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The Ultimate Car Buying Guide for Uber And Lyft Drivers [2021 Update]

Last updated: May 29, 2021
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Uber and Lyft drivers rely on their vehicles to make money. It’s in your best interest to choose the right vehicle for the job. We’ve done the research and compiled the best cars for Uber and Lyft.

Vehicle choice can have a substantial impact on your driving experience and driver ratings for Uber and Lyft. You want a vehicle that is comfortable, safe, and reliable for not only yourself but your passengers as well.

With so many vehicle makes and models on the market, how do you choose the right vehicle for you?

In this article, we’ll cover the general Uber and Lyft vehicle requirements and discuss the features you should consider when purchasing a new or used vehicle. We’ll also go through the best cars for Uber and Lyft for drivers of all types.

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General Uber and Lyft Vehicle Requirements

The general requirements for Uber and Lyft are nearly identical. Your vehicle must be registered, insured, and have at least four doors — along with some additional requirements.

Vehicle requirements — like your model year — will vary from city to city. You can find your state’s vehicle requirements for Uber by searching your city’s name along with “drive for Uber.” For Lyft, you can check vehicle requirements at their driver information page.

Here are the general vehicle requirements for Uber and Lyft:

  • Four-door vehicle that can transport at least four people
  • At least five seatbelts
  • Registered with in-state license plates
  • Insured with your name on the policy
  • Model year is less than 15 years old
  • Title can’t be salvaged, reconstructed, or rebuilt
  • Rental vehicles aren’t permitted unless they’re an approved Uber or Lyft partner
  • Doesn’t have cosmetic damage, vehicle modifications, or commercial branding
  • Must pass Uber or Lyft vehicle inspection

You can find more information regarding vehicle requirements for Uber and Lyft at these links. Beyond meeting the basic vehicle requirements, you’ll want to choose a vehicle that’s fit for ridesharing. So, what makes a great rideshare vehicle?

Features of the Best Cars for Uber and Lyft

Vehicles that are fuel-efficient, spacious, and safe are the best vehicles to use with Uber and Lyft. These features are critical when picking the right vehicle for the job.

Fuel Economy

Vehicles that have excellent gas mileage are a must. High MPG ratings mean you can earn more for every mile you drive. You’ll be spending less on gas which allows you to cut down on overhead costs and maximize your earnings. Every penny counts when you’re trying to boost your hourly driver earnings.

Vehicle Space

Rideshare vehicles need to be spacious and have enough cargo space for luggage. This doesn’t mean you need to buy a large SUV or minivan, but your vehicle should be able to accommodate four people comfortably along with any additional luggage.

The rear seats should have ample legroom so guests can stretch out and enjoy their trip. You should also consider accommodating taller guests — enough headspace is a must.

Safety Features

It’s imperative that you protect yourself and your guests while driving for Uber or Lyft. You’ll be in your vehicle nearly every day with passengers. You might as well choose a vehicle that has high consumer safety ratings with advanced safety features.

You should look for state-of-art advanced driver assistance features — like forward-collision warning, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist. Also, find a vehicle with a high NHTSA rating before completing your purchase.

It might be worth considering purchasing or leasing a new vehicle if your current car doesn’t have the features mentioned above. We’ve compiled a list of the best vehicles Uber and Lyft drivers rave about to give you a head start.

1. Toyota Prius Two Hatchback

The Toyota Prius Two Hatchback is a rideshare driver favorite. It has best-in-class fuel efficiency which helps you reduce your overhead costs and maximize profits.

It also offers plenty of trunk space with the roomy hatchback, allowing you to pack multiple suitcases in your trunk for airport pickups. It provides enough room and comfort for your riders even though it’s a more compact vehicle.

Best vehicle for: Drivers interested in driving for UberX or the standard Lyft ride

2. Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is an excellent mid-size sedan that’s the perfect fit for rideshare drivers. It offers excellent performance, reliability, and size — the ideal features for ridesharing.

The roomy back seat gives taller riders plenty of space to stretch out their legs. It also holds exceptional fuel-economy ratings and safety features like forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

Best vehicle for: Drivers who want a spacious vehicle with decent fuel ratings

3. Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion is an affordable option that doesn’t cut corners when it comes to quality. You can purchase a stylish vehicle at a fraction of the cost of others.

It’s equipped with state-of-the-art technology, giving you all the bells and whistles needed to impress your riders.

You also have the option of choosing the plug-in hybrid version. You can drive for hours while spending less on gas and reducing your impact on the environment.

Best vehicle for: Drivers looking for an affordable option without compromising quality

4. Chevrolet Malibu

The Chevy Malibu has the perfect mix of style, fuel efficiency, and spaciousness. It’s a versatile vehicle that Lyft and Uber drivers seem to love.

Take one look at the Malibu and you’ll immediately be drawn to the beautifully designed exterior. Step inside and you’ll be impressed by the size of the vehicle and the alluring interior.

The Malibu was also voted best midsize car for families. That means you’ll be buying a safe and reliable vehicle that can fit four passengers comfortably.

Best vehicle for: Drivers who want a sleek exterior with plenty of cabin space

5. Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V isn’t only a great choice for rideshare drivers, it’s one of the best vehicles on the market. What makes the Honda CR-V an ideal vehicle for the job?

It has all-wheel drive allowing you to drive in all weather conditions. This may pay handsomely when it’s snowing and the ride fares surge because other drivers are unable to safely navigate with their vehicles. You’ll also never have to worry about fitting four people plus their belongings since the CR-V is a crossover SUV.

Best vehicle for: Drivers in cold-weather states that need all-wheel drive

6. Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey minivan is the optimal choice for those interested in driving larger groups of passengers. You can fit anywhere from six to eight passengers depending on how the seating is configured.

The one drawback with the Odyssey is that it’s somewhat of a gas hog at 19 miles per gallon. This vehicle is only worth it if you’re diligently seeking out larger groups with UberXL and Lyft Plus.

Best vehicle for: Drivers who wish to take UberXL, Uber Comfort, and Lyft XL trips

7. Lexus ES

The Lexus ES is one of the best high-end options for Uber and Lyft. The upscale sedan will give you access to premium driving services like Uber Black and Lyft Black.

The Lexus ES offers more than a sleek exterior and luxury interior. You’ll also enjoy top-notch reliability and passenger comfort. You’re sure to receive rave reviews from your riders.

Before you think about buying the Lexus ES, make sure your city offers premium driving services. Otherwise, you’ll spend extra money on a luxury vehicle but only get paid for driving for the stand Uber and Lyft services.

Best vehicle for: Luxury trips like Uber Black and Lyft Black

The Right Vehicle for the Job

Choosing the right vehicle for Uber and Lyft is a major decision. Not only will you need to pick a new car that helps maximize your earnings and driver ratings, but you’ll also want a vehicle you’ll enjoy driving when off the clock.

Make sure you do your research before pulling out the checkbook and purchasing your new vehicle. Happy driving!

View All Comments (6) Add A Comment

  1. Matt h. Says:

    Sorry going to have to disagree with you on your list for XL the Honda Odyssey is not Deserving of the number one spot due to the fact that there was a recall on them and a stop sale on a used models of Newest years you might want to re-edit that considering you put the number one vehicle is something we can’t even buy

  2. Matt h. Says:

    Sorry going to have to disagree with you on your list for XL the Honda Odyssey is not Deserving of the number one spot due to the fact that there was a recall on them and a stop sale on a used models of Newest years you might want to re-edit that considering you put the number one vehicle is something we can’t even buy

  3. EliG Says:

    Man I don’t know if it is because I owned one or not. But it seems Hyundai Veracruz is the vehicle to have. That thing has a surprising amount of space in the 3rd row, I’m 6 foot and could sit back there comfortable then I have been in 3rd row of Suburbans, that said with the 3rd row up there is maybe room for 2 bags. And mine was black…

  4. ryuhayabusa13 Says:

    There is all this info but then there is no info on where /which websites you actually go to buy an used car. I looked at the Shift dot com one, but got freaked out by the 1 star reviews.

  5. John Says:

    I drove a 2010 Suzuki Kizashi for Lyft for 2 years, got rave reviews. Everybody loved that car, while I hated it, it got about 24 MPG on good days, and I paid about $12,000.00 for it in December 2013 (30k miles). I drove it into the ground, it’s toast now, but for those 2 years the money was good and the the maintenance was almost zero outside of oil/filter changes.

  6. Leonard TemetNosce Briscoe Jr. Says:

    apparently, the list on uber’s site isn’t an exhaustive one. I want to know if I can drive a 2019 Toyota highlander xle black/black at the uber suv and black level. trying to get that answer from uber now

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