Rideshare vehicles suffer a lot of wear and tear from being on the road all day. Even without serious mechanical issues, regular maintenance like keeping tires inflated, topping up motor oil, and buffing out scratches can be time consuming and expensive.
With this in mind, rideshare drivers need reliable cars with good fuel efficiency in order to turn a profit. Helpfully, Consumer Reports have compiled a list of six used cars they can recommend.
Background to the Consumer Reports study
Consumer Reports(CR) was compelled to create a list of the best cars for ridesharing after speaking with a rideshare consultant, who claimed drivers can put as many as 1,000 miles per week on their cars.
CR surmised that to be successful, Lyft and Uber drivers would need a car which rarely needs mechanical work and has excellent fuel efficiency. They didn’t consider new cars because of the speed at which they depreciate.
They studied online forums to learn more about the challenges facing rideshare drivers, and then looked at their own auto surveys, to find out which used cars are best equipped to meet these challenges.
The 6 best used cars for rideshare drivers
Here are the results of the Consumer Reports study into the best used cars for rideshare drivers:
Best Overall: 2014+ Toyota Prius
The Prius is praised by drivers for its excellent fuel economy. Consumer Reports’ own surveys show it to be very reliable with lots of luggage room.
They suggest a 2014 or newer model due to enhanced safety features, and leatherette seats to make cleaning easier.
Best Sedan: 2015+ Toyota Camry
The Camry scores well for being spacious and comfortable, which will help drivers get better ratings from customers. It has impressive fuel-economy and "much-better-than-average reliability."
They suggest a 2015 or newer model, because this is when Toyota upgraded the safety features, and the Camry began to ace the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests.
Best Affordable Car: 2016+ Kia Soul
Despite its relative affordability, newer Kia Soul models offer lots of interior space and a host of safety features, including forward-collision warning.
Best for Bad Weather: 2015+ Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is credited for being roomy and having good fuel economy for an SUV. The handling is good, it rarely breaks down, and consistently receives top safety scores.
If you can afford an all-wheel drive car like the CR-V, you stand to make more cash as a rideshare driver. This is because you can operate safely in bad weather, even deep snow, when fares increase and there are fewer competitors on the road.
As Consumer Reports point out, don’t forget to get winter tires fitted for the colder months.
Best for Uber XL and Lyft Plus: 2014+ Honda Odyssey
Both Uber and Lyft will pay you more for accommodating large groups of passengers.
CR suggests the Honda Odyssey, because it can fit up to eight passengers and has earned top safety scores.
One downside is a less than stellar fuel economy, so don’t pick this vehicle unless you are confident of regular requests from Uber XL or Lyft Plus.
Best for Uber Select and Lyft Premier: 2013+ Lexus ES
In some cities, rideshare passengers can choose to pay more for a nicer car. Drivers make more money when this happens, but demand is lower than for regular Uber or Lyft.
If you want to be eligible for the premium service, CR ranks the Lexus ES as the best car to use. It is reliable and comfortable, with decent fuel efficiency.
Is now a good time to buy a used car?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and semiconductor chip shortage, there has been a lack of new vehicles entering the market, and used cars have been in high demand.
As a result,
used car prices skyrocketedearlier this year, pricing many drivers out of car ownership.
Fortunately, the cost to buy a used car peaked in May, and
prices are now coming back down.
It may still take a few months for prices to reach pre-pandemic levels, but it is a good time to start researching your purchase.
Save big on car insurance for your rideshare vehicle
And if you are currently looking to buy a car, use Jerry to pull quotes for a few different vehicles, and see which one is cheapest to insure.
Not only will this help you narrow down your search, but by saving on car insurance, you can increase your profit margin when working as a rideshare driver.