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Best Cars For Uber NYC

Best Cars For Uber NYC

What are the best cars to drive for Uber in NYC?

When an innovative ride-hailing app called Uber launched in San Francisco in 2009, few could foresee how dramatically it would affect the world’s passenger transport systems. But in just ten years, the company has mushroomed into a commercial giant, offering a range of services in 63 countries and over 700 cities. By December 2018, the business had 91 million active users, 3.9 million drivers and was providing over 14 million passenger trips each day across the globe. 

The pursuit of wealth and happiness

Following the idea that success breeds success, new drivers are constantly joining the platform. With the offer of flexible hours, regular income and complete independence, it’s an attractive work choice for many. Typically, those willing to try their hand are keen to know about earnings, rules, joining up and getting licensed, however, few seem to ask the biggest question of all – namely, if I’m going to drive for Uber in New York, what do I drive?

What choice do you have?

To answer this, you need to decide what type of ride you’ll be providing. In New York, Uber offers five classes of service to its customers. These range from its most popular flagship UberX, all the way up to Uber Black and Uber Black SUV. 

Most drivers opt for UberX as the area where they’ll operate, and Uber has rules on the vehicles it will accept for this service in New York. You can see the full details here, but the guidelines are simple:

1. The vehicle must be no older than 2006. 

2. It must have four doors or be a minivan.

3. It must carry four passengers plus driver.

4. It must have no commercial branding. 

5. It must have no cosmetic damage.

And that’s it. Some vehicles may require a newer age requirement, but otherwise, given the range of vehicles that Uber will accept for UberX, your choice is wide open. 

Which is where this guide comes in. We’ve looked at all the new cars available for the New York market and narrowed them down to the best ten for driving UberX. Read on to see which wheels you’ll want.

The Basics

 

What do you need in a car for UberX? This is Uber’s economy option, offering standard rates per ride. You won’t want a Mercedes S Class here. Keep that for Uber Black. In the cheap seats, you just need a car that conforms to these essential rules:

The Option Our Opinion
Cost A sticker price of less than $30,000 will give you all you need in a car for UberX. Why spend more?
Gas or Hybrid Driving in New York is hardly a racer’s game. A lot of stop/start traffic and idling burn up gas and lower a vehicle’s economy. This makes a gas/electric hybrid the ideal choice, although usually, they cost more than their fossil-fuelled siblings. Weigh the options: Higher initial price but less on fuel, or lower buying price and more cash spent on gas.
All-Electric Lack of charging infrastructure means it may be too soon to take this leap. Wait for market forces to spur the installation of more charging points.
MPG You should aim for at least 35mpg – combined.
Stick or Auto An auto is easier on you and smoother for your passengers. A stick is great for winding, open roads, but in New York? Forget about it.
Performance In the city, this is less important than you’d think. However, you don’t want a total slowpoke – some days you’ll be on the freeway.
Styling Will this car also be your private car? If so, styling may be important. If the vehicle is only for UberX, this is not a priority.
Handling Good enough to soak up potholes and speed bumps, but there’s no need for race car cornering.
Interior Space It should be big enough for five people without a crush. Decent rear legroom is a good idea. Hybrids often have flat floors throughout the entire cabin.
Cargo Capacity Big enough to carry suitcases and at least two or three passengers to the airport.
Comfort Yes, you’re in the car all day.
Air Conditioning See above.
Sat Nav and Communications Sat Nav? Maybe your phone and Google Maps is good enough. Bluetooth is essential. Stereo? Not so much.
Cup Holders, Rubber Mats, Seat Protectors As many as you can get. They keep the car clean and ease depreciation
Warranty At least four years. If it’s less, purchase the manufacturer’s warranty extension pack.
Maintenance Many brands roll this into the warranty. If not, check out the manufacturer’s service plans. Buy cover for as long as you intend to keep the car.

Top 10 Cars For Uber in NYC

1. HYUNDAI IONIQ HYBRID

The hybrid that finally knocked the Prius off its top spot. Available as a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric, the Ioniq offers great comfort and better-than Prius styling. Yes, the rear seats will take three, but whoever sits in the middle will not be comfortable, and yes, the cargo space is shallow despite the car’s width, but the standard hybrid’s gas and electric motors scoot this car forwards like no other. Expect mpg of around 60 per gas gallon equivalent when using both power sources. On batteries only, that will leap to 90mpg, but the range is just 28 miles. This one sets the bar that other cars for UberX must beat.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: $22,500

Mileage: 50-60 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.6L Gas Electric

Gearbox: 6 Speed Auto

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Average

Comfort: Good

Speed: Faster than a Prius, but no Mustang

Styling: Slick, but nothing extraordinary

Warranty: 5 years 60,000 miles

Best Option: 139hp Hybrid Blue

2. Toyota Prius Hybrid

Even in latest 2019 form, the Prius is still an ugly duckling, but for UberX, it’s a great choice. Ideal for urban driving, it’s first class gas/electric power mix gives great mpg. Combine that with sprightly performance, decent turning circle, roomy interior and a flat floor and you have a car that’s an obvious choice for Uber drivers. However, be prepared for the fact that the rear view is hampered by the split screen and the trunk is not as big as you’d hope. Go for the base L Eco at around $23,700 – it costs less, has a slightly bigger cargo space and gets better mileage than the more expensive models in the range.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: $23,700

Mileage: 56 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.8L Gas Electric

Gearbox: CVT Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Average

Comfort: Good

Speed: Average, fine for the city

Styling: Not a favourite

Warranty: 3 – 36,000 miles

Best Option: 1.8 VVT-i L Eco

3. Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Toyota has finally put its hybrid version of the world’s biggest selling nameplate on sale in the USA. Using the same tech, powertrain and gas/electric mix as the Prius, it’s virtually the same car as it’s teardrop-shaped cousin – it just looks like a regular sedan. The hybrid only comes in one spec, placing it price wise in between the 2.0L and 1.8L gas powered brothers. As you would expect, mileage is great, which makes up for the average interior and trunk space. Toyota give no 0-60mph figures, but say it’s fast off the mark. That’s good to hear, as the Prius is borderline sluggish.  Marginally less cash than the Prius, it’s the obvious choice for those who want an eco-car but don’t want the whole world to know about it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: $23,000

Mileage: 52 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.8L Gas/Electric

Gearbox: ECTV Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Average

Comfort: Average

Speed: Good

Styling: Identical to regular Corolla, which means bland

Warranty: 3 years 36,000 miles

Best Option: Hybrid LE

4. Honda Insight Hybrid

Yes, another hybrid fills our number four slot. Apologies to everyone who loves the sound of a V8, but with New York traffic, and congestion and emission charges coming, a hybrid is the best way to go. The Insight is a direct competitor to the Corolla Hybrid and a good alternative to both the Prius and Ioniq. Looking more like a regular sedan, it’s also pleasing on the eye. The gas/electric power source pushes this car along at a good rate and it is swift away from lights. The base LX, (our choice for price/package), is spartan but still well finished. Typical Honda quality excels throughout. If you don’t want a Toyota and are unsure of the Ioniq, this is the hybrid for you.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: $23,000

Mileage: 50 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.5L Gas/Electric

Gearbox: ECVT Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Good

Comfort: Good

Speed: One of the best in the hybrid class

Styling: Pretty clean, pretty ordinary

Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles

Best Option: Insight LX

5. Toyota Camry

Giving Toyota three spots in our top five hurts, be we must be honest – they make the best vehicles for UberX in New York. The Camry is the first gas-only choice in our guide and it’s up here challenging the hybrids based on its size, finish and value for money. Camry has been sold in the US for a long time and the 2020 version is one of the best. It may be classed as a mid-size, but it feels like a big roomy car and it drives like a nimble sportster. Interior and cargo space are both excellent. Build quality is high. The 2.5 litre engine pulls you down the road as fast you’re ever going to need in New York. Mileage is typical. If you don’t want the fuss of a hybrid, this Camry’s the choice of tradition.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: $24,500

Mileage: 32 MPG Combined

Engine: 2.5L four-cylinder gasoline

Gearbox: Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Excellent

Comfort: Excellent

Speed: A 4 cylinder that feels like a 6

Styling: Solid and reserved

Warranty: 3 Years/36,000 miles

Best Option: 2.5L LE

6. Subaru Outback

Permanent four-wheel drive enters the fray in sixth spot with the imposing Subaru Outback. The base model keeps this well-built and exclusive choice under $30k, but still delivers good performance, excellent carrying capacity and typical high-quality finishing. Subaru really know how to bolt a car together. Nice ride height and first-class suspension make driving New York’s clogged and pot-holed streets a breeze – and when the snow comes, hey, that’s what four-wheel drive was made for. If you want something different and can run to almost twenty-seven grand, take this option.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: $26,700

Mileage: 32 MPG Combined

Engine: 2.5L 4 Cylinder Gasoline

Gearbox: Automatic, 4 Wheel Drive

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Excellent

Comfort: Excellent

Speed: Good grip and power but not as quick as Camry

Styling: Car sized SUV that looks brawny

Warranty: 3 Years/36,000 miles

Best Option: 2.5L Base Outback

7. Nissan Altima

Nissan’s Altima has long been the Ying to Camry’s Yang. The two are both very similar, but if we must pick – and we do – then we give the Toyota the edge in build quality. Nissan interiors are more stylish, but somehow, they always manage to feel a little flimsy and less tactile than their main competitor. Otherwise, both cars are almost identical, in price, size, space, performance and styling. If you can’t choose, just flip a coin, nobody who rides UberX is gonna care. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: $24,000

Mileage: 32 MPG Combined

Engine: 2.5L 4 Cylinder Gasoline

Gearbox: CVT Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Good

Comfort: Good

Speed: Up there with the Camry

Styling: Up there with the Camry

Warranty: 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Best Option: 2.5L S

8. VW Jetta

Near the back of the pack we find our first European selection. As you may expect, it comes from mighty VW. Their compact Jetta sedan is good looking, well made and as quick as you need anywhere. The punchy 1.4 liter turbo engine and 184lb/ft torque really move this car along. We give Jetta three stars because the cargo carrying is average and three rear-seat passengers will need to be friendly. Otherwise, with a competitive price, good gas mileage and German heritage, this is a great left-field choice – and as an extra, it comes with the best warranty pack of all.

⭐⭐⭐

Cost: $20,500

Mileage: 35 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.4L Turbo Four Cylinder Gasoline

Gearbox: Automatic

Seats: 5 but snug

Cargo Capacity: Good

Comfort: Good

Speed: With good torque, this compact sedan is zippy

Styling: German design, need we say more?

Warranty: 6 Years/72,000 miles

Best Option: Jetta S

9. Chevrolet Cruze

The venerable Chevy Cruze is now in its eleventh year of production. It’s an economical, well- built machine ideal for use as an UberX workhorse. The 1.4 liter engine takes a little while to get going, but if you’re not dragging the lights, it’s more than enough for swift city transport. Surprisingly roomy inside, and with excellent cargo space, it’s only let down by some of the materials used in construction. As a cost-effective choice, it deserves a spot in our top ten guide.

⭐⭐⭐

Cost: $18,500

Mileage: 35 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.4L Turbo 4 Cylinder Gasoline

Gearbox: Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Good

Comfort: Average

Speed: Slow to start, but then good enough

Styling: A match for Japan’s best

Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles

Best Option: 4dr SDN LS

10. Hyundai Accent

Bringing up the rear is the cost-effective Accent SE. Classed as a subcompact, it’s surprisingly roomy inside, although cargo capacity is what you’d expect from a vehicle in this category. Usual brilliant build quality and above average materials make this cheapie seem a lot more expensive than it is. However, even though the 130hp engine can squirt the car along, don’t kid yourself it’s a quick. It isn’t. Otherwise, the upgrade to automatic six-speed is well worth a grand. It shifts like something from a more costly car. As for styling? Like the big boys in Japan, Hyundai really know how to make a boring looking vehicle. Standard teardrop shape and little in the way of muscles make the Accent seem weak. But hey, you’re buying this for UberX, so forget the looks and admire the price tag. Under $17k gets an awful lot of car.

⭐⭐⭐

Cost: $16,900

Mileage: 35 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.6L Four Cylinder

Gearbox: 6 speed automatic, all-wheel drive

Seats: 5 but snug

Cargo Capacity: Average for a subcompact

Comfort: Good

Speed: Adequate grunt but no racer

Styling: Smooth, swoopy, so what

Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles

Best Option: Base SE

SOURCES and LINKS:

Uber cars: https://www.uber.com/drive/new-york/get-started/eligible-vehicles/
Uber ride options: https://www.uber.com/global/en/cities/new-york/
Cars : https://www.caranddriver.com/features/g26731304/best-cars-under-30000/?slide=1

Cars: https://www.carbibles.com/best-cars-for-uber-driving/
Cars : https://www.caranddriver.com/shopping-advice/g26522634/best-cars-under-20000/
Ioniq: https://www.hyundaiusa.com/ioniq-hybrid/specifications.aspx?intcmp=in-page%20cta;compare;text;compare%20full%20specs
Prius : https://www.toyota.com/prius/
Corolla: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a25167166/2020-toyota-corolla-hybrid-sedan-photos-info/
Corolla: https://www.toyota.com/corolla/features/mileage_estimates/1882/1863/1856
Insight: https://automobiles.honda.com/insight#specifications
Camry: https://www.toyota.com/camry/
Outback: https://www.subaru.com//OBK-compare-wrapper-modal
Altima: https://www.nissanusa.com/vehicles/cars/altima/compare-specs.html
Jetta: https://www.vw.com/models/jetta/section/trims/
Cruze : https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/chevrolet/cruze
Accent : https://www.hyundaiusa.com/build-your-hyundai/index.aspx?vehicle=accent&year=2019&trim=accent-2019-en-US-se&intcmp=in-page%20cta;compare-se;text;build%20this%20trim