Could the Ford Fusion live on as a taxi after the production model gets killed like the Crown Victoria?
For decades, the Ford Crown Victoria served as America's most prominent taxi cab. Even after the model was discontinued in 2008, it continued its cab duties for another four years. And now the same could happen to the Ford Fusion. We know the mid-size sedan is being discontinued by 2022, but Ford has just announced a new version of the 2019 Fusion Hybrid designed for taxi fleet use. But Ford hasn't just taken the Fusion Hybrid and slapped a yellow taxi livery on it.
It's based on the same platform as the Ford Police Responder Hybrid introduced this week, so it has police-tuned suspension, increased ride height, high-performance brakes, and steel wheels. Inside, drivers can choose between heavy-duty cloth seating or optional vinyl seating and vinyl floors. Standard features include a rearview camera and a mounting plate on top of the instrument panel to secure taxi meters and other fleet equipment. The hybrid system helps the Fusion Hybrid Taxi return up to 40 mpg in the city, 36 mpg highway, and a combined 38 mpg, making it a far more economical cab than the gas-guzzling Ford Crown Victoria.
"Taxi operators want vehicles that are reliable, efficient and comfortable," said Imran Jalal, the brand and communications manager for Ford fleet marketing. "Transit Connect Taxi and Fusion Hybrid Taxi offer all three with special attention to potentially help lower fuel costs. Plus, Fusion Hybrid underscores our commitment to introduce even more efficient and capable hybrids in the future." In addition, Ford also unveiled a new 2019 Transit Connect Taxi as a direct rival to the Nissan NV200 taxi.
There's seating for five unlike the NV200, which only has room for four, and it also features more than 60 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats. Powering the Transit Taxi isa 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel engine, which should return up to an EPA-estimated highway rating of at least 30 mpg, but final ratings will be revealed next year. Taxi-specific features include a recessed second-row seat, a taxi upfit wiring harness, first-row side curtain airbags, optional roof access hole for signage and a reverse sensing system. It is also available with School Bus Yellow paint. Both models will go on sale before the end of the year.