When it comes to a delivery car, miles matter. Not only do they matter, but the kind of miles that you are putting on the vehicle matters. There’s a huge difference between city miles and highway miles, in terms of the longevity and durability of your car.
With that being said, it boils down to efficiency and durability, as almost all of your delivery miles will be in the city and that’s a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle.
Quick tip: you can get cash back every time you fill up your gas tank by using the Upside app. It's free and pays out straight to your bank.
A Toyota Camry Hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq, or a Kia Niro are popular choices.
Buying brand new has its own problems as well. You assume that a new car would simply be better on the highway than a used one, however, don’t forget the immense amount of value that you lose as you pile up those early miles.
When it comes to the total value of your assets, you’re losing a lot of money on those first, 25,000 miles.
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Features to Look for in a Delivery Car
Two areas where delivery cars suffer the most are brakes and transmission. If you think about it, it makes sense that numerous, routine stops, stopping and going in city traffic, and the frequent stopping and going in neighborhoods take a toll on brakes and your transmission.
Brakes are one thing but the transmission is entirely another in terms of cost to replace or repair. So, what you want to look for is a vehicle that has a high safety rating and a transmission that is trusted.
Vehicles that frequently fall under the “problematic” transmission umbrella are Nissans—with their horrible and yet to be fixed JATCO continuously variable transmissions (CVT)—Chevy compact SUVs, Kia Fortes, Buick Enclaves, and the Ford Focus.
- Solid, long-term transmission history
- Excellent brakes
- Gas mileage
- Safety ratings
Gas mileage and safety ratings matter as well, however, neither your safety or your vehicles gas mileage are in much peril if you’re stuck in a parking lot or on the side of a road with your hazard lights on because the car broke down.
Reliability is a must-have when choosing the best car for DoorDash food delivery. In other words, if it has JATCO stamped into the side of the transmission, stay well away from it and find something else, unless you enjoy spending all of your DoorDash earnings on transmission repairs.
The Best Cars for DoorDash Food Delivery
Now that you know what to look for, here are some of the best vehicles available, in terms of economy and reliability.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Not only is the Toyota Camry at the top of our list because it’s the best, but it’s also there because it’s one of the highest-rated cars out there, especially the 2020 version. The 2020 Toyota Camry received the Top Safety Pick + award.
It’s quite confounding how so many sites go with the Toyota Prius as one of the best delivery vehicles out there, without any mention of the Toyota Camry Hybrid. The fact of the matter is, the Prius doesn’t approach the Toyota Camry in any reliability index.
Not only is the Prius inferior to the Camry Hybrid in almost every way that matters, but we’re also talking about delivery here, and to deliver food efficiently and promptly, you need some space.
The Camry Hybrid offers far more space than the Prius, which is an exceptional advantage when you are carrying around people’s orders all day. You’re nowhere near as cramped in a Camry Hybrid and you are also getting up top 58mpg on the road.
There’s also more trunk space in the Camry and when it comes to delivering food, especially large or even grandiose orders, trunk space can be essential. Most importantly the Toyota Camry Hybrid is a very reliable vehicle, as almost all Toyota vehicles are.
You can depend on it to run the gamut of inner-city traffic, stop signs, cul-de-sacs, and all of the stops and gos that you expect from driving through the neighborhood after neighborhood.
- Extremely safe and reliable
- Plenty of legroom
- Top Safety Pick Award
- Regenerative Brake System
- Brakes take some getting used to
Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid
Hyundai has come a long way since the days of the original Accent. The Ioniq, year after year, maintains one of the best miles per gallon rates of all other vehicles in its class. The latest edition is very affordable and will get you around town for up to 60 miles before it finishes off a gallon in your tank.
It’s not a very fast vehicle, but that’s only in terms of putting the pedal to the floorboard when the light turns green. However, the transmission is incredibly responsive and retains a high rating for longevity and reliability.
- Priced as a budget-friendly hybrid
- Responsive transmission
- Highest mpg in its class
- Driver drowsiness detector
- Roomy interior
- Sizable storage
Regardless of how long you have been out, delivering for DoorDash, everybody needs a respite and the Hyundai Ioniq has a built-in feature that detects if you are driving drowsy and alerts you to pull over.
For delivery purposes, you get plenty of room, especially up front, and a surprising amount of cargo space for a vehicle that has to deal with both a motor and a battery. It lacks the regenerative braking system of the Toyota Camry Hybrid, but that’s not a terrible loss as the brakes system is well-reviewed.
Some customers consider it to be a kind of bumpy ride, however, so the Ioniq doesn’t rate as highly as some of Hyundais’ other hybrid offerings when it comes to a smooth ride.
- Highest mpg in its class
- Upgraded safety features
- Roomy interior and storage
- Great starting price
- Not the smoothest ride
- No regenerative braking system
Kia Niro Hybrid
Another affordable hybrid option that gets excellent city mileage at 51mpg. Plus, you have two modes that you can take advantage of, with the sports mode and the eco mode, although the eco mode can feel a bit sluggish in comparison.
The Kia Niro has an excellent safety and overall reliable rating and is a reliable option for running frequent delivery routes.
- Excellent gas mileage
- Two modes Eco/Sport
- Great price
- A lot of safety features
- Spacey interior
- Great handling
You get two modes with the Eco and Sport and you’ll most likely want to stick with the Sport when you’re out on the open highway. However, inside the town and/or city limits, the Eco can feel like a drag but doesn’t necessarily affect your ability to drive in traffic.
The basic trim starts off in the low $20,000 department so this is a much more affordable car in its weight class. It comes fully loaded with interior and exterior safety features and has plenty of space for storage and legroom.
It beats most other hybrid cars in terms of handling but there have been occasional reports of the overall braking speed being underwhelming in emergency braking situations, such as when you really have to slam on the brakes.
Getting in and out of the Kia Niro is almost as easy as breathing, which is a welcome feature for deliveries and the design features an expanded view for the driver. The driver side was definitely manufactured with maximum driver visibility in mind.
- Easy to operate
- Two driving modes
- Loaded with safety features
- Underwhelming emergency braking
The HyreCar Option
Hyre is taking a page out of the modern, convenience technology book with their car “hiring” program, which is essentially a rent-a-car program that is likely to start giving companies like Enterprise all sorts of fits.
Based on the Airbnb concept of renting out anyone’s home who is offering, HyreCar is the same thing, but with cars, and it’s primarily used for driving for DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Instacart.
Note: If you’re looking for a similar service in Canada or the UK, you might want to look into Turo. Turo also operates in the USA.
It’s a viable option, especially if you’re driving a personal vehicle that isn’t up to the DoorDash standards for delivery service. If you’re interested in driving for DoorDash and need a car, here’s how HyreCar works:
- Download the HyreCar app on Android or for iOS
- Sign up with HyreCar
- Enter your location and pickup options
- Upload your DL and auto insurance information
- Select up to five, locally owned vehicles
- Submit your application
- Wait until you are contacted
- Meet the vehicle owner
- Agree to a time and pickup destination
- Pick up and drive for the day, delivering for DoorDash
- Drop off the car at the same location when you’re done
It’s a unique proposition and since you are responsible for replacing all of the gas that you used throughout the day and returning the vehicle in the same condition as when you picked it up.
You’ll also have to take into account the amount of money you are expending to drive the car and try to prioritize your deliveries in such a way that the cost is covered as soon as possible and you are now making money for yourself.
The costs for renting a personal vehicle on HyreCar are dependent upon your location and local market forces. In Los Angeles, it’s likely to be pretty hefty, for instance, while it may cost as little as $25 or as much as $50 in a place like Jacksonville, Florida for a single day’s use.
There is also a commission fee of 15%. So if you are renting the car for the day at a rate of $40, you’re going to have to pay $40 plus the additional commission fee of $6 for a total of $46. It’s something to keep in mind and calculate before you head out.
With HyreCar, you are free to use it for multiple delivery platforms and, if you aren’t happy with the overall expense, you are free to use multiple cars throughout the week.
Just because you chose one and drove it for a day, doesn’t mean that you are irrevocably tied to that vehicle for the duration of time you use HyreCar. Unfortunately, it’s not a great long-term solution.
If you think about it, let’s say that your daily cost for using HyreCar is $50, including commission fees. In five days, you will have paid out $250, assuming that you don’t work for seven days.
- Quick and easy system
- Great, short-term solution
- Android and iOS app available
- Your choice of vehicle
- Costs add up, eating into your profit margin
- You have to find a way to meet
There are some great cars out there that are designed for the rough, stop-and-go nature of delivering food.
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Save on gas & groceries: the Upside app gives you cash back when you fill up your tank, buy groceries, or eat out.
The above three are all hybrids, however, they are all affordable options. HyreCar is also a good option if you need to catch a short-term break because you are out of a vehicle.
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