If you have decided to get into the rideshare game it’s important to choose your vehicle carefully. Firstly, many operators have a list of standard operating criteria that must be adhered to so it’s important to check these out before you begin your search.

Here is a list of some of the requirements for an UberX driver’s vehicle as an example.

Minimum vehicle requirements:

  • In excellent working condition
  • Not older than the maximum age for the Uber vehicle option chosen (UberX vehicles must be 10 years old or less)
  • A qualified vehicle according to specific product requirements
  • Registered and insured in New Zealand
  • Free from cosmetic damage and commercial branding
  • Other minimum rules apply to specific vehicle options

What other factors must you consider?

  • Running and servicing costs - you should consider both running and servicing costs, these can add up so it’s important to choose robust models with good parts availability.
  • Comfort - remember you will be spending a lot of time behind the wheel, in most cases traveling between 65,000kms to 75,000kms every year. So check that there is enough space for both you and your passengers when you are all seated in your usual comfortable positions.
  • Type of business you will be focusing on – e.g. airport runs or larger groups? If the majority of the business will be transporting large groups then a larger model should be considered.

Many buyers looking for that ideal set of wheels will be searching in the used car market, so choose carefully. Once you have narrowed your search down, have the vehicle assessed by a professional like the AA Pre Purchase Inspection team. It also pays to check the vehicle's value before you buy with an AA Vehicle Valuation Report and the vehicle’s history with an AA History Report.

So, what’s popular?

We recently interviewed Sahil Sachdeva, Operations Manager for Mode Rideshare, who are also an official partner with one of the biggest rideshare companies in NZ - Uber.

We were interested to learn what their take is on the best rideshare vehicle. Mode Rideshare is a supplier of vehicles to New Zealand's rideshare drivers.

Mode Rideshare also offers a range of flexible options to people who don’t necessarily want to buy or do not want to use their own vehicle for passenger services.

Here are Sahil Sachdeva’s top five choices:

  1. Toyota Prius / Prius Alpha Hybrid
  2. Toyota Aqua Hybrid
  3. Toyota Camry Hybrid
  4. Toyota Fielder Hybrid
  5. Mazda Axela Hybrid

Prius / Prius Alpha

Prius resize

“Although many hate the Prius, it’s very practical especially from a customer point of view. The reason for it being my all-time favorite at the moment is because of its fuel efficiency and hybrid technology. There is also a good availability of parts, and a generous boot. Budget for between $12k -$16k”

We would agree that these models seldom have problems and are rather capacious, especially the Prius Alpha which adds extra flexibility with its seven seat configuration; however be mindful with all seats deployed there is little room for luggage.

Toyota Aqua

AquaUsed7 1

“This model is very popular for part time drivers e.g. for those who already have full time jobs and want to earn some extra money. The reason it’s in the top five is because of its fuel efficiency, easily available parts, its compact size and low cost from between $6k-$10k”

Year-to-date the Aqua is still the most popular used import with a seven per cent share of the used passenger segment. It’s not really surprising it is so popular, with its affordable entry price and perky performance, however it’s perhaps not ideal for larger drivers due to its small size.

Toyota Camry

Hybrid Camry front location

“This is one of the best luxury rideshare vehicles and an all-time favorite for long term/ full time drivers. Benefits include the fuel efficiency of the hybrid system, easy to find parts, ample boot size and its price- between $16k –$20k. I have seen some Camrys do around 400,000km to 500,000kms and still run quite well on NZ roads”

Toyota Camrys offer a very comfortable quiet ride indeed. We haven’t heard from too many people reaching such high mileages, but a well maintained Toyota is bound to go far. In recent years Toyota’s styling has been refined and seems to echo some luxury design ques from Lexus. Did you know that AA Auto Centre also service Hybrid vehicles? Click here to find out more.

Toyota Fielder

Toyota Fielder

“For drivers who like station wagons, this is one of the best hybrid cars you can buy at a good price. The reason for this model being in the top five are fuel efficiency (hybrid technology), easily available parts, and great cargo capacity. You should budget for between $10k –$12k”.

The Fielder is also a popular choice for some of our AA Members simply looking for a fuel efficient wagon, often our Members tell us they are trying to choose between the Honda Shuttle Hybrid and the Toyota Fielder.

Mazda Axela

Axela hybrid

“Rideshare drivers who don’t like the Prius are moving towards the Mazda Axela Hybrid although this vehicle cannot beat the performance of the Prius in terms of fuel efficiency and parts are not the easiest to find, pricing ranges from $14k -$18k.”

“Toyota hybrid technology is far more reliable than Mazda in my opinion. Many mechanics are more familiar and confident working on Toyota than Mazda’s hybrid technology. People like this vehicle because of its luxury features and appearance”.

We have seen this model available at some of our AA Preferred Dealers and the Mazda’s design philosophy is always a big draw card with its fluid body lines and ergonomic interior detailing. Because these models are not as abundant as the Prius, the selection could be a tad limited.

Find out more on how the AA can help you when buying a car

Vehicle experts you can trust

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