On a recent trip to Indianapolis, a lack of regular UberX cars available in the area allowed me to give UberLUX a shot. I figured this was a “make lemonade out of lemons” situation. The price was going to be more than twice the price of a regular Uber car, but at least I was going to ride to the airport on style!
The car that arrived was a total piece of garbage.
Here is how UberLUX is described on the Uber website:
We’ve launched UberLUX for those moments when you need ultimate sophistication and unparalleled luxury.
you can request a ride in one of the finest vehicles in town. LUX vehicles include the Lexus QS, Mercedes Benz E-Class, Audi A6, and many more.
First of all, what the heck is a Lexus QS?
Any one of the cars listed would have been a nice option. Upon requesting a ride, the Uber app indicated the car would be a Lincoln Town Car. I should have canceled the ride at that point. The Lincoln Town Car has been out of production since 2011, so I knew immediately I wasn’t going to be riding in a new car. But I didn’t realize how much worse this car was going to be.
The car that showed up was a taxi-grade piece of junk. From afar, the car didn’t look bad, but as it drove closer, the lemonade started to revert to lemons. This particular model was easily 10 years old. On a used car lot, this car would not cost more than $5000, and that is being generous. The beat-up Lincoln was well-used and a major disappointment- nowhere near the caliber of the luxury brands of Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.
Shortly after my ride, I contacted Uber to let them know about my experience with Uber LUX. Their response:
Uber has clear standards for every vehicle option available in your city. This particular vehicle falls within those standards. Regardless, we’re sorry to hear that you were disappointed by the vehicle you rode in and we’ve added $5 of credit to your account.
I don’t know what these “clear standards” are, but if you are ever considering using UberLUX, I would like to provide a list of items that evidently fall under these standards for ultimate sophistication and unparalleled luxury based on my experience:
- Multiple shades of window tint on a single door
- Plastic packaging tape on the door handle ash tray (either a DIY repair or a fancy alternative to the traditional “no smoking” sign)
- Faded clearcoat and/or spray can paint job
- Squeaks and rattles at any speed
- and many more…
Now I haven’t spent a lot of time in Indianapolis, but maybe this beat-up Lincoln is one of the nicest cars around town. I would think that a city with the automotive heritage of Indianapolis would have much nicer cars, but Uber has determined that this car is one of the nicest that Indianapolis has to offer and falls within those clear and arguably low standards.
Before you accuse me of being a snob, I want to make one point clear: I took this same trip from the airport to the hotel in an UberXL that was roughly half the price of UberLUX. The vehicle was a Dodge Journey. This vehicle was far nicer than my LUX vehicle. It was newer, cleaner, and far better in almost every aspect. It is apparent to me that the make and model are the only considerations when determining what is worthy to receive the UberLUX title.
And a $5 credit? I’ve received better consolations from email spam. This experience has really soured me on Uber. This vehicle has no business being labeled luxurious and commanding the premium price for the LUX service. I am confident this complaint will occur again as long as the “clear standards” for Uber LUX cars remain so low. Kudos to the owner of the car for convincing the folks at Uber to get his car listed in the premium LUX category. Maybe I should go buy a cheap Lincoln on Craigslist and a can of black spray paint so I can get into the luxury transportation business.
So if you are considering getting a ride with Uber LUX, do not be afraid to hit that cancel button. If you do need a ride to the airport in Indianapolis, do yourself a favor and call a limo if you don’t want any surprises.