When it comes to side hustles, driving for Uber is easily one of the most flexible options available. You can turn on your app and work anytime you want, and you never have to commit to a fixed schedule. And really, there are few requirements to get started. If you’re over 21 and have a driver’s license, a clear driving record, rideshare insurance, and a decent car, then you’re basically “hired.”
But, that doesn’t mean that any car will do if you want to drive for Uber. The rideshare company has their own set of standards you have to meet for your car to qualify, although they are fairly broad and can depend on where you live. In Indiana, for example, your car has to meet the following requirements to become eligible for Uber rides:
- Model year 2002 or newer
- 4-door car or minivan
- Good condition and no cosmetic damage
- No commercial branding
In New York City, on the other hand, your car needs to be a model year 2006 or later. Before you take the plunge to sign up for Uber, make sure to check local requirements to make sure your car is a good fit.
Which cars work best for Uber drivers?
Beyond Uber’s requirements, there are still some cars that work better for ridesharing than others. And if you’re looking for a new car with the intention of driving for Uber, you’ll want to pay attention to the details.
As you search for cars that might work for an Uber side hustle, consider cars that meet the following criteria:
1: Good gas mileage
Especially in the city. If you’re driving for Uber in an effort to rake in some cash, then your car’s fuel economy should be one of your biggest priorities. A car with good mileage will cost you less to fill up, which will leave you with bigger profits as you drive.
According to Consumer Reports, 2017 models with the best city driving fuel economy include:
- BMW i3Giga
- Ford Focus Electric
- Chevrolet Volt LT
- Mitsubishi i-MiEV SE
- Tesla Model X 90D
This is just a sampling, as there are obviously tons of cars with good fuel economy from nearly all model years that qualify to driver for Uber. You don’t need to drive a new car to get good fuel economy, but you do need a car that is efficient, especially in the city since you’ll spend a lot of your time driving for Uber off the highways.
While fuel economy is a big deal for Uber drivers, it’s not the only criteria to consider. The Tesla mentioned above may get 90 miles per gallon in the city, but it will set you back at least $82,000. Obviously, you’ll struggle to make money as an Uber driver if you’re paying a lot for an auto loan.
This is why price point is a big consideration, too. You want a car that gets good gas mileage, but you don’t want to overspend. The Ford Focus mentioned for fuel economy has an MSRP of $16,775 – $36,120, making it a much better deal. But there are literally dozens of cars out there that offer a good combination of affordability and fuel economy, and that includes older model cars.
A 2012 Toyota Prius may get as much as 40 mpg driving in the city, but could cost less than $11,000. Make sure to consider car price and fuel economy as you find the best Uber car for your needs.
3: Safety features
Whether you’re driving for Uber or hauling around your own family, it’s important to keep safety in mind. The safety features your car does or doesn’t have could make a big difference in your driving experience and whether someone becomes injured during a crash. Solid safety features can also help you save money on auto insurance, which could help make your Uber business more profitable as a result.
Some of the most important safety features include:
- Automatic emergency braking
- Forward-collision warning
- Blind-spot warning
- Rear cross-traffic warning
- Rear automatic emergency braking
- Lane departure warning
- Lane keeping-assist
- Lane-centering assist
- Adaptive cruise control
While it might be difficult to find a car that has all these safety features, you should definitely consider one that has at least a few. Ideally, you’ll find an affordable car that gets good gas mileage that also comes with safety features you can count on.
4: Spacious interior
Last but not least, you’ll need a car with plenty of room. Uber rides are good for up to four guests, so you’ll need space for three butts in the back of your car as well as a rider in the front.
Since even the smallest cars like a Toyota Prius can easily hold five adults, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a car that fits the bill. Still, it’s worth considering whether your guests will have room to relax – and whether your trunk might be able to hold their luggage and gear.
Which car should you drive for Uber?
So, which car should you drive for Uber? At the end of the day, there are dozens of automobiles and model years that offer good fuel economy, an affordable price, and features that will keep your riders safe and help you save money on auto insurance.
So keep your eyes open and look for a ride that’s affordable, stylish, safe, and as far from a gas guzzler as you can get. After all, the whole point of driving for Uber is making extra money – not spending it.