At one time, the term "taxi" was nearly synonymous with "Ford Crown Victoria"; but with production ending on the Panther-platform sedans more than a year ago, it seems the more practical compact van configurations will slowly replace the V-8-powered, rear-drive sedans. Nissan will obviously get a substantial chunk of the market with its " Taxi of Tomorrow " for New York City, but Ford is hoping for a major piece of the taxi market with its 2014 Transit Connect Taxi.
The current Transit Connect is a common sight in many municipalities as a Taxi, and Ford hopes the design changes made on the 2014 model will increase its popularity even further with taxi fleets. The 2014 model's lower roofline allows for more possibilities for rooftop advertising for fleets, and a lower step-in height makes ingress and egress more comfortable for passengers. The 2014 Transit Connect Taxi is also designed to accommodate a wheelchair-accessible conversion.
The Taxi model will be offered with Ford's tried-and-true 2.5-liter naturally aspirated I-4 engine, and will be available with a prep package to convert it to run on compressed natural gas or propane (LPG). The exclusive transmission will be a six-speed automatic for North American models. Ford is claiming improvements in power and economy with the new 2.5/six-speed combination over the outgoing 2.0-liter engine and four-speed automatic.
The long-wheelbase configuration has two rows of seating in the taxi configuration, with 60.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the second-row seat, far more than could ever be stuffed into the trunk of a Crown Vic. Like other 2014 Transit Connect models, the taxi will be offered with an available rearview camera, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen display with navigation and MyFord touch. Projected availability for the Transit Connect Taxi is in the first quarter of 2014.