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Best Cars For Uber UK

Best Cars For Uber UK

What are the best cars to drive for UberX in the UK?

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 the UK, 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 Great Britain, Uber offers five classes of service to its customers. These range from its most popular flagship UberX, all the way up to Uber Lux and Uber XL. 

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 the UK. You can see the full details here, but the guidelines are simple:

1. The vehicle must be no older than 2008 in London and 2006 elsewhere.

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. Estate cars are okay.

And that’s it. In London there are some other rules set by TFL, 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 in the UK 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 Lux. In the cheap seats, you just need a car that conforms to these essential rules:

The Options Our Opinion
Cost An on-the-road new price of less than £30,000 will give you all you need in a car for UberX. Why spend more?
Diesel, Petrol or Hybrid If you’re operating in a big city, new emission rules may soon make all diesels a problem. If you’re operating mainly in rural areas or on motorways, diesel mpg is hard to beat. Petrol or hybrid are the ideal urban choice, although hybrid vehicles usually cost more than their fossil-fuelled siblings.
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 40mpg – combined.
Manual or Auto? You will pay more for an automatic gearbox, but it’s worth it to avoid ‘dead clutch foot’ and to gain a smoother ride.
Performance In the city, this is less important than for those who will be cruising motorways. However, you don’t want a total slowpoke.
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. Comfort is important for you and your passengers.
Air Conditioning No one enjoys a hot car, air con is a must have especially in a hot summer.
Sat Nav and Communications Sat Nav? Maybe your phone and Google Maps is good enough. Bluetooth is essential. Stereo could be important if you and your passengers like to enjoy music for the ride.
Cup Holders, Rubber Mats and 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, you should buy the manufacturer’s warranty extension pack where available.
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 UberX in the UK

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 hybrid’s petrol and electric motors scoot this car forwards like no other. Expect mpg of around 60 per petrol 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: £24,000

Mileage: 50-60 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.6L Petrol 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 unlimited mileage

Best Option: 1.6L GDi Hybrid Premium 5 Door DCT

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 petrol/electric power mix gives amazing 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 boot is not as big as you’d hope. The Business Edition at around £25,000 may cost more than some of its petrol or diesel rivals, but the Prius holds its value well and benefits from Toyota’s excellent maintenance support.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: £25,000

Mileage: 50-65 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.8L Petrol Electric

Gearbox: CVT Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Average

Comfort: Good

Speed: Average, fine for the city

Styling: Not a favourite

Warranty: 3/5 years

Best Option: 1.8 VVT-i Business Edition AT

3. Skoda Octavia

With a lower price, bigger space inside and in the boot, the Octavia is the fossil fuelled car to take on the hybrids. Even in petrol format, the mileage is great and the 1.5litres 148hp engine will kick this roomy vehicle up to 60mph in around 8 seconds. Not so sloppy we think. Add in an extendable warranty and 12 years body protection and it’s easy to see why this is currently the number one choice for Uber drivers across the UK.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: £20,000

Mileage: 55 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.5L Petrol

Gearbox: Semi Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Good

Comfort: Good

Speed: Punchy when you pull away

Styling: Clean and imposing

Warranty: 3 years 60,000 miles

Best Option: 1.5 TSI SE 5 Door DSG

4. Toyota Corolla Hybrid

The Corolla has long been a best seller in the UK, now in hybrid form, it’s an even better car. Yes, this comes from the same people who give you the Prius and it costs less, but you get what you pay for. The Corolla hybrid feels cheaper inside and out than its teardrop-shaped sibling and those bog standard looks will never win a beauty contest. However, in all other respects, this is a good option to either the Ioniq or the Prius, with decent handling, performance and passenger/cargo space. Like the other hybrids, the neat petrol/electric power source will move this car along at a brisk pace, but it suffers in visibility and is tight inside. Still the best, low-cost hybrid on the market.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: £23,000

Mileage: 65 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.8L Petrol Electric

Gearbox: CVT Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Good

Comfort: Better than basic range cars

Speed: Swift as you would expect

Styling: Not as clunky as the Prius but still chunky

Warranty: 3/5 years

Best Option: 1.8 VVT-i Hybrid Icon 5 Door CVT

5. Audi A4

If you want German luxury build and prestige in an affordable package, then the Audi A4 is the way to go. The all-new 2019 model has been restyled and comes with a range of engines. The base 2.0L petrol will get you in the driver’s seat for less than £30k and still give you an elite driving experience. German design, build and materials excel in this car, which help to offset the somewhat cramped interior and average boot space. Ignore the fact that this is the slowest in the A4 line-up and marvel at the handling and smooth, quiet ride. Plus, did we tell you it’s German?

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: £28,000

Mileage: 40 MPG

Engine: 2.0L Turbo Petrol

Gearbox: 6 speed manual

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Average

Comfort: Excellent

Speed: Okay but strains under hard acceleration

Styling: Prestige

Warranty: 4 years 50,000 miles

Best Option: 35 TFSI Technik 4dr

6. Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda’s second entry in our top ten and the best all-round SUV for UberX. High build quality, (thank you VW) and good materials for the money. The 148hp 1.5L petrol pushes this big rig along quick enough, although don’t expect a dragster, because it isn’t. Tons of space inside and a cargo area to handle any number of suitcases. Great high position visibility and very good mpg. If you like a big, brawny car, then this is the one to go for.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: £25,000

Mileage: 46 MPG

Engine: 1.5L Petrol

Gearbox: Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Excellent

Comfort: Excellent

Speed: A bit heavy but more than enough power

Styling: Looks more costly than it is

Warranty: 3 years 60,000 miles

Best Option: 1.5 TSI SE 5dr DSG

7. Kia Proceed Estate

Yes, we know what you’re thinking – £26k for a Kia estate? Well, believe us, this one’s worth it. An all-new model in Kia’s rapidly swelling range, the ProCeed moves on from the already excellent Cee’d. From the luxury look, to the full complement of gadgets, an engine that delivers real punch and a seven years warranty, there’s little to fault except maybe that price. Big cargo space is matched by roomy cabin and top-drawer materials. Forget those shoddy contraptions of years ago. Since falling under Hyundai’s umbrella, the Kia brand is now one to impress. We opt for the 1.6 litres CRDi and the auto gearbox for the comfort it gives. Adding £2,000 more than the base 1.4 manual, the upgrade turns an already good car into a really great car.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cost: £25,700

Mileage: 52 MPG combined

Engine: 1.6L Turbo diesel

Gearbox: 7 Speed Auto

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Very Good

Comfort: Excellent

Speed: A bit sluggish at approx 10 seconds 0-60

Styling: As good as most in its class

Warranty: 7 Years/ 100,000 miles

Best Option: GT Line 1.6 CRDi

8. Renault Scenic

Our next diesel-powered car is an MPV and a French one at that. The Scenic is Renault’s compact answer to the SUV trend. This smaller, but highly agile rival comes with decent interior space, good cargo capacity and the usual, quirky French design touches. It has a smaller turning circle than either the Kodiaq or Tiguan and is swift around town. Put the pedal down hard and it seems a little harsh, but overall, it performs more like a car, with SUV attributes. The diesel is the best option, and that, along with the cheaper finishing, (without a much cheaper price) and lack of brawn, push this one down to number 8 and a three-star rating. A pity, because for UberX this is a very good option.

⭐⭐⭐

Cost: £23,000

Mileage: 47 MPG

Engine: 1.7L Turbo Diesel

Gearbox: Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Good

Comfort: Average

Speed: Good but struggles under full power

Styling: Cool with aero dynamic lines

Warranty: 4 years 50,000 miles

Best Option: 1.7 Blue dCi 120 Iconic 5dr Auto

9. Skoda Scala

The latest model from Skoda fills spot number nine in our top ten. The Scala comes in estate-car form and it’s positioned as an entry level option. Below the Octavia and Kodiaq. Unfortunately, the sales guys at Skoda seemed to have confused the pricing, as by the time you opt for the 115hp SE to get a little power and an auto gearbox, you’re getting close to Octavia country. That fact has helped push this model down in our ranking. Otherwise, despite the basic plastic trim, this one is roomy, has great cargo space and looks pretty good. Its small 1.0 litre turbo is never going to cut it as a racer, but around town it has decent pulling power and good mpg. If you fancy something very new, you’d be hard pressed to beat a Scala.

⭐⭐⭐

Cost: £19,500

Mileage: 41 MPG Combined

Engine: 1.0L Turbo Petrol

Gearbox: Automatic

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Good

Comfort: Good

Speed: About 10 seconds 0-60…

Styling: It is an estate but it looks good

Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles

Best Option: SE TSI 115hp

10. Ford Focus Estate

Another estate comes in at number ten – courtesy of Henry Ford. The Focus name has been around for years, but the 2019 model is an all-new version. The estate gives great space for passengers and luggage, so this is an ideal motorway/airport express. Yes, it seems a little pricey compared to the Scala and Octavia, but if the presence of the blue oval gives you added comfort, it may be worth the extra cash. Typically for base model Fords, the best option EcoBlue 120 Zetec skimps on all the luxuries. Yes, there’s sat-nav, but you don’t need that. And no, you won’t get lumbar support, which you could really use. Materials are average and the build is just good enough, but the engine lacks the oomph you might expect from a modern 1.5 diesel. In summary, if you like traditional but not exceptional, this is the one for you.

⭐⭐⭐

Cost: £22,700

Mileage: 55 MPG combined

Engine: 1.5L Turbo Diesel

Gearbox: 8-speed Auto

Seats: 5

Cargo Capacity: Very Good

Comfort: Good

Speed: Also about 10 seconds 0-60

Styling: Tiny bit dated for a new facelift but it is an estate

Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles

Best Option: EcoBlue 120 Zetec

SOURCES and LINKS: 

Uber vehicle rules: https://www.uber.com/en-GB/drive/resources/vehicle-requirements/
Uber stats: https://www.uber.com/en-GB/newsroom/company-info/
Uber general stats: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uber
Uber ride classifications: https://www.uber.com/en-GB/blog/uber-ride-options/
Cars: https://www.buyacar.co.uk/cars/affordable-cars/cars-under-30000/1168/best-new-cars-for-under-30000
Cars: https://uberdriverlondon.co.uk/what-car-to-use-for-uber-in-london/
Prius: https://www.toyota.co.uk/new-cars/prius/?&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=OEM-UK-EN-B-Model-Prius-xx-GOO-EXACT&utm_term=new+prius+toyota&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1qefyvv_4wIVWeDtCh0gtAmWEAAYASAAEgLp_fD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Ioniq: https://www.whatcar.com/make/hyundai/ioniq/hatchback/versions
Octavia : https://www.whatcar.com/make/skoda/octavia/hatchback/versions
Kodiaq: https://www.whatcar.com/skoda/kodiaq/estate/review/n17362/on-the-road
Proceed : https://www.kia.com/uk/new-cars/proceed/
Corolla : https://www.whatcar.com/toyota/corolla/hatchback/review/n18901
Scala: https://www.skoda.co.uk/new-cars/scala
Focus: https://www.ford.co.uk/shop/price-and-locate/build-and-price-gf3#/catalogID/WAEGB-CGE-2018-C519FocusGBR201975/summary/?code=DGADE_DR–C_EN-ZT_TR-GM:ACMAA_VS-D1