London is getting a taxi of the future, and it looks like it’s from yesteryear.
Nissan has unveiled its new Taxi for London, which is built on the same platform as New York City’s so-called Taxi of Tomorrow, but looks a world apart.
The most notable difference is a redesigned front end featuring round headlights and a large chrome grille that hearkens back to the iconic Austin FX4 black cab that first entered serviced in 1958.
According to The Sunday Times, the change was thanks in part to a direct request from London Mayor Boris Johnson, who wanted to ensure that the car be instantly recognizable to tourists.
Nissan’s executive vice president, Andy Palmer, told The Times that Johnson “made it clear that his preference was a vehicle that was iconic and befitting the city of London.” Adding that “he talked about giving it a kind of bowler hat feel in terms of how it looks.”
The journalist-turned-politician was also instrumental in the launch of a modernized version of the city’s famous red double-decker buses after the original Routemasters were unpopularly removed from service in 2005.
The NV200-based taxi will be offered in both gas and electric versions, and while the battery-powered model retains the round headlights and black paint job, it trades the chrome grille for a more modern design featuring blue LED light strips.
Shockingly modern, indeed.