpg.
Like the rest of these models, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is available from Perrys dealerships now, with prices starting from only £19,205.
If you’re a taxi driver in the market for a new car, or just a regular buyer looking for a family friendly car, why not get in touch with your local Perrys dealership today to see what we can offer you?