"How's the space back there?" our Lyft driver asks, peering over her shoulder.
"I'm thinking about getting a new car. Not sure if I should get something with more space. Definitely need something with better fuel mileage."
We're honest with her and mention that we wouldn't mind a little more legroom. We also offer up some advice and suggest she check out Edmunds' recent "10 Best Cars for Uber Drivers" for a few ideas.
Seems like there would be enough crossover between the two ride-sharing services to make the list useful for any type of driver. Then again, Lyft doesn't offer the kind of fancy rides you can get through Uber if you're willing to pay extra. Our Lyft driver seems more interested in affordable cars that don't necessarily have to be new.
So, what used cars should she and other Lyft drivers consider? Since the model year requirement for a Lyft car can reach back as far as 2004 to 2008 depending on the state, there's an enormous range of potential used Lyft cars. Here are our top choices.
2010-'12 Ford Fusion Hybrid
If you can get the newer, better-looking Ford Fusion Hybrid model, definitely go for it, but this one is still spacious, well made and nice to drive. Plus, it's a hybrid, so it returns fantastic EPA-estimated fuel economy of 39 mpg combined. Prices should be between $10,000 and $15,000.
2012-'15 Nissan Versa
The Nissan Versa has a huge backseat and trunk for a car its size. It also has a comfy ride and EPA-combined fuel economy of 35 mpg (on all but the undesirable base trim). Its sub-$10,000 price and newer model years should also be of prime appeal.
2010-'15 Toyota Prius
There are very good reasons so many cab companies choose a secondhand Toyota Prius: It's incredibly efficient, surprisingly spacious and typically very reliable. There's also no shortage of them kicking around dealerships. A previous-generation model would work, too.
2008-'12 Honda Accord
If you want a midsize sedan with a huge backseat, this Honda Accord is a perfect place to start. It's also one of the most dependable cars on the road (apart from premature brake wear in early models) and pleasant to drive. Really, any model year Accord is a good choice.
2010-'13 Kia Soul
You'll be surprised at how much backseat and trunk space there is inside the seemingly small Kia Soul. This funky hatchback/wagon/crossover is cheap to buy and has excellent reliability ratings, and its distinctive styling should be easy to notice curbside.
2011-'14 Hyundai Sonata
This was one of the cars on our "15 Best Used Cars for $18,000" list, but you can certainly get one for less. It's plenty spacious, certainly efficient and is almost always very well equipped. Plus, if you go for a certified pre-owned car, you'll get a lengthy warranty.
2008-'11 Honda Civic
Although later Civics would also be excellent choices, for the sake of providing a smart choice for less than $10,000, we've gone with this generation. Its big backseat, frugality at the pump and superb reliability ratings make it an easy choice.
2010-'14 Subaru Legacy
If you're driving for Lyft during the winter but would rather not pony up for a costlier and less efficient SUV, the all-wheel-drive Subaru Legacy is a great alternative. Should a Legacy be too big or expensive, the compact Subaru Impreza is also a good all-weather choice.
2009-'12 Acura TL
Perhaps you want to drive a luxury car more for yourself than for your Lyft passengers. Well, this Acura TL offers a well-equipped, suitably luxurious interior that's more spacious than is typical for luxury sedans of its price. Multiple sources indicate superb reliability.