WESTPORT, Conn., June 6, 2011 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — For a select few New York City cab drivers, only a Lexus will do, and now the New York Times is reporting that the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission is trying to deny them the privilege of driving the luxury vehicle on the job. Available to the general public at Connecticut Lexus dealers like New Country Lexus of Westport, the Lexus RX 400h and RX 450h hybrid SUVs driven by cabbies in the Big Apple have been dubbed “too powerful” by the city commission and removed from its approved taxi cab list.

While the six New York City cab drivers in the RX 400h or RX 450h hope that their vehicles will be grandfathered in as acceptable taxis, the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s decision is perplexing to many. Producing 268 and 295 horsepower respectively, the Lexus RX 400h and Lexus RX 450h mid-size SUVs are capable performers, but these numbers are similar to the 250-horsepower V8-powered Ford Crown Victoria that makes up a majority of New York City’s taxi population.

The biggest difference between the Lexus and Ford vehicles is fuel economy, and the hybrid Lexus models go further in reducing harmful emissions in the city. The RX 400h with front-wheel drive returns 27 mpg in the city, while the front-wheel-drive 2011 RX 450h currently available at Lexus dealers gets 32 mpg. Meanwhile, the Crown Victoria sucks up a gallon of gas for every 16 miles it travels in the city.

“I don’t understand why New York’s taxi commission would ban the Lexus,” said Eric Brennan, general manager of New Country Lexus of Westport. “It’s quiet, refined, gets great gas mileage and is eminently reliable – those sound like great features for a taxi to me. With increasing gas prices, conserving fuel just makes good business sense.”

Making a living as a taxi driver means standing out from the others, and with more than 13,000 taxis, New York City is awash in a sea of yellow vehicles. The Lexus-driving cabbies set themselves apart from a crowd that includes more than 7,000 Crown Victorias prowling the streets. While the fares are the same for all city taxis, one of the affected cab drivers, Sushil Maggoo, told the New York Times that he has more than a dozen customers who call on him repeatedly to escort them to the airport. Another driver, Shmuel Poper, said that he’d occasionally get tipped 50 to 100 percent of the fare and would have customers request photos in front of his Lexus.

With heated and cooled front seats and multi-adjustable rear seats, the 2011 Lexus RX 450h makes for a comfortable ride, whether performing the duties of a taxi or just running the kids to school in the morning. For cab drivers, this added comfort could mean prevention of chronic injuries due to the everyday abuse that knees and legs take from massive potholes and sitting through hour-long traffic. Meanwhile, the 80.3 cubic feet of cargo room available by folding the rear seats means the RX 450h provides ample room for the largest of loads, whether they’re luggage for a week’s vacation or golf clubs.

The 2011 RX 450h comes available with voice recognition software to control things like the stereo, navigation and even the climate control, which means drivers can keep their hands on the steering wheel where they belong. Taking safety further, the Lexus 450h also has a class-leading 10 airbags and an optional Pre-Collision System that can detect and react to an impending accident to help reduce damage.

“The Lexus RX 450h is a great all-around vehicle for getting people where they need to go in comfort and style,” Brennan added. “You certainly don’t have to be a taxi driver to appreciate the features and qualities of a Lexus – they’re all readily apparent as soon as you sit in the driver’s seat.”

About New Country Lexus of Westport:
Connecticut Lexus owners look to New Country Lexus of Westport when it comes to sales and service. Whether customers are seeking a new CT 200h or a used RX 350, New Country Lexus of Westport has a wide selection of new and used Lexus models to choose from, and their expert service department will follow up any purchase with excellent maintenance and repairs. Part of the New Country Motor Car Group family of dealerships, New Country Lexus of Westport is located at 187 Kings Hwy Cutoff in Fairfield, Conn. Find them online at , Like them on Facebook at , or call them at 888-789-1318.

Media Contact:
Robert Maizner, of New Country Motor Car Group, 518-584-7700