Lyft, the ride-hailing company with nowhere near the amount of bad press as Uber, has launched a luxury black car service in five American cities as a challenge to its rival.
Luxury models in “excellent” condition from model years 2011 and newer are qualified to shuttle around Lyft Lux passengers, assuming the seats are either leather or “leather-like.” However, while Lincoln Town Cars owners will be dismayed to hear their vehicles don’t make the cut, newer flagships from other brands remain suspiciously absent from the accepted vehicle roster.
Lyft intends its new black car service to satisfy the travel whims of the well-heeled (or those looking to impress) in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Chicago and New York City. While last year’s introduction of Lyft Premier paired app users in a longer list of cities with higher-end vehicles, Lyft Lux is all about cars and SUVs of the white glove variety. Besides the need for black paint, there’s plenty of overlap between the two.
Pricing depends on the market, but the cost of a Lyft Lux ride should be about double that of a Premier ride (which is about double a regular fare).
Perusing the accepted vehicle list, it seems a few candidates have been denied entry due to their pedestrian badging. Notably, Lyft Lux will only accept Genesis models from 2017 onwards — meaning a G80 is fine, but your one-year-older Hyundai Genesis is not. Same car, different badging. The defunct Equus is the only Hyundai-badged vehicle on the list. It seems the slightly less premium Premier service does accept 2010 and newer Genesis models.
While Hyundai gets short thrift from Lyft’s tony ride-hailing app, Toyota fares even worse. The Avalon, a large, roomy and capable sedan, is nowhere to be seen on the Lyft Lux list. What’s more, it’s also absent from the list of Lyft Premier vehicles.
Who no love for the Avalon, Lyft? The Sequoia and Land Cruiser remain the only two Toyota vehicles on both lists, though such vehicles as the GMC Acadia Limited make it onto the Lux roster. Toyota even targeted the livery market with its current-generation Avalon, so the thought of its non-Lexus flagship mingling with the black tie crowd isn’t a ridiculous notion.
If you’re wondering, the Toyota Camry-based Lexus ES is well represented on the list, which shies away from anything approaching the compact class. That means your Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS and Acura TLX can stay put in the garage.