Let’s say you want to start driving for a ride sharing service, or maybe you already are and you’re looking to up your ratings. You’ll need a vehicle that can meet a lot of demands all at once, and for the right price. Ridester.com says the only way to make a living doing ride share is to spend as little as possible on your car. You need a vehicle that is reliable, fuel efficient, spacious, and comfortable. Here’s a look at what to consider.
The Toyota Prius is one of the most popular rideshare cars for several reasons. First, the Prius is supremely reliable, as it sits atop YourMechanic‘s list of least expensive vehicles to own and maintain. This is why you see them used as taxis in NYC. Second, there is that excellent gas mileage. The 3rd generation (2010+) averages 50 MPG, while 4th generation (2016+) can get into the mid-50s. The Prius has ample headroom even in the rear, and surprising leg room. The trunk/hatch area is enormous and can swallow huge luggage on your airport runs. The ride is smooth and quiet, but the factory tires can transmit road noise when on the highway. Change the cheap tires out for some quiet quality ones, and you should be set for 200,000 miles.
“What is this?” is a common question drivers receive when passengers enter the 2015+ Hyundai Sonata. Even though Hyundai sells around 200,000 Sonatas in the U.S. each year, it’s a sneaky mid-size, as it looks more upscale than its price would suggest. While the hybrid version does differ slightly in exterior appearance than a regular gas Sonata, it’s still a good looking car. The front seats are super cushy and you won’t even notice a three-hour shift behind the wheel. The hybrid has great MPG, averaging in the mid-40s. The 2017+ models feature bonuses like a wireless charger and USB port for rear passengers. The Sonata is at the top of Hyundai’s reliability list, looks great, and has more rear leg room than the average mid-size, which your passengers will appreciate. Plus you’ll get higher reviews just because it’s not a Prius.
Uber XL is for passengers that are travelling in a group or have a lot of luggage. It’s limited to vans and SUVs that can hold six passengers and enough groceries for a church potluck. Usually, this size means Uber XL vehicles aren’t as efficient as the average mainstream service vehicle. Enter the Honda Odyssey. While the Odyssey doesn’t get the same gas mileage as the Honda Fit, premium ride share services cost more, and you will earn larger fares with the Odyssey. Still, the operating costs aren’t bad. The 3.5-liter V6 is older but has proven tech, and with 28 MPG on the highway, you can’t complain. It can hold up to eight people in comfort depending on options, and there’s 38.4 cu-ft of space in the rear. Only taking one rider and their baby grand piano? Great, put the seats down and you have a massive 148.5 cu-ft back there, which is the same as five average refrigerators. That’s almost twice the space of a Ford Explorer.
Just because you are sitting all day at work, doesn’t mean work has to be dull. One of the perks to driving for a ride share service is the ability to pick your own “office.” And the Mazda 6 is a fun place to be. This efficient mid-size is from the same company that makes the Mazda MX-5 Miata and it shows. Some of the sports car fun comes over with sensitive and direct steering, a precise manual transmission, handling that stays flat in corners, and an overall feel like it’s pretending to be Lightning McQueen. Rear passengers might not love it if you get too enthusiastic on the corners, so the Mazda 6 might be better for pizza delivery and Postmates service. With the 2.5-liter four cylinder, you’ll get a very respectable 38 MPG highway. Or get the six-speed auto for the best shifting in this competitive class. You’ll probably get a tip just for driving a manual.
Going for Uber Select/Lyft Premier? You’ll make more money if you show up in this Lexus with an impeccable reputation. It’s based on the Camry, so it’s one of the most reliable cars on the road, with the lowest cost of maintenance. Gas mileage is above average at 39 MPG. The ride is comfortable and Lexus quiet, and the interior has enough leather and wood trim to trick most people into not seeing the Camry. The dash looks like it was chiseled from a single piece of aluminum and a master leatherworker covered and stitched it. The 3.5-liter V6 has 268 horsepower, so on-ramps aren’t an issue even if the 15.4 cu-ft trunk is full of luggage. Safety is big on this one too, including lane departure warning and radar-guided smart cruise control.
Infiniti QX60 hybrid
You probably weren’t expecting this one. Here’s why rideshare forum UberPeople recommends the Infiniti QX60: it’s large enough to qualify for higher paying services like XL, but also luxurious enough for Uber Black and Lyft Lux. It also won’t hurt your wallet at the gas station with its very solid MPG, often averaging in the upper 20s. Compare that to the larger and more powerful Cadillac Escalade hybrid that averages 20 MPG. The QX60 looks unique, the ride is quiet and soft, and the surround-view camera displays a bird’s eye view of your vehicle as you are backing up, like when parallel parking outside that busy bar downtown. Alternative: Jaguar F-PACE with the 2.0-liter diesel. Riders will love your classy ride, and it gets 33 MPG city.