Most Uber and Lyft drivers get started with the vehicle they already own, as long as it fits the criteria of the platforms. However, when you’re getting ready to purchase your next vehicle, you might want to consider what would be the best to suit your gig work.
Buckle has partnered with Harry Campbell, founder of TheRideshareGuy.com, to provide our Members with the very best tips, tricks, and news to help maximize their income as a rideshare and delivery driver.
Whether it’s an EV, hybrid or a gas-powered vehicle, the vehicle you drive for Uber and Lyft is crucial. Having a car that gets great gas mileage, is reliable, and most importantly is comfortable for you seems like a tall order, but it’s not impossible to find.
Here are my top suggestions for the best vehicles for Uber and Lyft drivers.
Best EV Options for Rideshare Drivers
EV Range: 80-140 miles
If your Uber/Lyft style is lots of short trips (or you mainly do delivery) and you usually take a break during the day, you may have some success with a used Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is the most prolific EV in North America, with 150,000 sold here since 2011. That means there are a lot of them on the used market: I saw over 1,000 results on a recent Autotrader.com search.
You can get a low-mile 2011 for $4,000, but beware: the air-cooled, 20-kWh battery is known to have serious degradation issues, cutting the rated 80-ish mile range to less than 50.
The way to go would be to find a clean, low-mile 2016 or newer model, with the 30 kWh battery. It’s a more-durable design and offers 110 miles of range. You can find these for under $10,000, or splurge and get a 2017 or newer with the 40 kWh pack and 140 miles of range.
Tesla Model S 60
EV Range: 208-260 miles
The Tesla Model S is a ground-breaking vehicle, the first mass-produced long-range EV. It’s also considered a luxury vehicle for purposes of Uber Select or Lyft Lux, and may even be eligible for Uber Black. Look around, and you might find one for under $25,000.
These cars were built to last a lifetime and some are exceeding a half-million miles. You’ll enjoy a huge network of fast-charge stations and you’ll impress your passengers, most of whom will have never ridden in a Tesla before.
You’ll also enjoy 208-260 miles of range (you can fast charge to 80 percent in about 45 minutes) as well as handling and acceleration on par with $80,000 European-built luxury sedans.
Top Choice: Chevy Bolt EV
EV Range: 259 miles
The Chevy Bolt EV checks (almost) all the boxes when it comes to a rideshare or delivery vehicle: inexpensive cost of entry, cheap to maintain (the only maintenance items to 150,000 miles are the cabin air filter and tire rotations), easy to get in and out of, surprisingly roomy and a tough, durable interior.
For 2022, GM dropped the price of the Bolt to $31,995 (not including destination, etc), $8,000 less than the 2021. GM also offered $8,000 off unsold 2021 models, plus Uber drivers get another $2,500 off and if the Biden administration’s new EV incentives get signed into law, the union-made Bolt will offer up another $12,500 in a point-of-sale rebate, not a tax credit like the old program.
Learn more about EVs and talk with fellow enthusiasts on RSG’s Facebook Group for EV gig drivers.
Best Gas and Hybrid Options
Price: $20,000 used
MPG: 25 city, 34 highway
This is a great car to ensure you and your passengers are comfortable. It’s also got a roomy trunk to make airport runs a breeze. There are also hybrid options for the Toyota Camry to make the average MPG jump to up to 51 city and 53 highway.
Price: $26,120 starting price, new
MPG: 30 city, 38 highway
The Honda Accord is a reliable, mid-size sedan that offers comfort and fuel efficiency. There is also a hybrid option that senior RSG contributor Jay Craedur loves and highly recommends.
It also qualifies for Uber Comfort rides, which promises more leg room for your passengers while boosting your earnings up from the standard Uber X rides.
Top Choice: Toyota Prius
Price: $17,000 used
MPG: 54 city, 50 highway
According to Bay Area Uber Driver Aga Jabrayilov said, “The best car for rideshare is Prius and Prius only,” and the Prius won an informal poll with 60% of the total votes. It’s probably the only thing that many rideshare drivers agree on.
It’s one of the best selling cars, period, which means there’s an unlimited supply of clean, used, low-mile examples. That also means it’s cheap and easy for do-it-yourselfers to find parts, watch instructional videos and keep their rides going year after year.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with a Prius.
Bonus! The Best Vehicles for Delivery Drivers
Basically, the sky’s the limit for what vehicle you can use for delivery. However, there are some top options depending on your market, personal preference and overall efficiency.
In some cases, you can deliver by bike, scooter or even on foot, so you don’t have to spend extra money on a vehicle if that’s not within your means. It also helps cut down on hassle if you live in a downtown area where parking is limited, costs money or is non-existent.
If you’re in a more sprawling area that means you’ll be driving several miles, you might want to consider a car, and you’ll probably want something efficient.
Here are my top recommendations for the best vehicles for delivery drivers:
- Toyota Prius
Are you surprised to see the Toyota Prius at the top of the list? The same reasons that make the Toyota Prius a great choice for rideshare also make it the perfect option for delivery.
Not sure the Prius will have enough room to transport big grocery orders? While it may be tricky accepting more than one giant Costco order, for the most part, you’ll be surprised by what the hatchback body of the Prius can hold!
The next top recommendation for delivery drivers? E-bikes! Yes, e-bikes may even be better than the Prius, although I listed it first since many people still (for now!) prefer cars to e-bikes. However, don’t count out an e-bike just yet.
E-bikes can also carry much more than you might expect, and they’re better than all cars simply because you can store them virtually anywhere. No more having to find parking, or risking a ticket for illegally parking (note: I don’t recommend this!) while picking up a restaurant order.
All of those worries are out of your head with an e-bike, which is easier to park, store, and yes, get around in. While e-bikes can do the hard work for you, you can also get some exercise in should you choose to pedal.
The RadPower Wagon is perfect for making deliveries and using the bike for family. It offers plenty of room in the front and back for attaching baskets, platforms and more. You can also easily mount child seats and more.
Another great option is the VanMoof S3, which features classic straight frame geometry, supercharged with next-gen innovation, an updated motor, automatic electronic gear shifting, and integrated anti-theft tech.
If you’re in the market for a new-to-you rideshare vehicle, you won’t go wrong with this list above. The most important part about picking a rideshare car? Make sure it works for you and your lifestyle! Don’t pick a vehicle based on driving for Uber and Lyft, unless you have the funds to have an entirely rideshare-only vehicle. The best car for rideshare drivers is the best car for you.
Harry Campbell is a former Boeing Aerospace Engineer and founder of TheRideshareGuy.com, a blog, podcast and Youtube channel for ridehail drivers and other gig workers and author of, The Rideshare Guide. Over the years, Harry has covered the gig economy industry closely and talked to tens of thousands of drivers and gig workers about their experience on the road.