The ride share business is big business these days, so you don’t want to lose your cut of the action just because of your car.
Here are 5 highlights to do the job right. And then some…
You’d just be gutted to get into the ride share business to earn a few extra quid only to be losing out on fares because your car wasn’t sexy enough, wouldn’t you? Someone else picking up your passengers at the last minute instead because of, well … ‘ride share envy’? Ouch!
Ride Share Services Have Changed The Way We Travel
Ride-sharing has revolutionised the ‘taxi’ industry globally with companies like GoCatch, Lyft and Uber bringing competition to a market that is only too happy to save a few bucks on their journeys. And if people are even using it for Pokemon GO hunting transport then that’s potentially a lot of moolah to be had.
Yet with most apps and services showing customers the type of car you are in on a map as you approach, you’d hate for would-be passengers to ‘delete’ you instead of another driver just because they had a better car. And yeah, it happens.
“Ride share customers expect the best when their car pulls up,” says Savvy Car Lease CEO Bill Tsouvalas. “So finding a car that looks the goods, is comfortable and has enough bells and whistles to keep customers happy should be at the top of your ‘must have’ list.”
With vehicles usually able to be up to 10 years old for ride share use, the below five examples of four-door supreme awesomeness should make your ride the chariot of choice, right to the last ‘sweat running down the brow’ second, for a good few years to come.
What really matters to ride share customers?
Frugal fuel consumption, reliability and re-sale value are also extremely important – pah! To you. But to passengers, as if they care? Get them there safely, comfortably and, most importantly, feeling so VIP they’ll be hanging to sign autographs once past their own front door.
Potential ride share drivers keep your beady little eyes pealed for these gems on Gumtree auto classifieds today! And remember, as they make their way onto the used-vehicle market it’s best to check the automotive Recalls section of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (www.recalls.gov.au) to learn as much as you can about your future purchase.
So what are your ultimate ride share drives? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC
If you are ever stuck in some long taxi rank or packed bus queue – in the rain – and you need to bail out of there in a hurry you might not get a better chance to show off than by getting picked up in the uber-cool ‘uber hatch’ that is the Mercedes-AMG A 45.
Short of fanging around in the full-on executive weapon that is the 375kW bi-turbo 4.0-litre V8 AMG C 63 S stable-mate sedan, or the lighter AWD market-rival five-cylinder 270kW Audi RS 3 Sportback (0-100km/h 4.3sec claimed), the AMG A 45 is arguably king of the hatch hill at present.
It’s imbued with a stonking 280kW@6000rpm, 475Nm@2250-5000rpm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine plonked into an uptown-friendly body for sin. Claimed 0-100km/h for the AWD Merc is an loins-moistening 4.2 seconds.
Other cool stuff:
- It’s a boy racer toy for big kids at heart, equally at home clipping apexes around racetracks, or parked out the front of some five-star hotel ‘cushied up’ next to higher end automotive exotica – yet still with its baseball cap pointing back.
- The 19×8-inch AMG cross-spoke alloys daubed in Titanium Grey certainly look the part (optional wheel styles available) while near the rear of the roof the justifiably conspicuous downforce-inducing spoiler looks suitably ‘sick’.
- Five AMG-spec drive modes and sports suspension offer a sublimely dynamic experience – blissfully underwritten by one of the better, ‘throaty’ performance-exhaust notes going around. Essential listening.
- Inside the four-door hatch drivers grip a black Nappa leather-wrapped AMG performance steering wheel while occupant backsides relish the black leather-microfibre ‘red cut’ upholstery.
Kicking off at around $78K ex. on-roads that would easily blow out to near $90K optioned up (there’s a funky 160kW, 360Nm limited A 250 Motorsport Edition kicking around for much less than that, though), but that’s a small price to pay for some supercar-challenging performance-hatch therapy. For you and your ride share passengers alike.
2. BMW M3 Competition
Quintessentially BMW is the German marque’s M line of cars, which for generations has mixed its world race title-winning motor sport pedigree with class and comfort off-track for purveyors of stylish driving.
The M3 nameplate has probably held favourite hero status amongst a majority BMW M fans – no easy feat against its fabled M5 and M6 cousins. Rap legend Eminem and crispy-covered peanut M&Ms the only other Ms not so much.
To date the traditional M3’s role has been split somewhat, now sitting between relatively newer stablemates the two-door M2 and genetically closer two-door M4 coupes. The current F80 M3 is only available as a four-door saloon (a variant first seen in the E36 generation), making it perfect for ride-sharing duty overkill.
And on that note, with the standard ($139,615mrlp) M3’s redeveloped M Twinpower Turbo straight six-cylinder petrol engine pumping out a prodigious 317kW@5500-7300rpm and 550Nm@1850-5500rpm – for a 0-100km/h of just 4.1 seconds – an extra $5000 for the Competition model ups that ante, lights a big fat Cuban as it puts it feet up on the table, to make 331kW (same torque). The dash? Said to be 0.1 seconds faster. Whew! Perfect for a late-night fast-food ‘drive-thru’.
A raft of suspension and handling tweaks helps maximise all that grunt on the ground – and while the performance-enhancing beauty of all the lightweight materials used in any M-series car might be lost on most passengers they certainly won’t on you, so you get have your ‘happy place’. Naww…
Mouthy back-seat ride share passengers could be silenced with a little cheeky launch control, where the stunning 20-inch M light-alloy wheels with mixed tires mesmerisingly blur before grip on dusty, abandoned outback roads (just sayin’…).
And fear not those occupants projectile vomiting, if picking them up from the pub. Your wisely eBay-purchased airline-style sick bags would prove prudent precaution if they did. No earplugs, though. Drop the windows and let them hear that guttural ‘racetrack-inspired’ exhaust howl. Tell them to shut up! They deserve it.
3. Audi RS 6 Avant Quattro
It’s Saturday morning, you get a client wanting an early pick-up, but with a few mates and they need to get to golf. A couple of mates means a couple of bags. Too easy.
That’s about the time the Audi RS 6 Avant (Audi’s unique and sexy way to say boring old ‘station wagon’ FYI) you purchased for ride-sharing chores comes in handy with its rear 565-litre cargo space.
Okay, sure there are plenty of other four-door options with enough rear real estate to stick in a washing machine, piñata toy and a heavily discounted box of Chupa Chups, but they don’t do 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.7 seconds, nor look or sound as seductively … evil … as the pumped and toned, AWD quattro C7 ‘RennSport’ 6 Avant.
And as anyone who’s played golf before will know – humble human golfers, that is, who still change to old balls when hitting over a lake … just in case – the score doesn’t matter at the end of that cursed day.
What does count, though, is how cool you look rolling into or out of the course parking lot making onlookers so green with envy they’ve then turned a shade eggplant purple.
This thing kicks butt and takes names 24/7 year ’round – and that’s with it just sitting idle in your garage. Unleashed, maximum torque of 700Nm (750Nm using the over-boost function, says Audi) from the demonic-sounding 4.0-litre V8 TFSI engine is complemented by 445kW at your right foot’s disposal. Wear comfy shoes; you’ll not want to miss feeling any of them.
Yet it’s not recklessly brutish in any way, but rather ‘sophisticatedly brutish’ in its precise delivery of power from an engine as smart and efficient as it is evocatively sledgehammer like.
Audi says its ‘cylinder on demand’ technology: “switches four of the eight cylinders off if they are not needed without you noticing. The engine still runs smoothly and powerfully, but needs less energy and therefore reduces emissions.” Result!
Inside, the ride share passenger will love the exquisitely crafted RS sport seats in Valcona leather, contoured to provide excellent lateral support. Additionally, drivers will be treated to a tactile-pleasing RS multi-function, three-spoke sport leather steering wheel with aluminium-look shift paddles.
Around $245K’s worth of supercar soul wrapped perfectly in the body of a gloriously ‘phat’ practical family wagon? Oh, yes! Ready please, Mr Music!
4. FPV GT F 351 Limited Edition
Depressingly dreary global economic trends have forced many automotive manufacturers to change production methods, or even end production methods, to streamline business and save money over the past few years, in various regions.
With Ford Australia’s decision to end local production of the venerable ‘home-brewed’ Falcon by October 2016, it’s meant the last few Ford Performance Vehicles (FPV) are highly coveted collectors items and the GT F Limited Edition is pretty much the ‘gun’ one to have.
Blessed with a 351kW@6000rpm, 570Nm@2500-5500rpm 5.0-litre BOSS supercharged DOHC, 32-valve, aluminium V8 engine, it perfectly taps into the domestic emotional heartland – or what’s left of it – for belly-rumbling 8s that thump out a thunderously bellowing growl throughout Aussie suburbs, or as loud as legally permissible these days.
Ride-sharers with an endearing and enduring ‘Ford v Holden’ mindset will be gagging to get into these last few specimens in the event they probably will never own one, so the GT F is right up there for nailing that ride-share gig.
With R-SPEC suspension – including re-tuned dampers, increased spring rate, reinforced lower control arm, bulked up anti-roll bar and revised rear toe setting – plus Brembo six-piston brake calipers front and four-piston calipers rear, they are in for an invigorating yet safe ride to the local shops.
Twin-blade, five-spoke 19-inch alloys suitably fill the big wheel-arches while the bi-modal (sounds kinky enough) twin-pipe, quad-outlet active exhaust system looks and certainly sounds the part.
Inside, there’s performance leather sports seats with suede inserts and embroidered GT logo, plus you’ll (probably; ZF six-speed auto with sequential sports shift available also) be grabbing a new limited edition GT F-badged satin chrome manual gearknob as you rifle through the Tremec six-speed gearbox, and be welcomed by a unique FPV start-up screen with GT F Logo and build number.
With only 500 ever built, FPV claims it is the most collectable FPV GT ever, an homage to the legendary 1970s 351 GT muscle cars.
To match its ominous exterior the cabin features richer, darker tones and more lustrous finishes, says FPV. And the signature ‘GT Orange’ detailing integrated into the design and appearing in the seat stitching and embroidery, cluster dial faces and unique GT F build number badge are discerning touches ride-sharers will adore.
Hmm … or possibly ignore. Oh, the tragedy of it all…
5. Holden Clubsport R8 Track Edition
So maybe, just maybe, there’s a whole world of coolness in being picked up and dropped off in a luxurious 340kW, 6.2-litre LS3 V8 Limited Edition (just 50) Grange SV, the last of such a nameplate from Holden Special Vehicles (HSV).
Equally tear-jerkingly cool would be to hop out of the last of the Clubsports – and the R8 Track Edition exudes it and then some.
Similarly with Holden ceasing production of the fabled locally produced Commodore by end 2017, the final VF II interpretation forms the basis for some of the last great Australian HSVs to hit our showrooms – and the company’s not holding back with the Clubbie, of which only 150 are being produced.
Featuring that 340kW@6100rpm, 570Nm@4650rpm 6.2-litre LS3 alloy V8 as in the Grange SV, the GEN-F2 Clubsport R8 Track Edition is designed to be exactly as it says on the tin – a high-performance sports sedan with racetrack-inspired styling and suspension.
The mammoth 20-inch Blade forged alloy wheels with dark stainless finish is normally reserved for the legendary HSV GTS, but is perfectly at home here on the last of the Clubsports.
Other R8 trick bits include:
- rear spoiler
- black vents on the flanks
- black mirror covers and door surrounds
- HSV quad exhaust outlets with shadow-chrome tips
Additionally, unique badging outside and special sill plates stepping inside highlight the moment. Passengers then rest on leather-clad sports bucket seats and driver’s nab a suede-wrapped, sports steering wheel.
Performance enhancement comes from the track-tuned suspension – spring and damper rates stiffened to reduce body-roll and further improve corner-entry response, says HSV – while the cheeky yellow AP Racing forged six-piston (front) brake calipers prepare you for its intent.
With 496 litres of cargo room there’s plenty of space to throw in Eskys and ‘glamping’ gear just in case hitting a racetrack is the furthest thing on your passenger’s minds. But that would be a shame now, really … wouldn’t it?
Just want to drive one of these cars?
Be sure to check out your local car rental place for their top shelf options. To see what’s available if you need some wheels overseas on holiday, Ling’s Cars has been featured on the TV show Dragon’s Den. It is also one of the most unique car leasing websites and businesses in the U.K.