The most comfortable yet thrifty cars available.
As an alternative to a taxi service, Lyft and Uber have nailed it. Both companies have their ethical issues, but there's a reason more people are using the services than traditional taxis across America. We say "traditional" taxis because calling the new tech-based companies "rideshare services" sticks in our throats. When push comes to shove, you still use your phone to arrange for a car with a driver to come to wherever you are and transport you to a new location at a price. One of the differences between traditional taxi services is that Uber and Lyft drivers often use their personal vehicles. Expenses like gas, insurance, and maintenance costs eat into their profit margins, so choosing that vehicle is critical to make sure the drivers aren't just earning money to run the car. They need to put food on the table as well. So, these are the vehicles we recommend existing or prospective Lyft and Uber drivers check out if they need a new car.
Uber and Lyft drivers need a four or five-door vehicle that can seat at least five in total. If they want those max-positive reviews, the car is part of the experience, so there needs to be a good comfort level and legroom. Toyota has spent decades perfecting a mix of a large cabin, a decent ride, and relentless reliability, all at a decent price for customers. Toyota, currently, also has the best hybrid drivetrains, and the Camry Hybrid gets 51/53/52 mpg city/highway/combined. That's almost the best the Prius has to offer, and the nice thing is that if you're driving a Camry or Corolla Hybrid, you're not driving a Prius. This is not the last hybrid you'll find on the list, as 2022 will be remembered as the year gas prices went out of control and, as we know, once they go up, they can come down but never go back to where they were.
The Honda CR-V Hybrid is hard to beat as a two-row crossover for the family and for ferrying around fares. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is cheaper, offers more power, and is more efficient, but the 2021 CR-V Hybrid brings the A-game when it comes to safety tech, interior comfort, and trunk space. Its 40/35 mpg City/Highway is far from disappointing, and it's more fun to drive than the RAV4 Hybrid. The only real downer we have on the CR-V Hybrid is its infotainment system which is good enough but not as good as it should be in a Honda of any kind.
If you're in an area where you can regularly pick up Uber XL or Lyft XL fares, then you need something that will seat six people at a minimum. A minivan may not be the sexiest choice, but there's not much else out there that can seat eight people in comfort while getting 36/36/36 mpg city/highway/combined. The current generation Toyota Sienna is hybrid only and has its positives and negatives. The negatives are to do with driving as it's sluggish and the brakes feel a little mushy - although they are perfectly competent. The positives all line up for carting people around, though. There's lots of space for passengers, and you can option it as an eight-seater or swap the middle bench seat for a pair of captain's chairs and use it as a seven-seater.
Yes, this is another Toyota, but we have to face facts:
Other automakers are close, but we've singled out the RAV4 Prime as its electric-only range is up to 42 miles, the engine can charge the battery, and it gets 40/36/38 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. An added benefit is that it's weirdly quick when you don't have passengers. Toyota has also concentrated on sound deadening and thicker glass for a quieter ride. However, it does all come at a price, so that needs to be weighed up.
If you want something a little more descript than a Toyota Camry, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a great choice. Its fuel economy isn't as good (45/51/47 mpg unless you go for Blue trim with 50/54/52 mpg) as a Camry Hybrid, but the Sonata makes up for it in other ways. Build quality is excellent, the infotainment system is vying for a best-in-class award, it's stuffed with safety features, and the ride is fantastic. The Blue trim with the superior fuel economy is just $27,350, but it's only marginally better equipped inside than the base gas model. Still, it makes for a more than acceptable passenger carrier.
The Honda Insight packs in a lot of car for the money. The Insight sits between the Accord and Civic in size, but, unfortunately, Honda is ending production this June (2022). The good news is that while the Insight is still available, it's a well-refined car and an example of how Honda can maximize interior space while giving it a sense of style. The Insight is a sober car to drive but comes with Honda's Sensing safety suite, and the base model pulls 55/49/52 mpg across the city/highway/combined from its hybrid drivetrain. If you up the trim level to Touring, it still gets a remarkably efficient 51/45/48 mpg.
If you happen to be working in a coastal city with many Tesla Superchargers around, there's no denying that the Tesla Model 3 might be a great choice. Yes, you'll look basic, build quality can be suspect at best, customer service is well-documented as being below par, and your choice of colors inside and out is severely limited. However, Tesla's all-electric drivetrain technology is ahead of everyone else for the price still. We would rather take a paper cut on an eyeball than have to drive a Tesla every day, but the math might work in your favor. The $46,990 rear-wheel-drive option will get you an advertised 267 miles on a full charge, but you'll want the Long Range model for $55,990 with its 334 miles of range. Please, though, for the love of all that is holy, splash out for a color that isn't white and don't fall for the $12,000 Full Self Driving Capability upgrade.