In any job or business, the better you are at keeping costs down, the more money goes into your back pocket. As a taxi driver or taxi business owner, your biggest cost is your car.

So, when shopping around for cars, you should be driven by running costs.

In this article, we’ll highlight the factors you need to keep in mind when buying a taxi, specifically in relation to running costs.

We’ll conclude by selecting some cars for your consideration, which are proven to be some of the cheapest around.

Of course, for some taxi firms, cheapest is not always best.

If you plan on offering executive travel, for example, a Toyota Prius might not match your customers’ expectations, who’ll probably want to sit in something with a touch more luxury.

Whatever car you buy, it must be fitting of the service you want to offer.

 

Before you begin your search

Prior to scoping out the car market, you need to ask the local authority where you’ll be operating for any specifications that they stipulate for vehicles used as taxis.

Typically, they will specify on engine size and seat width, but it varies from authority to authority.

Some borough and city councils have quite detailed specifications for hackney or public hire taxis.

Known as ‘conditions of fitness’, these regulations often call for vehicles to be wheelchair accessible and may require additional features such as a safety partition or bulkhead.

The last thing you want is to go out and purchase your vehicles, only to find that they don’t meet local regulations.

So, be clear on what vehicles are permitted and double-check the specifications before signing on the dotted line.

A car dealership with new cars on show

What factors do you bear in mind?

When it comes to refining your taxi search - alongside any local regulations - here are some other things to consider:

 

Reliability

First and foremost, you want a car that you don’t have to constantly put into the garage for repairs – otherwise you’ll be losing money hand over fist, in both maintenance costs and loss of trade.

When buying new, there is a certain expectation that the car will be relatively reliable.

New cars also come with warranties which mean that if there are any serious issues with it within the first couple of years of ownership, you can take it back to where you bought it and they are obliged to repair it for you.

If you’re buying a used car, however, you should seek out some assurances that it’s been well looked after and not carrying any niggling issues that will need to be rectified sooner rather than later.

 

Parts

At some point, you will have to replace a part or two on your car – tyres are usually the first things that need replacing, especially if you’re doing a lot of miles each year.

So, when choosing a vehicle, take a look at the cost of parts as they can fluctuate massively between car manufacturers.

A good mechanic will be able to advise you accordingly.

A new clutch car part on a rag

Fuel efficiency

Fuel is the biggest running cost for a taxi driver.

When driving 25,000-plus miles a year, you want to do as many miles per gallon as possible.

The less you pay in fuel, the more you get to keep in fares. It’s as simple as that.

 

Emissions

As well as being fuel efficient, you also want a car that is low on CO2 emissions.

Road vehicle taxation is now linked to a car’s CO2 output – so the lower your emissions, the less you will pay in tax.

If your emissions are too high, you might not be able to operate in some low emission zones, especially in London where they’ve announced a new Ultra Low Emissions Zone.

The exhaust tip of a car

Insurance

Finally, you also want to think about the cost of insuring the vehicles you buy or lease.

Of course, you want to keep your taxi insurance premiums as low as possible – but you need to weigh that up against your level of service.

In other words, it might not always be the right choice to go for the cheapest cars on the market.

 

Some cars for your consideration

Someone sitting in the drivers seat of a new car holding up the key

Here are some cars for your consideration, based on the qualities above:

 

Toyota Prius

The Prius is fast becoming one of the most popular taxis in the world.

That popularity is largely down to its hybrid engine, which promises incredible fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions.

For that reason, the Prius makes the ideal taxi vehicle for congested city centres.

 

Skoda Octavia

The Octavia is hugely popular among cabbies thanks to its good looks, huge 624 litres of boot space, 5* Euro NCAP safety rating and frugal fuel consumption of 42-80 mpg.

The estate version, the Octavia Scout, is also available if you prefer more load-carrying capacity (perhaps you do a lot of airport trips).

 

Toyota Avensis

The second Toyota on our list – no, this isn’t a Toyota ad.

This ultra-reliable model has been around for quite a few years now and can do 100,000-plus miles without even blinking.

Both the saloon and estate versions are available with diesel and petrol engines, and the 2.0 litre diesel engine will do a solid 60 mpg.

 

Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle

If you’re planning to do airport runs or nightclub pickups then you’ll need something a little bigger.

The Volkswagen easily seats eight passengers and still has plenty of luggage space, especially with the long wheelbase version.

It’s very high-spec: ABS, ESP, Automatic Post-Collision Braking and Bluetooth connectivity come as standard.

The 2.0 litre TDI diesel will be the engine of choice for most professional drivers as it gives a reported 47 mpg with CO2 emissions of 155g/km.

 

Once you’ve found your car

A set of keys to a new car

Once you’ve weighed all the different options available and chosen the car that will cost you as little as possible on the road, it’s time to take out some taxi insurance.

With Comprehensive, Third Party Fire & Theft, and Third Party only cover available, get a quick quote for taxi insurance today.

Call our friendly team with your registration number and driving licence and find the cover that’s right for you.

In any job or business, the better you are at keeping costs down, the more money goes into your back pocket.

As a taxi driver or taxi business owner, your biggest cost is your car.

So, when shopping around for cars, you should be driven by running costs.

In this article, we’ll highlight the factors you need to keep in mind when buying a taxi, specifically in relation to running costs.

We’ll conclude by selecting some cars for your consideration, which are proven to be some of the cheapest around.

Of course, for some taxi firms, cheapest is not always best.

If you plan on offering executive travel, for example, a Toyota Prius might not match your customers’ expectations, who’ll probably want to sit in something with a touch more luxury.

Whatever car you buy, it must be fitting of the service you want to offer.

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