Looking at purchasing a vehicle for Uber or Lyft? Then you can forget everything you know about car reviews!
Ridester has compiled the most extensive and thorough car buyer’s guide for Uber and other rideshare drivers found anywhere online – with detailed information on the more than 300 cars that, from what our research indicates, Uber has approved!
Ridester’s Ultimate Rideshare Car Buyer’s Guide for 2019 is made up of two parts.
The first part is the complete list of the more than 300 cars that, from our research, Uber appears to have approved, along with a detailed summary of eligible vehicles.
And to help you most quickly find the car for you, we have included for each car on our Best and Worst list…
- the estimated used-car purchase price
- monthly loan payment estimate
- gas mileage for each car
The second part is Ridester’s Best & Worst Rideshare Cars for 2019. This is where we take the cars and judge them and rank them – based on our criteria of what will help you most in becoming a successful rideshare driver.
Ridester’s recommendations are tailored specifically to the demands of rideshare drivers. That means we looked at some things most people don’t think about and we ignored some things that most people care about.
But first, let’s take a look at the differences between the requirements for each category of Uber vehicle:
- UberX and POOL – These are Uber’s lowest priced services. Pool cars are the exact same cars as X cars. Passengers pay the least on the UberX and UberPool platforms and drivers make the least per mile and per minute. UberberX/Pool cars are normally mid-range four-door sedans that seat up to 4 passengers. Different cities have different requirements, but generally X cars must be 10 years old or newer.
- UberXL – This is the extra-large version of UberX. Cars that qualify for Uber’s XL platform are non-luxury minivans and SUVs. UberXL cars must seat up to 6 passengers. Rates for XL are a good bit higher than X rates. Different cities have different requirements, but generally XL cars must be 10 years old or newer.
- UberSELECT – This is a low-end version of uberBLACK and is not available in all markets – although in other markets both services are available. UberSELECT rates are higher than XL and X but lower than Black and SUV. Must seat up to 4 passengers;
- UberBLACK – This is the high-end luxury Uber. Drivers must be professionally licensed and commercially insured. UberBLACK cars must seat up to 4 passengers. They must also have black exteriors and interiors. Age requirements vary by market.
- UberSUV – This is the top of the line Uber. UberSUV pays the highest rates of all the Uber platforms. Importantly, uberSUV drivers may drive for all the other classes, including X, XL, Select and Black. SUVs must seat up to 6 passengers. SUV drivers must also meet the same professional, licensing and insurance standards that uberBLACK drivers meet. SUVs also must have black interiors and exteriors. Age requirements vary by market.
In our 2019 Best & Worst list we will classify cars by Uber’s categories, but the same information applies to Lyft as well. The following are the equivalent Lyft categories:
- UberX = Lyft
- UberXL = Lyft Plus
- UberBLACK = Lyft Lux
- UberSUV = Lyft SUV
We have two lists for you.
The first list, is the complete list of all cars that Uber has approved as eligible. There are more than 300 cars on this list.
The second list, which you will find at the end of this article is Ridester’s Best & Worst Uber Cars for 2019. And we look at cars in all of Uber’s categories of service.
How We Have Improved Uber’s List
Using Uber’s official list – we have modified it and added to it in the following ways:
Uber lists some cars in more than one category. For instance, they may list a luxury SUV under UberSUV and under UberBLACK, UberXL and UberX.
Since all UberSUVs can be driven for all the lower classes of Uber’s services, we have removed these duplicate listings from the lower categories. Each car will only appear in the highest class for which it qualifies.
The following should be understood about Uber’s vehicle classes:
- UberSUV is the highest class. ALL cars that qualify for UberSUV – can be driven for ALL the lower classes of service, including, UberBLACK, UberXL and UberX;
- UberBLACK – ALL cars that qualify for UberBLACK can also be driven for UberX. (Only one can also be driven for UberXL);
- UberXL – ALL cars that qualify for UberXL can also be driven for UberX;
- UberX – the poor bottom-of-the-line UberX cars – can only be driven for UberX
One other thing that should be understood about Uber’s official list – is that they do not list every single car they will accept. It’s just not possible. There are so many different cars out there that meet their qualifications.
So, if you have a car that’s not on the list and want to use it to Uber or Lyft, check with them and as long as it meets their qualifications it will most likely be accepted – even if it doesn’t appear on their list.
Keep in Mind:
This is not a generic list of “best cars”. This is a list of Best & Worst Cars for Uber and Lyft. This list is tailored to the specific needs of Uber and Lyft drivers.
Remember, just because a car is officially approved by Uber doesn’t mean it will be a good car for you to drive for them. There are many losers on their official list so we’ll point out the worst cars along with the best ones.
- This list was put together with the needs of full-time drivers who depend on Uber and Lyft for a living in mind;
- The average potential income for rideshare/on-demand drivers is such that in our estimation the only way to make a living at it is to spend as little on your car as possible. We have therefore only considered used cars;
- The average prices we list for uberX and uberXL cars are on models that are approximately 2-years old with approximately 30,000-39,000 miles. That’s because at two years old and 30,000 miles, there is still plenty of productive life left in the car, but it’s old enough and comes with enough mileage that the price will be substantially discounted from the new-car price.
This significant discount in purchase price can mean the difference between making money and losing money. If you are buying a car specifically for the purpose of making a full-time living from rideshare, do not even think of buying a new car!
To be successful at rideshare driving, Ridester recommends getting:
- a car for under $20,000 for UberX;
- a car for under $25,000 for UberXL;
- a car for under $30,000 for UberBLACK;
- a car for under $39,000 for UberSUV
(You will see many cars on Uber’s official list that are more expensive than the above recommendations. It goes without saying – we do not recommend those cars as they will not be economically viable);
- The average prices we list for UberBLACK and UberSUV cars are based on models that are approximately 3 years old and have between 30,000 and 50,000 miles on them. It was necessary to look at older, higher mileage cars in these categories to find prices that will make Ubering and Lyfting economically viable. But, since these are higher-end cars built with a little better quality, you will still get a long productive life out of them.
- Fun fact: If you happen to buy a Tesla for rideshare driving, you can get 1,000 free miles of supercharging using our Tesla referral code.
- We have included as many hybrid cars in the mix as possible because long-term fuel efficiency is another important factor in making it in this business.
For each vehicle class, we will give you:
- The Best Driving Strategies for that class – including how you can mix and match classes to maximize income;
- An approximate average price on a used model for each vehicle
- The gas mileage figures and whether or not it’s a hybrid. Ridester recommends getting the hybrid version of any vehicle where it is available;
Overall, Uber and Lyft have almost the exact same criteria for cars. So, if a car qualifies for Uber it will most likely qualify for Lyft as well.
Used Cars vs. Certified Pre-Owned
You can buy previously-owned cars either as “used” or Certified Pre-Owned. Certified Pre-Owned vehicles usually cost a little more because they have been inspected, refurbished and certified by a manufacturer or other certifying authority. They also typically come with an extended warranty and sometimes come with special financing and other benefits. Since you’re relying on your car to earn a living, Certified Pre-Owned will generally be a little more reliable and the extended warranty may well prove worth it.
On our Best & Worst list, we will also give you an estimate on what your monthly car payments might be for each car – based on a 4-year loan at 4% interest. This will give you a quick way to see and compare all the best Uber cars.
Full List of Uber-Approved Vehicles for uberX, uberXL, uberBLACK and uberSUV
This list is of vehicles that Uber approves for the X platform for most of the country. However, there may be some differences between this list and what they allow in your specific market. So please use this list as a general guide and check with Uber in your city to verify that the car you want to use is indeed acceptable in your area. If you have a car that’s not on the list, Uber says you should check with them because most newer 4-door cars are permitted.
The age requirement for cars varies around the country, but generally for UberX they want cars that are no older than 10 years. But you should check with Uber in your city to find out the exact age of a vehicle that they will accept.
If you look at Uber’s official list of cars for your city, you will note that some of the cars Uber lists as acceptable for XL, Black and SUV are also on their list for X cars. That’s because every car is approved for its specific category as well as any categories under it. So, all XL, Black and SUVs are approved for the X level of service – so there is no need for duplicate listings in the X category and we have therefore removed them.
Below are all the cars Uber lists on its website that are approved for each class of Uber. You will see that we have added pricing information to the list as well as the fuel efficiency numbers for each car, to help you quickly zero in on the car you think would work best for you. Our estimated purchase prices are based on a vehicle that’s between two and three years old and has between 30,000 and 50,000 miles on it.
Please keep in mind that this list is subject to change at any time and you should always check with Uber in your city to confirm that the car you want to use is approved.
|uberX||Best Driving Strategy for X cars: This is the lowest end of the Uber product line. It’s the cheapest offering they have. Therefore, it is the most popular. In most places you really don’t have to fight to get X trips – they’re literally a dime a dozen.|
Your goal when driving for uberX is to get the longest trips possible. So, wherever you live, you’ll have to figure out where long trips are most likely to come from. Maybe a lot of people work downtown but live far out in the suburbs so you’ll get longer trips in the afternoons when people are going home after work. Or, in the mornings when they’re going to the airport.
|Make||Model||Average Used Price||MPG City/Hwy|
Verano (min year: 2014)
Cruze (min year: 2014),
Dart (min year: 2014)
Focus (min year: 2014)
Civic (min year: 2014) Crosstour
Elantra (min year: 2014) Santa Fe Sport
Forte (min year: 2014)
|$ 6,000 (100K+ miles)|
Lancer (min year: 2014)
Sentra (min year: 2014)
XV Crosstrek (min 2014)
Camry (gas engine)
Corolla (min year: 2014)
|Volvo||S60 (min year: 2014)|
|Bold = Good all-around value|
|uberXL||uberXL seats extra passengers and earns you higher fares. uberXL cars are required to seat up to 7 passengers.|
The cars on the list below are only approved for uberXL and uberX. These cars are not approved for uberBLACK or uberSUV.
These are Extra Large uberX vehicles, (hence the name, XL), which means they are larger than a standard sedan so they carry more passengers and cargo. It also means they are not luxury vehicles, so they don’t qualify for the luxury classes of uberBLACK, uberSELECT or uberSUV.
Best Driving Strategies for XL cars: uberXL rates are a little higher than the rock-bottom prices of uberX. So, an XL vehicle will give you an opportunity to make more per mile and per minute. However, you will have to learn the best strategies for maximizing your XL trips.
XL cars have become increasingly popular at airports which means you won’t have to wait as long for a ping as you would with either uberBLACK or uberSUV. XL has also become popular with late-night bar hoppers who tend to travel in larger groups.
All cars are listed here with the average price on 2-year-old model with approximately 30,000-35,000 miles. Gas mileage is also listed for your convenience.
|Make||Model||Average Used Price||Mileage (MPG)|
Town and Country
Range Rover Sport
|Mercury||Mountaineer||$11,000 (2008 model)||14/20|
|Nissan||NV Passenger Pathfinder|
|Bold = Good all-around value|
|uberBLACK||All uberBLACK cars also qualify for uberX (obviously). A few qualify for XL as well. Any car that can be used for uberBLACK and uberXL is going to give you a big advantage over the Black cars that can only be used for Black and X.|
Offer luxury rides in the original Uber black car service. Vehicles must be black with black interior. Uber charges much more for cars in this class, but there are fewer passengers for it.
All of the vehicles in this group can be driven for uberBLACK and uberX.
Best Driving Strategies for BLACK cars: The great thing about driving for uberBLACK is the rates are double or triple the uberX rates. That’s also the bad thing! It’s bad because far fewer people use uberBLACK and Uber doesn’t put any cap on the number of Black drivers they allow (except in Los Angeles).
This means you can sit around sometimes for up to an hour or more waiting for a call. You’ll probably make more on that call than you would have made on two or three uberX trips in the same time frame. But that leaves you making about the same as an uberX driver while driving a car that’s a lot more expensive. Although you will actually drive it far less.
Your best strategy should be built around the assumption that your biggest users are going to be high-level corporate executives who are on expense accounts that pay for their transportation. That’s probably going to mean you’re going to get most of your good trips very early in the mornings (think 4:00 a.m.) from the wealthy suburbs to the airport. So, build your initial strategy around that idea and then you can add to it once you’ve gotten that down.
|Make||Model||Average Used Price||Mileage (MPG)|
5-series Gran Turismo
6-series Gran Turismo
M6 Gran Coupe
|Fisker||Karma||There appear to be none of these cars for sale in the entire country. Which is just as well as they originally sold for over $100,000. They would be far too expensive for Ubering.||Unlimited MPGs on the 32 miles they can drive solely on battery power. Then it gets 20 MPG.|
|The Veracruz seats 7 people, this is the only uberBLACK vehicle that can also double as an XL vehicle. This adds a lot of value and makes this a highly-recommended vehicle – except for the fact that it will not earn you rave reviews. But, it will give you maximum flexibility to switch between the two most profitable platforms.|
|Jeep||Commander (While this is a luxury Jeep – it’s still a Jeep and it’s not going to impress your Black car customers).||$7,950||15/20|
Range Rover Sport
|uberSUV||All cars in this category can be driven for ALL Uber platforms, including SUV, Black, XL and X|
Best Driving Strategy for SUVs: The name of the game with uberSUV is Mix & Match! That’s because the high-end luxury uberSUV can be driven for ALL classes of service including uberX, uberXL and uberBLACK.
You will not get many uberSUV trips, but you’ll be very happy with the ones you get since the rates for uberSUV (and Lyft SUV) are the highest of all car classes. A very quick and short SUV trip can net you $50 in just a few minutes!
The real magic of the SUV though, is not in the handful of SUV trips you’ll get each week, but in the fact that you can drive for every other service.
Let’s say you get an early morning trip from a hotel to the airport on uberBLACK (using your SUV). When you drop off at the airport, you can then go online as XL, Black and SUV and greatly increase your chances of getting an Instant Ping for a return trip. Even if your return trip ends up on the lower XL platform, you can consider it icing on the cake and as a little bonus on top of your airport run.
If you had taken this same trip with uberBLACK, chances are you’d either come back empty, or you’d wait in the Uber airport lot anywhere from 2-5 hours or you’d come back home with an X fare – which would be almost nothing at all.
The best SUV strategy will have you dropping off at airports as a Black car and returning back to the city with an XL fare.
With SUVs you’ll also do a lot of late-night bar work when people are out in groups and they need a car to hold five or six people.
|Make||Model||Average Used Price||Mileage (MPG)|
|(The Chevys are not well-designed for livery work and have a reputation for not being very reliable. A lot of drivers report needing to replace the transmission at between 50,000 and 75,000 miles).|
Yukon XL Denali
FIND YOUR CAR AT A GLANCE:
Ridester’s Assessment of the Best & Worst uberXL Cars for 2019
|Best & Worst Cars for uberXL|
|4. Dodge Caravan|
The Dodge Caravan (not to be confused with its far more capable cousin, the Grand Caravan), is without a doubt the absolute worst car on Uber’s list – for any category!
It’s so bad, in fact, that it has us thinking someone at Uber had fallen asleep when they put it on their list.
But it is on their list so we felt we should warn you about it.
First of all, when you see an average used-car price of $2,758 – you know it’s gonna be a ratings killer!
If you can even find a model of this old battle ax for sale, it’s going to be so beat up that you’d never want to put your passengers in it. You’d probably not even want to get into it yourself!
This car went out of production in 2007, making the newest models now, more than 10 years old. Surely, this is going to drop off of Uber’s list any day now.
Ridester’s advice, if not already obvious – don’t even think about purchasing this vehicle!
|3. Mitsubishi Outlander|
The Outlander is a good middle-of-the road choice.
But it probably won’t earn you rave reviews in light of the cheap materials they used on the interior, and its rough transmission and weak acceleration.
|2. Toyota Sienna|
The big advantage of the Sienna over other XL vehicles is its storage volume. You will almost never run out of space with this minivan.
Its boasts of a cargo volume of 39.1 ft³ or 150 ft³ with seat area. It’s nearest competitor, the Honda Odyssey hasa storage capacity of 38.4 ft³ or 148.5³ ft with the seating area.
This extra storage area means you’re never going to lose a passenger because you don’t have enough room for all their stuff. You can pick up a full load of 7 people – all with baggage – and still have enough room for everything!
|#1. Honda Odyssey|
The Odyssey is Ridester’s #1 pick for XL this year!
It was a close call between this and the Sienna. In the end, we picked the Odyssey because while it doesn’t have quite the cargo space of the Sienna it does come in a very close second on that score.
But unlike the Sienna, the Odyssey is not one of the most drab cars on the planet! And it has a smooth, quiet ride. It also gets better gas mileage than the Sienna and it has a few more safety features.
In the end, the Odyssey will help your ratings while the Sienna with its noisy engine and abrupt acceleration will hurt them.
The Odyssey has earned good reviews based on its fuel-efficient V6 engine, quiet cabin and easy-to-fold third-row seats. And it brings in top crash test scores.
The only major drawback for Uber drivers is that this minivan is a little pricier than most of the other choices. But we believe its higher all-around quality will make it worth it in the end when it comes to your ratings. And if you use the right strategies, you should easily be able to afford it with XL’s higher rates.
FIND YOUR CAR AT A GLANCE:
Ridester’s Assessment of the Best & Worst uberBLACK Cars for 2019
|Best & Worst Cars for uberBLACK|
The Buick LaCrosse is a car we like to call a “Wannabe Black Car”. It wishes it was – but it’s really not.
It is a comfortable, quiet and nice car, but for this category it’s not a great car.
Drivers we know who drive these tell us their ratings have suffered as Black Car passengers expect a nicer, more high-end car than the LaCrosse.
With that said, a two-year old used version is very affordable and the gas mileage is some of the best in this category.
The Q5 is a beautiful car and a great model for uberBLACK.
It’s a little on the pricey side though and it’s not the best on gas mileage. But, it will do very well for you when it comes to passenger ratings.
|BMW 3-series Gran Turismo|
This is a great car that should make your passengers very happy – and hence help your ratings.
The Gran Turismo is larger and significantly heavier than the regular BMW 3 Series sedans and because of that you get an extra comfortable ride – the kind of ride passengers love. Very smooth and quiet.
Lots of leg room in the rear which is a key concern of passengers. So, they’ll be very satisfied with that.
It also ranks high on the reliability scale.
It’s hard to believe this car, which was last manufactured in 2012, is still on Uber’s list of approved Black cars. But it is.
Since even the newest model is very old now, this would normally be at the bottom of our list.
However, we’re ranking it at #2 for one reason – and one reason only. This is the only car in the Black car group that can be driven for uberXL as well as uberBLACK.
This difference gives drivers an enormous advantage in their ability to get quick airport turn-around trips that pay substantially more than uberX trips.
A New York driver for instance, would earn $30 taking a passenger from LaGuardia Airport to midtown Manhattan. However, an XL driver would earn $40. A Black car driver would earn $50.
The Power of XL: So, if you have a Veracruz, you could take someone from midtown to LaGuardia on Black and earn $50. Then, switch to XL and have a very short wait – usually under an hour – to pick up another passenger for a $40 return trip. You’ve now turned that $50 trip into a $90 trip – with minimal wait time.
If you have a standard Black car, you could turn that $50 one-way trip into a $100 two-way trip but you would wait far longer for the return trip – up to three hours. That means if you’re on Black only, you just made $20 an hour because the whole round-trip will take about 5 hours of time.
If you can switch to XL once you get to the airport, that’s a huge advantage and means you’re going to make $90 in about three hours – which gives you hourly earnings of $30 per hour.
That’s the power of XL. It doesn’t pay as well as Black, but when used in conjunction with Black you can dramatically increase your hourly earnings when you strategically mix and match Black and XL.
For that reason alone, we have to put the Veracruz near the top of our list of Black cars.
You’ll have to be very careful though since the most recent version of this car you’ll be able to get will be more than six years old – that you get one that’s in good condition. If it’s not, it’s going to be a real drag on your passenger ratings.
One last warning about this car. Since the last production year was more than six years ago – there’s a very good chance Uber will deactivate it as an approved uberBLACK car sometime in 2019.
So, we wouldn’t recommend going out and buying one for the purpose of driving it as UberBLACK. But, if you already have one, you might want to take advantage of it while you still can.
The XF is a gorgeous car and is sure to wow your passengers.
We recommend getting an XF no older than the 2016 model. Before 2016, the XF was very cramped in the back. Your passengers’ knees would most likely bump right into the front seats. The 2016 and later models are still a little cramped but not as bad as pre-2016.
Ridester’s #1 Pick for Best Car for UberBLACK is the Lexus 300h.
Being a member of the Toyota family, this car is extremely durable and reliable. And it can be had for a very good price on a 2-year-old, 30,000-mile model.
As a hybrid, this vehicle gets the best mileage in the Black car group. The economics of this car make it a viable option for uberBLACK.
In addition to economics, this car is the quintessential Black car. It is what customers expect when they order a Black car. It’s has a supremely comfortable and cushy ride… just what your discerning Black car customers demand. It’s very quiet interior is another passenger pleaser. This car will do nothing but enhance your ratings.
Just remember though, that this car, like all the sedans in the Black car group – can only be driven for uberBLACK and uberX. If uberBLACK is not busy in your area, you may find yourself driving it more for uberX than uberBLACK.
It will make for a very comfortable X car, but it is not really economically sensible if most of your trips will be X trips.
FIND YOUR CAR AT A GLANCE:
Ridester’s Assessment of the Best & Worst uberSUV Cars for 2019
Best & Worst Cars for uberSUV
The Suburban is one SUV we think you should stay away from.
In numerous conversations with Suburban owners who drive for Uber and Lyft, the universal complaint is about the reliability of these vehicles.
Suburbans (and Tahoes) simply do not hold up well with the pounding Uber drivers put on a vehicle. These vehicles just aren’t designed for this type of driving.
They’re not designed for the constant start and stop city driving most drivers will put on them. And they’re not designed to do this all day long, day in and day out. Transmission failures are common at just over 50,000 miles.
They also have a ride that feels like a truck. It’s rough and bouncy, not to mention on the noisy side as well. Customers ordering high-end luxury vehicles typically want a smoother, quieter ride.
The Expedition is a solid yet boring choice for uberSUV and uberBLACK. You could say it just barely qualifies as a luxury Black car vehicle, but Uber has it on their list as just that.
The Expedition’s architecture is getting rather dated. It has been on it’s current basic platform since 2003. That means it will be a yawner for your passengers.
It’s also still built as a truck which means it won’t have the nice smooth ride most Black car customers prefer.
Probably the best way to describe the Expedition is to say it’s “sufficient”. It’ll get the job done, but nobody will be shouting rave reviews your way!
The Armada is another “sufficient” SUV. It’ll get the job done but it’s not going to excite anybody too much.
It does have decent legroom in the second and third rows, so your passengers will be comfortable even if they’re a little underwhelmed.
On gas mileage, it’s definitely near the bottom of the list.
There is nothing wrong with the Escalade. It is, in fact, one of the most desirable luxury livery vehicles of all time! It is the definition of top-of-the-line.
An Escalade will certainly never hurt your passenger ratings. It has the smoothest ride of any SUV. If you get bad ratings with an Escalade – then you know it’s you and not your car!
The only problem is – with the economics of this business right now – it’s just far too expensive to buy and too expensive to maintain. It feels strange to rank this as one of the worst SUVs because it is the best.
But the economics of the business make it completely non-viable. With Uber putting so many drivers on the road, you will not be able to generate enough demand to ever pay yourself back for the cost of this beautiful vehicle.
Even a used model, two to three years old is coming in at near $50,000.
In an earlier (pre-Uber) time, that would have been okay. But now, with so many drivers on the road, thanks to Uber’s “no limits” attitude there is simply not enough demand to give you enough business with this vehicle to make its initial cost and on-going expenses worth it. At least not with Uber or Lyft alone.
To justify this vehicle for use with Uber and Lyft, you would have to have other sources of business. Either private clients or work with private limo companies and car services. But if you’re getting this SUV solely for use with Uber and Lyft – the expenses will put you out of business.
Ridester’s #1 Pick for Best Car for UberSUV is the Sequoia!
The Sequoia has great interior space which is great for your passengers. It also comes with Toyota’s well-known reliability. But it is near the bottom of our fuel economy list.
It does have a decent looking interior, the seats are comfortable and it has generous space inside the cabin. That added to Toyota’s well-known durability and reliability makes the Sequoia a very solid choice.