The Esperanto made its first appearance in Grand Theft Auto III, and its design has remained almost exactly the same in the following games, with only minor styling changes (mostly to the taillights and rear bumper).
A modified variant (with official taxi ID plaques) is driven by Niko Bellic's cousin, Roman and is simply called Roman's Taxi when getting into that particular Esperanto. When free cab rides from Roman's garage are unlocked, an Esperanto will be sent to pick Niko up.
The Esperanto was one of the first cars to appear in any media in the run-up to GTA IV's release. It has often been mistakenly referred to as an "Albany" due to the fact that the word is conspicuously emblazoned on the grille. In actuality, Albany is the "make" of the car (other vehicles are seen with the Albany nameplate on their decklids and logos, such as the Primo), while Esperanto is the model.
Although performance aspects vary slightly between games for this vehicle, acceleration and speed are generally quite satisfying with the rear-drive V8 powertrain. The one common problem with the Esperanto, however, is its notoriously bad brakes - a problem that is only exacerbated by the vehicle's weight. Traveling at high speed it takes some time to bring the vehicle to a stop which, besides often causing minor accidents, becomes a potentially fatal problem in GTA III, where Claude is unable to jump from a moving vehicle, exposing him to serious danger in a fast-moving Esperanto about to explode. The car's handling is highly responsive, but again, the vehicle's size and weight cause problems, predisposing it to two-wheeling and loss of control when overcompensating for a swerve at high speeds. However, its huge mass absorbs damage quite well, making it a good vehicle for ramming smaller ones (and even comparably sized ones) off the road.
The GTA III era Esperanto is based on a 1975-1977 Cadillac Eldorado.
In Grand Theft Auto IV, the Esperanto is very different to the earlier renditions. Rather than being a large two-door coupe, the new car is a mid-sized four-door sedan. Its styling inspiration appears to be a pastiche of common late-70s/early-80s American car styling rather than a clone of any one car. The front end and sides are similar to a 1977 Impala though the headlights and signal indicators sit more flush with the grille and front trim (or even a 1982 Chevy Malibu), much like a 1982-'85 Chevy Celebrity, while the rear-end features bustle-back styling found on the Cadillac Seville (or various other luxury cars), with taillamps lifted from a 77-81 Pontiac Bonneville.
- Grand Theft Auto III
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Car Modification (GTA: San Andreas)
- Wheels (ten types)
- Nitro (All)
- Bass Boost
The Esperanto, as depicted in GTA: San Andreas.
The Albany Esperanto, as depicted in GTA IV.
The Albany Esperanto, shown here in Roman's taxi livery.