5 Best Cars to Buy for Uber Drivers

Do you want to join Uber or Lyft as a driver and don’t know which cars will be your best and most efficient choice? I will help you understand the different cars that you could work with and each one’s potential benefits! After all, your car choice can make a difference of up to a few hundred dollars a month in costs.

Here is brief compilation of my top 5 choices for Uber cars that meet the requirements plus information that’ll help you decide whether to go for a used or new car. The vehicles listed below come with a spectrum of cool features and benefits. The prices for used and new cars are approximate numbers. I took all these wheels for a spin.

Check it out…

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5 Best Cars to Buy for Uber Drivers

5 Best Uber Cars for Drivers

1. Toyota Prius

The Prius is a very reliable and efficient, gas-powered car that is rated at 50 mpg highway / city combined by the EPA. The economical performance of the Prius has been pretty impressive since the launch of the third-generation series in 2009. The US Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board (CARB) rate the Prius among the cleanest vehicles sold in the US.

This vehicle is very utilitarian, has tons of room for passengers and luggage for a relatively small car. Definitely a solid, practical choice. Both as a used and a new car. The Prius is not very exciting to drive, at least not in the traditional sense. The real excitement comes when you look at the gas mileage you get!

Some people are worried about the Hybrid-Battery life, since replacing it would be very expensive. I spoke with the manager of a major dealership about this, and he told me he didn’t know of any case where a battery had to be replaced because of age. The battery pack in any hybrid Toyota is warranted either for 10 years or 150,000 miles (in states with California emissions laws) or 8 years or 100,000 miles in all other states.

  • Used (2010): $10,000
  • New: from $24,000
  • 2015 model KBB consumer rating: 9.1/10

2. Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is an affordable mid-size family option, and offers 33 mpg combined. The 2015 model hybrid version is even rated at 44 mpg city / 47 mpg highway. In a similar category as a Toyota Prius, Honda Civics are very efficient and reliable cars.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, fuel sipping car, that offers a bit more pleasure to drive than the Prius, the Civic manages that. The steering feels sharp, the brakes solid and the structure stiff. You get sort of compact sporty feeling. New models are starting from around $18,290.

  • Used (2010): $10,000
  • New: from $18,290
  • 2015 model KBB consumer rating: 8.7/10

3. Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion is a hard car to dislike. This family sedan offers surprisingly easy and precise handling, is sleek, stylish and has comfortable seats in the front and in the back. The Fusion comes with a wide range of engines including EcoBoost 4-cylinders and is available as a hybrid and ‘Energi’ model as well. It is rated at up to 24 mpg city, and 36 mpg on the highway. The hybrid version is very efficient at an estimated 42 mpg combined. When I test drove it for a few hours, I got it up to almost 50 mpg! The plug-in hybrid version offers a staggering total range of up to 620 miles.

  • Used (2010): $10,000
  • New: from $18,290
  • 2015 model KBB consumer rating: 8.8/10

4. Toyota Corolla

The Corolla has very low maintenance costs, retains its resale value pretty well over the years and has
good to great fuel economy (depending on the model). If you have any kids, you can eventually hand the car down to them with confidence. The 2000 version of the Toyota Corolla and the newer versions are the perfect choices for Uber drivers with its well-used and comfortable interior space.

Corollas are reliable and practical in terms of maintenance and upkeep. This is not a very sexy or sporty car. The way it corners and accelerates are not very exciting; it is a reasonable car in every way.

If you want a comfortable, competent and credible car, the Corolla is certainly up to the job. The LE Eco version is the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid version and gets about 35 mpg combined, while the rest of the models offer approximately 32 mpg combined.

The Hybrid version is rated at an estimated 42 mpg combined. A new Corolla starts at around $16,200. Forbes ranked the 2014 Corolla as one of the cheapest cars to own.

  • Used (2010): $9,500
  • New: from $16,200
  • 2015 model KBB consumer rating 8.1/10

5. Hyundai Sonata

The Hyundai Sonata is a good choice, if you don’t want to drain your bank account, but are still looking for value and refinement. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata SE undercuts competing Sedans from Honda and Toyota by around $1000. Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys have been around in the US market for a few decades now and Hyundai is still working to win the masses over.

The most dynamic version of this car comes as a 2.0 liter supercharged 4-cylinder. The 1.6 liter 4-cylinder turbo is the most fuel-economic model. The Sonata is rated at up the 28 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.

  • Used (2010): $10,200
  • New: from $20,100
  • 2015 model KBB consumer rating 8.4/10

*Bonus Car: Chevrolet Volt*

The Volt’s price tag is a bit steeper, so I’m including it as a bonus on the list. It’s far too interesting to miss! One of the coolest things you get from an EV like the Volt is the low-end torque from a dead stop. It’s like a rocket taking off (without the noise). The vehicle comes with a total cruising range of 382 miles and offers a gas mileage of 42 mpg combined.

The 2016 model apparently has an electric range of up to 53 miles, which largely depends on how lead-footed you are on the pedal…Very fuel-efficient and reliable, the 2013 Chevy Volt series (and newer) comes with two interesting safety features; a forward collision alert and a lane-departure warning that adds to the safety of your Uber ride. I took the Chevy Volt for a test drive recently, and was very impressed with the seemless, powerful performance.

Really fun to drive! Sort of feels like a Kart in electric mode and corners way better than you’d think. The forward collision alert is pretty cool, it flashes and beeps when you drive up to close to the car in front of you. The price tag is a bit higher here: new for around $33,995 (minus federal tax credit from $0-$7500).

  • Used (2012): $15,000
  • New: from $33,000
  • 2015 model KBB consumer rating: 9/10

Shop cars at edmunds.com

Used Cars VS. New Cars – Buy New, Buy Used or Lease?

What’s the difference in buying or leasing the same new car in terms of out-of-pocket costs? If you decide to buy a used car, how much will you save? What do costs compare over the course of time? As an Uber or Lyft driver, these questions are very important. It’s hard to give an answer that covers all situations, but I’ll show you a practical example with approximate numbers. We’re looking at an average car ownership of six years.

Let’s take a 2016 Toyota Prius priced at $25,000 as an example.

Buying a new car for Uber

To buy this Prius priced at $25,000, we chose a five-year loan with a 20% down payment, which is $5000. At an interest rate of 3%, the monthly payment is approximately $400.

Buying a used car for Uber

Let’s say a 3 year old Prius has used retail value of about $17,000. We chose a four-year loan with 10% down, which is $1,700. We finance the purchase at 3.5% (used car loans are a bithigher than new-car loans) for four years. The monthly payment is approximately $375.

Leasing a car for Uber

This option usually has a restriction on the miles than are included per year and can lead to steep extra charges. Not very suitable for rideshare drivers.

For a six-year ownership scenario, it would be one five-year loan, plus an additional year of ownership without any car payments. For the used car scenario, it is a four-year loan and two years without car payments.

Total Out-Of-Pocket Costs:

Buying New: $29,000

Buying Used: $19,000

…And if we take the value of the car into consideration at the end of six-year ownership. Let’s assume about $12,000 for the new car, and about $6,000 for the used one:

Final Costs:

Buying New: $17,000

Buying Used: $13,000

Where Should I Buy My Car?

There are obviously almost a limitless number of places where you can buy your car. Unfortunately, I discovered Edmunds.com just a few days after I bought my 2010 Toyota Corolla, because I would have paid quite a bit less.

Oh well…I wish I had all the information that I’ve collected since I’ve started driving for Uber, but the good news is: you can benefit from my experience! Check it out, if you’re interested. They have a massive network of over 10000 dealerships in the US, so you will probably find exactly what you’re looking for.

Here is how it works:

  • Type in the exact car (and year) you want on Edmunds.com
  • A number of results will show up that say “Price Promise”
  • Click on the search result, and a list of cars will pop up (including a consumer rating for the specific dealership that sells the car).
  • If you find the car you like, you can make arrangements and lock your price in upfront with no buying obligation.

Sign up to drive with Uber or Lyft for a cash bonus!

Car Research and Pricing at Edmunds.com

Comments

  • Christopher Zilar

    You mention the Volt – which is a GREAT car (I own one myself) – but it does not meet the minimum requirements for Uber in that it only seats four people (driver + 3).

  • Frank C

    Actually the new 2016 Volt technically seats 5 and has 5 seat belts. The caveat is that the middle sear seat has a hump (technically the T-shaped battery) that your legs need to straddle. But only the 2016 Volt has the fifth seat. Model year 2015 or older will not be accepted by Uber.

  • John Ahmann

    I am thinking about driving for UBER. I will be getting a vehicle just for UBER,I do want to make this my full time job. What vehicle should I get so that I can stay the busiest and make the most money ?

  • LJK

    What about the Jeep Renegades. Will it pass to drive uber?

  • uber accepts cars 3008 and newer. why did frank c above say they wont accept chev volt 2015 and older?

  • never mind. i see the info re 5 seat requirement

  • Promontorium

    Should update this since Uber is now offering unlimited mileage leases.

  • Danny

    Any idea on cost and reruns on Uber X or Select cars? How much time would they need to log to make up for greater costs? Are they more profitable?

  • Dan Czarnecki

    I think another honorable mention would be either one of the 2 newer generations of the Toyota Camry. I remember a few weekends ago I was riding in a 2013/14 Camry SE for Uber and it was a very nice car to be in. Speaking of the Camry, I recently got a 2016 Camry XLE as a graduation present and it’s going on it’s first Lyft drive later tonight! I can’t wait to see what people say about it, as it’s a very nice car and I’ve been loving it myself.

  • Ruby

    I drive for Lyft and Uber in an urban part of the USA and put over 1000 miles per week on my business car. About 75% of them are paid miles (meaning with a paying passenger) I have bought and sold 5 business cars so far. I’m driving my 6th one now.

    My #1 rule and I highly recommend you incorporate it into your business plan – AS SOON AS I need to repair anything major on my business car (brake rotors are not major) I list it for sale while it is being repaired and sell it before the next breakdown can occur.

    I’ve purchased my business cars both new and used (now, I recommend used) The NEW car I bought was the best car I’ve had for length of use because it had the 100,000 mile warranty (that I did have to use twice) but ended up being the worst car I’ve had for dollar loss of resale value. I paid over $27,000 including taxes and sold it for under $11,500. I drove it for 25 months, I had put just over 135,000 miles on the odometer. If I would have risked paying for additional major repairs for a 3rd year I might have gotten over 180,000, but that is speculation and I want to keep to it real. Using the same car for 6 years of ride sharing isn’t real if you are driving 30 or more hours per week in an urban area of the USA

    I’ve purchased all my USED business cars for $17,000 to $21,000 plus an 8% state tax and I’ve sold them after 6 to 11 months of driving, with an additional 31,000 to 56,000+ ride share miles on their odometer,.for less than $9000. Let’s do some math here: That’s over 50% less value after I have owned it for less than 1 year. Owning a ride share car for 6 years is … LMAO

  • Don Woodruff

    Has anyone noticed the Ford Transit Connect? It seems to be a perfect vehicle for unerring. Let me know. I’m looking at cars now. thanks

  • Amanda Batten Pepevnik

    I have a question that I’m hoping someone can answer …I live in Wilmington,NC and I was told that if I want to drive for uber or lyft that my 2003 Honda Odyssey Van had to be atleast a 2005 or newer ,is this true ? I really want to work for one of these companies ,because I love to drive and I love how you can work when you want to also ! Thanks so much ,for any info. !

  • random browser

    My Uber passengers like my ’13 Ford Cmax hybrid. Its not well recognized vehicle. it has a roomy interior, lots of head room. the engine 180 horse power, it can get up and go, even up steep hills on the freeway from a stop. I’m getting 40 MPG overall.

  • TOMK777

    VW TDI is also a good choice for Uber/Lyft, I average about 38 mpg combined each night, and diesel runs about 30 cents a gallon cheaper in Southern California, puts it close to a Prius with far more torque and performance.
    The Bolt looks to be the ultimate ride share vehicle though, 228 miles range for around 30k,

  • TOMK777

    If your numbers are correct, leasing even if you pay the over milage at 20 cents a mile would work out cheaper, plus you get to keep the difference in YOUR account until the end of the lease, at which time you pay the overage fee and turn in the car for a new one.

  • Dennis Tivey

    I have a Ford C-Max Hybrid too. It’s an outstanding drive—precise steering, linear brakes, ample torque, smooth and quiet demeanor—yet gets very good MPG compared to non-hybrids, especially in city driving. Its potato-like shape provides great visibility and loads of interior room, within a tidy exterior length for easy street parking. There are goodies for rear seat passengers including AC and heat vents, a power outlet and a flip-down armrest and cupholders, as well as audio aux inputs in the front console. The driver gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls for audio, voice commands, cruise control, and Bluetooth. And (though I bought mine new) it’s a screaming bargain used.

    A caution on the Chevy Volt: models from 2015 and earlier are four-seaters only (the rear has two bucket seats with an arm-height console between), and in most markets Uber requires five seats.

  • randy

    I drive 140 miles a day to BWI airport roundtrip for work. My plan is to monetize my commute, as airports are obviously high demand routes and I’m going there anyway, what do you think of that plan?

  • Joshua Thomas

    I just bought a 2016 transit connect! I love it! Did u end up getting one?

  • Paul Merriwether

    What you failed to mention was mileage. You selected 6 yr. ownership. If this car is used for Uber full time at 150 mile/day x 5 days = 750/wh or 3000mi/mth. 36,000/yr. If it were to last 6yr 216,000 miles plus it’s initial mileage!!! Worth NOTHING!!! If it lasted even half that time.

  • Paul Merriwether

    6 yr Uber car is FUNNY!!!! 🙂 Excellent comment!!!! Thanks for the reality of what I was thinking. I haven’t start as a driver yet. Let me ask you this …. I’m thinking of going SELECT with 7 seats that can be used as SELECT, XL or X. Paying in the range you suggested. No pool rides unless doing X, ignore gas mileage because you earn so more per mile on SEL or XL. Being able to do both Lyft & Uber because of the wait times. Doesn’t this makes more sense than just doing X?

  • Paul Merriwether

    There are many cars at 15 cent overage. You can always buy the car prior to turning it in and not pay overage.

  • wgreville

    that looks awesome

  • Ramsey

    Why do you prefer used cars?

  • SAlvatore

    Then you’ll have to buy a 2005 or newer and sell your 2003 if You don’t want to keep two vehicles .

  • Jay

    If a cars been in a accident but fixed it doesn’t say salvage on it can it be up sed for uber ??

  • Jay

    *used

  • I guess Mustangs are out…

  • Michael F

    Camry are not very good cars relative to the competition. It is heavier than other mid-size sedans making it either slower or less efficient depending on engine choice. Handling is much less confidence inspiring than Malibu, Fusion, Altima, or Accord. And the prior except Accord all have more rear and trunk room. Accord tends to last slightly longer and hold value slightly better. The only competition Camry is better than is Chrysler 200 and Passat.

    Edit: Apparently I was unable to spell Camry correctly, fixed now.

  • Jerry

    Prius

  • Fred

    What model VW TDI do you have?

  • TOMK777

    2015 Jetta TDI but I’m turning it in for the recall

  • TOMK777

    I just replaced my VW Jetta TDI with the Transit Connect in October, I’m averaging 22 mpg city/hwy and can do Uber XL and Lyft plus, making more than with my Jetta

  • Fred

    Thanks.

    Any idea what you’ll get now?

  • TOMK777

    Great, look up a service called Wingz, prescheduled airport rides only, and they pay way better than Uber

  • TOMK777

    I bought a Ford Transit connect wagon, 28 mpg hwy, four cylinder engine, commercial grade brakes, shocks etc. I bought one that was one year old (2015) that had 3330 miles on it for $17,900. Seats 7, tows 2000 pounds, all seats fold flat, lots of space inside, and outside its smaller than a Honda Accord.

  • mufyn

    I am about to turn in my sportwagen tdi. So sad. I love that car! Looking for a replacement is hard.

  • TOMK777

    Yea, I loved mine too, precise steering, gobs of torque and good milage too….