I always had a strong love/hate relationship with the New York City subway, never picturing I would be driving again. But now that my work is having me travel more frequently, I find myself in the market, looking for that perfect vehicle. The first thing I did was a search for "Best Vehicles for Professional Photographers" on Google, with no luck. So, after further work, I wanted to share my findings and knowledge with you, so when you start looking for that perfect photo-mobile, you know just where to start!
To develop this list, I evaluated each car on price, gas efficiency, storage space, and popular ratings. Below are the best rides on the market that will give you the most bang for your buck and help you get from point A to B.
Price: $22,075 (No longer being made, but can be found used.)
MPG: 20 city / 25 highway
If I had to think of a dream car, I couldn't think of a better model than the Element. It is a pity that Honda stopped making these back in 2011. But don't worry! You can still get one of these at used car dealerships. Due to the fact they are no longer being made, they still retain their value pretty decently even after a lot of miles. I contacted a couple dealerships to ask if they had one and was able to find quite a few. The Element offers a very utilitarian feel. I like to think I'm Indiana Jones when I drive one. With a generous 75 cubic foot cargo capacity, it is perfect for storing a softbox in-between gigs without having to take it apart and reassemble for every shoot. This model is highly rated by users and is perfect for off-roading to remote shoots and loading large loads with its hinged rear doors.
MPG: 26 city / 33 highway
Nothing grinds my gears more than having to stumble to the car carrying 40-50 lbs bags and then having to set down all the equipment I've gathered to fumble for keys. The CR-V can automatically lower or raise the tailgate for hands-free access, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is music to my ears. To put the cherry on the cake, the Honda CR-V proudly sports a backup camera, but with a twist. It has three different views: normal, top-down, and wide for those extra tough parking situations.
MPG: 17 city / 21 highway
Jeep Wrangler is one of the most capable vehicles you could want for city road and off-road situations. Inside the Wrangler, you’ll enjoy ample storage space, and in newer models, you’ll also get the comfort and convenience of heated, leather-trimmed front seats. This is a solid classic that time and time again has proven to be a truly reliable ride, not to mention it's always a nice feature to be able to shoot without leaving the car on an especially beautiful day with the doors off and not worry about windows messing up your shot.
MPG: 58 city / 53 highway
If you consider yourself minimalist and find you don't use much space but need a car that can get you everywhere from Los Angeles to the Big Apple, the Toyota Prius is the car for you. Being one of the more affordable gas efficient rides out there, it is also a huge plus for its tiny size and being able to squeeze and park anywhere. A big perk for this small ride is being great for the environment and having a small impact on gas emissions. I would highly recommend this car if you do a ton of driving and you are looking to cut back on the dough you spend on gas.
Chevrolet Spark EV
Battery: 82 miles per charge
Trying to reduce your carbon footprint in the world? The Chevrolet Spark EV operates entirely with an innovative electric propulsion system drive unit paired with a lithium-ion battery. A standard 120V cord plugs into any household outlet to charge your ride and provides a range of 82 miles each time, with a savings of $6,250 over five years. It's ideal for smaller back and forth distances and not an unreachable price point compared to the $60,000 for a Tesla. You can save the world with a smaller dent in your wallet.
Ford Transit Connect Wagon
MPG: 22 city / 29 highway
For my commercial photographers out there, this is perfect for hauling large loads for big production shoots. If you need to pick up props, clothing for models, or even catering, it's all going to fit, plus room to spare. This ride is even perfect for the landscape photographer who might spend the night camped out in his car; with a fixed panoramic sunroof, it gives you quite the view at night. Second row bucket seats fold flat to fit bigger items like pelican cases and light stands. Considering the space, the gas mileage is a steal. You may not win style points, but your client will respect you when the productions go seamlessly.
I tried to cover some of the popular models here in the US that you can easily find at most dealers. If you drive something not listed and you're a huge fan of your ride, be sure to share in the comments section!