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 to finding the best cars for Uber and Lyft so you can maximize your earnings. After going through many vehicle specs, we’ve narrowed the choices down to the ten best cars for an Uber driver.
Category Requirements for Uber Vehicles
When you want to find the best car for an Uber driver, you also have to consider the categories that Uber uses. Let’s take an in-depth look at each of them so you can determine which one you want to be a part of.
UberX and POOL (Lyft)
These are the lowest priced services. Passengers pay the lowest fares per mile and by the 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 that the vehicle must be ten years old or newer. To be successful in this category, we recommend spending $20,000 or less on a car.
This is the most popular category for Uber passengers. You won’t have to fight for business, because there’s plenty of it to go around. Your goal is to find the longest trips you can. Commuters who work downtown but live in the suburbs are a great opportunity. Another option is to drive people to the airport.
Picking people up from the airport can be a good way to make 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 (Lyft Plus)
The cars in this category are extra-large. This includes non-luxury SUVs and minivans. They must have room for six passengers. The rates in this category rise slightly and the car normally can’t be more than ten years old. To be successful in this category, we recommending spending $25,000 or less for a vehicle.
These are often chosen because of their carrying capacity for passengers and cargo. They are not luxury vehicles, so 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, but you’ll want to maximize your trip to pocket the most cash. You’ll find the services are popular at airports and late-night club-hoppers in groups.
This 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 (Lyft Lux)
This high-end classification requires that the driver receive a professional license and commercial insurance. The car must seat four passengers with black interior and exterior. To be successful in this category, we recommend spending $30,000 or less on a vehicle.
To maximize your potential, try to choose a vehicle that qualifies for UberXL as well. While you’ll get more money in the BLACK 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 this is that 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 to get more calls.
UberSUV (Lyft SUV)
This is the top of the line service. 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 all the same licensing, professional, and insurance standards that the BLACK drivers use. They must also drive an SUV with 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 platforms. 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. Then, you’re making money you wouldn’t have before.
Choosing the Ten Best Cars for Uber and Lyft
You want to make the most amount of money you can while driving. With all the competition, it’s important you give yourself every advantage. When we evaluated the options, we considered the following criteria to choose the best cars for Uber.
Money – Of course, the least you spend on your vehicle, the more you pocket. That’s why it’s recommended that you invest in a car that’s a few years old. You aren’t going to make the most money purchasing a brand-new vehicle. In addition, 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.
Favorable vehicles – Because you want to build your passenger ratings, you need to purchase a car that pleases them. The best car for Uber isn’t something that makes them uncomfortable. We need to look at the crowd pleasers if you desire to be successful in this venture.
Crossovers and compact SUVs are a great choice here as well because of increased comfort, passenger space, ground clearance, better 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 the whole thing!
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.
Your car must also meet all the basic requirements of your drive-sharing platform.
Uber requirements include:
- Vehicle not older than 15 years
- Has four doors
- No cosmetic damage and good condition
- No commercial branding
- Passes vehicle inspection
Lyft requirements include (some vary by state):
- Vehicle not older than 15 years
- Has four doors
- Contains five to eight seats total
Top Ten Best Cars for Uber and Lyft Reviewed
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our choices as the best cars for Uber and Lyft. For the most cost-effective way to dive right in, consider purchasing these options a few years old.
1. Toyota Prius
You’ll find two schools of thought related to the Prius; people either adore them or despise them. Either way, there’s little to argue about in relation to their mpg numbers. New models get a combined mpg of 52. This car helps you to achieve more trips with fewer stops at the gas station, which is a huge plus when it comes to making money.
On top of that, the reliability rates continue to be higher than average. There’s even a good amount of luggage space behind the rear seats. Choose something 2014 or newer so you have access to the automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning. You might also want to look for something with leather seats so you have fewer odors and spills to deal with.
2. Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
You won’t find one of these before model year 2017, but it’s still worth looking into. It has a favorable look compared to the Prius and offers better gas mileage with a combined mpg of 58. 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 comes with several advanced safety features for peace of mind. Some of these include Electronic Stability Control, Driveline Traction Control, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and Rear Collision.
3. Honda Fit
This 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 that means 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
When you shuttle people back and forth to the airport, you’ll be happy to have a Camry. Not only is it a comfortable sedan but also gets decent fuel mileage with the combined 34 mpg. There are also some available safety features like automatic emergency braking and Forward Collision Warning which started in the 2015 models. That’s the same year they excelled in the IIHS crash tests and became a Top Safety Pick+.
If you insist on a new car, you’ll like that the 2018 underwent a complete redesign. They added a sporty feel and boosted the performance slightly. As far as reliability, the Camry continues to exceed expectations. This means you won’t need lots of time at the mechanic’s shop which puts you on the road longer. More time carting passengers around equals more money in your pocket.
5. Kia Niro
This subcompact hybrid crossover comes with a stellar price tag. Plus, you’ll see a combined 50 mpg which means fewer stops at the gas station along the way. This CUV is a great option if you want something that sits higher and offers more cargo space than a sedan, but you don’t want to spend more. Watch for the FE trim which provides the highest mpg for the lowest price.
While we agree then Ioniq has more cargo room; rear passengers will like the additional legroom in this model. That’s one of the biggest reasons to choose this as one of the best cars for Uber. In addition, 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.
6. Mazda CX-3
The Mazda CX-3 isn’t a hybrid, so you won’t see the same gas mileage, but it is a deal. You’ll find many used CX-3 models for a decent price and low mileage. Don’t get us wrong; fuel mileage isn’t terrible. This vehicle achieves 31.5 combined 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 the sporty handling. On top of that, your guests will not have trouble talking to one another because the cabin is insanely quiet. Because you’ll be behind the wheel for hours on end, you’ll also enjoy how comfortable the front seats are. Overall, guests are sure to offer high ratings because the interior is high-quality and the ride feels more luxurious than it is.
7. Chevrolet Equinox
This crossover has been better than ever the past few years. It’s compact and has a combined mpg of 33.5. You’ll also have the confidence you need when driving in bad weather. That’s something people want when looking into the best cars for Uber and Lyft.
While all the years have done well with JD Power, if you want to go back a couple of years, you’ll find the 2017 scored high in dependability. If you desire to upgrade slightly, you could find a model with all-wheel-drive. The best part of that option is that the fuel economy doesn’t suffer at all as a result.
8. Honda HR-V
This crossover might look small making you think it’s not one of the best cars for Uber and Lyft, but looks are deceiving. Think of how much room the Honda Fit has, and you’ll understand that this is similar. Not only that, but you’ll expect a combined 31 mpg.
There are some added perks on new models of the HR-V. These include flexible seating configurations and a magic seat. The tall mode 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 that they want to tote with them. You’re sure to get excellent reviews for your interesting accommodations.
9. GMC Terrain
This compact SUV offers you the ability to tow or achieve a 32 combined mpg. It’s going to 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. This will help you to feel that you’ve chosen one of the best cars for Uber and Lyft. The fact that you’re saving gas in the process can be a secret you keep from them.
10. Honda Odyssey
If 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 is reliable. While the combined 22 mpg figure 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.
Top 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.
- Don’t commit fraud with your personal
- 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.
- Don’t take a passenger with for the ride.
- Make sure you drive your registered vehicle. Don’t swap it out with your second car.
Tips for Success with Uber and Lyft – How to be a Better Uber/Lyft Driver
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 areas in your city that are popular.
Familiarize yourself with the most popular event venues, shopping malls, public places, and clubs and bars in your city. The best strategy to maximize profit is to minimize the number of empty miles you drive; empty miles being those you drive without any passengers.
It’s recommended that 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 you know to be high-traffic as well as event venues and downtown. This way, you’ll be much more likely to cash in on the dozens of people looking for a Lyft or Uber at these popular areas.
Do whatever you can to make your passengers’ rides more comfortable, including but not limited to:
- Adjusting the A/C
- Heated/Air-Conditioned Seats
- Offering Bottled Water
- Adjusting your music volume or changing the song
- Having extra phone chargers and a power bank on hand
- Offering chewing gum or mints
Can You Drive for both Lyft and Uber?
Finally, when trying to choose 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.
We think it’s great that you like to put your vehicle to work and earn some money. 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.
Once you’ve done the homework you need to do; you’ll figure out what the best cars for Uber and Lyft are. Then, you’ll be ready to get out on the road and start socking away the cash. Make sure you follow all the requirements set forth by the companies, but overall, get ready to have a lot of adventures.