Currently, the taxi most commonly seen on the streets of Japan is a large, basic-looking sedan dubbed Toyota Comfort that has been around since 1995. The country’s automotive landscape is set to change drastically in 2018 when Toyota introduces a brand new, purpose-built taxi whose design is reminiscent of England’s iconic black cab.
Toyota is previewing its next cab at the Tokyo Motor Show with a thinly veiled concept called JPN Taxi. Essentially a toned-down version of the eponymous concept that was shown at the 2013 edition of the event, the JPN Taxi wears a more realistic-looking design characterized by a tall front end, horizontal lights that stretch into a five-slat grille and fender-mounted mirrors.
Although the tall greenhouse gives the JPN Taxi an undeniably awkward silhouette, it also provides the passengers with an obstructed view of the world around them and a better-than-adequate amount of headroom. A model-specific steering rack ensures drivers can maneuver the JPN Taxi even in Japan’s tight, crowded urban centers.
Toyota stresses the cabin was designed with Japanese hospitality in mind but pictures haven’t been published yet. All we know at this point is that the cab is wheelchair-accessible thanks to wide, minivan-like sliding doors on both sides and a low loading floor.
Power comes from an innovative hybrid drivetrain made up of a small electric motor and a four-cylinder engine that runs on liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Full technical details won’t be announced until Toyota engineers fine-tune the drivetrain in order to make it more durable and smoother to drive in stop-and-go traffic.
The production version of the Toyota JPN Taxi Concept is scheduled to go on sale across its home country in April of 2018. Toyota hasn’t revealed if it’s planning on taking on London Taxi Company’s upcoming gasoline-electric TX5 in England and abroad.