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levc tx taxi review 2023 01 action
Geely-built taxi is a cabbie favourite, but what’s it like for the uninitiated?

"We all know them, the London taxicabs, and most of us sample them as ‘fares’ at some time or other. But very few ordinary car owners have ever driven a taxi."This was the opening line of a story published in The Autocar of 25 June 1937, titled ‘Three Days on a Taxi’. We took a 12bhp, Birmingham-built Austin taxicab to Brooklands, where it dispatched the 0-30mph dash in a fearsome 19.1sec and averaged 47.62mph over a quarter of a mile. It had a turning circle of 7.62m, cost £370 when specified with the single landaulet body and in town was deemed ‘as handy as can be imagined’. It was nothing if not fit for purpose, and the only disappointment was that our tester was never in fact hailed.The concept of ‘fitness for purpose’ is why road testing a black cab is as interesting an exercise in 2023 as it was in 1937. The latest TX model by London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) is as finely honed for carrying passengers around as a Porsche 911 GT3 RS is for lapping the Nürburgring or a British Army Jackal 2 is for traversing brutal terrain while laying down fire. Anything so specialised deserves attention – not forgetting the fact that anyone can own an LEVC TX. The black cab has come a long way since 1937. Until recently, diesel was the fuel of choice, but since 2018 all newly licensed taxis have to be zero-emission capable. The LEVC TX here is a petrol plug-in hybrid range-extender, and with more than 10,000 sold worldwide since 2017, it currently accounts for around 40% of London’s black cab fleet. The cabbies themselves clearly rate it, but how does it feel for the rest of us? Time to find out.

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