Skip to main content

Car Reviews I’m planning to start driving for Uber. What car should I buy?

I want to start driving for Uber and Lyft, and I’m thinking of buying a separate car for it; my current car is too old and small. What do you suggest? – Stephanie

Gentile: Something that’s good on gas, for a start!

Richardson: It seems every other Uber car I ride in is a Toyota Camry hybrid – Toyota’s most popular hybrid – and those drivers always love it.

Story continues below advertisement

Gentile: While they’re popular, Stephanie doesn’t want to cough up more money for a hybrid. She shouldn’t be spending more than $15,000 on it. A small, cheap, gas-powered car such as a Honda Fit or Nissan Versa – one of the cheapest cars you can buy in Canada – would do the trick for Uber or Lyft.

The Toyota Camry is a popular choice for Uber drivers.

Handout

Richardson: Both Uber and Lyft insist on space and seat belts for four passengers plus the driver, so she can’t go too small. In this case, though, she’d be smart to buy a low-mileage used car; it will be half the price, and she could be piling on the distance.

Gentile: She doesn’t say if this would be a full-time job, or just a day or two a week.

Richardson: Stephanie probably doesn’t know; it’ll depend on how she enjoys the job. Some people love it; others, not so much.

Gentile: More reason not to invest too much off the top.

Richardson: The other proviso for both services is that the car can be no more than seven years old. She could find a reliable, four-year-old Toyota Camry or Honda Accord with 70,000 km on the clock for $18,000, drive it five days a week for another 50,000 km over the next year, then sell it or trade it in for around $10,000. That’s a capital cost of $8,000, at worst. If she drives less, the car will hold a higher value, and it will cost her less.

A used car, such as this 2015 Honda Accord, could be a cost-effective choice.

Handout

Gentile: Finally, you’re making a compelling argument. Buying a used vehicle would be a smart idea for Stephanie. And besides driving for Uber or Lyft, she could help cover the cost of her new wheels by listing it on a peer-to-peer car-sharing service such as Turo. Apparently you can make about $600 a month by sharing your car only nine days a month. Cha ching!

Story continues below advertisement

Richardson: Those are days she can take off, when she won’t want to be driving anyway.

Gentile: Exactly. The average car sits unused 95 per cent of the time, parked for at least 22 hours a day, but now there are ways to make money from it. Stephanie should take advantage.

Richardson: A friend of mine just bought a used Hyundai Elantra for Uber driving. It’s a bit blah, so I doubt he could make those big bucks with it on Turo, but it does the job for him. He says he has no regrets for it.

Gentile: There are even cheap cars such as the Honda Fit and Hyundai Elantra on Turo, too – you never know. Your friend might be able to make a bit of extra cash listing it there.

A used Hyundai Elantra could do the job.

Handout

Richardson: It doesn’t hurt to try, but he’s usually busy driving it.

Gentile: With all that driving, it’s important for Stephanie to maintain her car so it runs smoothly for at least 100,000 klicks. That means checking the tire pressure regularly, and oil changes every 5,000 kilometres.

Story continues below advertisement

Richardson: Every 5,000? She’ll be changing the oil every month! Plenty of manufacturers recommend oil changes at greater intervals, such as every 8,000 km. She should follow the maker’s recommendation, not the urging of the oil-change place.

Gentile: If she leaves it longer, she should make sure to use better quality oil.

Richardson: Yup, that’s a given. She also needs to make sure she has a mechanic she can trust.

Gentile: She should ask friends for recommendations, and if she needs to drive a little farther to get to the shop, then she should do so.

Richardson: Most shops are safe these days, but there are still some bad apples. The first thing to ask is if the technicians receive commission – those that do are less reliable when they’re suggesting a new filter or belt.

Gentile: And when she buys that used car, she should take it to the shop her friends recommend for an inspection – but that’s a whole different column for us.

Story continues below advertisement

Richardson: Yes! For now, though, any of those cars we’ve suggested will do the job. And if Stephanie’s taking an Uber or a Lyft anywhere first, she should ask the driver what he or she thinks of their car. They’ll be honest, for sure.

What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at globedrive@globeandmail.com.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.

Stay on top of all our Drive stories. We have a Drive newsletter covering car reviews, innovative new cars and the ups and downs of everyday driving. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter