Colombo - 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?
Bring something with high clearance that drives on the left side of the road. Check to see if parts are available locally before you arrive. Vehicles are extraordinarily expensive in Sri Lanka because of insane taxes, so if you are a diplomat, avoid that by buying from another diplomat or importing a vehicle. - Mar 2021
Sri Lanka only allows cars with steering wheels on the right (they drive on the left). So most people get their cars at post from departing expats. - Sep 2020
We bought a right-hand drive car at post. It's nice to have an SUV for trips around the country, but the roads can be narrow. Gas is expensive. Driving is a hair-raising experience, so expect occasional scrapes and bumps. Fortunately, the speeds are usually slow enough to avoid serious injury. - Apr 2020
I would not advise you bring a large car or a new car. Things are small in Sri Lanka ;-) and traffic rules are virtually nonexistent, so expect to get dings and scrapes on your car. - Sep 2017
If you are just planning staying in town, a simple 4WD is fine - CR-V, Rav4, etc. Most people we knew had Toyotas - Prado, Land Cruiser, etc. They know how to fix these cars and have the parts. Any Nissan, Mitsubishi, etc would be great too.
If you want to get out and have some fun wandering all over the country, then you most certainly want a sturdy, 4WD vehicle with high clearance. - Mar 2017
An SUV is best, especially if leaving Colombo. - Sep 2013
Japanese cars are your best bet, but expect 300%+ tax on importation. - Sep 2012
To see the country, a vehicle is necessary; however driving is very difficult in Sri Lanka because of the lack of adherence to traffic laws (the only real rule is bigger rules; i.e. buses have right of way).The roads are not in good condition, two-lane, very crowded with buses, trishaws, motorbikes, cows, people, etc. all doing their own thing. Don't bring a nice expensive vehicle, buy one local that can get all dinged and scratched up. - Dec 2011
We have a 4-wheel-drive, but it is not strictly necessary. It does make for a nicer ride on the bumpy roads, though. Japanese cars most popular. - Feb 2010
Toyota Landcruiser is the vehicle of choice but stick with a mid-size Toyota or Nissan SUV. Vehicles can be purchased in-country or Singapore. - Sep 2008