Are Toyota Prius II hybrids suitable for use as taxis?

I'm still reviewing my options regarding the purchase of a used Toyota Prius (approximately two years old) for private use and work as a 'Private Hire' taxi. Unfortunately I can't afford the current model, which has a slightly larger engine capacity and other improvements. However, although I have just managed to find a good condition 2008 Prius T4 with a fairly low mileage of 31,000 at a reasonable price of £8,500, I'm having second thoughts. This is due mainly to a colleague taxi driver who had a Prius (2004) until recently, but was critical of both the limited boot space and variable performance. I have noticed a definite increase over the past few years in the number of these vehicles (both models) being employed as taxis, typically appearing at the airports. Unfortunately I never seem to have the opportunity to approach the drivers and discuss the 'pros and cons' etc. I'd very much appreciate your advice/opinion.

Asked on 21 March 2011 by CL, via email

Answered by Honest John
The reason they are so popular as taxis is that the low-stress, simplified hybrid drivetrain means that hardly anything ever goes wrong. Toyota has seen Prius IIs used as taxis with over 400,000 miles. The typical taxi driving cycle is good for hybrid regeneration and economy. As for space, I once got a double bed and mattress into a Prius II that I ran for six months. Average 49mpg, don't realistically expect more than that. Though I did recently manage 62.3mpg delivering an Auris HSD 300 miles to my father in Northumberland.
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