10 best cars for Uber and Lyft drivers

See why the Toyota Prius is our number one pick

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

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  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

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  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Your car can be your ticket to an easy side hustle if you choose to become a driver for a rideshare site like Uber or Lyft. There are some pros for drivers, such as flexibility: You can decide when, where and how much you work.

However, there are also some distinct downsides, as all the fuel and maintenance costs fall on you, and the extra miles can add wear and tear to your vehicle. And of course you’re responsible for taxes and insurance. 

But if you’re considering it, or are already a driver and are planning to buy a new (or new to you) vehicle, these are the best qualities to look for in a rideshare car:

  • Good fuel economy (after all the average rideshare driver may add an extra 1,000 miles per week)[1]
  • Reliability 
  • Inexpensive to repair and maintain
  • Affordable to insure. (Note: Keep in mind the numbers to insure are based on personal use, not rideshare specifically. You will need additional coverage for using your car as a rideshare vehicle.) 

Based on these criteria, here are the top 10 recommendations for cars for rideshare drivers.

1. Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is a hybrid and thus has excellent fuel economy, so you can make plenty of airport runs before heading to fuel up. The most recent ratings from JD Power are decently high, measuring fewer defects, malfunctions and design flaws. And when your side hustle leads to wear and tear on your car, you can still count on relatively low maintenance costs. Average annual costs in the first year are expected around $155.

Prius by the numbers

Fuel economy: 51 - 58 mpg

J.D. Power reliability rating: 75

Average 10-year cost to own: $4,800

Average cost to insure: $23 - $88 a month

2. Mitsubishi Mirage G4

The Mitsubishi Mirage G4 is the sedan alternative to the Mirage hatchback (that would likely be too small for carting around too many customers and their luggage). Like its hatchback cousin, it is cheap to buy and own. For gas mileage, it has decent fuel efficiency for frequent trips. And its rating for reliability and dependability is also not bad. It does cost a bit more to insure it.

Mirage by the numbers

Fuel economy: 35 - 41 mpg

J.D. Power reliability rating: 76

Average 10-year cost to own: $5,254

Average cost to insure: $136 - $465 a month

3. Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry’s low operating costs and reliability make it a great choice for a mid-size sedan rideshare choice. Its fuel economy is decent (although much better if you opt for the hybrid model). Its JD Power ranking makes it the number 2 midsize car in 2023. The Camry offers a quiet, comfortable ride which is definitely a plus if you’re going to be spending a lot of time driving strangers in it.

Camry by the numbers

Fuel economy: 28 - 39 mpg

J.D. Power reliability rating: 83

Average 10-year cost to own: $4,203

Average cost to insure: $11 - $95 a month

4. Honda Civic

While relatively compact — so you won’t be transporting any soccer teams — the Honda Civic sedan boasts a well-earned reputation for reliability. It is relatively inexpensive to maintain and also has decent fuel economy. It was ranked the best compact car of 2023 by J.D Power rankings. It's also inexpensive to insure.

Civic by the numbers

Fuel economy: 33 - 42 mpg

J.D. Power reliability rating: 83

Average 10-year cost to own: $5,245

Average cost to insure: $24 - $85 a month

5. Nissan Sentra

With great J.D. Power ratings, the Nissan Sentra was named the top compact car of 2022. Its fuel economy is decent, making it a practical and efficient choice for rideshare driving. It also has relatively low ownership and insurance costs, so you hopefully won’t be spending your side hustle money on constant car repairs.

Sentra by the numbers

Fuel economy: 33 - 42 mpg

J.D. Power reliability rating: 83

Average 10-year cost to own: $5,441

Average cost to insure: $24 - $95 a month

6. Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla might be a slightly less popular choice for Uber and Lyft drivers than the Camry, due to its smaller size. That said, its smaller size does mean a slight bump in fuel efficiency. (And of course, a hybrid option exists here too). It has great ratings from J.D. Power, and it is relatively affordable to own and insure.

Corolla by the numbers

Fuel economy: 33 - 42 mpg

J.D. Power reliability rating: 83

Average 10-year cost to own: $5,245

Average cost to insure: $11 to $98 a month

7. Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is a well-equipped sedan that gets decent gas mileage and also has a hybrid model available to improve that more. The Honda Accord has a smooth ride for customers and is known for its reliability. It’s also relatively inexpensive to own and maintain.

Accord by the numbers

Fuel economy: 29 - 37 mpg

J.D. Power reliability rating: 81

Average 10-year cost to own: $5,412

Average cost to insure: $11 to $88 a month

8. Nissan Versa

While a relatively compact sedan, the Nissan Versa is another solid budget-friendly choice. It’s inexpensive to maintain and insure and it gets decent gas mileage. Its ranking for reliability is also good. It is a little tight on trunk space, which might be an issue if you do a lot of airport runs.

Versa by the numbers

Fuel economy: 32 - 40 mpg

J.D. Power reliability rating: 78

Average 10-year cost to own: $5,331

Average cost to insure: $11 to $101 a month

9. Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4's fuel economy is decent for a mid-size SUV, but again improves significantly (to the tune of 39 combined mpg) if you opt for the hybrid model. This is a more spacious vehicle compared to others on our list, so while it might not be quite as high on fuel economy, it can handle more passengers and luggage. Overall, it’s a reliable and inexpensive-to-maintain vehicle.

RAV4 by the numbers

Fuel economy: 27 - 35 mpg

J.D. Power reliability rating: 78

Average 10-year cost to own: $5,531

Average cost to insure: $10 to $89 a month

10. Nissan Altima

Last but not least, the Nissan Altima finishes out our list with its good gas mileage, spaciousness and smooth ride. It has good ratings for reliability and likely won’t be expensive to maintain or insure.

Altima by the numbers

Fuel economy: 27 - 39 mpg

J.D. Power reliability rating: 80

Average 10-year cost to own: $5,561

Average cost to insure: $25 - $95 a month

Tips for getting a car for Uber or Lyft

Before buying a new or used car with the intention of ride-sharing, make sure you meet all the requirements of the rideshare companies. In some cities, for example, a car must be 10 years old or newer to be used. And all rideshare cars must have four doors. The vehicle must also sometimes pass a cosmetic and mechanical inspection.

Wrapping up

Driving for Uber or Lyft can be a lucrative side hustle; however, it is not without its costs. By choosing a car that limits these costs, you can make the most out of your rideshare driving experience.

Methodology

To determine the best cars for rideshare driving, we considered the following data points.

  • JD Power ratings for reliability[2]
  • Fuel economy[3]
  • Average cost to own[4]
  • Average cost to insure (data from The Zebra)