Like most, we too have had plenty of back seat time in a Lyft or an Uber ride share vehicle. They come in all shapes, sizes and flair whether we like it or not. Depending on the option of passengers or luxurious setting chosen, they can come bigger and fancier at a more premium cost. As for the driver, owning the right car for the job is crucial, not only does it need to be fuel efficient and comfortable for the long driving day ahead, but it needs to have the latest and greatest gadgets to make not only yourself content with your purchase but also your customers happy and help earn those extra tips.
We sought out, two vehicles, a compact sedan and a three-row SUV that we felt would be the idealistic vehicle for the Uber/Lyft driver. Something that would be affordable on a ride share salary, while also offering decent fuel economy with all the latest technology.
2017 HYUNDAI ELANTRA VALUE EDITION
Starting under $20,000, Hyundai has done wonders with their compact car. For 2017, they introduce a new Value Edition model in their line-up that features some of the newest technology on the market while maintaining an affordable price tag. In some cases, to the ride share passenger, who lets be frank, don’t know much about cars, sometimes a car needs to just look nice to impress a passenger, and with 17-inch alloy wheels, power sliding sunroof and LED daytime running lights, the Elantra is a passenger pleaser. The Elantra Value Edition is also a driver pleaser assisting with those pesky blind spots with blind spot monitoring and back-up camera.
Passenger comfort though, is the most important – passengers can fit restfully in the back seat with adequate amounts of head and leg room available. The Elantra features dual-zone climate control in case your passenger doesn’t agree with your temperature setting. Apple Car Play and Android Auto comes standard on the 7-inch touch screen display making connecting on the go easy-peasy. If you have a compatible Android device, you can even get the maps to show up on the large display screen verses having to use your phone. And the Elantra also features two USB charging ports and an A/C adapter so that more than 2 passengers can charge up their mobile devices.
The Elantra uses a smaller, economical 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Producing 144-horsepower, it gets around town just fine without any fuss or muss about it. At cruising speed the Elantra is confident and provides a subtle ride quality that even the drunkest of passengers won’t feel sick over. Plus, we saw over 40 miles to gallon on the open highway with an average of 35 mpg mixed driving and 450 miles of fuel range on tap – saves at the pumps.
The Elantra Value Edition isn’t the fasted nor the most luxurious ride share car, but with all the latest gizmos and features, sometimes it’s those little features that impresses the passengers the most. Even just the ability to plug and play our music and see a text message pop on the screen is a magical mystery sometimes. At least when we’re 8 shots deep and can’t find our house keys.
2018 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER SEL
Mitsubishi is at an interesting spot in its automotive life – most people don’t know they’re still around; therefore, they don’t know that they can actually have a pretty decent 3-row crossover for under $30-grand. Granted, the Outlander featured here has a $32,000 price tag attached to this top tier SEL model that came equipped with a host of up-to-date features to please any car buyer.
The Outlander is the smallest 3-row crossover on the market next to the Nissan Rogue. This Outlander, however, comes standard with a 3rd-row while other crossovers it’s an optional upgrade. Tacking on the advanced $3000 SEL Touring package, the driver can drive with ease knowing it the Outlander has Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, 360-degree around view camera, and LED Head/Fog/Tail lights – which can also be seen as nifty features to a the weary passenger.
While the Outlander doesn’t feature air vents for back seat passengers, its dual-zone climate control should help keep everyone happy. It also features two USB outlets for charging stations and an updated, Apple Car Play & Android Auto touch screen interface for easy connectivity to jam out to any choice of music the passenger desires and with the killer Rockford Fosgate sound system, this Outlander just because the biggest mobile night club on the streets.
2018 brought some changes to the Outlander that we didn’t quite see with the previous 2017 model. The Outlander now offers a full 360-degree view camera that helps parking in unique situations while waiting for passengers. It also has an electronic parking brake with automatic hold for those long moments you had to sit outside.
This Outlander may have a dated presence compared to some of its competition, but every bit of its interior feels solid and of quality. It feels durable and able to hold up to the roughness of passenger abuse. Access to the trunk is as easy as pushing a button on our SEL as it is power operated and if passengers are carrying suitcases, it can fit two carry on’s with the third row folded up or a whole family of suitcases with the third row folded down.
Providing a comfortable ride, the Outlander maintains composure over the rough roads leaving the occupants inside gratified. The standard 18-inch wheels provides a solid ride quality while also giving the Outlander a premium stance. Power on the Outlander comes in two forms, this one seen here has the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 166-horsepower. With one or two passengers loaded up, it fine around town – it keeps pace with traffic and can make passing gestures. Loaded up with all seats filled is a different story, but an easy solution is to go for the more expensive 3.0-liter V-6 that’s only available in the GT and can provide a more confident 224-horsepower. But you’ll be sacrificing the 29 mpg fuel economy we received on the highway.
Most passengers don’t know a car, let alone what car they’re getting into – if they order an SUV, all they know is that a white SUV is picking them up. The name in this case doesn’t matter. It’s a win/win for both parties. The passenger gets to ride in a crossover that feels like a $40,000 vehicle while the driver, at the end of the day has something affordable and proud to own.