A car is more than just a vehicle to a taxi driver – it is where they spend their working day, whether they are carrying passengers, grabbing something to eat or catching up on paperwork and errands between fares.
As well as taking passengers and their shopping or luggage wherever they want to go, it must be flexible and versatile to meet the needs of the driver, so it is important that they choose the right tool for the job.
For veteran private hire driver Robert Gooch, the best decision he made was upgrading his Vauxhall Insignia to the new Suzuki Swace three months ago.
Robert, based in Crewe, said: “I know other taxi drivers who have Toyota Corollas which they are really happy with, and this is basically the same car, only cheaper.
“I used to have a Suzuki motorbike which was well built so I thought I’d give it a try and I love it.”
In the three months since picking up his white Suzuki Swace from Patons, Robert has clocked up 9,000 miles and the car has just had its first service – and Robert is delighted with the whole package.
He said: “It went into Suzuki Crewe at 8am and it was ready to go by 10am so I could get on with work – it was fantastic.”
Robert has had many vehicles since becoming a private-hire driver in 1990, but he couldn’t be happier with the Swace.
“It really is a lovely car and a lot of passengers comment on it, although they are confused because they think it’s a Toyota! But it doesn’t just look like the Corolla, the quality and all the technology are also there.
“Before this, I had an Insignia and what a difference this is. There is so much more technology – this really is a clever car – and it has so many things that make driving easier and enjoyable.”
And for Robert, the Swace has been a gamechanger, not only in terms of carrying passengers, but for his career.
He said: “Before Christmas, I was either going to be retiring or getting a new car. Now, I know I will be getting another Suzuki in two years! It is so comfortable which is even more important at my age. It really has made such a difference.
“It does exactly what I need and there is plenty of room, especially in the boot. As well as being a taxi, it is my office. I spend most of my time in it and it is fantastic.”
Robert has also been so impressed with the service he received from Patons Taxis that he will be looking to take out cover through Patons Insurance when his renewal is due.
As well as taxi drivers such as Robert, the Swace has also won over the critics, who have seen beyond the “Corolla with a facelift”.
Autoexpress describes it as “a good all-rounder with a decent level of ride comfort and enough dynamic polish for most”.
“Inside, the cabin feels well screwed together, with plenty of space. Equipment levels are generous and include climate control, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a rear parking camera, a 7-inch colour digital information display and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen.”
Carwow is also positive about the collaboration: “Despite being a badge job, the Swace has some appeal of its own. For starters, the basic package is extremely compelling – the Corolla Touring Sports is not only good to drive and extremely efficient, but it has a big boot and is incredibly reliable. Those qualities all filter through to the Swace.”
Suzuki’s Swace is a nippy-yet-economical stylish petrol hybrid estate has plenty of room for passengers and their luggage.
This revamped model is similar in dimensions to the Toyota Corolla it was created in collaboration with and is now a rival to.
The new 1.8-litre petrol hybrid engine delivers a combined 62 mpg but is exempt from clean air zone and ULEZ charges.
And the automatic gearbox makes driving in busy town and city centres much easier and enjoyable for drivers.
To find out more, call Patons Taxis on 0300 303 2095.