When your car is your source of income, these are the ten best you can buy.
You want in on the Uber game – it's after all becoming more viable than personal transport in many places, and it's the ideal way to earn some extra cash in your down time. But in order to be a successful Uber driver, you need the right tools for the job – in this case, the right car. Of the hundreds on sale, it might be difficult to pick the right one. Something affordable, reliable, economical, comfortable, spacious, safe, and easy to look after. Are there really any options that tick all the boxes?We've factored in all the variables and come up with a list of ten vehicles perfect for the aspiring Uber driver.
Beneath its alien exterior, the Toyota Prius is damn near the perfect Uber vehicle. It's spacious, comfortable, packs 27.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and from 2014 onwards it optionally featured forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, making it safe too. It features leatherette seats that are resistant to odors and stains, and are easy to clean for those inevitable pick-ups of drunken passengers. But what makes the Prius a prime Uber-ride is proven reliability (5 out of 5 from JD Power), and crucially, fuel economy. With a combined mpg rating of 52, few are cheaper to run for Uber drivers than the Prius.
Hyundai's built up a reputation for good, honest vehicles of late. The Tucson is just one such vehicle, and the current generation is ideal for Uber drivers in more ways than one. For starters, it's got plenty of space, for both passengers and luggage. But it's also relatively efficient, at a combined 27 mpg for the front-wheel-drive model. The high ride height and available all-wheel drive also ensures that inclement weather doesn't prevent you from cashing in on surge pricing – and there's the visual impression of capability which will reassure passengers when you arrive in the rain in your SUV.
This one's for the Uber Black drivers out there – as you'll need something premium in look and feel to impress passengers, but still something relatively affordable and cheap to run. The Lexus ES looks every part the luxury sedan, packing the spaciousness of the GS with the affordability of the IS. The latest generation also benefits from striking premium looks. The ES300h is the one you'll want as the hybrid 2.5-liter drivetrain boasts 40 mpg. The ES is also renowned for reliability, scoring 5/5 overall on the JD Power dependability study, and most of all, comfort – which is pretty much the single focus of the ES's engineering.
Opt for the 1.5-liter Honda CR-V with all-wheel drive, and you only sacrifice a paltry 1 mpg (combined rating of 29 mpg according to the EPA) compared to the FWD model. With a set of all-season tires you're set for year-round Uber pick-ups in any weather. But the CR-V is also spacious inside, has plenty space for luggage, and is supremely comfortable and capable, making it one of the most versatile Uber-rides available. The CR-V additionally scores top marks for safety, scoring 5 stars from the NHTSA, and being awarded as an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2018.
While most people only ever need an UberX, we haven't forgotten about the drivers that cater to UberXL. The Honda Odyssey takes the cake as arguably the best UberXL vehicle to buy thanks to its overall 5/5 rating from JD Power's dependability study, combined with space for up to 8 occupants in a multi-way configurable cabin. The 280-horsepower V6 ensures that even a fully loaded UberXL won't slow you down too much, but EPA-rated economy figures of a combined 22 mpg aren't too harsh on the wallet either considering all the extra passengers you can ferry.
Few cars scream reliable like the Toyota Corolla. Millions have been sold across ten generations, and each and every one is renowned for reliability, affordability, and low running costs. The 2018 model was awarded as an IIHS Top Safety Pick too, ensuring occupants are in safe hands whenever they hail an Uber and a Corolla shows up. Priced from $18,600, it's affordable to buy even new, and with a combined fuel economy rating of up to 34 mpgon the Eco model it's even cheaper to run. Filter in comfort, spaciousness, and a durable interior – if not a little unrefined – and you've got one of the cheapest, most profitable Uber options around.
SUVs inspire confidence in bad weather, and they're also spacious and often high on comfort – all of which make them ideal as Uber vehicles. But the Chevrolet Equinox has a unique selling point that sets it ahead of the pack when it comes to ride-sharing. Available with a 1.6-liter diesel engine, the EPA rates economy at 32 mpg, though figures as high as 35.9 mpg have been reported. In the JD Power Dependability Study, the Equinox achieved an overall rating of 5/5 too, with full marks in all sub-categories, so it's almost guaranteed to withstand anything thrown at it. For added kicks, all-wheel drive is also available, with no fuel economy penalty to pay.
While the Mazda CX-5 doesn't qualify for the Uber Black list of vehicles, it does look and feel premium enough to almost guarantee you high tips when you arrive for a pick-up in the luxurious CX-5. Of course it's spacious too, and refined, and comfortable, whilst still being relatively light on fuel at 28 mpg in front-drive trims. There's 30.9 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, and there's even a diesel model coming that'll bump the fuel economy to even more impressive figures.
Much like the Corolla has a reputation, so too does the Camry as yet another Toyota with massive amounts of comfort, space, and big reliability. With an overall JD Power Dependability Rating of 5 out of 5 and economy figures of up to 52 mpg for the hybrid version, the Camry will be one of the cheapest vehicles to keep running in the long run. On top of that, it's spacious, refined, and safe too, scoring 5 stars from the NHTSA. Uber passengers will tip highly for the extreme comfort levels that have ensured the Camry is now benchmarked by many a premium brand when it comes to comfort-biased mid-sized sedans.
The myth of Japanese reliability has been proven time and time again by Honda, with the latest Civic continuing the legacy. But the Civic has also carved itself a niche in the compact segment as being one of the mightiest all-rounders on the road. It's spacious – more so than almost any rivals – and offers high levels of refinement, along with impeccable ride comfort. The Civic has some of the best safety equipment on the market to ensure passengers are safe no matter what. But the clincher – the 1.5-liter turbo engine claims economy figures of a combined 36 mpg, making it incredibly cheap to run when your day revolves around driving a couple hundred miles.