If you're visiting New York City in the next couple of years, the cab you get from the airport might not be the iconic Ford Crown Victoria that has done the job for two decades.
From 2013, specialised versions of Nissan's NV200 van (not offered in Australia) will replace the Crown Vic, along with the 15 other models working as cabs in New York City.
After two years of testing and assessment, Nissan beat out Ford and Turkish company Karsan Otomotiv for the lucrative 10-year deal, estimated to be worth more than US$1 billion.
"Nissan is proud to provide the next generation of taxis for the City of New York," Nissan America Chairman Carlos Tavares said.
"The NV200 taxi will give Nissan the opportunity to showcase our dedication to vehicle quality and urban mobility to more than 600,000 passengers every day."
Available as a light commercial vehicle in Japan, China and Europe, the NV200 destined for a coat of yellow paint will be built in Mexico and will be offered to taxi fleets for US$29,000.
Nissan's Zero Emission electric-vehicle technology - already featured in the Leaf that will launch in Australia next year - will also get a run in the taxi fleet as part of a pilot program to test feasability of EVs as cabs.
"The city's Taxi of Tomorrow is the Nissan NV200 – and it's going to be the safest, most comfortable and most convenient cab the city has ever had," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
"The new taxis will be custom-designed to meet the specific demands of carrying 600,000 passengers a day in New York City traffic and the vehicle meets the top priorities identified by the public in our on-line survey."
Motivation is provided by a 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine, although output and fuel consumption figures have not been released.
Nissan promises ample room for four passengers and luggage, along with easy access provided by sliding doors and a low floor.
Mayor Bloomberg also touted the sliding doors as a benefit to the growing number of cyclists in the city.
Other features include a transparent and shaded roof panel for sightseeing, independently controlled rear air-conditioning, easy-cleaning 'simulated leather' upholstery and ample lighting.
On the safety front, the taxi vans will offer front and rear-seat curtain airbags and seat-mounted airbags for the front row. Traction control and Vehicle Dynamic Control systems will also be standard.
The NV200-based taxis are scheduled to enter service in 2013.