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The Best Car for Uber When Accounting for Expenses and Other Features

So, you’re like one of the 900,000 people (literally) that have decided to drive for Uber, so how do you know what the best car for uber is?  Well, that’s an easy answer – find the car with the best gas mileage, right? 

Well, I don’t disagree with the thought process, but being a frequent Uber user, I think there’s a lot more that goes into it…

So, what is important to the driver?

  • Gas Mileage – obviously
  • Purchase price of the car
  • Retention value of the car for when you want to sell
  • Safety Features
  • Overall Rating of the car

These are all great and seem pretty obvious, but what types of things are important to the rider that will help you accomplish a better rating?

  • Is the car spacious/comfortable?
  • Sleekness of the car
  • Is the car quiet?

Really, as an Uber rider, I don’t care too much about the car that I am riding in.  The few things that I really do expect is that the car is not crappy looking and that it is clean, doesn’t smell and is comfortable. 

Most of these things can be accomplished by a driver simply not being a slob, but the comfortability is very important, especially if I’m getting an Uber from the airport after a long flight.

So, in my eyes, I have really been able to narrow it down to three main cars that I think are best for being an Uber driver.  These three cars include a Subaru Impreza, a Toyota Corolla and a Honda Accord.  What makes these three cars the best?  Well, it’s quite simple really…

I went through and compared the three cheapest versions of each one of these cars with the information that I had noted above to try to figure out which would truly be the best car for Uber. 

I was able to gather almost all of this information from Edmunds which I highly recommend that you use if you’re ever in the market for a new car, despite if it’s for Uber or not.  Let’s take a look at my findings!

A lot of the information is pretty self-explanatory but not all of it is:

  • 2014 Value (Retention) – I looked on Edmunds to find out the value of a car 6 years old but the same make and model.  After I had this number, I then took that value and divided it by the 2020 MSRP to determine a percentage that the car was still worth.
    • For instance, the 2014 Subaru Impreza is worth a minimum of $9535.  So, $9535/$18,695 = 51%.  The car held 51% of it’s value, or lost 49%, over those 6 years.
    • If you want to know how much total value those cars have lost, you can simply use this formula:
      • Min MSRP – (Min MSRP*2014 Value Percentage).  So, for the Toyota Corolla, it would look like $19,600 – ($19,600*.41) = $11,564.  So, you could realistically plan on losing $11,564 over a course of 6 years
  • Safety Features – This was an Edmunds Rating
  • Comfort – This was an Edmunds Rating
  • Sleekness – This was my own personal rating scale.  Everyone has a different opinion, so you can change yours if need be
  • Quiet – This was somewhat subjective, but I used reviews to determine people’s opinions on the matter
  • Edmunds Rating – Edmunds puts out a total rating on the car.  The Subaru Impreza has an asterisk because it was for the 2019 car as they haven’t completed their 2020 Subaru Impreza Review.

Ok, so now that you understand my rating system, let’s look at the results!

Below I took each category and ranked the car against the other two.  If the car scored a 1 then it was the top of that category.  If the car had a 1.5, then that means that it tied another car for that rating. 

For instance, you can see from the previous chart that the Comfort ranking is the same for the Subaru Impreza and the Toyota Corolla, but that the Honda Accord is better. 

So, I gave the Accord a ranking of 1 and the other two cars both had a 2.5 because it is the average between a ranking of 2 and 3 is 2.5. 

All in all, the Toyota Corolla LE is the best car for Uber in my eyes after this review! 

If you were someone that was more focused on the driver benefits, then you might not necessarily agree with this because you can see that the Subaru Impreza does really well in things like Min MSRP and Retention Value. 

If you’re more worried about comfort for yourself and your passengers, then you’re going to likely prefer the Honda Accord Sport.

The beauty of this type of analysis is that it really is extremely easy to do, and you should do your own as well!  This was very easy to just go to Edmunds and look up the various cars that I was wanting to compare to get a good opinion of them. 

Of course, I only analyzed new cars on this but like I mentioned, you can analyze used cars as well, and I highly recommend that you do so because you’re avoiding some of that impact where the car loses a ton of value as soon as you drive it off the lot. 

I really am about as big of a proponent of not buying a new car as I am for getting an HSA if that tells you anything at all… Want to know why?  Well, Math.

If you bought the Toyota Corolla at $19,600 and your goal was to pay it off in 6 years without putting money down, you would pay $316/month for a 6-year loan. 

So, you’re going to pay a total of $22,752 for that car that was worth $19,600, and now that car is only worth $11,564 as we calculated above.  So, long story short, you paid $22,752 and now will sell the car for $11,564, so you lost $11,188 in total, or essentially flushed $155 down the drain EVERY MONTH!

I know that some of this is inevitable and it’s simply the Cost of Doing Business at times with owning a car, but that’s why retention value is so important too. 

Essentially, to summarize this article, I’d focus on two things:

  1. My research tells me that the 2020 Toyota Corolla is the best new car for Uber
  2. You need to do your own research – it might tell you something completely different!