Ford may eventually scrap the legendary Crown Victoria yellow taxi for a modified European transit van that's more efficient and high-tech.
The Ford Transit Connect, unveiled at the New York Auto Show last week, is based on the Ford Tourneo Connect -- a vehicle that's been trundling along UK streets, delivering brown goods and generally offending eyeballs since 2002.
Thankfully, its specs have been been vastly upgraded for the taxicab concept. The passenger compartment will feature a 13-inch touchscreen display that provides a running tally of the cab fare, plus control over entertainment and navigation options. Passengers can watch video and music selections, news, weather and sports headlines, or view a map of their local area complete with points of interest.
The driver compartment is home to an in-dash computer based on the Microsoft Auto platform. This could offer taxi firms real-time transmission of vehicle location and maintenance information, satellite navigation and Internet access, plus compatibility with wireless keyboards, mice and printers, should the driver fancy running some kind of mobile Internet cafe in his spare time.
In addition to the obvious tech improvements, the Transit Connect could also bring environmental benefits. Ford says it emits 90 per cent less carbon monoxide than the old Crown Victoria, and we reckon it should get around 50 per cent better fuel economy, too. Our only reservation is that it looks so damn European -- it'll look hideously out of place on NY streets.
Click the thumbnails for a closer look and more info, then let us know what you reckon in the comments below.