Abu Dhabi - 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 will do, but keep in mind the local cars have bigger cooling systems due to the summer heat and tires need to be replaced more often. - Feb 2020

You can drive here any car really. The roads are all very good, better than in the US. People have small cars, huge cars, old cars, new cars, cheap cars, very expensive cars. You’ll find anything here. Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Kia seem to be the most popular brands. - Jun 2019

Bring what you like, there are a wide variety of cars here. It is nice to have a Jeep or other 4WD to drive in the desert and larger SUV is good from road trips and camping. Renting cars is easy here as well. You will see Ford next to Maserati next to BMW and Bentley. - Sep 2017

Everyone who is anyone has a huge SUV (or a Ferrari, or both) If you want to feel safe on the road, I suggest at least a small SUV. Gas is very inexpensive and having a 4 wheel drive opens up a lot of opportunities for desert driving. There are most types of car repair services here and very reasonably priced. - Jun 2015

Check carefully on restrictions on importing vehicles, as the rules seem to shift a lot. The roads are dominated by huge SUVs and expensive sports cars. I've never seen so many Rolls Royces and Lamborghinis. It can be intimidating to drive a small, lower-end car. Locals prefer highly-tinted windows, but expats can only tint up to (I think) 30%. Unless you want to do desert driving, there is no reason except status-seeking or perceived safety to have a huge car, as roads are generally good. - May 2013

Driving is a dangerous sport in the UAE. I got a driving licence and hired cars from time to time but chose to use public transport/taxi most of the time. As with unpaid credit card debts, car hire purchase/lease arrangements can need to be settled in full before you leave the country. The local custom is to write 24 pre-dated monthly cheques, but if you lose your job/income stream within the two years you are still responsible for making sure that the cheques don't bounce if you want to stay out of prison. - Jul 2012

If you're really into off-roading, a big four-wheel is appropriate. Other than that, almost anything would work, although you'd find it hard to be comfortable in a soft-top convertible in the summer, and a little height can be nice when navigating traffic jams. - Aug 2011

Any kind of car; there are extensive garage and maintenance facilities although foreign parts may have to be ordered out at a premium. - Jul 2011

Emiratis love their cars. I've never seen so many Ferraris, Bentleys, and Maseratis in my life.4x4s are very popular as people like to go out to the desert for off-roading adventures. The roads here are excellent, so pretty much any car will do. The government will not let you import cars over 5 years old, but with so many cars on the market, you can always buy a car in country. - Nov 2010

We have an SUV and our reason was because of the atrocious driving here. Should the unfortunate occasion arise of being in an accident, then at least we'd feel more safe in a larger vehicle. The majority of vehicles driven here are SUV's. Did I already say the drivng here is bad?You need two sets of eyes. - Jan 2010

Roads are great. Emiratis use them as raceways. Large expensive vehicles are treated with a little respect on the roadway, smaller ones are considered annoyances and will get pushed off the road. But smaller is easier to park in the crowded downtown area. Gas is reasonable and carjackings are non-existent. Crime in general is very low, but car accidents happen often. Usually with a serious speeder. Ticketing is done by camera, and you will only know you have fines to pay when you try to register your vehicle (unless you check). - Aug 2009

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