If you’re a taxi driver, your choice of vehicle is a huge decision to make. You’ll be committing to this car for several years, and it will be a key part of your livelihood. The vehicle you need will depend on your priorities, the type of taxi service you offer, and the rules & regulations in the city or area where you operate.
We’ve put together a list of cars that are known to be reliable and cost-efficient, as well as comfortable & spacious for your passengers.
A note before we continue
It goes without saying, but check the rules and regulations in your area before you commit to a car. In London for example, any taxi presented for licensing for the first time must be zero emissions capable. Taxis in Manchester have to be white or silver to be considered for licensing. In Glasgow, you can’t drive a petrol car that was registered before 2005. Contact your local authority or council to find the relevant information.
Your choice of car will also depend on the type of service you offer. If you plan to run an airport taxi service, then multiple seats and plenty of cargo space are a must. If you are applying for a car-sharing service such as Uber then there will be other requirements.
With all that said, let’s take a look at some cars that make excellent taxis…
Which cars make the best taxis?
Price when new: From £23,449
A popular choice for company cars as well as taxis thanks to their ruthless fuel efficiency. The hybrid engine uses an electric motor at low speeds, with a battery that reclaims energy from braking and the engine when it’s idling. This is paired with a small petrol engine which kicks in when you need a little extra power. As it’s a hybrid, you don’t need access to an electric charging point – you simply fill up at a petrol station just like you would with a conventional car.
The big draw of the Prius is the very low fuel bill, as the car can do a realistic 60 miles to the gallon. On the down side, the acceleration can be a little sluggish compared to similar-sized petrol cars, and the rear leg room isn’t that great.
Skoda Octavia Hatchback
Price when new: From £20,125
You’ve probably seen plenty of taxi drivers behind the wheel of this car, and for good reason. It’s extremely spacious both in terms of leg room and boot space – a must for a taxi. Running costs are also relatively low and it offers a quiet and smooth ride. The biggest complaint that we’ve heard about the Octavia is that although they are generally reliable, the automatic gearbox is prone to mechanical issues, so approach with caution especially if you plan to buy a second-hand model.
Price when new: From £19,050
A sturdy car from a famously reliable manufacturer, the Passat is another big saloon that offers plenty of space for passengers and luggage alike. It also sits in a lower insurance group than many comparable cars on this list, which is another big plus! There is a hybrid model which will give you better fuel efficiency – if you’re willing to swallow the bigger up-front cost.
Price when new: £23,975
Another popular car amongst taxi drivers, the Superb is very spacious and offers excellent fuel efficiency. It also sits in a low insurance group, making it a good fit for more price-conscious drivers. Some drivers however find the ride a little unrefined and the gearbox can be a bit temperamental when driving in traffic.
Mercedes E-Class Saloon
Price when new: From £37,795
The new E-Class is a stylish and comfortable – but admittedly expensive – premium saloon. You and your passengers will certainly be able to travel in luxury but it comes at a price. A brand new one will cost in the region of £40K and they sit in a higher insurance group than many of the cars on this list. But on the plus side it’s also partly electric and will give you fantastic fuel efficiency.
Citroen Berlingo Multispace
Price when new: From £22,275
Moving on to the minivans now, the Citroen Berlingo Multispace can be configured with five or seven seats, with plenty of luggage space – making it an ideal airport taxi. It’s also relatively inexpensive to buy and insure. However as a cheaper vehicle, some find it a little uncomfortable to drive at high speeds. Others have also noted that the interior feels cheap.
Price when new: From £33,100
If you find the Citroen Berlingo a bit cheap & nasty, the Ford Galaxy is the more upmarket big brother. There’s ample space for seven adults and their luggage, and it offers a smooth & refined ride. The extra comfort comes at a cost though, at around £10K more expensive than the Berlingo.
Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle
Price when new: From £40,238.00
If you thought the price tag of the Ford Galaxy was too tough to swallow, look away now! A brand new Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle will set you back at least 40 grand! But for your money you get up to 9 seats, refined comfort & reliability, as well as a state-of the art infotainment system.