Mexico City - 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?

We’ve got a CRV. Roads are generally quite good, but there are some serious potholes here and there. Might just depend on how alert of a driver you are. You see everything on the road and there are dealerships for just about everything. - Apr 2021

Small SUVs do well here, particularly as some of the garages in Polanco can be a bit tight. Many people who live in Polanco only use their cars for Costco trips or weekend getaways, particularly as the area is very walkable. - May 2020

A car that can be easily repaired. The roads here are horrible as far as speed bumps and potholes. I would also say bring a car you wouldn't mind getting dinged up. Parking spaces and lanes in the road are very narrow, and many locals do not obey traffic laws. We brought a mid size SUV and it has been damaged three times since moving here (luckily repair work here is pretty cheap). For our particular model car, it is hard to get parts because they only have the Mexican version of the part. We generally order the part ourselves and take it with us, or the dealership makes the order and the parts take a few days to arrive. - Apr 2019

It is great to have a car for weekend trips or if you are living in the suburbs. - Apr 2019

I've heard many people who live in Polanco say they wouldn't bring a car. However, I use my car a lot. I use it for buying groceries, going to school, trips around and out of the city. We have a sedan and I wish we had a small SUV instead as the low clearance of the sedan is an issue at times. - Jun 2018

If you live in Polanco, you probably don't need a car. An Uber into the Reforma area (where the Embassy is) costs about $ 3/day; the bus is dirt cheap. Traffic is awful, so if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't bring a car at all. - May 2017

We have a small SUV that we hardly ever use. We only drive to a big box supermarket like Costco once a month or so to load up on heavy stuff like cat litter. Bring something with clearance as the streets get flooded during the rainy season. Bring something big enough that in a fender bender you won't be at risk. Most big stores have parking lots, so we really never park on the street, but if you will be looking for street parking, something slightly smaller might be more convenient. - Sep 2016

I'm glad not to be driving in this city. Drivers are aggressive, specially the taxis. I almost got run over three times. You need to take care crossing the streets. Traffic jams are regular, as are "no driving" days (depending on your registration plates). Cars are contributing to much of the pollution in this city. But with the metro and buses you are pretty well covered. - Jun 2016

Nothing flashy but most cars/SUVs are OK. - May 2016

One thing you can get here is excellent service for a low price. We have a Honda and the Honda dealership is literally around the corner. It is very easy to get the car fixed and the service is often faster, better and cheaper than the US. Driving here is not pleasant but once out of the city, its better. You can drive to so many amazing places. I don't think an SUV is necessary in terms of terrain. Although the lanes on the roads tend to be narrow, there are a ton of SUVs and minivans. - May 2016

You'll see all kinds of cars here. - May 2016

Nothing too big as parking can be difficult. Nothing too nice as minor accidents are common. The traffic and driving here is crazy and although Mexicans are very polite to your face, they are ruthless behind the wheel! We heard that a Honda CRV is the perfect vehicle to bring and that's what we bought. It really has been perfect. - Oct 2014

Bring an old, dented SUV!!! The roads are AWFUL - potholes everywhere, no stop signs, no obeying any type of "traffic rules." Mexicans don't need to take a test to drive (this explains so much!!). Police corruption is rampant. I'm not sure who is worse - taxi drivers or bus drivers. I've had a cabbie hit my car, take part of the front bumper with him and keep on going. - Aug 2014

Probably whatever you want. Bigger cars (large SUVs) are everywhere here but they seem to be mostly status symbols. We didn't have one and didn't really need it. I appreciated having a 15-year-old car because I never worried about damaging it! - Apr 2014

I've seen all types of vehicle around here, so I would say depending upon the size of your family. And get a local driver because the traffic here is way too crazy! - Mar 2014

We brought a Mazda3 - loved the car; did not love the car on the roads. Potholes are EVERYWHERE. Speed bumps/TOPES are EVERYWHERE. Accidents occur less frequently than you'd think given how no one has a driver's license (they are not required) and how badly everyone drives. Braking suddenly is a way of life. The traffic is terrible and omnipresent. All this to say: an SUV. I know, it's not enviro-friendly. I know! They are gas guzzlers - I didn't bring one and still wouldn't. But if you are seriously considering driving regularly, you have to have one. Otherwise bring a car you hate because you're going to treat it like you hate it. And all the other drivers will too. Gas is basically the same as in the U.S., but the state-owned gas monopoly Pemex is not always consistent. They will generally have bathrooms (if you stop at one outside town), but will not necessarily take credit cards or have little groceries for you to get food. They are almost everywhere, though, and generally secure. - Dec 2013

I would bring a regular car. The typical SUV is ok. Nothing much bigger, though, since parking spots tend to be small. All brands are found in the DF. You will see super-fancy cars all the time here. - Jul 2013

We have an SUV, which is wonderful for here because of thre enormous number of speed bumps. The roads are good. Highways are great. The US Government has issued specific routes that the embassy USDH cannot travel on, but it has not been bad or inconvenient for us for the time that we have lived here. - Jan 2013

North American makes are best as the parts are more readily available. Any car will do, but expect it to get a few little dings. - Jan 2013

We were told not to bring a black SUV (after we had shipped our car) because the 'narcos' use the same. We never had a problem with our large Nissan. We took big because if you wish to visit the country you need high clearance. The garage was next door. - May 2012

An old car will attract less attention from the cops looking for tips. And if the car is a type not marketed in Mexico, its theft-value for spare parts will be low. A small vehicle will be easier to park and to maneuver in tight situations. Strong shocks and tires plus heightened suspension are needed for the potholes, missing manhole covers, and frequent, oddly-shaped speed bumps. A diplomatic vehicle more than ten years old cannot be sold within Mexico, but many Mexicans have relatives north of the border who will facilitate the transaction. Despite the low cost of labor, so much auto repair work is fraudulent that it is not worthwhile to get it done in Mexico. Even dealerships have a pattern of pushing needless repairs, swapping in inferior parts, breaking as much as they fix, and overcharging. To get quality parts, one generally shops online. Having said that, Toyota deserves commendation and here's why:Mr. Jose Velazquez at their Interlomas dealership has excellent English from spending much of his life in the States. He is good at diagnosing and explaining, and often did not charge me for minor repairs. Service there is on par with the best in any country. - Apr 2011

Vehicles are a hassle to get into and out of the country. The embassy is great help for employees, although getting a diplomatic plate takes ages. There are license-plate-based restrictions for the daily drive. The traffic signs are mostly decorative, and the driving is aggressive. - Apr 2010

You will find all kind of cars, spare parts, and dealerships here. - Feb 2010

We had mid-sized SUV and it was fine, but something smaller might have been easier. Had problem with repairs because that model year wasn't sold in Mexico, so worth checking in advance if you are buying a car before coming. - Jan 2010

Anything is fine. - Mar 2009

You can bring your own car for a fee, usually tarrifs are high depending on which customs agent you get. Corruption is a problem. We tried to bring our motorcycles which was a problem. Better to rent motorcycles here than to bring for tarrif and insurance reasons. - Nov 2008

An old, beat-up clunker. We brought our old mini-van, after talking in length about replacing it. We are so very glad we didn't. Just about everyone will be in an accident while they live here. We now have scratches, dents, etc that happened when we were not in the car - we have no idea where they are from! This is Mexico - traffic and congestion. - Oct 2008

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