What makes the best cars for driving Uber in Australia? There’s a lot to consider – from the all-important fuel consumption through comfort, safety, to reliability, and even how good the car looks on the road. It also needs to match Uber’s car requirements, such as being less than 10 years old, having 4 doors, air conditioning, and special rideshare insurance. Choosing the best car for Uber in Australia can be a challenging decision.
At Splend, our Flexi and Flexi own subscriptions have helped over 15,000 people globally to get started and earn an income with rideshare and delivery platforms such as Uber, Ola and Amazon Flex. Our experience combined with that of our members has allowed us to create this ultimate guide of what you need to consider when choosing a car for Uber.
When you think of the best cars for Uber, the first thing to consider is the rider’s experience. However, when it comes to earning consistent five-star driver ratings and tips, things like chrome and leather are just the tip of the pyramid. It’s actually your behaviour as a driver that is the basis of that.
What you essentially need is a trusty tool to get you through the day without hiccups and keep as much money in your pocket as possible. Here’s what you need to look for when choosing a car for Uber driving:
The biggest running cost of any car is the energy required to drive it around, whether there’s a thirsty petrol engine, a modern electric drivetrain, or some sort of hybrid technology under the bonnet. Each category has its own advantages and drawbacks that make them suitable for different uses, but one thing is clear: the more you move towards electric technology, the lower your daily energy costs will be.
Because you drive so much, you’ll need to have the car serviced two or three times each year, so affordable servicing is a must. Korean and Japanese cars are known for their solid build quality and reasonably priced spare parts, so they’re a good choice for a long-term investment.
Opting for a Flexi own car plan with fixed servicing costs is another way to minimise the expenses and headaches that come with routine maintenance for years to come.
How much does car maintenance cost in Australia?
This depends on a lot of factors, from how much you use your car to your driving style. The maintenance of the most popular Uber cars costs around $1,000-1,200 per year on average, or about $23 per week.
How often are cars serviced in Australia?
Your car should ideally get a full service once a year or every 10-12,000 km. However, if you look after the car well and always take it in for a quick check whenever something doesn’t feel right, you may get away with a more affordable basic service too.
We recommend small but frequent check-ups, as it’s cheaper in the long run and less of a financial burden compared to a rare but costly general maintenance.
What is the difference between a basic car service and a full service?
A basic car service includes a routine check to diagnose any issues and taking care of the consumables that wear out or get used up most frequently as you drive the car. These include the oil and other fluids, filters, wiper blades, etc.
A full service includes everything that’s in a basic service and a more thorough check including engine diagnosis, reconditioning the suspension, swapping the fuel filters, and more repairs depending on the car’s overall condition.
Cars are depreciating assets, which means their value starts to drop the moment they roll out of the dealership. It’s closely linked to the car’s age and mileage, but different models also depreciate at different rates regardless of how and how much you drive.
Asian manufacturers that offer some of the most popular Uber cars are among the slowest-depreciating brands. Kia leads the pack and also Toyota, which is not only fuel-efficient but has a great reputation in the market. Mid-size SUVs are especially popular for resale, as they deliver everything the modern Australian family wants, such as low running costs and plenty of passenger and luggage space.
How to minimise car depreciation?
While it’s impossible to avoid, the best way to keep depreciation at bay is choosing a model that maintains its value well. Given the volume of riders getting in and out of your Uber car, it’s best to go for one that has a robust interior with good quality synthetic materials which don’t deteriorate as quickly.
The best way to maximise your car’s resale value is regular maintenance using original or manufacturer-approved spares and keeping a detailed service record.
Spacious cars are becoming an industry standard in ridesharing. There are many cars that would otherwise be excellent in the city traffic, but have little to almost no rear legroom once you push back the front seats to a comfortable setting. They might be fine for taking the kids to school in the morning, but passenger comfort should be up there with the highest-priority features when you’re choosing your car for Uber driving.
Small hatchbacks and even some larger sedans also have ridiculously small boots. They may be more than plenty for the daily commute and the odd shopping trip, but Uber driving involves many trips to airports and railway stations. It would be a shame having to decline these for lack of luggage space.
To drive Uber, you need a car insurance policy that will cover you for ridesharing. This is something that Uber does not cover for you and Uber’s free contingency cover will only cover bodily injury to you, the driver.
Since this doesn’t cover for any accident damage, it’s important to have comprehensive or at least third-party car insurance to help cover some of the potential costs and to think of Uber’s insurance as more of a safety net.
Based on the first-hand experience of over 15,000 Uber drivers globally, we outlined three of the most fuel-efficient car categories, and looked at some of the most popular models within each.
Click the links in the column headers to read more.
|Category||Internal combustion||Hybrid drive|
|Body||7-seater SUV||Mid-size SUV||Hatchback||Sedan|
|Scheduled servicing||15,000 km||15,000 km||15,000 km||15,000 km|
|Fuel consumption||7.2 L/100 km (combined)||7.9 L/100 km (combined)||4.2 L/100 km (combined)||4.2 L/100 km (combined)|
|Fuel costs (/week) *||$100.80||$110.60||$58.80||$58.80|
|Insurance costs (/week) *||$54.89||$48.5||$51.89||$45.5|
|Boot volume (L)||591||491||217||524|
|Retail price (starting from) *||From $29,490||From $28,390||From $27,395||From $31,790|
Internal combustion engines are the common petrol and diesel cars that everyone knows. Although electric and hybrid technologies are gaining ground, these cars continue to be the most popular due to their instant availability, good power to weight ratio, long range, and solid fuel and service infrastructure.
They generally consume more fuel than hybrids, but they also have a simpler construction, which can mean fewer headaches when it comes to maintenance and troubleshooting.
The Outlander is perfect for UberXL and UberPool. It transforms into the ultimate people-carrier in a matter of seconds by popping two extra seats up from the boot floor, while still leaving a decent-sized luggage space in the back.
It excels even when you use it as a normal 5-seater. Three adults can sit comfortably in the second row, and you’ll have no problem fitting all of their hand- and hold luggage in the boot – an especially useful feature for airport rides.
One of our members, Graham aka the #TheBestUberEver chose the Mitsubishi Outlander on Flexi own so he could provide his riders with a better experience, since he can, as he puts it, “keep groups of people together, which is awesome.”
The Kia Sportage has also become one of the most popular among our members, available on both Flexi and Flexi own plans. The increased carrying capacity due to the huge and cleverly arranged boot, and the overall passenger comfort earns our members consistent 5-star reviews.
The car features Bluetooth hands-free connectivity as well as AUX-in and USB ports for smartphones and MP3 music players. This feature is popular with passengers who want to listen to their own music while on the road. It also has a 3.5-inch screen in the dashboard which can be hooked up with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – a safer, smarter way to use your phone in the car. The display is also hooked up to a reversing camera, which makes parking in the city a breeze.
In testing, the Kia Sportage scored a five-star safety rating in the ANCAP tests, which means increased safety for both you and your passengers. CarsGuide rated the Kia Sportage 4 out of 5 stars with special mention to the stylish looks and the increased passenger room, making it a big hit with Uber passengers.
Our members get loads of compliments for the quality and comfort of the Kia Sportage. Huss, who was the number-one ranked Uber driver in the world for 5-star comments, even received an award from Uber.
When Huss signed up to our Flexi plan, he had a 4.87 Uber rating, but now boasts an impressive 4.95.
Don’t take our word for it – hear the story from the man himself:
A car is considered a hybrid drive if it uses two different means of propulsion. This most often means a combined drivetrain with an electric motor, as well as a petrol or diesel engine. Although they have a powerful electric motor, in lifestyle terms they’re the same as a conventional car: you just fill up and go, no need for an external source of electric power.
Hybrids generally consume less fuel and have lower CO2 emissions than a comparable car with only an internal combustion engine.
The Toyota Corolla is one of the most reliable and popular hybrids on the market and is not only a brand synonymous with reliability, but it’s also environmentally friendly. It’s practical and easy to drive, making it suitable for long hours behind the wheel.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid is available on a Flexi own plan, so you can put your weekly payments toward owning your car, without a lock-in contract.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid has established itself as one of the best cars for Uber with its amazing combined fuel efficiency of 4.2 L/100 km. Fuel is one of the main expenses for any driver, so the Camry literally puts money in your pocket. A fun feature: the onboard computer stores your best fuel consumption figures and congratulates you every time you set a new record.
Fuel economy shouldn’t mean sluggish performance. The Camry packs plenty of punch thanks to the electric motor’s instant peak torque, giving you the ability to zip in and out of city traffic. For a sedan, the Toyota Camry Hybrid has plenty of space too and it’s very comfortable for you and your passengers. The boot has enough room to fit even large suitcases, something you’ll appreciate doing airport runs.
On the safety front, the Toyota Camry Hybrid scored an ANCAP safety rating of 5 stars, the maximum possible, giving you peace of mind that you and your passengers are safe.
Vipan used to drive a taxi and decided to make the switch to Uber. He’s working towards owning his Toyota Camry Hybrid on our Flexi own plan. Vipan enjoys the fact that the car is his, but it’s not his liability.
Hear the story in Vipan’s own words:
We enable people to make money by driving for on-demand apps such as Uber.
We’re more than a car subscription provider. In addition to new-model cars and all the essentials to start earning money with Uber as quickly as possible, our members enjoy driver training and dedicated support via a personal account manager, as well as member benefits such as partner discounts and exclusive events.