What are the best cars for taxis?

small suzuki swace hybrid vehicle in white

This is the most important question a taxi driver faces and the answer comes down to affordability and practicality – does it do what I need it to do and can I afford it?

We all have our favourites, as well as names we will steer clear of for a variety of reasons. But taxi drivers will draw on their own experience and personal circumstances before making such an important decision.

To EV or not to EV

The biggest decision at the moment is whether to make the switch to EVs or stick with petrol and diesel. Drivers must weigh up the cost of running a fossil-fuel car, including rising fuel costs and congestion charging, against the initial price of and the range of an EV.

The third option, which has often been dismissed as neither one or the other, is hybrid, and has actually turned out to be a very strong contender, offering taxi drivers the best of both worlds.

Suzuki Swace/Toyota Corolla

With this in mind, we start with reliability and quality, which is why Toyota has long been a trusted brand among taxi drivers, whether it was the sturdy Carina E saloon, the pioneering Prius, or the ever-popular Corolla.

The Corolla Touring Sports is a popular choice for taxi drivers, offering reliability, affordability, comfort, as well as room for passengers and their belongings. The 1.8 self-charging hybrid engine comfortably delivers 60mpg and the car is packed with technology to make driving easier and more enjoyable.

And there’s a twist. Toyota and Suzuki combined to create the Suzuki Swace – everything you get with the Corolla, but for less. And they are hugely in demand with taxi drivers. Patons prices start from £26,995.

MG5 EV Estate

Car manufacturers seem to have realised that EVs don’t need to look like something built from a Meccano set and have sent their designers back to the drawing board to create vehicles people like the look of. And that’s what happened in 2022 with the MG5 EV estate. The unremarkable box on wheels has been replaced by something much more stylish, yet practical for the needs of a taxi driver, with space for passengers and plenty of boot room.

Range remains a concern when buying EVs and the Exclusive Long Range delivers 250 miles of combined motoring, while those based in towns and cities can get up to 344 miles.

It’s also exempt from congestion charges, which will save cabbies at least £12 a day.

Patons prices start at £18,000 for a 72-plate with less than 700 miles on the clock. MG’s RRP is £30,995.

Kia Niro EV

Sticking with EVs, another brand that has undergone a huge makeover in terms of style and performance is Kia. Its designers have really pulled out all the stops to distance today’s cars from the bland look of the late 1990s and early Noughties to create something that turns heads and even has others follow.

Looks aside, the Kia Niro EV is a popular family-sized SUV that delivers 285 miles on a single charge. It offers a comfortable ride for drivers and passengers and there is a decent size boot offering 475 litres for luggage and shopping.

It comes packed with technology, especially safety systems, such as lane keep assist and smart cruise control.

It’s perfect for carrying passengers across towns and cities where drivers will also be exempt from congestion charges.

Patons prices start at £36,995.

Skoda Octavia

Earlier, when we spoke about trust and reliability, we should have mentioned the Skoda Octavia which, like its VW Passat stablemate, delivers reliability, practicality and economy by the boot load.

Speaking of which, the boot space is about the largest around. Go from hatchback – which is spacious – to the estate and it’s huge, delivering 640 litres. With the back seats down, this leaps to 1,700.

It has also undergone a makeover to ensure it more upmarket than its predecessor and is available as petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid, which is recommended for company car and other drivers who clock up the miles. RRP £26,245.

Volkswagen Touran

For taxi drivers who do long journeys such as airport runs, people carriers were the perfect tool of the trade. And in the Noughties, they were everywhere. Now, they have been replaced by SUVs, but Volkswagen is still producing its seven-seater Touran which remains popular with taxi drivers.

As well as space, the 1.5-litre petrol engine helps keep running costs down and is ULEZ compliant. Above all, it is practical and spacious, and Volkswagen has concentrated on delivering reliability and quality over style. After all, what can you make a people carrier look like, other than a people carrier?

In standard five-seater mode, the Touran boasts 937 litres of boot room, although this plummets to 137 litres with all seven seats in use. This would be handy for groups on short trips, but wouldn’t work for airport runs or long journeys.

The Touran does tick most of the boxes for taxi work, although it isn’t the cheapest, with prices starting at £37,405.

What are you looking for in your next taxi?

All information is correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.