Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - Steveieb

Some cars become famous for one factor reliabilty and hard use. These are chosen by the taxi operators because they make business sense.

They include Proton Nissan Primera VW Passat 2002-2003, Peugeot 406 etc.Toyota Prius Mercedes C class

So are these the cars to choose?

Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - RobJP

The problem with most of those is that councils won't allow old cars to become taxis.

A little research on what is acceptable to your council might be a good idea - only then should you make a shortlist.

Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - SLO76
Modern Protons are nothing like as well made as the earlier Mitsubishi based cars and are only used as taxis because they are dirt cheap and some regions still allow cars over 10yrs old to be plated as taxis. But how different would the firms position in the U.K. have been had the UK importer listened to the sales staff who were working on the coalface?

As a salesman for a Mitsubishi and Proton dealer in the 90's I could see the potential when they launched a diesel Persona and asked several times why they weren't promoting the car to the taxi trade. Speaking to the head of U.K. sales at a meeting my suggestion that it would bolster the already strong reputation for reliability to have them on taxi ranks accross the country and running to mega miles was met with a flat denial. The firm instead believed it would cheapen the brand instead. See Skoda today to understand just how wrong they were. Proton no longer import cars into the U.K. at all.

The 2.0 DI and TDi Persona was every bit as well made and robust as the Octavia and a far sturdier car than the dearer Mitsubishi Carisma we were also flogging but no deals were on offer to the taxi trade unlike Skoda who actively pursued it and sales on diesel Protons tanked as a result. Shame as the TDi was a very pleasant car all round for the money.
Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - SLO76
It is a good idea to keep an eye on what is popular with taxi drivers as durability, economy, practicality and low repair costs are all vital. I regularly speak to drivers about how their cars are standing up to the job (makes a change from asking "town busy tonight mate?") because no one tests cars to destruction better than the taxi trade.

As for the best taxis ever made that's an interesting debate.

I'd nominate the Nissan Bluebird 2.0 diesel, I was in one once with over a million miles on its original engine and still running!

Mk III Vauxhall Cavalier with the Isuzu 1.7 turbo diesel. These could do 500k with care.

Toyota Carina II or E with the non-turbo 2.0 diesel, again easy 500k upwards.

Mk I Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDi Classic pre DPF VAG diesels were easily fit for 500k but the non-turbo was known for gearbox problems which the turbo diesel avoided with a stronger transmission.

B5.5 VW Passat 1.9 TDi for same reasons as Octavia but with a lot more comfort especially with SE trim.

Peugeot 406 2.0 HDi, the 8v HDi is loved by the taxi trade and will hit 1m miles if looked after. I've sold loads of these with mega miles and know of one local Peugeot E7 hackney with this engine and over 800k on its origional engine and gearbox.

Sadly more modern stuff just isn't standing up as well and I'm not too sure what I'd buy if I was taxi hunting today.
Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - Steveieb
Notice that the Peugeot 406 joins the short list . But will any 2.0 Hdi be suitable and how do you know if it is 8 valve?
French cars are known for poor electrics, but was this car an exception.
Heard that losing an auxiliary belt could wrap itself round the cambelt and trash the engine.
But understand that the ride and handling were a great feature.
Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - SLO76
The only 16v HDi used in the 406 was the late 2.2 so all 2.0 models will be the 8v either in 90bhp or 110bhp form.

Electrics are typically rubbish though as with all old French motors but this was one of the best Diesel engines ever made. I even know owners of later Pug E7 taxis who've replaced the knackered later 16v engines in their cars with older 8v's.

Edited by SLO76 on 04/03/2017 at 18:26

Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - daveyK_UK

Biggest (by some margin) local private taxi firm seems to run exclusively Dacia Logan MCV's.

I presume becasue they are cheap, huge boot and the 1.5 diesel engine is so widely used parts must be cheap.

I was in a 64 plate one with 91k on the clock and they driver said the only problem he had encountered was the passenger side bulb has been replaced.

Previously they ran exclusively skoda octavias but when skoda tried to go upmarket with the octavia and with the price, they seem to have said goodbye to the taxi trade.

I was in Leeds last week and the big taxi firm was running exclusively Citroen Berlingo Multispace's.

Again, robust, reliable (excpet the diesel engine) big cars with huge boots but the 1.6 diesel engine is problematic around 4 years old.

I got one to and from the station, the one on the way back had 81k on the clock and they guy said it had had 'no problems'.

Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - SLO76
Renault's 1.5 dci unit is well tried and tested and with regular servicing and an early t/belt change it will pass 200k easy enough.

I'm also a fan of current Dacia range but think they're missing a trick by not importing the Lodgy people carrier that's popular as a taxi accross Europe and the Dokker van.

A larger straightforward saloon, hatch and estate range similar in size to the Octavia would do great business if they keep to that tried and tested 1.5 diesel.
Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - Steveieb

Think we have overlooked the Prius and the Mercedes C Class which are very popular in this area. Prius around town and Merc for airport runs. How do they rate?

Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - SLO76
The Prius is standing up far better than I expected with many happy owners seeing well over 250k with little hassle but the Merc C Class has a poor reputation among taxi owners and is really not in widespread use certainly in Britain. Parts are too costly and faults too common for high mileage use. Thus the reason why so few W203 C Classes have survived into old age.

Don't mistake the poor quality modern mass produced and overcomplex Mercs with the high quality products they made pre early 90's. The last well made car Mercedes made was the 124 series E class that was discontinued in 1994, these were legendary in the taxi trade in Germany but for some strange reason they never pushed taxi sales here. Its replacement the W210 quickly became one of the worst rot buckets on the road and the later W211 was notorious for expensive electrical problems and torque converter failure.
Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - gordonbennet

Think we have overlooked the Prius and the Mercedes C Class which are very popular in this area. Prius around town and Merc for airport runs. How do they rate?

Don't have to go far from you to find private hire E Class E220d's doing 400k near enough trouble free and finding willing buyers after wards no trouble.

As you say Prius is earning itself a reputation, pity they've made the latest model look so utterly awful.

Edited by gordonbennet on 05/03/2017 at 17:06

Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - Metropolis.

I've heard people saying this about taxi drivers for years.. but looking at the vehicles being used for taxis in my area i'm not so sure it's true. I've seen them in BMW 5 series, Renaults, Toyotas, Vauxhalls (with the fiat diesel!) and a host of other makes and brands, none seem to really stick. Ironically the Avensis estate that goes round the town centre alot makes some awful sounds like the turbo is playing up. One exception would be the guy driving round in an immaculate but very old volvo 980 auto. Lovely vehicle and always cleaner and better cared for than the newer cars in the trade.

As for best taxi ever, Ford Crown Victoria of any vintage, wins hands down.

Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - JEREMYH

I have a Citroen C15 that I run on Courier work I have had a quite a few of these vans

The one I have now is a 53 plate and has the the DW8 1.9 engine that is simualr to the 406 2.0 HDI and they are the toughest engines I know

I broke one up with 325K on the clock mine now has 130k but I brought it a year ago with 70K on the clock

The toughest bullet proof thing you can get Thats why they use the 406 .

Edited by JEREMYH on 07/03/2017 at 14:02

Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - 72 dudes

I suppose as with everything, there's always exceptions to the rule.

Working p/t in a fuel station, I tend to see a lot of taxi drivers on a regular basis.

I know one who swears by Citroen C5s, he's on his second, no major problems. I also see several Vectra 1.9 CDTis. Another chap changed his 11 plate Skoda Superb Estate for a 10 plate E Class Estate. Yet another swapped his 14 year old A6 with the trusty PD TDi 130 engine (which he ran to about 255k miles) for a 10 year old C Class 220 CDi, which he loves.

Finally there's the older guy who swears only by Mercedes who is on his second S Class 320 CDi. This one is 'only' about 11 years old and looks immaculate.

Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - Steveieb
Interesting. dudes about the old guy with the S class. He probably realises that at his age any crash is going to leave him with life threatening injuries and spending so much time in the cab an accident is inevitable.
So he chose the car he is likely to survive in .And it's interesting to see how this important factor is overlooked when choosing a car . What price do you put on surviving an accident ?
Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - Steveieb
As regards the Peugeot 406 does anyone know about the 12 valve 1.9 diesel as I was looking at one yesterday?
Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - SLO76
As regards the Peugeot 406 does anyone know about the 12 valve 1.9 diesel as I was looking at one yesterday?

The turbocharged 1900 XUD unit was a brilliant engine, probably the best 4cyl diesel on the road at the time and well able to do massive mileages with the correct maintenance, however any left on the road will be at least 18 years old by now so it's a total punt. Personally at this very low value you're better with a less complex petrol engine. Older PSA motors tend to be quite troublesome regarding electrics too. Remember also these require a timing belt, tensioner and water pump every 5yrs and any you look at now will almost certainly be well overdue as the job will cost as much as the car's worth to do.

Edited by SLO76 on 23/03/2017 at 10:15

Proton ? - Destined to become a Taxi - JEREMYH

The XUD are the best engines on the road .

I think you would be more than happy with an old one in 2017 I have run these engines to strarship miles in the past .

Cambelt and water pump change are no big deal £400 at a garage every 4 years is nothing and if you do it yourself gates do the full timing belt kit for £95 so If it was me I would defently go for the old 406

 

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