It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to go through the effort of driving for Uber or Lyft if you spend every cent you earn (or more) on fuel and maintenance. So don’t do that.
Both ride-sharing giants merely asks that drivers own a four-door car that’s 10-years old or newer. Nothing prevents you from ferrying passengers around Seattle in a 707-horsepower Dodge Charger Hellcat, but your earnings will be significantly less than if you were to buy a more sensible car. Below, we’ve selected five new vehicles that shoppers who want to make as much money as possible while driving for Uber or Lyft should check out. You won’t have a blast commuting in these cars, but they’re safe, comfortable, roomy, and tech-savvy. You’ll notice the Toyota Prius isn’t on this list. While that may surprise many people, we’ve found the cramped interior and sub-standard upholstery and materials to not mesh well with ride-sharing services or riders’ expectations.
Big, spacious, and tuned with an eye on comfort, the Chevrolet Malibu is precisely the kind of sedan you want to buy if you plan on spending all day behind the wheel. Your passengers will enjoy an ample amount of leg room and you can rest assured knowing the Malibu’s list of standard features includes 10 airbags (including knee airbags or the front passengers). Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility both come standard, too. The 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine is a little bit coarse, sure, but you’ll happily overlook that fault when the time comes to fill up the tank.
Base MSRP: $22,090
EPA fuel economy: 29 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, 32 mpg combined
From New York City to Los Angeles, Uber drivers are increasingly making the switch to hybrid vehicles. Gasoline-electric models cost more to buy than comparable non-hybrid cars, but motorists who spend a lot of time driving in an urban environment will quickly see a return on their investment. While Toyota’s Prius is a favorite among drivers, the Hyundai Ioniq offers better fuel-efficiency numbers in a similarly-spacious package that’s more affordable. And, considering Hyundai’s track record for making seriously reliable cars, the Ioniq should be trouble-free for miles on end.
Base MSRP: $22,400
EPA fuel economy: 57 mpg city, 59 mpg highway, 58 mpg combined
There’s no unwritten rule that claims you must buy a big car to drive for Uber; we’ve taken a ride in a Mazda 2 before. Small cars are fine for short trips, but you’ll need a bigger model to take a family of four and a vacation’s worth of gear to the airport. We recommend the Chrysler Pacifica because it boasts a well thought-out interior with space for up to eight passengers, the company’s user-friendly Uconnect infotainment system, and an available hybrid powertrain. It’s reasonably pleasant to drive, too.
Base MSRP: $26,995
EPA fuel economy: 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, 22 mpg combined
Subaru Impreza Hatchback
The Subaru Impreza Hatchback is an excellent option for Uber drivers who live in an area where winter weather advisories are a normal part of daily life. It’s the only car in its segment that comes standard with all-wheel drive regardless of trim level, and the current-generation model is spacious enough to comfortably carry four passengers plus a trunk full of suitcases. The EyeSight suite of electronic driving aids is available at an extra cost, and Subaru went to great lengths to make its entry-level model more efficient than before. It’s not the quickest or sharpest car in its class, but it’s undoubtedly the one we’d want to drive through a winter in Detroit.
Base MSRP: $19,095
EPA fuel economy: 24 mpg city, 31 mpg highway, 26 mpg combined
The Toyota Corolla ticks several boxes on an Uber driver’s shopping list. It’s a basic, no-frills model that’s affordable to buy and affordable to keep running. It’s one of the cars that cemented Toyota’s reputation for making solid, reliable vehicles so you shouldn’t encounter any major problems with it. It’s as fuel-efficient as its compact dimensions suggest, but it’s more spacious than you might think. It offers space for five passengers and 13 cubic feet of trunk space.
Base MSRP: $18,600
EPA fuel economy: 27 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, 30 mpg combined