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Redusernab Asks: What would be your Uber car?

Kamil Kaluski February 27, 2018 Redusernab Asks 23 Comments

Uber, or Lyft, are seemingly favorite transportation choice of the avocado toast generation. I’m a fan of public transit, so I take that when I can or have to, and/or can’t drive my own car for whatever reason. I do use Uber when I am in a hurry or strictly as a matter of convenience, but that happens maybe once a month. I actually try to take a city taxi cab over Uber as I have some family ties to that industry and I believe they’re kind of getting screwed by Uber. The truth is that taxi cab industry screwed itself with its lack of progress.

But we’re not here to discuss that. We’re here to discuss the fact that most Uber/Lyft cars are Corollas, Camrys, Rogues, or something equally boring and painful to look at and be in. 

Today’s question is – if you were to drive an Uber or Lyft car, what would be your car of choice. Both companies have similar requirements:

  • Model year: Must be 15 years or less from current year.
  • Body style: Any with 4 full, independently opening doors.
  • Seating: Must have seats in good condition AND seat belts for driver and 4 passengers.
  • No commercial branding or taxi color paint jobs.
  • No cosmetic damage or missing pieces.
  • No large passenger vans or commercial/heavy duty trucks.

Now, there is more to choosing a car than just this. In order to fully monetize, the vehicle must be somewhat affordable, economical, and reliable. Low accident repair, part and service costs also add to the bottom line. BUT… but since you’re going to be spending hours driving it, it should:

  • Be comfortable for the driver. 
  • Be easy to drive for you.
  • You must actually like it!
  • Have features that you, the driver can’t live without. 
  • Be something you enjoy driving. 
  • Bonus: a third row will add to revenue. 
  • Bonus: USB ports for rear passengers. 

So what is your ideal Uber or Lyft vehicle? 

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  • P161911

    I looked into doing this when I was unemployed late last year. Unfortunately the two vehicles in my fleet fail to meet the requirements. My Silverado, while it has seats for driver 5 passengers, is the extended cab, lacking independently opening rear doors. My Volt, while is does have 4 doors, only seats the driver and three passengers. So my choice might be what I was looking for earlier in a beater car, an early to mid 2000s 4 door Saab 9-3 or 9-5.

  • neight428

  • “Be comfortable for the driver.”

    “Be something you enjoy driving.”

    I don’t understand these parameters. It can’t be both.

  • GTXcellent

    Something with vinyl seats and rubber floor – much easier to clean up/hose out

  • A Hillman Hunter/Paykan seems to meet the criteria.

  • Realistic, but rather dull answer, Toyota Prius+. The vast majority of Uber drivers In London run a Prius or a Hyundai Ioniq, and the Prius+ has an extra pair of seats. I don’t even think they’re that bad to drive, really.

    Non-hybrid answer – W211 E320CDi wagon with the seven seat package.

    • Wait… US-spec Prius, Prius V, does not have a third row of seats!

      • Sjalabais

        Its third row is why I was looking into buying one a while back. But the Prius+ is probably the most value-stable Toyota of them all, with lots of cheap families eager to get one. Doesn’t make sense to buy one here in Norway due to those ridiculous prices.

      • Yeah, you can’t have all the cool stuff…

        And I mean cool in it’s broadest possible sense.

  • Papa Van Twee

    If I could get one of these and paint it a nice semi-dark glossy blue… it should be perfect.

    • I believe you can actually buy them off dealer lots. Just wrap the mofo and you’re good to go.

  • SlowJoeCrow

    It seems like a Mazda5 or Transit Connect wagon would work well, they are compact car sized and the sliding doors make for easy passenger access, a 3rd row and decent fuel economy.
    Outside the US, I think a Fiat Mutlipla with 2 rows of 3 seats would work well, or something like a Citroen Picassl

    • Zentropy

      I would +1 the Mazda5. It’s the most practical people-hauler that I could get with a manual transmission.

  • tonyola

    A 2005 Toyota Avalon. Roomy, comfortable, reliable as the sun, and not expensive these days.

  • Fuhrman16

    The perfect answer of course would be a 2014 Hindustan Ambassador.

    • Oh, I rode in one of those. It was everything you could imagine and then some.

      • outback_ute

        Trying to work out if that is a good thing or a bad thing…

  • Sjalabais

    Due to certain political crises and sanction issues, the UAZ Hunter remains a vehicle that is available new…and thus my eternal answer to everything. It’s probably not that comfy nor relaxed on the upkeep, but it’s so cheap and it will get you there. We’re currently experiencing “the beast from East”, a cold spell from Sibir, so that makes this a proper city vehicle, too.

  • Wayward David

    Four full doors… check
    Seatbelts for five… check
    Rear seat USB ports… check
    Easy/enjoyable to drive… check
    Useful tech features… check
    Low operating costs… check
    Bonus: I already own it

    • Vairship

      Yup, I was going to suggest either a Hybrid (Prius V) or long-range electric hatchback (Bolt) as the obvious answer. Any time you get paid by the mile, you want the most efficient car available. And in city traffic, that means electric motors.

    • Zentropy

      I’ve only seen it at the Detroit AS– never rode in it personally, though I’d really like to try one out. I’ve heard the drive actually verges on fun, unlike the combination of dull dynamics and heinous styling you get with the Prius. On paper it is impressive, if a bit Nissan-y in appearance (not a good thing). I’m not typically put off by cheap-feeling/looking interiors (hey, they had to cut corners somewhere), but the interior textures were downright weird.

    • MattC

      Okay , very good choice. So how has it been as a daily driver.

  • Mazda5 or a Prius. The Mazda is more versatile and will be more fun, but a decent used Prius is $5K to $10K and they simply won’t die. Plus 40+ mpg and roomy hatchback versatility.

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