Every so often, in the world of car manufacturers and parts suppliers, some weird things happen — like how the Lamborghini Diablo and the Nissan 300ZX share headlights, and the McLaren F1 and the Volkswagen Corrado share door mirrors. Well, here’s another one like that: the London Taxi and the Dodge Durango have the same transmission.
Yes, it’s true: the London Taxi, which is officially called the TX4, uses the same transmission as the Dodge Durango. Or, at least, it did: the vast majority of current London taxi models are TX4 vehicles, in production from 2007 to 2017, though a new plug-in hybrid London taxi debuted last year and will eventually take over. But for now, the TX4 is the dominant force in London taxiing, and it uses the Dodge Durango’s transmission.
So how exactly did this happen? Well, the TX4 uses a 2.5-liter diesel engine with around 100 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque, and that engine is built by a company called VM Motori, which is an Italian diesel engine builder. VM Motori also supplies engines for Fiat Chrysler, including the diesel powerplants in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ram 1500. Given that VM Motori was already working with Chrysler, I guess it only seemed obvious to mate the TX4’s engine to a Chrysler transmission — so that’s exactly what they did.
The result is that the London Taxi 545RFE 5-speed automatic, which, it should be noted, is no longer used in any Chrysler today. But it was for years: in the Dodge Durango through 2011, in the Jeep Commander, the Jeep Wrangler, the Chrysler Aspen, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and even the Dodge Ram. So one of the biggest, brawniest American pickups, touted for its hauling and its HEMI engine, shares its transmission with the London Taxi.
It’s an unusual mashup, but a true one — and every time you see a "TX4" London Taxi from now on, you can think about how it’s going through the gears with the same transmission as the Dodge Durango and the Jeep Wrangler.