As a new Uber driver, you’re probably busy getting your license, planning your long-term earning strategy and reading the company rules, but Uber is, first and foremost, a ridesharing app, so you shouldn’t neglect the one factor that can influence client satisfaction rate dramatically: your ride!
Uber has some pretty flexible vehicle requirements and, technically you can still use your trusty 2008 Volkswagen Passat for the economy option. However, with more drivers joining Uber than ever before, it’s important to think of your car as a branding element and offer your clients more than the bare minimum in terms of comfort.
UberX vehicle requirements in London
If you opt for the most popular service, UberX, your vehicle must respect the following requirements:
- Model year 2008 or newer
- Your car must have four doors or be a minivan
- No cosmetic damage
- The car capacity should allow for 4 passengers plus the driver
- Commercial branding isn’t allowed
- You can use estate cars
- Both manual and automatic transmission vehicles are allowed
As you can see, these requirements are quite broad and it’s not difficult to find a vehicle that ticks all the boxes. Of course, in addition to these basic rules, there are some unwritten ones that you should keep in mind:
Emissions: In March 2019, London introduced ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone), which imposes strict emission standards. Failing to comply with ULEZ requirements carries a daily fine of £12.50, so make sure your vehicle has Euro 4 (gasoline and vans) or Euro 6 (diesel).
Boot capacity: The boot should be large enough to carry passenger luggage
Comfort: Although you don’t need to have a luxury vehicle, comfort is important when you spend many hours driving every day. As a plus, your clients will appreciate it.
Electric vehicles: London’s electric vehicle infrastructure isn’t sufficiently developed yet, so you should stick to hybrid for a few more years.
Air conditioning: No passenger wants to be freezing during the ride, so AC is a must.
Suspension: Speed bumps and potholes are common in London, so make sure your car suspensions are performant enough to absorb the impact and offer passengers a smooth ride.
Extra cup holders are always a nice touch if you want to make an impression on your clients, but there’s no need to spend extra on a fast car because you won’t have a chance to use it when driving in a city as congested as London. Don’t worry if sat-nav isn’t included. The Waze or Google Maps apps on your smartphone or tablet will do just fine.
Top 5 vehicles to use for Uber in London
If you’re still looking for the best car to use for Uber, these are the top 5 most popular options that drivers swear by:
1. Toyota Prius Hybrid
By far the number 1 choice for London Uber drivers, the Toyota Prius offers both comfort and value for money. Although it’s not the cheapest car, it is environmentally friendly, it has fantastic fuel consumption (around 50 mpg) and it’s very reliable. According to an Uber spokesperson, as much as 40% of Uber cars are a Prius – that accounts for a whopping 400,000 vehicles! As an added benefit, it’s easy to find cheap Uber insurance for a Toyota Prius, because Toyota is a brand known for its durability.
- Environmentally friendly hybrid
- Low fuel consumption
- Cheap maintenance
- Many Toyota dealers offer support to Uber drivers
- Durable and holds its value
- Boot space doesn’t allow for big luggage
2. Skoda Octavia
In the age of hybrid cars, the popularity of a fossil-fuelled Skoda might seem surprising, but the fuel consumption on the Skoda Octavia recommends it for Uber driving. Known as more affordable versions of luxury Volkswagens, Skoda vehicles are very roomy and have a luxurious feel to them.
- Plenty of passenger legroom and boot space
- Mid-range models come with leather interiors
- Excellent fuel consumption (30-55 mpg)
- Maintenance and parts are cheap
- Filters can get clogged up quickly
- Most luxury features are only available on high-end variants
3. Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
The Hyundai Ioniq is another popular hybrid among London Uber drivers and some say that it could even steal the top spot from the Prius because of its high-performance electric motor. Available in three versions (plug-in, hybrid, and all-electric), The Hyundai looks much more presentable than the Prius and you can expect 50-60 mpg combined. So far, reviews from Uber drivers are overwhelmingly positive, especially because this ride offers great value for money.
- Elegant exterior
- Excellent fuel consumption
- Value for money
- Fantastic engine performance
- Limited boot space
- The back seat doesn’t fit three people comfortably
- On batteries only, the range is only 28 miles
4. Audi A4
Do you want to shop up at your client’s location in a vehicle that inspires luxury, class and prestige? Then look no further than the Audi A4. Although the retail price starts at £28,000, you get more luxury features than other cars in this price range. The German design and attention to detail are hard to ignore on the A4 and being a passenger in it feels like a royal experience thanks to the smooth handling. Offering an average of 40 mpg and a 2.0 turbo petrol engine, the Audi A4 is surprisingly value for money.
- Luxurious styling
- Smooth and quiet ride
- Durable German build
- Excellent comfort
- Average boot space
- Slowest model in the A4 range
- Expensive parts compared to non-German vehicles
5. Toyota Corolla Hybrid
The fuel-powered version of the Toyota Corolla has been a long-time favourite of UK drivers for many years and now, with the hybrid version coming into play, we can already see an increase in the number of Uber drivers who choose this model. If you want to drive a hybrid, but aren’t ready to purchase a Toyota Prius or Hyundai Ioniq, this is an excellent alternative.
- The best affordable hybrid on the market
- Excellent handling and performance
- 8 petrol-electric engine offers a combined 65 mpg
- Chunky exterior design
- Interior finishes look cheap
- Limited passenger comfort
Fortunately, you have many great options when choosing the vehicle to use for Uber in London. Whether you want to protect the planet, offer the smoothest ride to your passengers, or get the most miles per gallon, you’ll find that there are cars that tick all the boxes.