The New London TXII Taxi



LTI Vehicles from Coventry, one of the UK’s two purpose built London Taxi manufacturers, has just introduced the latest versions of their TXII vehicle.

LTI said today their new taxi range provides improved passenger comfort, better driving refinement and maximum durability.

From the outside nothing appears to have changed but it’s when you get under the skin of the latest TXII London Taxi that the changes manifest themselves.

This new smoothie still retains its separate chassis and body construction for passenger safety, overall durability and ease of repair. But now passengers and the driver will experience a much improved ride.

The increase in traffic calming measures, including speed humps, prompted LTI Vehicles to develop a totally new and very durable harmonised suspension system. This they say now gives their iconic London Taxi, which is increasingly sold to overseas markets, the smoothest ever ride and the best driveability since they started producing taxis 86 years ago.

Gone are the robust rear leaf spring and old style dampers. In has come the latest technology hard wearing variable rate coil springs, self adjusting load dependent shock absorbers, a Panard Rod system to keep the live rear axle in line during cornering, braking and acceleration and double radius arms to locate the new suspension to the chassis. The front suspension too has been revised with new style dampers and the fitting of an anti-roll bar to improve driveability.

The changes to both the front and rear suspensions are described as ‘harmonic’ so the overall performance, which includes comfort, driveability and durability, are improved.

Chassis production has also moved in-house at LTI vehicles as part of the product development process. LTI say the beauty of purpose built vehicles over taxis converted from donor mass-market production vehicles is that they can change the performance of their vehicles to meet and exceed changing road conditions, the changes in taxi regulations and changing customer requirements.

David Black, Project Manager for LTI Vehicles said, "The new TXII taxi now handles much more like a saloon car than it did before and the additional comfort and improved handling for the driver takes the strain out of long days of driving."

"The durability of the new rear suspension was a major consideration. Our vehicles can be on the road 24 hours a day, clocking up more miles in a year than most passenger cars do in a lifetime. In addition the steering and front suspension systems used for our London Taxi are unique because the vehicle must be able to meet the required 25 feet turning circle. It was important that any changes we made to the rear suspension didn’t adversely affect the performance of the front suspension. In fact the changes we have made have not only improved the road holding capabilities of the vehicle, they have made it easier to drive so we now have a totally balanced and very durable vehicle."

Black added, "The new TXII taxis are now on the road and the feedback we have had from drivers and passengers has been very positive. Because we did so much of the initial design work with computers, we knew the performance was going to be good, but it is nice to hear that it works in practice and not just in theory."

LTI say the new suspension project was born out of their Listening Group programme that identified where passengers and drivers thought there could be improvements in the TXII London Taxi.

One clear message from that programme was that, because of the rise in the number of sleeping policemen and other traffic-calming measures, it was making journeys much more uncomfortable for occupants of the taxi.

Also, the ongoing debate about the future Conditions of Fitness - the Transport for London regulations that govern Hackney Carriages in London - highlighted the importance of passenger and ride comfort. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, specifically mentioned this as an area that should be improved. Although the Conditions of Fitness regulations are specific to London, most other major licensing authorities throughout the UK adopt them.

LTI say that despite the significant investment in developing a new highly durable suspension system the retail prices of their latest taxi range have increased by only £250. Prices start at £24,995.

25 October 2005 Staff

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