Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - TopScot

Evening. I'm getting rid of my very unreliable Hyundai i40 that has gave me nothing but problems to hopefully a more sensible brand from the VW group. Would this car be able to handle private hire? I haven't seen many about but I've been told they are identical to the seat toledo that can go to starship mileage if looked after. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76
While I do frequently read regular criticism of VAG diesels on here I know numerous taxi owners who've run them to huge mileages including the 62 plate Skoda Superb 2.0 TDi that took me to the pub last weekend with 270k up and never had any major issues.

I know a lot of the local owners and drivers through my last business and the garage I use for my trade vehicles is popular with them with several taxis of various types usually in bits whenever I drop in. They still say that VAG models are the best option factoring in durability and price. The Toyota Avensis was liked but the latest BMW diesels they now use has put a cloud over that option.

There's good reason why they dominate taxi ranks accross the country but they're not vice free. DPF issues are common despite the high mileages taxis cover (even more so post emissions update) and the short timing belt interval is an extra cost. Engine reliability is very dependent on servicing using the correct grade of oil via garages who actually know them well. Any workshop popular with the trade will know them inside out.

As for the Leon I'd say it's a little tight for rear space for a taxi and the FR although a lovely spec I'd suggest it'll be a little firm riding for a taxi that'll spend most of its life in town. I'd favour an Octavia or Superb both with the cheaper 1.6 diesel. The wide alloys on the FR will be prone to damage too.
Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - badbusdriver

Agree with SLO on the leon, lowered sport suspension along with 17" alloys and ultra low profile tyres doesnt seem like a good idea in a taxi!.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Graham567

All taxi's round my way are MK4 Mondeo's.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Avant

The SEAT Toledo is a size up from the Leon, so a better bet as a taxi than the Leon. It's basically the same car as a Skoda Rapid - and an Octavia or Superb would surely be a better taxi than either. See if you can find one with the 1.4 petrol engine - very economical and no DPF to worry about.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Happy Blue!

Toledo or Rapid. Both have excellent room for four people including the driver and lots of luggage. Great for taxying, especially airport runs.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - TopScot

Unfortunately our licensing authority will not let us use anything under a 1.8 for petrol

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Stanb Sevento

Trying to put myself in your positionI have a couple of “observations”. The VAG 2L engine is less trouble than the 1.6L, with fewer problems all round and probably the the most sorted emissions system on the road in spite of all the scandal at the moment. Its important to avoid cars that have had to emissions fix applied, three times the soot.

Have a look at this document I posted from VAG technical support that is the best explanation of the DPF operation I have found to date and it helps if you understand whats going on.

http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/index.htm?t=118532

If you have an Android smart phone get an OBD11 bluetooth unit (£12) and get the free app VAG- DPF-Free. You can monitor the soot loading on the DPF and take action before it becomes a problem. You can also see when an active regen has started and completed and avoid switching off part way through.

My local Shell station tell me the biggest users of their premium fuel are Taxi drivers and my personal experience of much reduced regens would support that.

Another car I would not rule out is the Passat with plenty of ex company cars about and a couple of advantages over the others. eg full size spare wheel will keep you on the road.

I agree with other posters that the difference between petrol and diesel is less than ever and if you expect to operate mainly in a town centre then its worth a thought.

Edited by Stanb Sevento on 14/05/2017 at 09:18

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - skidpan

I loved my Leon hatch but when I swapped one issue for me was the slightly lacking rear seat space. Whilst the estate had a huge boot the rear legroom was identical; to the hatch thus we looked elsewhere.

Having said that the Leon has far more leg room than the Cordoba/Rabid clones, they are based on old model Polo's in reality.

Got a Superb now and space is brilliant for no more money than a Leon. And why buy a potentially troublesome diesel for taxi use. The 1.4 TSi is simply brilliant and no less economical than a 2.0 diesel in town use.

Don't forget that the FR Leon gets lowered sports suspension, sports seats and rubber band tyres on 17" rims none of which are ideal for taxi use. The Superb gets sensible suspension, seats and tyres.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - TopScot

I definitely agree with what you said about shell. Myself and all other taxi drivers I know all use shell v power. It definitely makes a difference, most noticeable are increased MPG, reduced turbo lag and also no DPF probs. All the guys using asda seem to have probs with DPF are EGR

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Engineer Andy

Evening. I'm getting rid of my very unreliable Hyundai i40 that has gave me nothing but problems to hopefully a more sensible brand from the VW group. Would this car be able to handle private hire? I haven't seen many about but I've been told they are identical to the seat toledo that can go to starship mileage if looked after. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Probably worth you letting us know where you are based and what sort of taxi service you provide - mostly urban/city jig-jog driving for short-medium distances, longer suburb/out-of-town driving on faster-moving roads, motorways etc, including to airports etc.

I would say if you're going to be doing lots of urban driving on slow-moving roads, then a hybrid is the answer (Prius or equivalent [not diesel]); for mainly more rural areas on faster-moving roads/more hilly terrain and predominantly long trips (mainly on motorways or similar) to airports, then diesel would be the better bet. The smaller petrol-turbo engined cars are getting better in terms of both reliability and fuel economy (the VAG latest 1.4 TSi 122/140/150 [not old twin charger or chain cam ones] being the pick of the bunch, esp. the 150bhp version), so they may not be out of the picture, especially as they are cheaper to buy than the diesels.

Be wary of getting a VAG car with lots of bells and whistles (as other have said), as I'm sure longer-term reliability and running costs (not having to replace parts so often) will be as important to you as the driving experience and mpg.

I agree that you should shy away from the higher end FR (or equivalent) models, staying at the SE level (or equivalent) which would have manual A/C (instead of climate control), higher profile, less wide tyres (better for comfort, last longer and far cheaper to replace, great if needed regularly), standard suspension (ride better if FR is lowered/firmer) and less fancy electronic gizmos to go wrong (most of which I doubt if you'd need). You can always spec sat nav as a standard upgrade for relatively little outlay compared to most optional extras.

See if you can get an extended test drive without the sales person in tow, perhaps getting a couple of friends/family members to sit in the back seat and bring along some load for the boot to see how it would drive with paying passengers. What age of car are you thinking of buying?

I'm presuming if you're going to be doing extremely high mileage, a new car will be uneconomic due to the high depreciation. If so, a look at the car supermarkets is probably the way to go, rather than via a main dealer (unless you're very lucky to get them just at the right time when trying to offload lots of stock that's been hard to shift due to their higher prices than the car supermarkets). Lots of 1-2 yo diesels on the market at present (presumably due to dieselgate) - just be careful to avoid ones such as the PSA/Ford 'diesel of doom' 1.6 units and close variants (also found in Volvos and Mazdas) which have had a poor reliability track record.

Best of luck.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - TopScot

Thanks all for your time and input. I went to seat and had a look at the more suitable 1.6 leon estate and actually it was a pretty decent all rounder. But in a complete u turn, am now looking at the VW cc 2l. Lovely big car and and as I do a lot of motorway runs, it has the perfect balance of luxuries, refinement, and wow factor. Can anyone advice?

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - badbusdriver

Again though, you seem to be focusing on image rather than what would be best as a taxi. The passat cc has less space in the rear than the regular passat as well as a smaller rear door aperture, so why choose it?. If you want a passat, surely the regular, or better still, estate is going to be the better choice. Also, as the passat cc is the more stylish and sporty version, like the leon FR, it is likely to have the big alloys with ultra low profile tyres which spoil the ride.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76
As soon as it hits the road as a taxi it will plummet in value plus it'll see huge mileage and thus wear and tear so surely the most basic model would be the better choice as a taxi, there's less to go wrong. Every penny you spend over and above will be lost as gadgets and a larger engine will add nothing to the value of a high mileage ex taxi which will be worth the sum total of nothing...

You do however have to be comfortable since you'll spend so much time in it and this has value. I doubt the former riding CC with less space would be any more comfortable than a normal Passat or an Octavia or Superb. In fact the Superb would be my choice if you were doing a lot of distance work.

Edited by SLO76 on 14/05/2017 at 22:55

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Avant

Agreed. If you're buying secondhand, the Superb hatch is less in demand than the estate and will be cheaper - and certainly cheaper than a Passat. Also, any elderly passengers won't thank you for turning up in a low-slung coupe, even a four-door one.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - skidpan

Unfortunately our licensing authority will not let us use anything under a 1.8 for petrol

The idiots who run your licencing authority need to join the modern age. As an example the VAG 1.4 TSi is way better than any 1.8 or 2.0 N/A engine that has ever been made. Its got better performance and way better economy and compared to the diesels beloved of the local authority no DPF issues and no NoX issues.

But they are not on their own. There are plenty of idiots who come on here that refuse to believe that modern engnes are better than their beloved Honda and Mazda petrols that have little flexibilty and poor fuel economy especially whe you rag then to get decent performance.

Perhaps these luddites should still be using engines with hot tube ignition, none of these pesky spark plugs and HT leads to give trouble.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76
"There are plenty of idiots who come on here that refuse to believe that modern engnes are better than their beloved Honda and Mazda petrols"

Usual pleasant self skidpan with a none too subtle insult directed at me yet again.

You may have a different opinion and often when someone is asking about new or nearly new I'll agree but anyone looking on a budget or aiming for longterm reliability there's nothing to beat a normally asperated Japanese engine. I base this on over twenty years of buying and selling cars over which I've seen thousands of cars pass through my hands so I'd say my opinions are based on a hell of a lot of experience.
Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Avant

Horses for courses, as ever, isn't it.

SLO's professional experience backs my own impressions gained just by talking to others. Recently a friend with an 08-registered Audi A4 Avant has said that it's starting to cost them money; another has an 08-registered Volvo V50 that's still going strong. And my neighbour's W-registered Toyota RAV-4 is one of several old Toyotas I know of that just keep on going.

I'm a great fan of VAG cars, having had seven - but so far I haven't kept any of them for more than three years. It would be interesting to hear from people who have owned their VAG cars long-term.

My last Octavia (2.0 TSI petrol) was still as good as new after 49,000 miles and nearly 3 years, so time may be more of a factor than mileage.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - JEREMYH

Spot on

I have a 2000 y reg Toyota Previa D4D that I actully use on courier work a lot. It has 290 thousand on the clock and never gives any trouble

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - badbusdriver

Unfortunately our licensing authority will not let us use anything under a 1.8 for petrol

The idiots who run your licencing authority need to join the modern age. As an example the VAG 1.4 TSi is way better than any 1.8 or 2.0 N/A engine that has ever been made. Its got better performance and way better economy and compared to the diesels beloved of the local authority no DPF issues and no NoX issues.

But they are not on their own. There are plenty of idiots who come on here that refuse to believe that modern engnes are better than their beloved Honda and Mazda petrols that have little flexibilty and poor fuel economy especially whe you rag then to get decent performance.

Perhaps these luddites should still be using engines with hot tube ignition, none of these pesky spark plugs and HT leads to give trouble.

Thats a bit unnecessary skidpan.

In this case the OP wants a car to use as a taxi, something which is potentially going to lead a very hard life. As much as the new breed of small capacity turbo engines appear to offer you cake, and let you eat it, there is no getting away from the fact that long term reliability is still unproven, especially under the kind of usage a taxi is likely to get. Why do you think the london taxi uses such a primative engine?. The 2.7 nissan diesel is nigh on indestructable. Not very fast or economical, granted, but when your livelyhood depends on getting out and picking up fares, known reliability trumps pretty much everything else.

As for other posts SLO has responded to, it is usually people with relatively small budget's meaning cars which may be up to 10 years or more old. so pointing them in the direction of a car which is known to be reliable long term is the only responsible choice. Different if an OP is looking for something which they plan to take on a personal lease type deal.

With regards to flexibility ard fuel economy. The torque of n/a engines are only now considered poor because of how common turbo engines have become (and how heavy cars have become). Back when most cars were n/a, nobody considered it a problem, just drop a gear or 2 if you needed to overtake. In my eperience (which includes using a daihatsu sirion 1.0 as our family car for 3 years), economy doesnt really suffer unles you drive it like a boy racer and feel the need thrash it all the time and to overtake everything going even slightly slower.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - skidpan

Turbo engines are hardly new and putting a turbo on a 1.4 and getting it to produce 150 PS is surely less stressful than putting a turbo on a 1.6 and getting 200 PS or a turbo 2.0 and getting it to produce 280 PS neither of which anyone on here complains about. 100 HP/litre from a Sierra Cosworth turbo was the norm 30 years ago and things have moved on a lot since then so lets all rejoice instead of keep saying they are unproven which is total b00110cks.

I have had several 1.8 N/A engines in the past and they performed much better than any N/A 1.8 or 2 litre engine I have tried recently despite have much less power. The wife tried a Mazda 3 with the 120 PS petrol 2 years ago, what a slug. She bought a Nissan Note 1.2 DIG-S which despite having only 98 PS performs better simply because its has a wider operating range. But the Nissan is crap compared to any VAG TSi.

We have had 2 Micra 1.2 petrols with the 80 PS engine. They performed brilliantly in town and were fine on the open road if your expectations were not too high. The engine was flexible but much of that was because they were low geared, put in gearing to maximise mpg as they do these days and they would have been crap as well.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76
Buying a taxi which will no doubt be expected to run reliably beyond 200,000 miles has less to do with performance than it has to do with simplicity and longevity. Yes a turbocharged small capacity engine will be more efficient and outperform a NA unit but they are still largely untested and historically highly stressed turbocharged petrol engines don't stand up well to six figure mileages. With exception given to pre GM Saabs of old.

VAG's current TSi engines are great but I've yet to see one with heavy mileage and I doubt they'll last as well as a lower revving diesel or less complex NA petrol over such high mileages. Yes they eliminate DPF problems but otherwise they're under far greater duress.

Likewise buying a sub £5k motor should again more about reliability than 30-70 figures. I'd certainly rather put my trust in that slower Mazda NA than a VAG TSi when they're both 7-10yrs old with 80k upwards. I've heard too many sob stories from people who bought complex motors on tight budgets which then went catastrophically wrong.

Thinking back to a thread I started a while back, the best taxis were almost always the most simple designs. The TX4 with Nissan's bombproof NA 2.7 diesel as mentioned by badbusdriver could run to upwards of a million miles. The old NA diesel 2.5 Granadas, Sierras, Bluebirds and Carinas could all hit half a million miles without major failure if maintained properly. NA diesels aren't possible today because of emissions issues but the latest NA petrols should be fit for big six figure mileages with care.

Edited by SLO76 on 15/05/2017 at 14:50

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - TopScot

The TX4 engines were blowing up and I thought it was the Ford engines in the TX4? According to the drivers it is ad they were all going back to TX1 that used the Nissan engine and agreed that engine is completely bomb proof.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76

The TX4 engines were blowing up and I thought it was the Ford engines in the TX4? According to the drivers it is ad they were all going back to TX1 that used the Nissan engine and agreed that engine is completely bomb proof.

Right enough, wee slip from myself there. Did mean TX1. LTI have used numerous engines over the years. The FX4 originally used a 2.2 Austin commercial diesel or rare petrol option then a larger 2.5 version which was then changed for the 2.25 Land Rover diesel. Next came a 2.5 version of the same which was later swapped for the legendary 2.7 Nissan Patrol unit that was pretty hard to kill. 1m miles and more was common on these with ease. The later TX1 used a turbocharged version of this engine but the later TXII does use the much less robust but more efficient Ford Duratorq 2.4 from the Transit. Sadly this is well known for timing chain, fuel injection and DMF problems. The final TX4 model that replaced it was the 2.5 Italian VM diesel as used in Iveco vans which has been around in various forms for almost 40yrs and is unusual in that it's gear driven instead of belt or chain. It wasn't the most robust engine under the hood of Jeeps and Rover 800's and I've no idea how it's standing up to the taxi trade as no one up here seems to buy them with Peugeot now dominating the ranks. I believe the next gen are all electric or hybrid but no clue really. If Toyota Prius is anything to go by and assuming they've bought in the right technology it should work out well but I fear the days of dodgy Joes backstreet garages being able to botch em together in half an hour are numbered.

Edited by SLO76 on 17/05/2017 at 19:31

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - badbusdriver

Turbo engines are hardly new and putting a turbo on a 1.4 and getting it to produce 150 PS is surely less stressful than putting a turbo on a 1.6 and getting 200 PS or a turbo 2.0 and getting it to produce 280 PS neither of which anyone on here complains about. 100 HP/litre from a Sierra Cosworth turbo was the norm 30 years ago and things have moved on a lot since then so lets all rejoice instead of keep saying they are unproven which is total b00110cks.

I have had several 1.8 N/A engines in the past and they performed much better than any N/A 1.8 or 2 litre engine I have tried recently despite have much less power. The wife tried a Mazda 3 with the 120 PS petrol 2 years ago, what a slug. She bought a Nissan Note 1.2 DIG-S which despite having only 98 PS performs better simply because its has a wider operating range. But the Nissan is crap compared to any VAG TSi.

We have had 2 Micra 1.2 petrols with the 80 PS engine. They performed brilliantly in town and were fine on the open road if your expectations were not too high. The engine was flexible but much of that was because they were low geared, put in gearing to maximise mpg as they do these days and they would have been crap as well.

Despite what you seem to think skidpan, this post is not about whether or not a small capacity turbo petrol is better or not than a n/a car. It is about what kind of car would make a suitable taxi. Maybe it is different where you live, but where i live, although there are petrol powered taxi's, they are not small capacity turbo's. And while that may make them luddites to you, to me, that makes the long term reliability of them, as taxi's, unproven. So unless you feel that taxi's have a much easier life than your average family car then the point is valid, and not, as you so eloquently put it, b00110cks.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SteVee

I'm surprised that the licencing authority take no notice of the turbo-charging on petrol cars - they must take notice of this on diesels though. The VAG 1.4 TSi should be compared to a normally aspirated 2L petrol. I wouldn't consider it any more stressed than a 2L 4. I was initially more concerned with the cylinders on demand idea, though this appears to be no problem in practice (unlike the VVC mechanism on my MGF :-( )

As a taxi-customer, I'd want a standard sedan/saloon or wagon/estate, riding on decent size tyres. I'd be very happy if my local taxi turned up with a Passat or Skoda superb.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - skidpan

Yes they eliminate DPF problems but otherwise they're under far greater duress.

What utter nonsense. You have obviously never driven a small petrol turbo, you have definitely never driven a VAG TSi. I can drive at very decent speeds on the road using every overtaking oportunity using very little throttle and never go above 4000 rpm. In a 2 litre N/A petrol I would use far more throttle and far more revs.

In truth neither engine will be under any duress unless they are held at or near the redline for prolonged periods under heavy loads which is vitually impossible to achive on the public road at legal speeds even fully loaded with a trailer on the back.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76
"What utter nonsense. You have obviously never driven a small petrol turbo"

I've driven hundreds of them skidpan, far more than yourself. I've bought and sold them, viewed and checked them for customers who've then sold me their trade ins rather than accept buttons from the dealer. Recent examples were an Ibiza 1.2 TSi FR I negotiated a great deal on and hoovered a nice Astra p/x, a Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost Titanium (I actually recommended a 1.25 but she wanted all the toys) took a nice Picasso and a Leon 1.2 TSi SE that I scooped a tidy Mazda 2 on.

I've been at this game a long time, have a lot of experience and I've saved a lot of people money over the years while you base your views solely on your own experiences with your own solitary late model low mileage purchases of which you make what one every 4yrs or so?

By duress I mean that it's basic common sense that to produce more power from a small engine you put said motor and components under higher stress. Diesels by comparison run at far lower rpm and without all the emissions control additions would be as they once were far more durable as a result. It's not generally Diesel engines themselves which give trouble but all the additional tech required to clean them up and normally asperated petrol engines of say 2.0 compared to a turbocharged 1.4 are under less pressure and do tend to last longer.

Now I agree that for the likes of yourself who tends to buy new or nearly new then disposes before it hits 4-5yrs old then you will not experience much trouble but for those running a car for longterm the less stress the engine is under and the less complex it is the longer it's likely to last. A trip to any local auction house will flag up loads of turbocharged performance stuff with EML's lit and a multitude of problems. Put simply, if there's more to go wrong it will.

Edited by SLO76 on 15/05/2017 at 18:49

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Avant

This is a perfectly reasonable subject for debate, so there's no need for words like 'nonsense' or attempts to avoid the swear filter.

What would be interesting would be to find taxi-drivers who have changed to petrol (VAG TSIs in particular) to avoid DPF problems with their short urban journeys. Or maybe modern diesels have fewer such problems, given that the engine of a taxi stays warm most of the time?

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Manatee

Ciaran did say that those using V-Power diesel seemed to be avoiding problems, but those using Asda had EGR and DPF trouble.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - TopScot

Yes - very few Taxi drivers I know use supermarket diesels. We have all moved to bp ultimate and or shell v power.I know there is alot of debate about the quality and difference. But talking for myself and other drivers that use shell v power none of us have had any bother with the DPF or egr. I'm currently on 120k and never had any dpf troubles. I might just be lucky however

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76

Yes - very few Taxi drivers I know use supermarket diesels. We have all moved to bp ultimate and or shell v power.I know there is alot of debate about the quality and difference. But talking for myself and other drivers that use shell v power none of us have had any bother with the DPF or egr. I'm currently on 120k and never had any dpf troubles. I might just be lucky however

Concur completely. I've never had an EGR or DPF issue with any car I've owner or ran and can only conclude that my aversion to supermarket fuels is the reason. Most of the taxi drivers I know including my older brother only use it when there's no other option.
Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76
"What would be interesting would be to find taxi-drivers who have changed to petrol (VAG TSIs in particular) to avoid DPF problems with their short urban journeys. Or maybe modern diesels have fewer such problems, given that the engine of a taxi stays warm most of the time?"

Agree Avant, I know a lot of local owners and drivers but none of them have switched to them but outdated local authority legislation is a barrier in most regions. Our shower don't allow anything under 1600cc, a rule that dates from the 80's when a 1.6 Sierra had 75bhp compared to up to 140bhp from a 1.0 Ecoboost Ford or 150bhp from a 1.4 TSi VAG today and private hire must be under 4yrs old when first registered as a taxi and taken off at 7yrs all of which is nonsense as we all know that a well maintained 7 or 8yr old family car with average mileage could make a very cost effective and safe taxi.

Such legislation and differing tastes make for some interesting variations accross the country. Our local drivers tend to stick to VAG diesels mostly Rapid, Toledo, Passat, Octavia and Superb. Talk to any who've tried running Fiat engined Insignias, PSA powered Mondeos or Peugeots and you'll hear plenty of costly woe and the bulk of them tend to frequent a small number of local garages who specially cater for taxi owners. These are the guys to speak to regarding durability of any particular brand.

I have seen a fair number of petrol powered Toyota Avensis and there's one running an MG6 diesel but I've never spoken to him. It's been on for 3yrs or so now so must be standing up ok. But largely most speak highly of VAG diesels with few DPF complaints considering the high accumulated mileages involved. There is one local firm advertising DPF deletion and remapping however with emphasis in their advertising on VAG models so maybe it's common and owners keep quiet about it.

I always take note of what's being used by the local taxi trade whenever I travel around and although VAG are pretty dominant over all there are places with strange alternatives. Once in Cardiff many years back almost half the private hires I seen were petrol Rover 600's which although reliable and cheap to buy they were thirsty old things. In Blackpool recently there seemed to be loads of Vauxhall Insignias and to listen to the driver who ran us into town you have to wonder why. He'd spent a fortune on repairs over the years and would happily have driven it into the sea.



Edited by SLO76 on 15/05/2017 at 21:05

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Stanb Sevento
"What would be interesting would be to find taxi-drivers who have changed to petrol (VAG TSIs in particular) to avoid DPF problems with their short urban journeys. Or maybe modern diesels have fewer such problems, given that the engine of a taxi stays warm most of the time?"



I think thats the key SL076 its the repeated short runs with the engine never getting a chance to run at full temperature. The later EURO5 engines regenerate very easily, 5 to 10 minutes at 50 does mine and the only way you know is the fuel consumption takes a hit. The DPF bolted straight on to the cylinderhead helps with this. The problems start if you repeatedly interup the regeneration. I always check the ideling speed befor switching off and try to drive another couple of miles if its high. In fact a light on the dash to tell you would avoid a lot of problems.
Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Nomag

First of all I would like to back up what SLO76 says. There are far too many "long term" reviews based on 6 or 12 months of ownership, never mind 3 or 4. Anyone who changes their puchased from new vehicle ever 3-4 years is unlikely to experience any significant reliability issues. That of course does not mean they have a vehicle with long term reliability. Even HJ is guilty ol regularly recommending vehicles based on his "long term" tests of 6-12 months. Yes these give a good idea of real life mpg, but not of reliability. For example, he waxed lyrical about his diesel Mazda 6, yet the internet is full of reports of trouble with the 2.2 Skyactiv diesel.

And to echo an earlier comment, surely the perfect taxi is something with the Toyota hybrid drivetrain: prius/auris tourer. These seem very affordable nearly new from the car supermarkets, have the 1.8 petrol reqd by the OP, and are repeatedly quoted as being able to cope with starship mileages with minimal maintenance costs. They would obviously not be the vehicle of choice for purely long airport runs, but I would have thought ideal for mixed taxi use.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76
Toyota Hybrid sales have been boosted by the success of the Prius as a taxi accross the globe. I admit to thinking it the power train wouldn't stand up to it but it's proven me totally wrong, they're extremely robust and also very relaxing to drive in town/city settings.

Skoda went from strength to strength when they embraced the taxi industry with the Octavia and Superb. It shows confidence in the product when a firm actively seeks sales from such heavy usage buyers and it gets plenty of bums on seats infront of odometers with six figure mileages. If you're sat in a car that's still running well with a quarter of a million miles up it doesn't half boost your confidence in it.

I made this argument back in the late 90's when our firm took on a Proton franchise and I got talking to the head of sales for the UK importer. I suggested that they should offer the taxi trade incentives on the then new Persona 2.0 TDi and also reintroduce the older non-turbo 2.0 SDi. Both were mechanically bombproof, spacious enough and could've dominated taxi ranks accross the country at the right money. Sadly greed had misted their eyes and they were aiming for maximum profit per unit instead of volume. I was told that they believed pursuing taxi sales would devalue the brand, something I totally disagreed with and sadly this attitude was ultimately to lead to the downfall of Proton in the U.K.... should've hired me instead.

Edited by SLO76 on 16/05/2017 at 00:11

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Big John

And to echo an earlier comment, surely the perfect taxi is something with the Toyota hybrid drivetrain: prius/auris tourer. These seem very affordable nearly new from the car supermarkets, have the 1.8 petrol reqd by the OP, and are repeatedly quoted as being able to cope with starship mileages with minimal maintenance costs. They would obviously not be the vehicle of choice for purely long airport runs, but I would have thought ideal for mixed taxi use.

These are fascinating devices with surprisingly simple oily bits. Effectively two motor/generators coupled by epicyclic gears with a mechanical take off between them and an engine at one end. Basically depending on how the motor/generators are electronically controlled determines whether car propels just on electricity / via engine and whether the engine can use one of the motors as a generator - the Constant Varaible Transmition ratios are also controlled via electronic control of the same motor/generators. There is no seperate starter motor, alternator, clutch, DMF. At present they are also port injection.

Compared to a modern gearbox eg VAG DSG there are very few moving parts

On big problem - most of the cars that have this drive train are pug ugly

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - daveyK_UK
If I was going to buy a car to use as a private hire taxi top of the list would be a petrol 1.8 manual Toyota Avensis estate.
Ultra reliable, good fuel economy, simple design.


We own 2 Skoda Rapid 1.2 tsi used by our business. Both will be sold the day before the warranty runs out.
In fairness, the engines have been fine so far, good fuel economy and plenty of power.
But I have little confidence in this engine as stories of premature chain failure can easily be found.
Furthermore, VAG UK don't stand by their products once the warranty runs out despite vehicles having full service history

VAG are now stopping production of the 1.2 tsi and replacing it with a 1.0
Likewise the 1.4 tsi is being stopped replaced with a 1.5


The best small turbo units I have driven are the Suzuki 1.0 eco boost and Suzuki 1.4 turbo jet

The Vauxhall 1.0 is also worth a mention, likewise the Peugeot/Citroen 1.2 pure tech is a good engine

I am yet to drive the new Honda 1.0 and 1.5 litre engines, I assume they are the best as Honda make fantastic engines; it's a shame Honda cars in the UK are over priced.

Dacia/Renault 0.9 tce turbo engine is ok

Edited by daveyK_UK on 16/05/2017 at 00:43

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - skidpan

I've driven hundreds of them skidpan, far more than yourself

Well I could say on any forum I have driven thousands but the truth is I have driven 8. 2 were 125 PS 1.4’s, 3 were 140 PS 1.4’s, 2 were 150 PS 1.4’s and 1 was a 90 PS 1.2. All have been excellent but in truth the 1.2 90 PS did disappoint slightly but it had only done 7 miles so it may have been tight still.

But I drove one 1.4 TSi 140 PS in the Leon for 45 months and 27,000 miles and have now driven the Superb with the 1.4 150 PS engine for 3 months which I think you would have to agree is more miles and more time than you have spent driving your trade ins meaning my opinion is far more valid.

We own 2 Skoda Rapid 1.2 tsi used by our business. Both will be sold the day before the warranty runs out. But I have little confidence in this engine as stories of premature chain failure can easily be found.

As far as I am aware the Rapid, along with the Cordoba 1.2/1.4 TSi’s were all fitted with the new engines when they were introduced early in 2013. All Polo's made from that date along with Skoda Fabia's have the belt drive engine so I would expect that should mean your Rapids also have belt cam engines.

Likewise the 1.4 tsi is being stopped replaced with a 1.5

Not because of reliability issues. The new engine is supposedly cleaner and will meet future emmision requirements.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - oldroverboy.

I recently helped some elderly neighbours (he will be 80 soon) buy a Kia venga 1.4 89hp (so not stressed) 6 year old car with a full main dealer ontime service history as it has a 1 year Kia warranty to take it to the full 7 years available. Guess what.. It drove as well as mine, felt and looked like new except for minor stone chip in the windscreen.

I have not come across a complaint about this engine which has been used since 2009 where the service regime has been followed.

Unstressed gets my vote. Ford ecoboost and other 3 cyl turbos do not.

Edited by oldroverboy. on 17/05/2017 at 12:07

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Engineer Andy

I've driven hundreds of them skidpan, far more than yourself

Well I could say on any forum I have driven thousands but the truth is I have driven 8. 2 were 125 PS 1.4’s, 3 were 140 PS 1.4’s, 2 were 150 PS 1.4’s and 1 was a 90 PS 1.2. All have been excellent but in truth the 1.2 90 PS did disappoint slightly but it had only done 7 miles so it may have been tight still.

But I drove one 1.4 TSi 140 PS in the Leon for 45 months and 27,000 miles and have now driven the Superb with the 1.4 150 PS engine for 3 months which I think you would have to agree is more miles and more time than you have spent driving your trade ins meaning my opinion is far more valid.

We own 2 Skoda Rapid 1.2 tsi used by our business. Both will be sold the day before the warranty runs out. But I have little confidence in this engine as stories of premature chain failure can easily be found.

As far as I am aware the Rapid, along with the Cordoba 1.2/1.4 TSi’s were all fitted with the new engines when they were introduced early in 2013. All Polo's made from that date along with Skoda Fabia's have the belt drive engine so I would expect that should mean your Rapids also have belt cam engines.

Likewise the 1.4 tsi is being stopped replaced with a 1.5

Not because of reliability issues. The new engine is supposedly cleaner and will meet future emmision requirements.

To be fair to SLO76, he presumably wasn't talking about the amount of miles he's driven in specific cars with TSi engines, but the overall amount of car miles driven as dealer and working with cars older than 3-4 years old and upwards of 50,000 miles on the clock. One could ask the question as to why you change cars at around the 3-4yo mark which you love and that are apparently great to drive and very reliable (changing, even at that time, would be vastly more expensive than keeping a reliable car for another few years at least).

I'm not saying they're not reliable over the 5 year mark, but I think that was the point SLO76 perhaps was making, especially when VAG have made many changes to their TSi engines over the years, more than just the odd tweak here and there as was/is the case with car firms using normally-aspirated engines.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76
Spot on Andy. I'm looking at it from through the eyes of someone who sees on a daily basis the issues that older motors flag up and more complexity adds up to more problems. I'm not saying the current aTSi units are bad, in fact I frequently recommend them for people who buy new or nearly new but they are untested In the longterm and historically turbocharged small capacity motors don't stack up well durability wise. It's not a new phenomenon either. They were popular in the 80's with 1.0 Daihatsu Charade GTti, Renault 5/11 1.4 turbo, Fords 1.6 RS Turbo and Volvo's 1.7 turbo all of which suffered plenty of problems as they aged while the equivalent and less stressed normally asperated versions were largely vice free with exception of Fords CVH which tended to need valve stem oil seals after 70k or so. Not a disaster mind.
Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - daveyK_UK

As far as I am aware the Rapid, along with the Cordoba 1.2/1.4 TSi’s were all fitted with the new engines when they were introduced early in 2013. All Polo's made from that date along with Skoda Fabia's have the belt drive engine so I would expect that should mean your Rapids also have belt cam engines.

I admire your loyalty to all things VAG but once again you have allowed your loyalty to over ride the facts.

The 1.2 tsi in the rapid/toledo up until 2015 is the chain, at sometime in 2015 the belt engine was introduced - this is the information on the owners forum

I have found a good skoda dealer who is both proffesional and honest, he has told me their is little chance of good will from VAG if it ever went wrong out of warranty 'they are not that type of company' was his quote.

Next time I will forget about saving a few hundred and go back to a Japanese manufacturer.

Its a shame the current Suzuki Baleno was not introduced at the time I purchased the Rapid's as the car is generously spec'd, excellently priced and good rear leg room.

Its only fair to point out the local taxi firm main vehicle is Skoda Rapid 1.6 diesel's, they have recently got rid of their 13 plate ones and replaced them with new 66 plate Rapid 1.6 diesels and Astra 1.6 diesel estates.

I take a taxi once a week and the drivers of the Rapid's talk highly of them, with few issues reported.

The main gripe seems to be the mid range spec doesnt come with reverse parking sensors and a few have said its difficult to reverse park in the rain.




Edited by daveyK_UK on 17/05/2017 at 14:43

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Stanb Sevento

Am I missing something here, why are engines like the 1.4 TSi 150ps seen as stressed, I don’t get it. The same power as the 2L TDi but with a couple of mm less piston diameter and a shorter strike, how can that be stressed? What stresses an engine are high revs and high piston speeds. Diesels have high piston speeds because of their long strokes even although they don’t rev high and they last forever. ( well you take my point)

The car engine is one of the most developed and best understood things on the planet and I can’t think of any component that would have a problem with these designs. What is it that fails? Any petrol turbo is a week point because the big makes buy cheap, heat management is likely to need something better than average. but what else?

If these engines are failing I’d bet its down to poor cheapo manufacturing not anything to do with the basic design. Really am I missing something?

Edited by Stanb Sevento on 17/05/2017 at 13:07

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - SLO76
"Am I missing something here, why are engines like the 1.4 TSi 150ps seen as stressed, I don’t get it."

If you ask an engine to produce more power through forced induction then you put more pressure on all components. Look at high performance Subaru's and Evos which require forged pistons etc when you lift power beyond a certain level. The reason being they're under higher pressure.

Historically forced induction versions of engines were less able to cope with age and mileage while larger capacity less stressed engines can run and run. Old 2.9 V6 Ford or GM's relaxed straight 6 3.0 were good examples of low stressed engines that would easily outlast a smaller but equally powerful 4cyl turbo such as the RS Cosworth, Rover 800 turbo etc etc. Renaults 1.4/1.7 turbos were also weakened by it compared to NA equivalents.

The TSi VAG units may prove to be robust in the longterm but until they start hitting six figure mileages we won't know. All we can do is go on past evidence and the normally asperated motor generally lasts better purely because of it relative simplicity.
Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Stanb Sevento
If you ask an engine to produce more power through forced induction then you put more pressure on all components. Look at high performance Subaru's and Evos which require forged pistons etc when you lift power beyond a certain level. The reason being they're under higher pressure.

Would not disagree with any of that SLO76 but the piont I am trying to make is that these are not a standard engines that they have bolted a turbo to. They have been designed from the ground up to do this job. To the best of my knowledge all diesels have forged cranks and pistons and many have forged conrods as well. This makes diesel engines expensive. Its perfectly possible that the TSi engines ar built the same, they cost enough. Interestingly the new 1.5 TSI costs more than the 1.6 diesel and only around £600 less than the 2.0 L. Maybe Im just more optamistic than some but it will all come out in the wash eventualy.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - corax
If these engines are failing I’d bet its down to poor cheapo manufacturing not anything to do with the basic design. Really am I missing something?

Yes, you're missing VAG's previous track record involving engine design failures over the last few years. Browse through a few like 1.4 Supercharged TSi, 2.0 PD engine, 1.2 three cylinder engine. You'd think everything is known about engines but someone should have asked the engineer who decided for example that a hexagonal shaft oil pump drive interference fitted into a round hole if it was a good idea, given all the historical knowledge.

It should have been,

"What about this idea?"

"We tried that in 680AD. It didn't work".

It's more like,

"Lets see if this works, and if it doesn't, oh well, we'll just let the customers pick up the tab, it's out of our hands now".

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - skidpan

Am I missing something here, why are engines like the 1.4 TSi 150ps seen as stressed, I don’t get it.

You are not missing anything, the 1.4 TSi especially in 140 and 150 PS derivatives is a relaxed easy going motor. No need to thrash it to get excellent performance and even when overtaking it rarely needs more than probably 1/2 throttle and 4000 rpm.

I have driven the normally aspirated Mazda 2.0 in both the 3 (120 PS) and the 6 (150 PS) and both required far more revs and throttle to get the same performance which is ultimately more stressful for the engine but far more tiring for the driver. Our neighbour at the old address had a last model 3 sport with the 140 PS petrol fitted, he hated it. Although not really suitable for his use he went back to a turbo diesel

On the motorway the Seat was doing 2500 rpm at a genuine 70 mph, the Superb does a few less. If anyone says that is stressful on the engine they need taking out and rodgering with a blunt stick. Back in the 90's our supposedly 1.8 unstressed unturbo'd petrols were doing 3500 at 70 mph and never wore out.

Fact is regardless of fuel, or induction type any car needs a certain amount of power/torque to happilly cruise along at the legal limit. Its probably less than 30 bhp in a typical family hatch leaving on average about 100 bhp or so surplus, our supposedly unstressed 90's hatches only had about 70 bhp spare.

As for certain cars having forged pistons to allow for the expected stresses those are cars that are expected to be thrashed on a regular basis. Our vet had an Impezza that had been chipped to over 400 bhp, the engine lasted about 6 months.

My Catherham has a 2 litre Zetec out of a Mk 1 Focus. Bought brand new from Fords in a bright yellow crate there have been no changes to any internal components. By fitting a free flowing aftermarket induction and exhaust the power increased from about the 135 PS quoted to near 175 bhp and it gets a good work out on a regular basis like it has for 10 years now, no issues. Many people have fitted cams and had the heads ported at which point the engine should be producing 210 bhp + when correctly mapped and there are very few failures of standard components. What failures there have been have mostly been due to the owners skimping on essential items like a good sump (but that would have caused a standard engine to fail as well).

We have never had it so good so for pitties sake stop moaning. Or perhaps you all want side valve engines to drive behind while you legally use your Nokia 3310. For the record I sent 2 to Dogs trust last year. Like side valve engines good in their day but hardly much use now.

One could ask the question as to why you change cars at around the 3-4yo mark which you love and that are apparently great to drive and very reliable (changing, even at that time, would be vastly more expensive than keeping a reliable car for another few years at least).

I change because I can afford to and experience has shown keeping a car for 6 or 7 years (even reliable VW's) leaves such a big financial gap it makes far more sense to find less money every 3 or 4 years (especially when you get contributions and/or 0% finanace). Obviously it costs a bit more but not that much.

Edited by skidpan on 17/05/2017 at 15:59

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - oldroverboy.

I change because I can afford to and experience has shown keeping a car for 6 or 7 years (even reliable VW's) leaves such a big financial gap it makes far more sense to find less money every 3 or 4 years (especially when you get contributions and/or 0% finanace). Obviously it costs a bit more but not that much.

Skidpan...I'm with you there.. I can afford to, and nothing out of manufacturers warrany!

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - bazza

These small petrol turbos exist only to allow manufacturers to meet emission and economy regulations. And it's well known that in the real world they are deficient, hence why the trend is away from them over the next few years. I can't speak for the 1.4 tsi but the Ecoboost 1.0 I have driven a lot, it's impressive but the power delivery is non-linear and lacks flexibility compared to N/A petrols. For example, the 1.0 ecoboost is ultimately a lot quicker than Ford's own 1.25 Yamaha unit and the old 1.4 petrol, but both are far easier and more flexible to drive normally. Performance is not everything, Personally, I also enjoy revving a nice smooth petrol engine through its range, part of driving to me and something I miss with my 1.9 PD motor.

The biggest problem with the Ecoboost appears to be thermal stress, all turbo petrol engines produce huge amounts of heat. The smaller ones must be on boost most of the time. Cooling and lubrication needs to be perfect,which in turn means perfect servicing. I would only consider a new one, simply for that reason, as most owners don't even know they've got a turbo let alone how to look after it. Skidpan's ownership model is probably a good one for this type of engine, if not the cheapest, it avoids big bills as those motors age.But I would still prefer a N/A unit overall for durability and flexibility.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - TopScot

Thanks alot for your input people. After lots of test driving, various skodas, seats, VWs - I've decided to go with the vw cc. I've spoken to many drivers that have driven those CCs to starship mileages, many with the DSG. To be safe however I've decided to go with the manual. Many thanks again. Ps don't go near a hyundai - they are the most unreliable cars on the planet, worse than an insignia!! and cost an absolute fortune for parts!

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - gordonbennet

I'm surpised that your Hyundai ownership has been so disappointing, have they gone too far too high tech too upmarket too soon i wonder, never heard regular bad reports on Sonata or its Kia cousin Magentis, either of which had they been offered in estate form would now be sitting on our drive, serious bargains if you don't need estate, seemingly unfashionable and unloved by the general motoring public as older Hyundai/Kias were so recently, so what's gone wrong at Hyundai?

Edited by gordonbennet on 21/05/2017 at 09:50

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Engineer Andy

Best of luck with your choice. I would note that you may have just been unlucky with your Hyundai - every make still has 'lemon' cars, just not as many as they used to. A now former colleague (who does 30k+ miles a year) of mine took over another colleague's diesel i40 estate a couple of months ago and hadn't had any problems with it. One 'bad apple' doesn't make an orchard.

In the past, Hyundais/KIAs always had expensive parts because they had to be imported from Korea, but I was under the impression they were reducing in cost due to many now being manufacturerd in Europe and the greater numbers of their cars being sold here - perhaps not. Anyway, it'll be interesting (as with the VAG TSi engined cars) for views/reports of more longer-term, higher mileage owners of Hyundais and KIAs to be known, such as yourself.

Be wary of writing an 'angry' owner's review (when the proverbial 'red mist' is up) for you previous Hyundai - whilst you have experienced problems with it, the overall experience after thinking about it might be slightly less bad - what was the drive like when it wasn't broken down, mpg (bear in mind its rare for modern mpg figures to be achieved due to the rubbish EU test), dealership experience, etc. Don't just give every rating 1 out of 5 just because some aspects of the ownership experience were poor - the reviews are there to inform as dispassionately as possible.

Like all motoring websites, this one probably has more members (myself included) that tend towards a certain type of car ownership as well as age, as opposed to some of the motoring magazines or 'specialist' websites/mags, so the opinions on the forum can be skewed a bit, though hopefully in the right way for the most part.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - TopScot

Definitely take on board what you are saying. alot of taxi drivers have had problems with the i40s. And it's all the same problem - clutches, master cylinders etc.The 140s are stunning looking cars, but what's put me off buying another is the cost for parts.

Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - daveyK_UK
I am not sure why but Hyundai have always struggled with their clutches and transmission.

Been having problems with it in various models ever since they were introduced to the UK
Seat Leon - 2L Estate TDI (FR Model) - Good for private hire taxi? - Engineer Andy

Definitely take on board what you are saying. alot of taxi drivers have had problems with the i40s. And it's all the same problem - clutches, master cylinders etc.The 140s are stunning looking cars, but what's put me off buying another is the cost for parts.

Thanks for the insight - it appears that (I just read the 'Good & Bad' section of both the saloon and tourer versions) a few others have had similar issues, even with the auto version - not at VAG DSG levels of complaints, though I'm sure that is partially due to the far higher numbers on the roads of VAG cars.

The odd thing is that the manual box issue appeared from the first 'bad' comment to be down to changing supplier around 2014 (which yours, if a manual, could've been affected by), but doesn't sound as though the problem has been cured yet, though it may be down to a few dealers who are reluctant about paying for repairs if the manufacturer isn't interested.

 

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