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Ford unveils diesel, hybrid taxis for more efficient cross-town travel

The Fusion taxi shares some of its beefy parts with Ford's Police Responder Hybrid.

Ford Fusion Hybrid Taxi

Ford hasn't really had a proper, dyed-in-the-wool taxi available since the Crown Victoria shuffled off to Vehicle Valhalla, save for a few Transit Connect models here and there. But that's about to change.

Ford debuted not one, but two new taxis, both of which carry more efficient engines in order to keep running costs lower for taxi companies. Whether you're looking for something shaped like a van or a sedan, Ford's got it.

The 2019 Transit Connect Taxi is based on the new Transit Connect Wagon. Like the version for regular buyers, the new Transit Connect Taxi can be had with a 1.5-liter diesel I4, which should return up to 30 mpg on the highway, although official EPA figures won't be out until early next year.

In addition to its efficient oil-burner, the new TC Taxi offers seating for five with a recessed second-row seat. Converting the remainder of the interior is made easy thanks to a taxi-specific wiring harness and an optional roof access hole for installing top-mounted signs. It can also be modified to be wheelchair accessible, including a ramp. Ford claims its 60-cubic-foot cargo area makes it more capacious than Nissan's NV200 Taxi.

If you're looking for a more traditional taxi, Ford also introduced the Fusion Hybrid Taxi. Instead of being a tarted-up consumer Fusion, this taxi borrows a number of heavy-duty components from Ford's Police Responder Hybrid in order to bolster the taxi's durability. Cop-car parts include the suspension, wheels and brakes.

Ford estimates that the Fusion Hybrid Taxi can provide up to 40 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which is similar to the police car. Additional taxi upgrades include optional vinyl seating (heavy-duty cloth is standard), vinyl floors and a dashboard mounting plate for taxi meters.

Both cars, of course, can be optioned in School Bus Yellow paint, and they both go on sale by the end of the year. Companies can order the Fusion Hybrid Taxi now, but they'll have to wait a little longer to order the Transit Connect Taxi.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid Taxi also has the higher ride height of the cop car, which should be better on bad roads.