For many rideshare drivers, driving has proven to be an ultra-accessible means of earning some extra money while enjoying abundant flexibility.
While the high demand is great for drivers, it underscores the importance of a reliable car. This is why many rideshare drivers are turning to the Prius.
Why a Prius is the Best Rideshare Car
A driver is at their best when they think of themselves as the “chief executive” of their own mobile enterprise. Talk to many executives of the most successful businesses, and by in large, the name of the game is profit maximization.
What this means for drivers is simple: Earn while limiting your expenses as much as possible.
The most significant business expense for drivers is the cost of your vehicle.
That’s why it’s unsurprising to see so many drivers with strong opinions about which vehicle serves them best on the roads.
Ultimately, drivers need a car that is affordable, reliable, safe, efficient, and comfortable. And for years now, drivers have considered their options and selected the Toyota Prius as their car of choice.
Why a Toyota Prius?
The Prius is likely the reigning champion amongst drivers because of its capacity for an impressive 51 Miles-Per-Gallon EPA rating. For a rideshare driver, gas is one of the biggest hidden expenses of driving, getting a good amount of MPG is essential.
As stated at the offset, limiting costs as a driver allows for the most profitable experiences. Therefore, the Prius’ ability to drive more miles per gallon than its competitors is truly the Ace up its sleeve.
That said, the current standard model boasts top safety ratings (thanks to Toyota Safety Sense security features like the Lane Departure Alert).
In addition, it has a comfortable interior, a backup camera, automatic high beams, and suspension that handles bumps like a luxury car.
Further, it has a good amount of space for luggage, groceries, or anything else your passenger may need transported, too.
As an extra perk, something oft forgotten about the Prius is the incredibly quiet ride it provides. Though this is something passengers may not realize, they can still subconsciously appreciate (and tip) you for it.
Finally, with front and rear auxiliary power outlets, drivers can provide riders with a charging station for their electronics.
But that sounds extravagant and expensive?
Buying an all-new model is rarely an option for a driver, and drivers oftentimes opt for a lease.
Instead, the best advice is to shop used models that fall within the restrictions of each rideshare company. For example, Uber generally requires that a vehicle be a 2005 or newer model, amongst other things. With this in mind, older Prius’ prices may surprise you.
In an article from Consumer Reports in 2011, the authors delved into the notion that the Prius’ battery wasn’t battle tested yet.
“Based on data from over 36,000 Toyota Prius hybrids in our annual survey, we find that the Prius has outstanding reliability and low ownership costs. But we wanted to know if the effectiveness of the battery degraded over the long run. So we hooked up a 2002 Toyota Prius with nearly 208,000 miles on the clock to our testing instruments…”
The authors were “amazed” at how the car handled. Never mind that the car still boasted its original engine, transmission, and even shocks.
Ultimately, they concluded, an older Prius still returns good value. While 2002 was a while ago, the salient detail is that a Prius might not just save you money on gas, but also on upkeep. Critics have long heralded the Prius as a reliable option.
In a much more recent article, Consumer Reports notes that “Long-haul reliability is excellent, with many owners clocking in hundreds of thousands of miles,” while citing the vehicle’s reign as their Top Green Pick for 11 straight years.
CR goes on to add, “Not only does the Prius save at the pump, but overall, the sleek hybrid is among the most affordable cars to own. When factoring in depreciation, fuel cost, loan interest, insurance premiums, sales tax, and maintenance and repairs, the Prius adds up to an ultra-thrifty $0.47 a mile.”
Remember that driving with services like Lyft and Uber means meeting their requirements. You won’t be able to drive your Prius for UberXL. After all, it’s not an SUV or minivan, and it can’t fit at least 6 people. Similarly, it won’t meet requirements for Uber Black. Consider your options and goals before selecting a vehicle and do a little homework on it.
Lastly, upkeep isn’t always expensed to the mechanic. Interior wear and tear, detailing, spilled beverages — these are all expenses you’ll be paying to keep your business thriving while receiving positive driver ratings. Perhaps the optional leather seats are worth the price if they’ll ultimately save you cash in the long run.
If you’re a rideshare driver, what kind of car do you recommend? Tell us in a comment below!