QOTD: Ready to Share Your Ride?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

We often place ourselves in enviable situations in these QOTD posts, selecting which model best suits us following a sudden windfall, or perhaps deciding which vehicle tops all others in performing a certain task. In a sense, this is just like those other questions.

Except… you’ll be taking a severe pay cut.

Things have gone bad, you see. Somehow, following some unfortunate sequence of life-altering events, all the strings that tied you to a life of leisure and fair pay have snapped. You’re now just surviving. Yes, you’re stuck driving for Uber.

A grim situation, no doubt, if you’re used to the finer things in life (no offence to the many excellent Uber drivers I’ve had in the past). And yet here you are, just trying to make ends meet, your only ally in the daily battle for survival being your car.

And it’s a new car, too, as your old one was either too pricey (on a monthly payment basis), too thirsty, or too old to qualify for ride-hailing service. We’re taking your daily driver out of the picture, as this QOTD necessitates a new-car purchase.

So, money is tight. Your new car’s fuel economy and monthly payments must be factored into the purchase, as do your own day-to-day needs, as this isn’t just a work vehicle. You’re not sleeping in it, but you’ll definitely need this vehicle both for income generation and to handle the random driving duties called for by what’s left of your life.

Isn’t this a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the country’s remaining crop of economy cars? To maximize profit on your meager proceeds, you’ll want a gas-sipper, ideally one that doesn’t retail for too much money. You’ll want to consider backseat space and cargo volume, not just for your paying passengers, but for your own family (or just yourself, assuming you’re unattached). Hell, maybe your new status in life will see you hauling multiple 30-packs of Busch home from Walmart on a regular basis.

Is depreciation and warranty worthy of consideration? You bet it is.

So, what vehicle becomes your do-all chariot? Is the newly embiggened yet still miserly Volkswagen Jetta in the running? Remaining examples of the equally thrifty Chevy Cruze or the always-ready Honda Civic? A Hyundai Elantra GT, for that nice extended cargo floor, or maybe that new Versa you read about yesterday morning? Or, is a family-friendly crossover or minivan what’s needed in your life?

There’ll be no hooking up with Maven and renting out your current GM car for extra income while you work a non-driving day job — this is a vehicle you’ll spend a sickening amount of time in.

Do the math, consider your options, and let us know what ride you’d choose to make the most of your new career.

[Images: Nissan, Steph Willems/TTAC]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Aug 06, 2019

    Money is tight so I should buy a new car for a gig that might let me break even on that car not counting for depreciation? On what planet does this make sense? I have a pension and work in a field where I'd have 6 offers in a day if I lost my job, however even in my younger days this makes zero sense. If my car got repo'd (happened back in the leaner days), I'd get a 500 dollar roached J body or something so I could continue to go on interviews between the retail and fast food gigs (happened too) that nobody would touch in the parking lot of the craphole apartment I ended up in and desperately tell myself it was temporary (thank God it was)

    • -Nate -Nate on Aug 06, 2019

      @ Art ; You need to give young folks life lessons . -Nate

  • WallMeerkat WallMeerkat on Aug 08, 2019

    This side of the pond, I'll keep my taxi-friendly Octavia. If I have to upgrade, upgrade to VRS. If money tight, a Rapid or SEAT Toledo.

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys i was only here for torchinsky
  • Tane94 Workhorse probably will be added to the heap of failed EV companies.
  • Freddie Instead of taking the day off, how about an article on the connection between Black Americans and the auto industry and car culture? Having done zero research, two topics pop into my head: Chrysler designer/executive Ralph Gilles, and the famous (infamous?) "Green Book".
  • Tane94 Either Elio Motors or Aptera Motors.
  • Billccm I think we will see history repeat itself. The French acquired AMC in the 1980s, discovered they couldn't make easy money, sold AMC off to Chrysler. Jeep is all that remained. This time the French acquired FCA, and they are discovering no easy profits. Assume an Asian manufacturer will acquire what remains of Chrysler, but this time Jeep and RAM are the only survivors.