Brussels - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Any car is fine, but roads are fairly narrow and people drive fairly aggressively. A small car with good fuel efficiency (gas is not cheap), but fast acceleration to speed through intersections as cars barrel towards you (this would be the ideal). - Feb 2023

We were worried about our SUV, but it ended up being fine, though ended with a few parking lot bumps and scrapes. Small cars would be easiest especially for city parking. - Jan 2022

We brought our US spec Hyundai Elantra and were fine. I wouldn't bring a huge car because streets are narrow, parking is tight, and some garages are very hard to navigate (steep, tight, etc). Our Elantra felt very wide on the narrow Belgian streets at times. - Oct 2021

I recommend and small to mid-sized hatchback. - Apr 2021

Any car would work but I would not recommend very large SUVs. - Sep 2020

Smaller cars are much easier to manage the narrow streets and small parking spaces. You can find almost any make of car here, so I am guessing you can get most worked on relatively easily. Bigger cars (large SUVs and bigger) can be useful for family car trips, etc, but can be challenging for parking, etc. - Sep 2020

We have the typical Foreign Service car, a Honda CRV. I wouldn't bring anything larger because most parking spots are small, streets are narrow, and garages are narrow too. - Mar 2020

We have an SUV which is fine, but can be tight at times. A smaller vehicle is probably better but we have enjoyed our large car for road trips. - Feb 2019

Our first car was a Toyota Sienna minivan. It was generally too large for the typically narrow parking spaces here, but we made do. After our car was destroyed in a crash, we bought a Mercedes sedan, which, truth be told, is far more practical. You can bring a larger SUV or minivan, but there are tradeoffs. - Feb 2019

Some garages (houses, not public garages) are too small for mini-vans and SUVs, though such cars are generally fine most places (and pretty much all public parking garages). - May 2018

Parking spaces and garages tend to be small, so skip the Suburban. Some people have American minivans with no trouble, though. The entire Brussels region is now a low-emission zone, but gas-powered cars from 1997 or later won't be affected until 2025 at the earliest. If you have (or plan to buy) a diesel-powered car more than a few years old, check first.

A lot of people--especially those without kids--don't have cars. Public transit is pretty good, and although the intercity trains occasionally live up to their reputation for being late, they will get you where you're going. There are car-sharing services (Zipcar, etc) that some people use for the occasional IKEA run.

It's Europe, so there are more European and fewer American and Asian cars here. The only parts issue is that there are some Japanese-brand cars that are completely different vehicles in the US and Europe (Honda Accord, for example), so you might have to order some parts from the US or buy them via the Exchange at Chièvres. Same for American cars that aren't sold here. - Jan 2018

Something small! And keep your car empty - don't leave money, bags or your GPS in view. - Feb 2017

Parking garages and spaces are made for European-sized cars (read: SMALL). Don't bring an enormous SUV or truck! - Dec 2016

Small cars are best because parking and driving is the single most stressful part of living here. However, a small car with some undercarriage clearance would be best because the roads are generally in atrocious condition - lots of potholes etc. Very hard on the shocks. - Aug 2014

Larger SUVs are hard to park here. Not all garages are big enough for them. And some houses don't have garages or parking places (be sure to specify if these things are important to you). Little, compact cars are easiest to drive on the narrow streets here and way easier if you need to parallel park (and those parking garages are tight!). We have a big Volvo car that is not so little, but has been handy for hauling visiting family members around. - Jul 2014

Any car will do but parking can be tight in some streets so it's probably easier to have a smaller car. - Apr 2014

Small cars are recommended but many expats survive with small SUVs. Diplomats are eligible for tax-free gas, which is quite a savings. Parts for European and Japanese cars are readily available. All cars must be outfitted with fog lights. - Jan 2014

A smaller car is best. American SUVs are difficult to park and drive on the narrow streets. - Jan 2014

Small. We had a four-door sedan with a long wheel base, and although we managed, it was hard to make some turns and get down the narrow streets. Gasoline is expensive...about $7 gal. - Oct 2012

Driving in Brussels is hard; parking is harder. Something small and nippy would be good -- but you don't need a car at all! - May 2012

Small! Parking in the various apartment buildings throughout the city is very tight. Many people can't fit their cars into the parking areas and have to park it on the street. - Jan 2012

Don't bring a new car or a larger than average car; you'll get nothing but dings, due to the very narrow parking spaces everywhere. Anything larger than a VW Golf is considered large locally and will have some trouble parking. - Nov 2011

You'll see just about every type of vehicle here, though I would hesitate to bring a big SUV, or other large vehicle just because it's so difficult to find a place to park. - Aug 2011

Small streets, small parking spots. Leave your wide bodied SUVs at home. But if you have a family bring something you can use to drive all over the place. When you are not taking the train of course. - Jul 2011

Whatever suits you and your family. But remember that only large houses far out will have a good-sized garage. I cant get my tiny car in mine!! - Jun 2011

Easiest to bring a small car, unless you aren't going to be driving in the city, then a bigger car is okay. But the price of gas is outrageous if you don't have a tax-free gas card. - Jun 2011

Small I would think. I don't have one. - Jun 2010

Small European cars are best. - Jun 2010

Small European cars obviously easier to park, and to fix. - Mar 2010

I have seen everything from Hummers to ATV's on the roads in Brussels and throughout Belgium. I would check your parking situation before shipping a large car. Smaller cars are recommended for their ease of use and parking in populated areas. - Jul 2009

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