Best car for UberX/Lyft - A review of Toyota Prius

If you want to drive a very economical car and still enjoy the ride, you do not need to buy a new cheaper car or an old expensive one. You just need to buy a car that is mid-market price, with good fuel consumption and is as comfortable as a mid-high-end range car. That describes the Toyota Prius. This car is both economical, safe, easy to drive, maintainable and is extremely comfortable. You don't have to take our word for this, we prepared a comparison chart to show you the facts.

Car Costs vs. Car Expenses

There are two types of costs for a ridesharing driver, these are the actual costs of the car, or direct costs, which are made up of the costs of purchasing, insuring, maintaining, driving, cleaning and eventually selling. The indirect expenses are all the gadgets, gadget aids, apps, entertainment parts, extra comfort items and sundries, extra cleaning items and advertising aids. There is one other cost, the operations fees, these are taxes, Uber fees, and end of the year taxes, but these are not included in the two expenses. The first is deducted directly by Uber from the income received, so you don't control this item. The amount you receive is your Gross Income before expenses. Personal tax is paid at the end of the year and is evaluated on your net income, which is, all the expenses deducted from the gross income.

Car Costs

Let’s start with the basics, the total cost of car ownership, or what is termed as TCO. A Toyota Prius costs can be realized when using two US-based sites: Consumer Reports (CR) to find out what model, make and year are good and Kelley Blue Book(KBB) for finding out the MSRP of every model you check. The CR ratings are depicted as dark green for very good, light green for OK, yellow for not so good and dark red for very bad. There is no middle ground here, and the overall mix of technical issues checked is clever since actual comfort and surroundings are personal while mechanical, exhaust, suspension, climate control, etc. are all measurable. When deciding what to buy, it’s not just about price, its also about the driver’s and the passenger’s perception of the car. When a driver picks a model, he should test drive a few makes and models and years of each first. This will give him a better personal feel for the car he will enjoy and feel more comfortable with. Perception and enjoyment of the car and its internal environment as well as the integration between the driver and steering, operating the car is also a pre-cursor to safe driving. So, these are all parts of determining the value of a car.

Toyota Prius as an exceptionally comfortable car with good operational ergonomics, so this adds to its value and makes the price even more attractive. We decided to check out two years of the Prius C level 3; 2012 and 2017 with an average of 20,000 miles per annum added on for depreciation factoring, so 2017 is 0 miles brand new and 2012 is 5 years (actual age difference) and 100,000 miles more. For comparison, we added 2016 with 20,000 miles so the incremental change can be viewed.

Year | Price | Dep. %

2012 used | MSRP $9,820 | 42%

2016 used | MSRP $15,845 | 32%

2017 new | MSRP $23,260 | 0

Notice that the first year depreciation is much higher than the consecutive years, this is because a new car depreciates immediately on the purchase by around 30%. The depreciation from the first year of usage to the fifth only went down by 10% in comparison. This is important to note. It means that the difference in the year you buy from the third year is only budget based, the depreciation factor is there but is negligible when considering the maintenance fees that come with cars over three years old. Cars tend to be maintenance free (changing of actual engine parts) for the first three years. So buy a car that is one or two years old, unless your budget is limited or you don't expect to work enough hours to pay off the monthly installments or leasing fees.

The car cost per mile will be valued at 36 months of driving, which gives us $0.264

Depreciation for one year, base on an average of 10% per annum (using the above list) gives us a cost per mile of: $0.079

Fuel Costs

The next thing to look at for adding up a fair comparison is fuel consumption costs.

The Prius C has a 46 mile per Gallon ratio, this is particularly high, and that is why many drivers prefer it.The price of a Prius can be high compared to other models, but the fuel consumption costs make up for this difference. To evaluate 20,000 miles you get this factor: 434 gallons per year that's good to evaluate a yearly usage, but in reality you only need the average mile cost which is now around $2.5, so a mile will cost an average of 5 cents or $0.0543 to be exact. 20,000 miles will cost $1,086.95


The average ride-share insurance fee per month varies per company, but it is spread between $115 to $180. The average insurance cost being $148. We break this down into per mile cost, and we get : $0.0888 per mile.


The car maintenance fees vary per year, but the average for a Toyota Prius is around $305 per year, which gives us a per mile cost of: $0.0152

Loan Return Rates

If you buy the car in cash, you don't add loan return rates and fees into the mix, if you did buy the care in installments or leased it, then you must add the rates. The rates vary from 2.29% to 4.46% so these average out at 3.5% of the loan rate.If we take the 2016 model and base this on that price, and take into account the downpayment of $2,000 over 36 months repayment, you will have a total of $600 over the price to pay. This gives us a total per mile value of: $0.030

Total Car Overheads

Now we can collect all the above information and create a total car overhead value for a used Toyota Prius C 2016:

Car Cost (per mile): $0.264

Depreciation: $0.079

Fuel price: $0.543

Insurance: $0.088

Maintenance: $0.015

Car Loan interest: $0.030

Total Direct Expenses per mile: $1.019 per mile

The Toyota Prius is a very economical car and will only cost the driver a total of $1.019 per mile, deductible from the gross mile income and before tax.