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10 Best Cars For Uber & Lyft [Buying Guide]

The Comprehensive Guide To The 10 Ideal Cars For Uber & Lyft Drivers

best cars for uber and lyft

If you want to earn a little extra cash by driving for Uber or Lyft, then you need a specific car to accomplish the job. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide that will help you find the best cars for Uber and Lyft. With these cars, you can maximize your earnings and provide the best possible experience for your customers. After going through numerous vehicle specs, we’ve narrowed the choices down to the 10 best cars for Uber or Lyft drivers.

Category Requirements For The Best Cars For Uber & Lyft

Uber app on phone

When you want to find the best car for Uber, you must first consider the various Uber categories. An UberXL vehicle will be much different than a regular Uber vehicle. Let’s take an in-depth look at each of the categories so that you can determine which one works best with you!

UberX, Uber Pool, and Lyft POOL

UberX and Lyft POOL are the lowest-priced services. Passengers pay the lowest fares per mile and per minute. These cars tend to be mid-range sedans with seating for four passengers. While there are some varying requirements in a few cities, the general rule is the vehicle must be 10 years old or newer. To be successful in this category, we recommend spending $20,000 or less on a car.

Along with this being the lowest-priced service, this is also the most popular category for Uber passengers. You won’t have to fight for business because there’s plenty of it to go around! To make the most money, your goal is to find the longest trips you can. Suburban commuters who work downtown are a great opportunity.

Driving people to the airport is also a great way to make good money on a single ride. Hopefully, you can drop someone off at the airport and then pick up another person. Picking people up from the airport can be a good way to make a steady income, but due to the high volume of rideshare service drivers that park in waiting lots, the queue to get a pickup from the airport can take a lot of time, so it may not be your best option unless things are very slow.

UberXL or Lyft Plus

Cars for UberXL or Lyft Plus have to be, you guessed it, extra-large! This includes non-luxury SUVs and minivans, and they must have room for a minimum of six passengers. The rates in this category rise slightly, and the car normally can’t be more than 10 years old. To be successful in this category, we recommending spending $25,000 or less on a vehicle.

Passengers often choose UberXL or Lyft Plus because of their carrying capacity for passengers and cargo. They are not luxury vehicles, so it’s important to note you won’t be able to use them in the UberBLACK, UberSELECT, or UberSUV category. You’ll be able to charge a little more per mile and minute, and the services are popular at airports and nearby late-night clubs or events.

UberSELECT

The UberSELECT classification is a lower-end scale of UberBLACK and isn’t available everywhere. The rates are higher than with the X or XL but lower than the BLACK or SUV. The car must seat four passengers.

UberBLACK or Lyft Lux

UberBLACK or Lyft Lux is a high-end classification that requires the driver to receive a professional license and commercial insurance. The car must seat four passengers with a black interior and exterior. To be successful in this category, we recommend spending $30,000 or less on a vehicle.

To maximize your potential, choose a vehicle that also qualifies for UberXL. While you’ll get more money in the UberBLACK category, you won’t find as many passengers opting for this. Because there’s more competition in this category, you might wait hours for a call. If you spend time waiting, you might end up making as much as an UberX driver but with fewer hours invested. The downside to fitting the requirements of this category is your car is more expensive.

If you’re ready to work early in the morning, you might be able to catch a good amount of executives heading to and from the airport. That should help you get more calls.

UberSUV or Lyft SUV

UberSUV or Lyft SUV is the top-of-the-line, and passengers pay the highest rates for this service. Drivers may work in all the other classes as well, but the SUV must accommodate up to six passengers. They must meet the same licensing and insurance standards as the UberBLACK drivers. They must also drive an SUV with a black exterior and interior. To be successful in this category, we recommend spending $40,000 or less on your vehicle.

A vehicle in this category can drive on all Uber or Lyft categories. And, the rates are also the highest of any class. A short trip might earn you $50, which isn’t too shabby. The best way to make the most is to utilize all your driving time. So, if you take someone to the airport as an SUV, hop back on and look for an XL or Black trip for the return drive.

UberEats

Uber Eats driver in car

 

With UberEats, there are little to no car requirements. Your car can be two-door or four-door. And, you don’t need to pass a vehicle inspection to deliver. As long as it’s made after 1999, you’re good to go! When you apply to drive for UberEats, you must provide a valid driver’s license issued by the U.S., proof of vehicle registration, and proof of vehicle insurance.

Other Categories

Along with the above categories, Uber also has a couple other categories. With Uber Green, you can provide sustainable rides if you have an electric vehicle. Uber WAV is the category for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Choosing the 10 Best Cars for Uber & Lyft

You want to make the most amount of money you can while driving for Uber and Lyft. With all the competition, you must give yourself every advantage. When we evaluated the options, we considered the following criteria to choose the best cars for Uber and Lyft.

Money & Reliability

Of course, the less you spend on your vehicle, the more you’ll have in your pocket. That’s why we recommend you invest in a car that’s a few years old and not completely brand new. With that said, you don’t want a car that costs a lot to repair or maintain. That’s why we evaluated our choices based on reliability as well.

Customer Favorites

Because you want to build your passenger ratings, you need to purchase a car that pleases them. The best car for Uber is something that makes your customer feel safe and comfortable. Look for a car with excellent safety features and an interior that brings comfort. And, large trunk space is always a great plus.

Crossovers and compact SUVs are a great choice because they provide increased comfort with optimal passenger space, ground clearance, suspension for dealing with potholes, and plenty of room for grocery bags and luggage. We’ve made sure to include a few popular options in our list as well, so be sure to check out our entire top 10 list.

Gas Mileage

The less fuel you need to put in, the more money you make. That’s why hybrid vehicles make a great option as the best cars for Uber.

Along with our criteria we used to find the 10 best cars for Uber and Lyft, your car must also meet all the basic requirements of your drive-sharing platform.

Uber Requirements:

  • Not more than 15 years old
  • Four doors
  • No cosmetic damage and good condition
  • No commercial branding
  • Passes vehicle inspection

Lyft Requirements (Some Vary by State):

  • Not more than 15 years old
  • Four doors
  • Five to eight seats

The 10 Best Cars for Uber & Lyft

Without further ado, let’s take a look at our choices of the best cars for Uber and Lyft. To be cost-effective, consider purchasing slightly older models. From four-door cars to larger SUVs, we’ve got you covered.

1. Toyota Prius

2017 Toyota Prius There’s little to argue about concerning the Toyota Prius’ miles-per-gallon. Newer models get 51 mpg on average. This car helps you achieve more trips with fewer stops at the gas station, which is a huge plus when it comes to making money and optimizing time. The reliability and economic rates for Toyota Prius continue to exceed competitors. There’s even a good amount of luggage space behind the rear seats, which is a big plus if you frequently drive Uber or Lyft to and from airports.

Choose a 2014 or newer so you have access to the quality safety features including automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, multiple airbags, stability control, seatbelt pre-tensioners, and ABS brakes. In terms of interior aesthetics, consider purchasing a model with leather seats. They’re easier to maintain and clean whenever the car inevitably gets messy from various passengers.

2. Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid - passenger side viewThe Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid has a more favorable look compared to the Prius. It also offers better gas mileage at an average of 58 mpg. The Ioniq shares the same underpinnings as a Kia Niro, but it’s slightly cheaper!

Not only will your passengers be pleased and comfortable with the ride, but the Ioniq also comes with several advanced safety features for peace of mind. Some of these safety features include electronic stability control, driveline traction control, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear collision.

3. Honda Fit

Honda FitThis car won’t reach the mpg of any hybrids on our list, but it’s well worth looking into. The fuel economy is respectable with a combined 36.5 mpg. Not only that, but the interior capacity is larger than many other options. It even has more rear legroom than the Civic.

Overall, the Fit has a low cost of ownership, so more money goes straight to your bank account. As you head around turns, you’ll find that the car feels nimble and even a little fun. If you enjoy shifting yourself, they also offer a manual transmission option on some models.

4. Toyota Camry

2018 Toyota Camry - driver side viewWhen you shuttle people back and forth from the airport, you’ll be happy to have a Camry. Not only is it a comfortable sedan, but it also gets decent fuel mileage at 34 mpg. There are also some available safety features including automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning, starting in the 2015 models. Starting in 2015, they excelled in the IIHS crash tests and became a Top Safety Pick+.

If you insist on a newer car, you’ll appreciate that all models later than 2018 had a complete redesign. Toyota added a sporty feel while also boosting the performance. As far as reliability, the Camry continues to exceed expectations. You won’t need lots of time at the mechanic’s shop which means more money in your pocket and more time driving passengers.

5. Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza
Photo credit: Subaru

Subarus continually go above and beyond in terms of safety features. Along with that, they have excellent miles-per-gallon with an overall average of 31 mpg. The Subaru Impreza has all-wheel drive which will give you peace of mind driving through all kinds of inclement weather.

The car offers plenty of legroom and a spacious trunk, which is ideal for picking up traveling passengers. You can fit probably three large suitcases in the trunk with space to spare! In terms of safety features, the Impreza has automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning.

6. Kia Niro

Kia NiroThis subcompact hybrid crossover comes with a stellar price tag. Plus, you’ll see 50 mpg which means fewer stops at the gas station along the way. This vehicle is a great budgetary option if you want something that sits higher and offers more cargo space than a sedan. Be on the lookout for the FE trim because it provides the highest mpg for the lowest price.

While we agree the Ioniq has more cargo room, rear passengers will like the additional legroom in the Kia Niro. That’s one of the biggest reasons to choose this as one of the best cars for Uber. Also, if they don’t need all of the back seats, it’s simple to put down some of the rear seats to extend the cargo area. This is perfect when you pick someone up at the airport with lots of luggage.

7. Mazda CX-3

2017 Mazda CX3 - drivers side viewThe Mazda CX-3 isn’t a hybrid, so you won’t see the same gas mileage, but it is a fantastic deal. You’ll find many used CX-3 models for a decent price with low mileage. This vehicle offers 31.5 mpg which is enough to make our list of the best cars for Uber.

You’ll quickly earn money with this beautiful ride, and you’ll have fun driving with sporty handling. On top of that, your guests won’t have any trouble talking to one another because the cabin is quiet. Because you’ll be behind the wheel for hours on end, you’ll also enjoy the comfortable seats. Overall, guests are sure to offer high ratings because the interior is high-quality and the ride feels more luxurious than its price tag.

8. Honda HR-V

Honda H-RVThis crossover might look small, but its interior is incredibly spacious like the Honda Fit. And, you can expect to get an average of 31 mpg.

There are some added perks on newer models of the HR-V. It has flexible seating configurations and a magic seat. The tall model allows you to flip the seat up to make room for vertical objects. This is great if you just happen to pick someone up with a tall piece of cargo they want to tote with them. You’re sure to get excellent reviews for your interesting accommodations.

9. GMC Terrain

2018 GMC Terrain - left side viewThe GMC Terrain is a compact SUV that offers you the ability to tow or achieve a 32 mpg. It does run higher in price than a lot of the competition, but it offers a touch of luxury and a smooth ride. You’ll also have more room for passengers or cargo than with most other vehicles.

Your backseat passengers will surely comment on the spaciousness of the cabin, which makes this one of the best cars for Uber and Lyft. And, you’re saving gas throughout the whole process!

10. Honda Odyssey

2018 Honda Odyssey - left front viewIf you can tote more passengers, you’ll make more money. That’s why you should consider the Honda Odyssey when examining the best cars for Uber and Lyft options. Depending on how you configure it, this van seats seven or eight.

It also comes with top safety scores and high reliability. While the fuel mileage of 22 mpg isn’t nearly as good as all the others on our list, you need to factor in all the extra money you’ll collect. This minivan isn’t your typical soccer mom ride either — it comes equipped with a spunky engine that never slows you down, even when your cabin is full.

Tips For Staying Active with Uber

Once you’ve decided on which vehicle to buy from our best cars for Uber list, you’ll want to get to work. Sometimes drivers get deactivated for poor behavior. If this happens to you, all that money you’ve just invested goes to waste. That’s why we’ve put together our best tips to keep you active.

  • Drive safely.
  • Work hard to earn good ratings.
  • Don’t promote other services.
  • Keep a clean driving and criminal record.
  • Don’t cancel too many rides.
  • Offer at least two to three rides per month.
  • Don’t speak out against the company.
  • Make sure you drive your registered vehicle. Don’t swap it out with your second car.

Tips For Success as an Uber or Lyft Driver

Uber and Lyft stickers on car

As we mentioned earlier, the airport can be pretty hit or miss depending on how much time you’re willing to sit in a parking lot waiting for a ride, which is why it’s important to know the popular areas in your city.

Familiarize yourself with the most popular event venues, shopping malls, public places, clubs, and bars in your city. The best strategy to maximize profit is to minimize the number of empty miles you drive without any passengers.

We recommend you stay put in a spot for 20-30 minutes before attempting to move. Even when you do move, you should try to move at least a mile from where you were. Simply going down one exit on the highway can introduce you to an entirely new pool of rides.

Gravitate towards areas with high traffic, event venues, and downtown roads. You’ll be much more likely to cash in on the dozens of people looking for a Lyft or Uber at these popular areas.

8 Tips & Tricks For Being The Best Uber or Lyft Driver Around

Do everything you can to make your passengers’ rides more comfortable. Here are some easy ways you can give your passengers the best overall experience:

  1. Adjust the A/C to suit the passenger’s comfort and have heated or air-conditioned seats. — Keep a sign on the backseat noting they can request a temperature change if desired. This will make them feel taken care of and comfortable throughout the whole ride.
  2. Offer them bottled water or gum. — Keep a basket with water and gum in your Uber or Lyft at all times.
  3. Have extra phone chargers and a power bank on hand. — Consider having options for different types of phones. Make sure to have USB C car chargers. The easiest way to have a charger that can charge multiple types of phones is to get a wireless car charger. Along with that, keeping a portable charging block is a great idea, especially if you’re driving more than one passenger.
  4. Mount a cabin-facing dash cam in your car. — Hopefully, you never have a bad experience with a passenger, but in the chance you have a passenger that becomes unruly, having a dash camera will keep you protected. With that said, you may be legally required to tell your passengers they are being recorded. Be sure to look into local regulations, state regulations, and regulations specifically related to Uber or Lyft in your area. The TOGUARD Dual Dash Cam is an excellent option.
  5. Use a hands-free phone mount. — Keeping your hands on the steering wheel at all times will keep you and your passengers safe. Installing a phone mount is the best way to ensure a safe and enjoyable drive. Our top pick for car phone mounts is the Scosche MagicMount Universal Car Magnetic Dash.
  6. Keep your car clean and smelling nice! — No one wants to hop in a car that doesn’t smell good. Keep air freshener in your car at all times. Along with that, make sure you have cleaning supplies readily available including paper towels, Lysol wipes, stain remover, a portable car vacuum, and even a portable carpet cleaner to keep in your trunk just in case you need to quickly and effectively clean your car’s interior!
  7. Regularly wash the exterior of your car. — Whether you opt to wash your car yourself or take it to the car wash, keeping the exterior of your car clean is a must when you are an Uber or Lyft driver.
  8. Store a first aid kit and car emergency kit in your vehicle. — In the case of an emergency, always be prepared. Store a vehicle first aid kit in your glove box or console. And, store a car emergency kit in your trunk or under your seat. This will keep you confident that you are prepared for anything as you drive your passengers.

Final Thoughts

We hope with these recommendations and tips you’ll be the most successful Uber or Lyft driver out there. If you need more ideas on how to create an income with your driving skills, you might want to check out our list of the 15 Best Driving Jobs. Now you’re ready to get out on the road and start racking up the cash. Make sure you meet all the requirements by Uber and Lyft and then go above and beyond from there. Get ready to have lots of adventures!





Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drive for both Lyft and Uber?

When choosing which service you want to drive for, don’t rule out both as an option. Running both Lyft and Uber simultaneously, and simply clocking out of the other app when you get a ride on one, is the best way to ensure consistent income.

By running both apps simultaneously, you drastically increase your chances of finding a ride quicker by having both platforms searching for passengers. Some days, one platform will be more popular than the other, so by working for both, you can guarantee that you’ll get your piece of the pie.

Is buying a car for Uber worth it?

If you commit to driving for Uber or Lyft and work to give your passengers a great experience, investing in a car for Uber is well worth it.

Can Uber drivers make $100k?

Unless you work nonstop for 12 hours a day every single day of the year, making $100k by driving Uber is not possible.

Uber vs Uber Eats, what's the difference?

If you are driving for Uber, there are a lot more requirements to adhere to — including a vehicle inspection and other guidelines regarding your car’s appearance and features.

For UberEats, your car does not need a car inspection to qualify. Along with that, your car can just have two doors whereas, with Uber, you must have a four-door car.

Do I need a car inspection for Uber Eats?

You do not need to pass a vehicle inspection to deliver for UberEats. As long as it’s made after 1999, you’re good to go! When you apply to drive for UberEats, you must provide a valid driver’s license issued by the U.S, proof of vehicle registration, and proof of vehicle insurance.

How much does Uber pay per drive?

The hourly rates generally range from $15-$25, depending on location and time. Generally, Uber takes about 25% commission from each ride. Depending on where and when you drive, you may also experience surge pricing where you get paid more than usual.





Joybeth Sullivan
About Joybeth Sullivan

Joybeth Sullivan is an accomplished content creator. She does it all as a writer, photographer, and videographer. Her work has been published in local and international outlets. She graduated from the University of Georgia in May of 2020 with a dual-degree in English & Film. Today, she is based out of Denver, CO. When she isn't writing, you can find her on long drives in the mountains with her husky, Newman, riding shotgun.