Last Updated on 2023-09-24

5 Best Cars For DoorDash - And How To Choose One

We worked with these active, experienced gig-workers to write this article and bring you first-hand knowledge.

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Phil Grossman

Experienced writer/researcher in the gig industry working alongside our gig-workers

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Ryan Shaw

5 years of experience as a DoorDash Dasher

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Noah Jorstad

Three years of experience working as a DoorDash Dasher

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Matt Wheeler

5 years of experience working across GrubHub, DoorDash, Shipt, and Uber Eats

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or insurance advice. The content contains general information and may not reflect current developments or changes. Any reader should consult with a financial or legal professional to obtain advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

DoorDash’s car requirements are about as minimal as you can get: you can dash with any car that’s street legal, and you can even use other vehicles, including bikes, mopeds, ebikes, scooters, and motorcycles

If you plan to spend a lot of time dashing, it makes sense to take that into consideration when you buy your next car. As a Dasher, you’ll be spending a lot more time on the road than you’re probably used to, which means you need to take factors like safety, gas mileage, depreciation, and reliability more seriously. 

The good news is that you don’t need to buy a new car just for dashing (some Dashers do this, but it’s not the norm), which means that the key is to find a car that you’ll be happy to drive both when you’re making deliveries and when you’re going on a road trip with the family. For the most part, a car that’s good for general driving is a car that’s good for dashing. 

What to look for in a car as a Dasher

Dashers should pay special attention to the following aspects of any car they’re considering purchasing. 


For most people, driving is the most dangerous thing they do on a daily basis, and the more you drive, the higher your risk of getting into an accident. Because dashing requires you to be on the road more than you would otherwise, it’s important to make sure that whatever you’re driving will keep you safe. 

While it’s true that road safety starts with the driver, that doesn’t mean that certain vehicles and safety features can’t help too. For example, recent research indicates that blind spot detectors reduce lane-change crashes by 14%, which means there would be 50,000 fewer crashes each year if every car in the US had them installed. Cars with automatic emergency braking (AEB), are also less likely to get into accidents — and if they do, the damage is minimized.

And even if you’re a perfect driver, sometimes there’s nothing you can do to avoid a crash. For that reason, it’s important to drive a car that performs well in crash tests so that you can rest assured that if worse comes to worst, you’ll still be reasonably protected. The strength of the frame, the weight of the car (heavier vehicles keep passengers safer but are more dangerous for other drivers and pedestrians), and the design of the car will all come into play here. 

Matt Wheeler, who has been dashing for four years, says “after over 5000 deliveries I've been able to avoid any accidents or tickets by driving defensively and also patiently. I always expect people to do the wrong thing so I'm always ready just in case they do. I also make sure to stay a safe distance behind vehicles and take short breaks when needed.”

Gas mileage

Every mile that you drive costs money, and that reduces your profits. Although you can write off your gas costs as a business expense, it’s still best to keep them as low as possible. DoorDash doesn’t pay for your gas, after all (but it does have a Gas Rewards program). 

Electric vehicles are the clear winner in this department as electricity is much cheaper than gas. After that, gas mileage tends to decrease as the size of the vehicle increases, so sedans perform better than SUVs, and SUVs perform better than trucks. 

You may also want to take the gas tank capacity into consideration — assuming gas mileage as a constant, a higher capacity tank will mean fewer stops to gas up while working. If you have an electric vehicle but don’t have a home charger, you’ll have to plan for longer stops to recharge (and it also won’t save you nearly as much money).

The type of gas the car takes (leaded, unleaded, super unleaded) will also play a role in the cost, so keep that in mind as well. 

Notice how there’s already a tradeoff you’ll have to take into consideration: larger vehicles are more likely to keep you safe in a crash, but will cost you more in gas. As you add more variables, there are more tradeoffs that you’ll inevitably have to make. 


Cars are depreciating assets: a brand new car loses about 10% of its value the moment you drive it off the dealer’s lot, and it continues to lose about 15% each year after that (the first year’s depreciation is higher at around 20-30% due to that first dip). 

For this reason, the smartest play when buying a car for dashing is to buy used: you’ll completely avoid that initial 10% value drop. Beyond that, it’s generally a good idea to avoid driving luxury vehicles from a cost perspective — 15% yearly depreciation on a $60,000 car is a lot more than on a $20,000 car ($9,000 vs $3,000). 

Some new Dashers consider renting a car in an attempt to avoid depreciation entirely, but the cost of the rental already includes depreciation, and it tends to not be a good financial move. 


For Dashers, repairs and breakdowns aren’t just annoying and expensive, they also keep you from earning money until the problem is fixed. So, make sure you buy a car that doesn’t have known reliability issues. 

Repairs and maintenance are inevitable, but you can reduce costs by driving a less expensive car — it will cost a lot more to repair a BMW than it will to repair a Subaru. Consequently, your car insurance premium will also be higher for an expensive car. 

If you’re buying used, then keep in mind that reliability tends to decrease the older a car gets. But most cars will last around 200,000 miles or 12 years, and well-maintained ones can go even farther than that, so as long as you don’t buy a very old car (more than ~10 years old), buying used shouldn’t pose much of a problem — just try to get one that’s certified pre-owned from a dealer to minimize risks. 

Ryan Shaw, who has been dashing for four years, also advises Dashers to “look at the Carfax vehicle history report. Most dealers will offer this for free with their certified pre-owned cars.”

The Top 5 Cars for DoorDash

As you might expect, there’s no best car for dashing — no car is the best in all of the categories we mentioned above. Instead, you’ll need to think about the car that’s best for you, and that means you need to figure out what your priorities are. 

To that end, we’ve chosen the best cars for each category, and finally given our pick for the best compromise between all of them. Keep in mind: all of these recommendations are for used vehicles (ideally certified pre-owned to maximize reliability). 

For Safety: Subaru Forester and Volvo XC90

These two are the champions of car safety: the Subaru Forester has one of the toughest frames on the market, and the Volvo XC90 is famous for being the only car that no one has ever died in since it was first released. 

Both of these cars are built like a tank, have four-wheel drive, and have copious safety features. You can feel safe driving them in practically any situation. 

Between the two, the Subaru Forester will clearly perform better from a depreciation and reliability standpoint (the Volvo is more expensive and will have more costly repairs), but a used XC90 deserves your consideration if you’re truly seeking to max out your safety — the additional weight, self-driving features in all models since 2016, and the uniquely designed crumple zone that reduces impact force by redirecting your vehicle make it second to none when it comes to keeping you protected.

For Gas Mileage: Any Electric Vehicle (or Hybrid)

It should come as no surprise that if you want to minimize your gas costs, you should just do away with the gas entirely. 

In recent years, a lot of electric cars have hit the market, meaning you have lots of options to choose from, ranging from Teslas to Nissans. If you want to keep costs low, the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan LEAF are probably your best bets, but if you’re a fan of tech, you might opt for a Tesla Model 3. Unsurprisingly, if safety is what you’re looking for, Volvo’s electric XC90 is one of the best. 

From a reliability standpoint, electric vehicles have fewer moving pieces, so the differences aren’t as drastic. 

If you decide to go for a hybrid or gas car, here are the most fuel efficient vehicles for the past five years according to Kelley Blue Book (going back from 2022 so that all the models listed here are easily available used):

  • 2022 Hyundai Elantra (54 MPG)
  • 2021 Honda Insight (52 MPG)
  • 2020 Honda Insight (52 MPG)
  • 2019 Honda insight (52 MPG)
  • 2018 Chevrolet Malibu (52 MPG)

For Depreciation: Any 5+ Year Old Car

Buying used is almost always the way to go — even if the car is just a year old, it will still save you money to buy used. But the rate at which cars depreciate drops off after the five-year mark, so if you buy a car older than that, you’ll avoid a huge amount of depreciation. 

Avoiding luxury vehicles is still the move here if you want to minimize depreciation costs, but at this point, it’s not as much of a concern (reliability becomes more of a problem due to the costly repairs for luxury cars). 

For Reliability: Kia Rio (or any other Kia)

Kia came out as the most reliable vehicle brand in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. While choosing the most reliable Kia is a bit more difficult, several sources note that the Kia Rio is the brand’s most reliable model and has the lowest average cost of repairs over a 10-year period. So, if you want reliability, that should be your go-to (J.D. Power says the Porsche 911 was the most reliable car, but it didn’t make our top pick for obvious reasons). 

There is a 2023 version of the same study, but since we’re recommending used vehicles, we’re going with last year’s study (Kia came out on top again for mass market vehicles this year anyway). 

Other brands that deserve your consideration when it comes to reliability are Hyundai, Toyota, Lexus, Buick, and Genesis. 

The Best Compromise: Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

No car has everything, but the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid has a solid mix of safety, reliability, affordability, and gas mileage (30 MPG and 17 miles all-electric capability). The gas tank holds enough for 498 miles, and then the 17 extra all-electric miles bumps that up to 515 miles — enough for a few days worth of dashing before you need to fill up. 

As a plugin hybrid, it gives you full electric driving capability for short drives and reduces your gas usage overall, while also keeping you safe with the super solid frames that Subaru is known for.

The car was first released in 2019, which means you can pick up a used one that’s almost on the other side of the depreciation hump. While Subaru isn’t particularly known for its reliability, the brand tends to be about average, and since it’s not a luxury make, repairs aren’t more expensive than they need to be. 

Do you really need a car as a Dasher?

DoorDash doesn’t require you to use a car for your dashes: you can dash on an alternative vehicle like a bike, moped, scooter, or motorcycle as well. If you don’t have a car or prefer not to use one, that doesn’t need to keep you from dashing. 

Just keep in mind that there are trade-offs when using an alternative vehicle — they’re cheaper to buy and maintain, but in the United States, all of these options are significantly more dangerous than dashing with a car. 

Also, the viability of dashing on an alternative vehicle varies depending on the city — given that so many cities in the US are designed for cars, it’s not always feasible to do deliveries on a bike. For that reason, DoorDash only allows bikes in specific cities. 

Get started dashing

Ready to hit the road and start earning on your own schedule? Sign up today to become a Dasher — it takes just five minutes, and you can start earning within days (subject to Dasher approval and local availability). 

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