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New Toyota Ses'fikile 14-seater taxi

The new Toyota 14-seater taxi, based on the popular Quantum commuter bus, has arrived on the local market.
Photo courtesy of quickpic.co.za
According to Toyota, the new addition to the Quantum line-up fully complies with the requirements of the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme and offers high levels of safety and comfort and better operating efficiencies for taxi owners.

The Toyota Ses'fikile 14-seater minibus taxi is the successor to the popular and enduring HiAce, a model that has been the backbone of the minibus taxi industry since it was first introduced in South Africa in 1969. The current version, the third generation HiAce was introduced in South Africa in 1983 and has been continually updated to meet customer needs since then.

An estimated 80% of the national minibus taxi fleet is comprised of HiAce Siyaya taxis, but a replacement became necessary because this model cannot be adapted to the latest Taxi Recapitalisation Programme requirements.

The new Ses'fikile adopts the latest Toyota minivan and minibus technology found in the Toyota Quantum. The Quantum model, first introduced in South Africa in 2005, has already put its own unique stamp on the light commercial vehicle market in South Africa with sales of over 800 units a month. Ses'fikile is expected to add significantly to this number as it takes up the position previously held by the Siyaya in the market.

Ses'fikile offers seating for 14 occupants with the driver included, in a 2:2:3:3:4 configuration with three point seatbelts for the front two seats and two-point lap belts for all other seats. It also comes with ABS with Brake Assist.

A Toyota spokesman said: “We developed new, two-layered, side members that are designed to absorb and disperse crash impact energy. We used the most advanced computer aided engineering to optimise this structure and the door impact beams to limit intrusions.

“We also developed a mechanism that helps prevent the brake booster assembly from pushing into the steering column and the driver's footwell in the event of a severe frontal impact. In crash tests the wide body version of the Quantum on which the Ses'fikile is based, performed better than its semi cab-over competitors. Our goal of achieving top ratings in the class for safety was achieved.”

One of the most important aspects of driving performance in this type of vehicle is straight-line stability. To ensure that this requirement was fully met, the Quantum was the subject of an intense study of aerodynamics, body rigidity, and suspension characteristics to ensure that all of these were fully optimised.

The Ses'fikile is powered by a latest generation Toyota 2TR-FE petrol engine. This 2,7 litre, four-cylinder, 16-valve, double overhead camshaft engine produces 111kW and 241Nm @ 3800r/min. Almost 80% of this torque is available from just 1400r/min.

The Taxi Recapitalisation Programme was first announced in 1999 as a programme that would result in improved minibus taxi safety specifications, improved law enforcement, and industry empowerment through new business ventures. Over an often painful gestation period, during which the programme has been continually fine tuned, the industry has arrived at a point where the scrapping of old and unroadworthy taxis in return for a scrapping allowance is a reality. With this comes an opportunity for fleet renewal with a target of 80% of the outdated minibus taxi fleet due to be scrapped by 2010.

The price of the new vehicle is R208,300.
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