The 5 Best Cars for Driving UberXL and Lyft XL

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Want to know the best car for UberXL or Lyft XL? We’ve got you covered!

Dream cars come in all forms; whether you’ve always wanted to drive a convertible and feel the wind in your hair or you’d prefer something more spacious with heated seats – everyone has a preference.

Sometimes they’re sensible and justifiable, other times (we’re looking at you, Maserati) they can be a little unrealistic.

Fortunately for us drivers, there is extra money to be made by having a nicer, more spacious car.

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft offer premium services for passengers that come with an increased price tag and higher pay for drivers.

What are the UberXL Vehicle Requirements?

While Uber and Lyft both offer a range of services from Pool to Black and beyond, today we’ll be focusing on the XL services. Available for groups who require a vehicle that seats more than four passengers or those who need the extra storage space, the XL services allow riders to request larger vehicles for an increased price.

To be able to drive for UberXL or Lyft XL, you must meet the following requirements:

UberXL

Beyond the standard requirements for being an Uber driver, your vehicle  must meet the following: 

  • Be on the list of approved vehicles provided by Uber
  • Model year 2006 or newer (unless stated otherwise) 
  • 4 door vehicle with doors that can be independently opened by passengers
  • Contain 7 factory-installed seats and seat belts
  • Functioning amenities including working windows and air conditioning

UberXL will not accept any vehicles with aftermarket seating modifications or commercial vehicles including taxi cabs, government cars, or other marked vehicles. Box trucks, vans, and salvaged/rebuilt vehicles are prohibited from use for UberXL as well. 

What are the Lyft XL Vehicle Requirements

Lyft XL is very similar to UberXL (in more ways than just the name) when it comes to vehicle requirements. To drive for Lyft XL, vehicles must meet the following requirements: 

  • Vehicle must be 7 years old or newer 
  • 4 door vehicle with doors that can be independently opened by passengers
  • Contain at least 6 factory-installed seats and seat belts

It’s also important to note that vehicle and driver requirements may differ by city for both Uber and Lyft, so make sure to check them out for your city when applying. 

Uber vs. UberXL

If you’ve ever sat on the other side of the rideshare service and requested a ride, you may have noticed that the UberXL offering is significantly higher in price than the standard UberX. So how much of that do we actually get to keep? 

Rideshare drivers have reported making an average of $18 per hour driving for services like UberX, and those who have vehicles compatible with the requirements have reported making up to twice as much while driving for UberXL. Before you get too excited, it’s important to note that UberXL rides are much less frequently requested than UberX requests, and the app will begin offering you standard UberX rides to supplement.

If you’d like to get more XL rides, the airport is where it’s at! Whether it’s a group returning from a family vacation or a chronic overpacker with a surplus of baggage, UberXL is typically in high demand in these areas. By only accepting XL rides in these areas, you’ll get to skip the queue AND make more money. Win win!

Lyft vs. Lyft XL

When it comes to XL rideshare, the pay model for Lyft is pretty similar to how Uber is setup; drivers are capable of making up to twice as much by driving XL over standard Lyft rides! The only downside is also similar to Uber: there aren’t nearly as many requests for Lyft XL as there are for Lyft. 

This can be combated by supplementing with standard Lyft rides or focusing on airports. Like UberXL, Lyft XL is in much higher demand at the airport and you can skip the queue to make more per ride!

Pro tip: By using both rideshare apps, the possibility of XL ride requests will double! I also recommend using Gridwise to understand when there will be an influx of arriving aircrafts. 

XL rides + surge charges = $$$

Sweet! But my car isn’t big enough…

If you’re a full time rideshare driver and your considering driving XL, you may need a bigger car! It’s clear that drivers (especially strategic ones) have the ability to make more money driving with UberXL and Lyft XL, but is it worth upgrading to a car with a third row?

Before jumping the gun on a new whip, here’s a couple of things to consider:

Gas Mileage: Bigger vehicles typically come with bigger gas tanks and less efficient engines, meaning you’re putting more in and burning through it faster. Make sure to look into the gas economy of a vehicle while test driving, as low MPG can result in high fuel expenses. 

Estimated Maintenance Cost: Vehicles differ in maintenance requirements depending on the make and model, but it’s something worth understanding when doing your research. How often will you need an oil change? What type of oil does it require? Does this model have reported issues that will need to be fixed? Make sure you understand what the annual costs for maintenance will be and factor that in when deciding on your next car. 

Size of the Car: As mentioned above, both Uber and Lyft require a minimum number of seats to be eligible to drive XL. Make sure the car you’re looking at has a third row and a minimum of 6 seats for Lyft XL or 7 seats for UberXL. Beyond that, extra cargo space is always a plus!

Used or New: If you’re purchasing a vehicle to drive for Uber, we suggest you go with a used one. Neither Lyft or Uber require drivers to have brand new vehicles, and if you buy brand new your vehicle will be depreciating and costing you money faster than it’s making you money. Understand the standard depreciation value for the model and year you’re interested in, and try to get something that has a low year over year depreciation rate. 

Best cars for Uber XL and Lyft XL

We’ve compared the vehicles on Uber and Lyft lists of approved vehicles, and narrowed it down to these five as my top picks:

2014 Toyota Sienna

If you ask me, minivans are vastly under-rated. With the extra space and 21 MPG fuel economy, the 2014 Toyota Sienna is a great option for XL rideshare. Depending on the mileage, used price ranges from 15-20k asking, and Sienna’s have been known to have an excellent resale value and a strong reliability record. 

2014 Honda Odyssey

Another minivan, the Honda Odyssey is slightly more luxurious than the Toyota Sienna, depending on the model you get. It’s good on gas with an average fuel economy of 22 MPG (some have reported up to 28 MPG highway) and has an expert and consumer rating of 4.4 stars. Depending on the mileage and model, used prices range from 14k for the Honda Odyssey LX to 24k for the Honda Odyssey Touring; fully equipped with the HondaVac for a quick clean-up after picking up a group from the beach!

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander

Rated 3rd for best cost of ownership for mid-size SUV/crossovers, the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander is a great XL driving option. This compact SUV gets an average fuel economy of 27 MPG and has a 4.7 star consumer rating. Ranging in price used from 15-20k, the 2015 Outlander is equipped with upgrades including bluetooth connectivity, improved seat materials, and LED taillights. The Outlander is sleek and stylish while offering rugged capabilities like all wheel drive.

2014 Ford Explorer

This spacious SUV is known for its size, cargo space, and low cost of ownership. The 2014 Ford Explorer drives smooth and comes with gadgets galore, giving riders a more luxurious experience. With 18 MPG fuel economy, the Explorer falls a bit lower than some of its minivan & compact SUV counterparts for fuel economy, but is available used for 15-23k, depending on model and mileage.

2014 Dodge Caravan

Similar to the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna, the 2014 Dodge Caravan is a luxurious and spacious minivan with high tech gadgets and a lot of cargo space. Rated as the best cost to own a minivan, this vehicle has a 20 MPG fuel economy and ranges in price from 11-15k depending on model and mileage. 

Bottom Line

When it comes to purchasing a vehicle for rideshare use, make sure to understand the ratio of what you’re spending vs. what you’re making.

Driving UberXL and Lyft XL allows us to make extra money without having to increase the number of rides, however, be wary that these types of rides aren’t as in demand as standard rideshare drives.

When done strategically, driving XL for Uber or Lyft is a great way to increase your earnings without increasing your effort, especially if you’re near an airport and using the Gridwise app to figure out when there will be an influx of arriving aircrafts!

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