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If you need an on-demand ride, you probably use Uber or Lyft. rideshare services make it possible to pull out your phone, tap a couple buttons, and have a private driver at your location within minutes. And all of this comes at a lower price than you’d pay for a taxi, plus more options when it comes to vehicle size and luxury.
Yet the variety of options available with rideshare services can also be confusing. Which one is best for your needs? As part of our series about the different types of Uber rides, we’re breaking down the difference between two of the most popular Uber services: UberX and UberXL.
We’ll take a look at how the two stack up in terms of price, passenger capacity, vehicle type, and more. By the end of this article, you’ll have everything you need to choose between the two Uber options.
UberX is Uber’s flagship, everyday service. It offers private, comfortable sedans with space for up to four passengers, all for less than the cost of a taxi. It’s available in every market within the United States and is the most popular Uber option for both riders and drivers. If you open the Uber app and request a ride without changing the default options, an UberX ride is what you’ll receive.
UberXL is a lot like UberX, except with larger vehicles. When you request an UberXL, you’ll get an SUV or van that holds up to six passengers. You’re not limited to passengers, though. You could also use an UberXL if you need to transport luggage or other large items that wouldn’t fit in an UberX ride. While prices will still be affordable, you’ll pay more for the extra room.
Now that you understand the basics of what UberX and UberXL are, let’s take a look at how the two services compare on a variety of criteria. We’ll take a look at price, availability, accessibility, passenger capacity, vehicle type, and overall experience.
When it comes to price, UberX and UberXL are both smart financial picks. As you can imagine, however, UberXL will cost a bit more just based on the extra capacity (and increased cost to operate a larger vehicle).
To give an example of the difference in cost, we looked at a theoretical trip in NYC between the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. For this route, an UberX ride has an estimated cost of $35.04. The estimated cost of an UberXL for the same route departing at the same time is $49.04. You can see the estimated fare prices below:
Of course, you shouldn’t take this example to mean that UberXL will always cost 1.4 times as much as UberX. The exact prices vary based on your city, the time of day, traffic conditions, applicable SURGE pricing, the distance you’re traveling, and any relevant local regulations.
If you pull out your phone, open the Uber app, and search for both UberX and UberXL rides, which are you more likely to be able to find? UberX is the clear winner here, simply because there are more cars on the road that meet the UberX vehicle requirements. Fewer people drive vans and SUVs, which equates to a smaller supply of UberXL vehicles.
That being said, fewer Uber riders are using UberXL (since the average person isn’t usually traveling with a large group of people or lots of cargo). In practice, therefore, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an UberXL ride. Just be aware that you may have to wait a bit longer for one than UberX, which has the largest supply of vehicles.
When it comes to accessibility, UberX and UberXL are equally matched. Your specific accessibility needs will vary based on your situation. For some passengers with mobility issues, it could be easier to get in and out of a sedan than a van (or vice versa).
In all cases, however, Uber requires its drivers to accommodate passengers with disabilities to the greatest extent possible. This means that you’ll have no problem bringing a service animal or any mobility equipment with you into an Uber. It’s against the law for an Uber driver to prevent you from doing so.
If you’re looking for a vehicle that’s guaranteed to fit your wheelchair or scooter, along with a driver who’s certified to be able to assist persons with disabilities, then we recommend checking out UberWAV (available in select cities).
UberXL is the winner here hands-down, holding up to six riders. But UberXL is about more than passenger capacity. Sure, you can use UberXL if you’re traveling with a big family or a large group of friends. But it can also be just as useful for transporting large amounts of luggage to or from the airport.
You could even use the extra space if you’re moving and want a more affordable, on-demand way to transport your belongings. Just make sure to let your driver know you’re doing this once you’ve requested the ride, and remember that your driver is (probably) not a professional mover.
How do the vehicles differ between UberX and UberXL? The most basic difference is that UberXL rides will be vans or SUVs with the capacity for up to six people. UberX vehicles, in contrast, tend to be sedans (though it is possible to get a pickup truck or other type of vehicle in some cases).
To give you a sample of the different vehicles you can expect for each, we took a look at the list of eligible UberX and UberXL vehicles for NYC. These lists will give you a sample of the vehicles you could expect to ride in for each trip (though neither of these lists is exhaustive and the actual vehicle will vary based on your city and current vehicle supply).
- Acura – ILX, MDX, RDX, RL, TL, TLX, TSX
- Audi – A3, A4, A6, A7, A8, Allroad, Q5, Q7, RS7, S4, 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, X1, X3, X4, X5, X6
- Buick – Enclave, Encore, Envision, LaCrosse, Lucerne, Regal, Verano (minimum year: 2014)
- BYD – e6
- Cadillac – CT6, CTS, DTS, Escalade, SRX, STS, XTS
- Chevrolet – Captiva, Cruze (minimum year: 2014), Equinox, HHR, Impala, Malibu, SS, Suburban, Tahoe, Trailblazer, Traverse, Trax
- Chrysler – 200, 300, Aspen, Cirrus, Concorde, LHS, Pacifica, PT Cruiser, Sebring, Town and Country, Voyager
- Dodge – Avenger, Caliber, Caravan, Charger, Dart (minimum year: 2014), Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Nitro
- Fisker – Karma
- Ford – C-Max, C-Max Hybrid, Crown Victoria, Edge, Escape, Expedition, Explorer, Flex, Focus (minimum year: 2014), Fusion, Taurus, Taurus X
- Honda – Accord, Accord Crosstour, CR-V, Civic (minimum year: 2014), Crosstour, Fit, HR-V, Odyssey, Pilot
- Hummer – H3
- Hyundai – Azera, Elantra (minimum year: 2014), Equus, Genesis, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Sonata, Tucson, Veracruz
- Infiniti – JX, M, Q50, Q70, QX50, QX56, QX60, QX80
- Jaguar – F-PACE, XF, XJ
- Jeep – Cherokee, Commander, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Patriot, Renegade
- Kia – Amanti, Borrego, Cadenza, Forte (minimum year: 2014), K900, Optima, Rondo, Sedona, Sorento, Sportage
- Land Rover – Discovery, LR3, LR4, Range Rover, Range Rover Sport
- Lexus – ES, GS, GX, HS, LS, LX, NX, RX
- Lincoln – Continental, LS, MKC, MKS, MKT, MKX, MKZ, Navigator, Town Car
- Maserati – Ghibli, Quattroporte
- Mazda – CX-5, CX-7, CX-9, MAZDA3, MAZDA5, MAZDA 6, MAZDASPEED 3, Tribute
- Mercedes-Benz – C-Class, CLS-Class, E-Class, E-Class Wagon, G-Class, GL-Class, GLC-Class, GLE-Class, GLK-Class, M-Class, ML Class, Metris, R-Class, S-Class
- Mercury – Grand Marquis, Mariner, Milan, Mountaineer, Sable
- Mitsubishi – Endeavor, Galant, Lancer (minimum year: 2014), Outlander, Outlander Sport
- Nissan – Altima, Armada, Maxima, Murano, NV Passenger, Pathfinder, Quest, Rogue, Sentra (minimum year: 2014), Xterra
- Pontiac – G6, G8, Torrent, Vibe
- Porsche – Cayenne, Macan, Panamera
- Saab – 9-4X, 9-7X
- Saturn – Aura, Outlook, VUE
- Subaru – Forester, Impreza (minimum year: 2014), Legacy, Outback, Tribeca, WRX, XV Crosstrek (minimum year: 2014)
- Suzuki – Grand Vitara, Kizashi, XL7
- Toyota – 4Runner, Avalon, Camry, Corolla (minimum year: 2014), Prius, Prius V, RAV4, Venza
- Volkswagen – CC (minimum year: 2014), Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Passat, Routan, Tiguan, Touareg
- Volvo – S60 (minimum year: 2014), S80, XC60, XC70, XC90
- Acura – MDX
- Audi – Q7
- Buick – Enclave
- Cadillac – Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT
- Chevrolet – Suburban, Tahoe, Traverse
- Chrysler – Aspen, Pacifica, Town and Country
- Dodge – Caravan, Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey
- Ford – Expedition, Explorer, Flex
- GMC – Acadia, Yukon, Yukon Denali, Yukon XL, Yukon XL Denali
- Honda – Odyssey, Pilot
- Hyundai – Santa Fe, Veracruz
- Infiniti – JX, QX56, QX60, QX80
- Jeep – Commander
- Kia – Borrego, Sedona, Sorento
- Lincoln – MKT, Navigator
- Mazda – CX-9
- Mercedes–Benz – E-Class Wagon, GL-Class, Metris
- Mercury – Mountaineer
- Mitsubishi – Outlander
- Nissan – Armada, NV Passenger, Pathfinder, Quest
- Saturn – Outlook, Relay
- Subaru – Tribeca
- Suzuki – XL7
- Tesla – Model X
- Toyota – Highlander, Sequoia, Sienna
- Volkswagen – Atlas, Routan
- Volvo – XC90
Looking at these two lists, you’ll notice some overlap. This is because UberXL drivers can also drive for the standard UberX service (since there are fewer UberXL rides overall). Therefore, it’s possible to request an UberX and end up riding in a van or SUV. However, you shouldn’t count on that. If you need to guarantee a high-capacity vehicle, then you should request an UberXL.
So far, we’ve compared UberX and UberXL on the basis of objective criteria such as size or vehicle type. But what about the intangible aspect? How does the experience of riding in each differ?
For the most part, your experience will be the same. UberXL rides will certainly be more spacious, though having a large quantity of people or cargo might make it feel just as cramped as an UberX with four passengers squeezed in.
You’ll be dealing with the same drivers for the most part, all of whom have undergone the necessary background checks, DMV checks, and vehicle inspections that Uber requires for all drivers in its network.
Taking all the factors above into consideration, which type of Uber ride should you choose at the end of the day? The right ride for you depends on your specific needs.
If the following describes your desired ride, then you should choose UberX:
- Private, on-demand car service
- Budget option
- Space for up to four passengers or a small amount of luggage
UberX is an ideal choice for:
- Riding to or from the airport with just a suitcase and carry-on
- Going to a party across town
- Getting around in a vacation spot without a car
If you need the following, then UberXL is the option for you:
- Same private, on-demand ride
- Space for up to six passengers
- Capacity for large quantity or large size of luggage or cargo
UberXL makes sense for:
- Taking a family of four and their luggage to the airport
- Moving your stuff to a new apartment on the other side of town
- Bringing home the haul from your monthly Costco run
Ultimately, you’ll have to decide which is best for your situation. If you’re ever in doubt, you can always request the ride and then call your driver to get more information on the capacity and specifications of their vehicle. If it turns out that it isn’t a good fit, then you can cancel the ride without penalty (as long as you do so shortly after requesting the ride).
It’s better to be upfront with your driver about what you need than to have them arrive and find out they won’t have room for your five friends (or five suitcases). Whatever you do, don’t try to save money by cramming more than the legal amount of people into a vehicle. This isn’t just disrespectful to your driver; it’s also unsafe and illegal. Just save yourself the time and trouble and pay the extra few dollars for an UberXL.
Get a Ride for Any Occasion
We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of the difference between UberX and UberXL, as well as which ride is best for your needs.
In some cases, you may need or want another type of Uber ride. For more information on other Uber car options such as UberBLACK, UberTAXI, UberSELECT, UberSUV, UberPOOL, and UberLUX, we recommend you check out our comparison of UberX vs. Uber.
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.