Mumbai - 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?

None. To me, the driving here is crazy. One lane will often have two cars so take an Uber. - Aug 2021

I don't have a car and I am perfectly fine without it. If you had to bring a car, I would recommend something with high ground clearance. However, I did purchase a Honda Activa 5G scooter/moped. I highly recommend the scooter option because it enables free movement, and I spend less time in traffic than do cars. However, you have to be agile and have a brave heart. - Nov 2020

IF you bring or buy a car, bring a right-hand drive car that is a Toyota or Honda. Those are the two brands most easily serviced here. SUVs and sedans are both common, but like I mentioned above, try getting around without one for a few weeks to see how much you'd really use it. We regret getting a car, as it just sits in our garage unused. - Aug 2019

The roads have a lot of potholes and other hazards, but a 4WD is not really necessary. 95% of our driving has been in the city. For trips across India the roads are very slow, and we end up flying. Any car you get here will end up being pockmarked with scrapes and impacts. Don't buy something and expect to keep it in pristine shape. Most expats (and many well-off Indians) employ drivers, which makes navigating and parking in the city far easier. - Mar 2019

Higher clearance. But you will likely buy locally as importing one is not an option. - May 2018

Bring something with high clearance that you don't mind getting dinged up. You will get into regular fender benders. - Jun 2017

You have to buy one here - cannot import unless it's right hand drive. - Aug 2015

All vehicles must be right-hand drive (opposite of U.S.) and there are a lot of restrictions. I didn't even try, I just bought my car from the guy I replaced, and hired his driver for good measure. We haven't had much trouble getting parts but my car is old & we don't care if they are used/refurbished. Brand-new parts are going to be fairly expensive. - Nov 2014

Good luck, India doesn't allow you to import one so hopefully you know someone in Customs. No car jackings here. But you want to buy a used car (it will get banged up fast) and a common one that you see on the road so spare parts are easy to find and cheap. Honda, Toyota, Suzuki are all common. You will find everything else here but the spare parts can be a challenge. - Mar 2014

An SUV is best. Indians are the worst drivers on the planet. - Feb 2014

Be prepared to get dings and scrapes. I wouldn't bring an expensive car as it's common for cars to get minor scratches, dents etc. - Feb 2014

Make sure it's a right side drive. All cars go here. I have a low-lying car and it's fine despite occasional flooding and bumps. - Aug 2013

Traffic is crazy in India. Most people here hire drivers or taxis. I pay $600/month for a full time driver, wich is actually pretty steep here. But after getting dirty text messages from Cool Cab taxi (blue and silver cars) drivers, I decided on a more "professional" option. My driver isn't perfect (often late or sends a "sub"), but he's as good as it gets in India. If you remember that time moves slower in India, you'll be fine. If you need to leave the house at 7:30, ask your driver to come at 7 or 7:15. - May 2013

Indian government restrictions basically mean you cannot bring a car -- you must buy one here. For city driving, any vehicle you don't mind seeing get scratched or dinged will do. If you want to get out of the city, an SUV would be recommended (there are a lot of unpaved side roads and roads in terrible condition). - Feb 2013

American diplomats cannot import cars into India any more. It's usually possible to buy a car from another outgoing expat. It's a good idea to buy something that can get dinged up and has clearance for the many potholes you'll find in Mumbai streets. - Dec 2010

Bring something that you might enter in a demolition derby, except with air conditioning. Roads are in total disrepair. - Nov 2008

Small sedan is best - Honda Civic or the like. Larger sedan is more comfortable and safer, but harder to maneuver. Some prefer a small SUV, but they seem far too large to navigate the clogged streets easily. During monsoon flooding, even SUV not adequate. - Aug 2008

Honda CRV is your best bet. Gas is on par with US Prices at US$4.50-5.00 per gallon. If you have a European car, bring your spare parts as getting them here is quite expensive and frustrating. - Jul 2008


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