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We can all agree that the car-buying process can be a nightmare.
Researching the hundreds (if not thousands) of car options is a full-time job in and of itself. Not to mention the difficulties of analyzing costs and vehicle financing options.
Mix that in with a full-time job, and you have a miserable car-buying process ahead of you.
Fortunately, there’s good news.
Buying a new vehicle presents Uber drivers with a unique opportunity: specialization.
Uber designates which rideshare requests a driver receives based on the status of their vehicle. By purchasing a new car, drivers can gain access to higher-end rideshare opportunities.
All of these specialty ride requests offer drivers a hefty increase in how much money they earn per trip. One of our favorite examples of this is the increased revenue for UberXL drivers.
Don’t believe me? Let Sam Choi, the creator of our training courses, break it down for you:
- What Is UberXL?
- Things to Keep in Mind When Searching for UberXL Cars
- Our Top 9 Picks for UberXL Vehicles
- The Best Places to Find UberXL Riders
- Other Common UberXL Questions
What Is UberXL?
To qualify for UberXL rideshare requests, drivers must own a vehicle that is capable of transporting six or more people. Being able to transport a large group of people comfortably earns about $1.68 per mile and $0.26 per minute, on top of the initial $2.15 fee.
Drivers interested in taking advantage of this opportunity need to be aware of Uber’s vehicle age restriction. Vehicle age varies by city. In the most lenient cities, Uber requires vehicles to be 15 model years old or newer.
Also see: How to maximize rideshare earnings
The requirements may be a stretch for your vehicle, but trust us, it’s worth it in the end when you have more money in your pocket. You’ll be able to earn a good amount more than if you’re just giving UberPOOL and UberX rides.
Things to Keep in Mind When Searching for UberXL Cars
When evaluating the best car for UberXL, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, it’s important to look at both new and used cars, and the difference in price and return on investment. This is one one of the most important factors you should consider.
Second, you’ll need to figure out how much gas your vehicle will burn, and how much extra that will cost you.
And third, it’s very important to know how long you’ll have the vehicle, and how long you’ll be driving for Uber.
Let’s break those factors down in more detail.
Research New vs. Used
When shopping around for a vehicle that can seat six, you may be tempted to simply buy a brand-new ride straight off the lot.
After all, the newer the vehicle, the longer you can use it without having to worry about any future age restrictions that may be added. Plus, the extra perks included in a brand new vehicle may increase your tips or even qualify you for other specialty rideshare requests.
Despite these positive reasons, you may want to go with a used vehicle that has aged a couple of years.
Brand new vehicles that have never been driven tend to have a hefty price tag attached to them. Paying off this expense may cut pretty deep into your profit margin, making the purchase not worth your time.
By going with a 1- or 2-year-old vehicle instead, drivers can cut down on a lot of the excess cost associated with buying a “straight from the factory” vehicle. Another perk of buying a used car: the vehicle’s flaws have probably been identified.
A good dealership will address any recalls or other complications before putting the vehicle up for sale.
Evaluate Vehicle Gas Mileage
Rideshare drivers should also check out how long a vehicle takes to drain a tank of fuel.
Gas is one of the largest expenses for Uber drivers. If you need to fill up multiple times while working, chances are you are not making enough money.
Ask the dealership what kind of gas mileage the vehicle gets. Bear in mind that the higher the mileage, the better the deal. If you’re looking at two different vehicles that get under 18 mpg, keep shopping.
Analyze Additional Uber Vehicle Types
If you can obtain a vehicle that qualifies for multiple specialty groups, it may be in your wallet’s best interest to do so. Take the time to estimate how much the monthly payment is going to be and compare that number to how much additional money you can earn by accepting specialty ride requests.
Vehicles that qualify for a combination of UberXL, UberSUV, or UberSELECT may be able to earn more than enough to cover all monthly expenses, car payment included.
Consider Vehicle Lifespan
Not all vehicles are created equal. There are plenty of rides out there that have known issues that will need to be addressed every so often. Be aware of these flaws before you purchase the vehicle.
Some parts are inexpensive enough to make the purchase worth it, whereas other underlying issues that set you back a couple grand are not.
Our Top 9 Picks for UberXL Vehicles
1. 2013 Toyota Sienna
One of our older picks is the 2013 Toyota Sienna. Having aged a few years since its release, this minivan may be purchased for about $20,000. There are several configurations for the 2013 Sienna, and each one offers different features as well as performance.
On average, this vehicle gets about 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Thus far in our list, the 2013 Toyota Sienna has earned the highest Kelley Blue Book rating of 8.3 out of 10. Although this vehicle may be perfect for driving passengers with extra cargo, the gas tank only holds 20 gallons.
2. 2014 Honda Odyssey
Another minivan worth looking into is the 2014 Honda Odyssey. This vehicle may run you close to $21,000 and offers riders and passengers alike all of the quality features that Honda is known for.
When cruising around the city in the Honda Odyssey, anticipate getting 19 mpg. Out on the highway, that rate jumps to 28 mpg. The 2014 Honda Odyssey received an impressive 8.5 out of 10 Kelley Blue Book rating in addition to being ranked the 3rd best minivan by US News & World Report.
The 2014 Honda Odyssey is available in multiple configurations with the price varying accordingly. Bear in mind that the brake pedal is known to vibrate excessively.
3. 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander
Next up is the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander. This compact SUV is moderately priced at $25,000, seats seven, and qualifies for UberSELECT.
Rideshare drivers will adore the efficient gas mileage rate, too. The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander gets 25 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. Combine these stats with the 6.3 out of 10 Kelley Blue Book rating, and it’s easy to see why this vehicle made our list.
The Outlander comes equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD) and can venture off-road; however, this vehicle may be difficult to find unless you have a Mitsubishi dealership nearby.
4. 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan
To procure a minivan at a lower price, try to find a 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan. Buying this van will run you about $18,000, which may mean lower monthly payments and better profits after purchase.
The downside to this vehicle is the gas mileage. It’s lower than the other vehicles we’ve mentioned thus far, with 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
The Grand Caravan receives a rating of 7 out of 10 from Kelley Blue Book. Rideshare drivers may enjoy being able to haul hefty loads in this minivan with ease; however, the noisy cabin may reduce tip amounts. We recommend this vehicle for those working on a small budget, as well as those only looking to drive for Uber part-time.
5. 2016 Toyota Highlander
For those who want to stick with driving an SUV, consider the 2016 Toyota Highlander. Drivers can pick this vehicle up for around $25,000. The monthly payment expense generated by the price tag may balance out when the gas mileage is factored in.
The Highlander gets about 20 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. Add in a Kelley Blue Book rating of 8.5 out of 10, and it’s easy to see why this vehicle made our list. This luxury-grade SUV can comfortably seat seven and may improve your tips overall.
6. 2017 Ford Explorer
A roomy UberXL SUV you should check out is the 2017 Ford Explorer. Packed with high-tech features and a quiet, comfortable cabin, it’s easy to see why the sticker price is about $30,000.
While cruising, anticipate depleting the 18.6-gallon gas tank about every 19 miles in the city and 27 miles on the highway. Ford opted to go for plenty of cargo space behind the third row, which reduced legroom a bit. Overall, the Kelley Blue Book rating is a 7.5 out of 10.
7. 2016 Lincoln MKT
Loaded with the standard as well as high-tech features, the 2016 Lincoln MKT Wagon can’t be ignored. The Wagon boasts an impressive 8.8 out of 10 Kelley Blue Book rating and, although it’s a newer model, the price tag is about $28,000.
During your regular UberXL routine, expect to get about 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Passengers will love the quiet cabin environment; however, you may not like the limited rear visibility.
8. 2015 Land Rover LR3
Next, we have the 2015 Land Rover LR3. For passengers who need to go off-road to a bonfire or beach party location, this vehicle can suit their needs and improve your tip amounts respectively.
If you can obtain a 2015 Land Rover LR3, you will be rewarded with an average of 20 mpg while cruising the city streets and 26 mpg on the highway.
The luxurious 2015 Land Rover LR3 can weather most stormy conditions; however, acceleration is a bit on the slow side. The LR3’s Kelley Blue Book rating is about a 7 out of 10, and the price tag is around $40,000.
9. 2016 Cadillac Escalade
The 2016 Cadillac Escalade is the highest-end vehicle on our list. This beauty seats up to eight, meets the UberXL age requirements, and if you get one in black, you may qualify for UberSELECT status or above.
Adding these high-class ride requests to your workflow may be very profitable. Purchasing the 2016 Cadillac Escalade will set you back about $75,000. Bear in mind that monthly payments vary. The gas mileage for this SUV is 15 in the city and 22 on the highway. The Kelley Blue Book rating is 6.3 out of 10.
Although the mpg is not very attractive, the 2016 Escalade is a classy vehicle that offers a quiet ride. However, the size of this SUV makes maneuvering hard.
Ready to start working as a rideshare driver? Maximize your earnings by checking out our exclusive Uber driver invite codes!
Related: Don’t forget to maintain a proper vehicle maintenance routine!
The Best Places to Find UberXL Riders
To capitalize on your new investment, stay in areas where people are likely to be in a big group.
Airports, for example, are a great place to pick up groups of friends or family members who have just returned from a vacation. People will often get an UberXL to or from the airport so they can all ride in the vehicle together and save on parking.
Another prime area to consider is popular bars. Friends celebrating or enjoying a night on the town will often open up the Uber app and call an UberXL in order to keep the group together for the evening.
Other Common UberXL Questions
What are the UberXL vehicle requirements?
It can be tough to determine which vehicles are eligible for Uber’s specialty rides. For UberXL, the main questions to ask are whether the vehicle can seat six passengers with seat belts available for every passenger and whether the vehicle is 15 years old or newer. You have fewer options than when choosing an UberX car, but still more than a service like UberBLACK, which requires you to drive models like a Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Audi, or BMW.
UberXL rides do not require luxury car models. UberXL drivers are also not required to dress up (unlike with some other Uber services).
What is the difference between UberXL and UberSUV?
The biggest differences between UberXL and UberSUV are the price point and luxury experience. UberSUV is the high-capacity version of UberBLACK. Since it’s a luxury car service, it requires drivers to dress up and drive high-end black cars such as the Chevrolet Suburban or Infiniti QX56. In many cities, you also have to be a professional driver with commercial insurance to drive for these more luxurious services.
UberXL drivers, in contrast, are not required to dress up, don’t need to be professional drivers, and have more flexibility in vehicle options.
What’s your take on the best cars for UberXL drivers? Did we miss any cars that you think should have been included on our list? Let us know in the comments below!
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.