VPG MV-1 Price & Review
Nissan created lot of noise after its NV200-based entry won a contest to design the next generation taxi held by New York Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Though no official contract has been signed because of some legal hassles but in case Nissan doesn’t get the contract, what will happen to the plans of putting next generation taxis on New York roads?
There is a custom-made taxi ready and tooled up and in production to fill the void when it arises. This vehicle has been produced by a recently set up all-American company, which you probably might not have heard of.
The company goes by the name of Vehicle Production Group (VPG) and it is based in Miami (Florida).
The vehicle produced by this company combines a taxi/limousine/wheelchair mobility vehicle into one platform and is called MV-1. It was on display at the New York motor show and is the first factory-made mobility vehicle for the differently abled, the company claims.
The MV-1 is made up of parts supplied by different Tier-1 suppliers and is built on the same assembly line which once churned out the now defunct Hummer H2. Interestingly, AM General will look after the assembly, parts supply and warranty requirements of the vehicle.
VPG MV-1 Features
The VPG MV-1 looks like a SUV-ish take on the London taxi, with a low and flat floor, which can accommodate wheelchairs, while the headroom is very generous. Compared to the Crown Victoria The MV-1 is 8-inches shorter, 2.1-inches wider and 18.2-inches taller. The rear door on the driver’s side opens 90° and reveals a wide bench seat which can easily accommodate three full-sized adults.
Photo Credit: Mv1ofindianapolis.com/vehicle/specs/vpg/mv-1/2012/vin/523MF1A63CM100075
There is a $349 optional jump seat behind the driver which faces the rear and it can carry a fourth passenger. Anchoring plates are standard for securing two wheelchairs, though fitting the second wheelchair means the right side of the bench can’t be used. Though there is no front passenger seat, but it is being planned along with an airbag.
Initially, the MV-1 will be powered by a Ford 4600cc V8 powerplant mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission and fueled by either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG). Exercising the CNG option will add $9,000 to the cost and the vehicle will be fitted with three tanks having a capacity of 3600 pounds per square inch.
Photo Credit: Schumachermv1.com/default.aspx
These tanks will raise the floor of the luggage compartment by nine inches and give the cab a range of 320 miles. New York has plenty of refueling points for CNG and it is $2 per gallon cheaper than gasoline.
At a later date, the V8, which is very familiar in taxi circles, will be replaced by another Ford engine: a 3700cc V6, giving the cab a range of 400 miles.
The design of the cab, which is a body-on-frame structure, was developed in collaboration with Roush Engineering and sees the ladder frame incorporating a coil spring/control arm suspension in front and at the rear we see a combination of Chevrolet Camaro’s differential and deDion aluminum tube axle held by leaf springs and aided by air-filled shock-absorbers which keep things level even as the vehicle nears its maximum gross weight of 6600lbs.
Models & Price
VPG is looking forward to target three type of customers with the MV-1: limousine/taxi service; wheelchair mobility transport providers; and normal buyers. Three models will be offered starting with the $40,930 standard SE, which will come fitted with a manual slide-out ramp for a wheelchair; $42,930
Photo Credit: Mv1offortwayne.com/details/New+2012+Vpg+MV-1+Deluxe+523MF1A61CM100205+Fort%20Wayne
DX, having a powered ramp, cruise control, music system, cupholder console for the driver and a rear windscreen wiper; and the lavishly-equipped LX, whose price hasn’t been announced as yet.
The LX will have leather upholstery, fake wood trim, body-colored outside rear view mirrors, chrome accents and wheels made of aluminum. Colors on offer are yellow, black, blue, red, white and silver.
We managed to get our hands on a MV-1 DX and it drives like a 21st century taxi should. The acceleration was decent and the gearing adjusted primarily for in-town running. The brakes can be easily modulated while the steering is devoid of feel and has almost zero feedback.
Photo Credit: Mv1oforangecounty.com/vehicle/specs/vpg/mv-1/2012/vin/523MF1A67CM100225
The quality of the ride was surprisingly plush given that it is a body-on-frame design, while in-cabin noise levels were kept down to reasonable levels. Visibility from inside the cabin is excellent but we missed a sunroof, which is needed in skyscraper-rich New York.
The price difference between the VPG MV-1 and the Nissan NV200 will be nearly what it will take to convert the Nissan to be able to carry a wheelchair. But that requires lot of modifications to the structure of the vehicle and it will certainly affect its longevity and above all the design calls for the wheelchair user to enter the cab from the rear, which is not as convenient or as safe as getting in through the ramp from the curb side.
If the Nissan NV200 loses the legal battle, which is unlikely, VPG already has tooling in place to construct around 70,000 MV-1s every year and even if it doesn’t get the go ahead to become New York’s next generation taxi, you can still travel in one in Pittsburgh, Chicago and very soon in Dallas or buy one for your personal use from any one of the 40 dealers selling it across the US.