Driving to make a living, or just some spare cash? These are our top picks for the job. One costs only $28 a day to operate…
SINGAPORE — Driving for Grab or Uber isn’t for everyone, and by all accounts it can be grueling, especially if it’s your sole source of income. But there are ways to stack the deck in your favour, either by choosing the right car to do it in or taking advantage of the right financial option.
We’ve tried to choose cars that meet both criteria, but we’re placing more emphasis on the numbers part of the decision. That’s what counts most if it’s income you’re looking for, after all.
Renting is the easiest option, but if you have some cash for a 10 percent down payment, we’ve found that the Private Hire Purchase scheme from Cycle&Carriage can get you rolling from as little as $28 a day.
Citroën C4 Picasso
Daily cost: $38 (purchased with PHP, with $10,599 down payment)
The Citroën isn’t so much a perfect Grab mobile as a strong family car that you might as well get passengers to help you pay for. There’s a bit of French quirkiness to get used to, in terms of the cabin architecture, but the C4 has a bright interior that feels enormous inside. The diesel engine is both punchy and ascetic: that leaves your cash outflows smaller if you’re doing the Grab thing, or leaves more money in the family coffers if you’re doing the mum-and-dad thing.
Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi EX
Daily cost: $40 (purchased with PHP, with $11,400 down payment)
A recent facelift keeps the Carens looking fresh and brings minor improvements to the interior. What counts, though, is the frugal diesel engine that’s been retained. It’s much better suited to local traffic than the peaky 2.0-litre petrol it replaced, and yet it’s rated at 5.2L/100km — our estimate is 6.5L/100km in the real world, but that’s still fairly efficient. The Carens will seat seven but only in a pinch, so it’s best used as a five-seater, in which case there’s a useful 492 litres of boot space to count on.
Daily cost: $28 (purchased with PHP, with $7,800 down payment)
It’s compact, wieldy and easy to drive, yet packs a decently spacious rear cabin and a surprisingly large boot. The engine isn’t particularly peppy, but it’s frugal. The Attrage is also a car to keep your driving overheads low with — it’s pretty much the cheapest Japanese branded car money can buy here, and its engine has a small appetite for fuel.
Opel Astra Sports Tourer 1.0 Turbo
Daily cost: $39 (purchased from Auto Germany, with $21,000 down payment)
The current Astra is a fine car with a solid cabin and plenty of connectivity features, but the Sports Tourer version is the workhorse of the range. The boot goes from 470 litres (enough for airport runs) to 1,630 litres when you fold the rear seats (perfect for the Ikea slog). A 1.0-litre engine might not sound like much, but there’s some pep to it, thanks to a turbocharger. One potential stumbling block? The slow-shifting single-clutch auto. It does help with fuel consumption, though, and the Astra is rated for just 4.3L/100km.
Not for nothing is the Prius called the King of Hybrids. Of all the claims that carmakers make about fuel economy, it seems to live up to them best, with the petrol-electric drivetrain helping to put at least 4L/100 within easy reach. It’s comfortable to sit in, too, and refined on the move. Even after four generations, it feels like driving a car from the future.