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What Are the Best Cars for Delivery Drivers?

Lifestyles  /   /  By Daniel Gray

Taking on delivery work can help make ends meet. It usually starts small: a few extra bucks to cover bills or provide pocket change.

But what’s the best car for delivery gigs?

Most folks start with their existing daily driver. But if your everyday car is a lease, then high-volume delivery work is a bad idea.

Going over a lease-mileage cap can be costly. Meanwhile, if you own the vehicle, the depreciation won’t cause financial pain until you sell it.

The Economics of Delivery Cars

Smart delivery drivers keep their costs as low as possible.

The goal is to boost revenue and reduce expenses on a per-mile basis. Here are our top two tips:

Maximize fuel economy.

  • Avoid vehicles that guzzle gas or need expensive fuel. A turbocharged car that needs premium fuel affects your bottom line.
  • On the other hand, hybrids and diesel-powered cars can work in your favor.
  • If you plan to carry large items, avoid hybrid sedans that cannot fold down the rear seat. The Prius V wagon (shown above) combines lots of cargo space and fuel economy.

Time your purchase and resale.

  • Delivery pros should learn when to get in and out of a vehicle on good terms. Study a model’s depreciation curve.
  • Roll up thousands of reliable miles, but then sell when the car is still in demand and before possible repairs.
  • If you’re covered by the vehicle’s drivetrain warranty, the biggest potential repair costs won’t come out of your pocket.

The Best Delivery Cars: Five-Door Hatchback

Five-door vehicles are more versatile than four-door models. They come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny compacts to big wagons.

Are you doing mostly last-mile deliveries? Then, smaller is probably better.

Yes, big SUVs can haul more cargo but are far less fuel-efficient. The money you spend on fuel cuts into profits. And the higher cost of tires and maintenance are a factor.

Here are our suggested best cars for delivery drivers:

Toyota Prius Family

A Prius liftback has a ton of cargo storage, especially when the rear seats are folded.

A Prius liftback has a ton of cargo storage, especially when the rear seats are folded.

The Toyota Prius is a money-saving choice. There are three flavors:

  1. The original Prius liftback
  2. The Yaris-based Prius C compact
  3. The bigger (but less fuel-efficient) Prius V

In any case, 50 miles per gallon is possible. Saving at the pumps should get you over any stigmas about the ultimate nerdy hybrid.

Ford Fiesta and Focus

This 2013 Ford Focus Hatch could be a great delivery car

Ford Focus

The five-door subcompact Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus hatchbacks are well-suited to delivery work.

Ford sells a version of the Fiesta in Europe made for the job. Stick to cars with manual transmission.

Beware: The dual-clutch automatic has faced issues. One-liter EcoBoost Fiestas are tough to find but a hoot to drive.

Volkswagen Golf and Jetta Sportwagen Diesels

The diesel-powered VW Sportwagen, as a vehicle for deliveries, is fuel efficient and durable.

The diesel-powered VW Sportwagen is fuel efficient and durable.

The VW diesel scandal was a disaster. But the affected models didn’t disappear completely.

The automotive giant had to buy back thousands of cars, fix them, and offer them for resale.

You can find fantastic deals on Volkswagen TDIs. They make some of the best cars for delivery drivers.

The diesel fix may have lowered their fuel efficiency a bit. Yet, they’re still fun to drive. And they make for a very capable delivery vehicle.

Best Used Electric Delivery Cars

If you have access to charging, the Nissan Leaf EV could be a great delivery car.

Nissan Leaf EV

The first generation of electric cars had limited range. But they can work well if your delivery radius is local.

The latest models go more than 200 miles per charge but are only starting to show up on used markets.

In either case, fuel costs are a fraction of what you pay at the pumps.

Having access to a charge between trips is a good idea. If that’s possible, then think about a first-generation Nissan Leaf.

If not, the Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in electric hybrid with a back-up gas engine.

There are good deals on first-generation Volts that give 40 miles of all-electric range before going into a hybrid mode that still sips gas.

Start your search for the best cars for delivery drivers by looking at eBay’s selection of late-model hatchbacks with less than 36,000 miles (and priced under $15,000). Here they are.

Business owners wanting to convey a marketing message might also think about a classic delivery sedan.

About the Author

Daniel Gray is a best-selling tech author and video maker. He is also the road-test editor at Autobytel and the creative force behind Dan has had the good fortune to own a string of notable Hondas, including a CRX Si and a trio of S2000s. His legendary beater 1999 Civic HX coupe, a.k.a. “Slambo,” is a rolling experiment in hardware-store aerodynamics.

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