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Uber is a great way to get around in situations where you’d rather not drive. Whether you’re going to the airport, headed home after a night on the town, or just want to save on the cost of a rental car, Uber has your back.
However, the range of services that Uber offers can be confusing for new or prospective users. Which service is best for your needs? In this article, we’ll take a look at two of Uber’s most widely available services: UberX and UberBLACK.
We’ll examine the differences between the two services, including how they compare on key factors such as pricing and vehicle type. By the end, you should be able to make an informed decision about which to choose next time you’re taking an Uber.
What Is UberX?
To start, let’s look at what UberX is. UberX is Uber’s standard service. If you open the Uber app and don’t change any of the default settings, an UberX ride is what you’ll get. It’s the most widely available service, and generally the most affordable (unless you’re in an area where UberPOOL is available). It’s the service with the most drivers, as well as the widest range of vehicles.
What Is UberBLACK?
UberBLACK is Uber’s black car service. It features only luxury black cars with black leather interiors, as well as professional drivers and expert service. Of course, this extra luxury comes with a significant extra cost as well (usually at least double the price of UberX). However, it could be worth it when you want to travel in luxury and arrive in style (or if you’re not the one footing the bill).
UberX and UberBLACK Comparison
Now that you have a general overview of UberX and UberBLACK, let’s take a more detailed look at how the two services compare on key metrics like price, availability, accessibility, passenger capacity, vehicle type, and overall experience.
When it comes to price, UberX is the clear winner. The specific price of your Uber ride will vary based on your city, the time of day, and the distance you’re traveling. But UberX will always be cheaper than UberBLACK. You pay more for the high-end vehicles and professional drivers of UberBLACK.
In general, UberBLACK rides are about twice the cost of UberX (though they can be even more expensive if drivers are scarce). Therefore, it’s something that most Uber riders reserve for special occasions (or a corporate expense account).
This is another category where UberX has an edge. Because UberBLACK vehicles must meet more specific requirements (and because the vehicles are more expensive and luxurious), the number of UberBLACK rides available is going to be less than UberX.
On the other hand, the expensive and exclusive nature of UberBLACK means less competition for rides compared to UberX. So, in practice, you should still have no trouble finding an UberBLACK ride in most major cities if you want one.
Both services are equal in this category. In full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Uber requires their drivers to accommodate any passenger disabilities to the fullest extent possible. UberBLACK drivers don’t receive any sort of special training that makes them more capable of helping passengers with disabilities, so you can feel confident choosing either UberX or UberBLACK if you or one of your fellow passengers has a disability.
That being said, Uber does have a specific option that caters to passengers who need a wheelchair accessible van. It’s called UberWAV.
Both UberX and UberBLACK can hold up to four passengers (excluding the driver). If you need room for more people, each service also has a higher-capacity counterpart. For UberX, this is UberXL, which can hold up to six passengers. For UberBLACK, the high-end counterpart is UberSUV, also holding up to six passengers but in considerably higher luxury.
The type of vehicle you ride in will be one of the most immediately obvious differences between UberX and UberBLACK. With UberX, the only requirements are that the vehicle is made after a certain year (the year varies from city to city) and be able to accommodate four passengers.
Beyond that, drivers have a lot of leeway. This makes sense for UberX, since the service is all about providing convenience and value. So expect to ride in anything from a Toyota Camry to a Honda Accord, but don’t expect anything fancy (though it can happen sometimes).
With UberBLACK, in contrast, drivers have far fewer options. The specific vehicles allowed on UberBLACK vary based on your city, but all will be black cars with black leather interiors. To give you a sense of how luxurious the typical UberBLACK car is, here’s the current list of approved vehicles for UberBLACK drivers in New York City:
- Acura: MDX, RL, RLX
- Audi: A6, A7, A8, Allroad, Q5, Q7, RS7, S6, S7, S8, SQ5
- Bentley: Flying Spur, Mulsanne
- BMW: 3-series Gran Turismo, 5-series, 5-series Gran Turismo, 6-series, 6-series Gran Turismo, 7-series, ActiveHybrid 5, Alpina B7, M5, M6 Gran Coupe, X3, X4, X5, X6
- Buick: Enclave, LaCrosse
- Cadillac: CT6, CTS, DTS, Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, SRX, STS, XTS, XT5
- Chevrolet: Suburban, Tahoe
- Fisker: Karma
- Ford: Expedition
- Genesis: G80, G90
- GMC: Yukon, Yukon Denali, Yukon XL, Yukon XL Denali
- Hummer: H3
- Hyundai: Equus, Genesis, Veracruz
- Infiniti: JX, M, Q50, Q70, QX50, QX56, QX60, QX80
- Jaguar: F-PACE, XF, XJ
- Jeep: Commander
- Kia: K900
- Land Rover: LR4, Range Rover, Range Rover Sport
- Lexus: ES, GS, GX, HS, LS, LX, RX
- Lincoln: Continental, MKT, MKX, Navigator
- Maserati: Ghibli, Quattroporte
- Maybach: 57, 62
- Mercedes–Benz: CLS-Class, E-Class, E-Class Wagon, G-Class, GL-Class, GLC-Class, GLE-Class, GLK-Class, M-Class, ML Class, R-Class, S-Class
- Nissan: Armada
- Porsche: Cayenne, Macan, Panamera
- Rolls-Royce: Ghost, Phantom
- Tesla: Model S, Model X
- Toyota: Land Cruiser, Sequoia
- Volvo: S80, XC90
So how does the experience of riding in an UberX compare to riding in an UberBLACK? In general, you should expect your UberX rides to have clean vehicles and polite, friendly drivers. However, beyond that, your experience could vary. You can’t guarantee that the car will be spacious or comfortable, and you shouldn’t expect the driver to get out and open the door for you. For most occasions, this isn’t a problem, but it’s worth knowing.
UberBLACK, in contrast, is all about the experience. The luxury experience is what you’re paying the extra money to receive. Aside from the physical experience of the vehicle itself, the biggest difference you’ll notice will be in how the driver acts. It will feel much more like having a personal chauffeur. Expect the driver to dress up, keep the car in immaculate condition, and understand how to act around wealthy, powerful clientele.
Should I Use UberX or UberBLACK?
So which service is best for you? It really depends on your budget and goals.
If the following are most important to you, then UberX is the best decision:
- Low price
- Widely available ride
- Convenient service
UberX is the perfect choice for:
- A casual date night
- Traveling to or from the airport
- Getting home after a night out
If these are more important to you, then you should choose UberBLACK:
- Highest quality service
- Most luxurious vehicles
- Professional drivers
UberBLACK is the service to choose for:
- Impressing a client
- Your anniversary date
- Getting a taste of the high life
UberX vs. UberBLACK Conclusion
We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of the differences between UberX and UberBLACK. You should now be able to choose the service right for your needs no matter what the situation. If you’d like more information on how to get started using Uber, check out our guide to taking your first Uber ride.
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.