Jeddah - 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?

I never had a car and didn't feel like one was necessary. Uber was less than 30 SAR/$10 USD round trip to stores and malls, and we had a shuttle twice a week for groceries. Rentals were very cheap if you needed one for an occasional day/weekend trip. The terrain is flat, but streets aren't always in great repair, and the dust can be rough on them, so if one wants to buy a car, I would recommend buying local rather than wearing down a car from home. I believe pickup trucks are illegal for civilians, but SUVs are allowed if I'm not mistaken, and I would recommend high clearance when possible. - Oct 2022

Car must be no older than 5 years old and both right hand/Left Hand drives are allowed. Pickup trucks are NOT allowed in KSA for private residence. A 2/4 door sedan will do just fine as the roads are within standards. Make sure your car has AC. Most common cars are Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and Nissan and fuel is cheap. I would bring extra cabin and air filters. - Aug 2022

The petrol/gasoline is different grade than used in western countries, so we received advice to buy locally. If you do bring a vehicle, expect to sell it in Saudi before you depart as the local fluids may compromise the vehicles ability to pass inspection in some places. Car jacking didn't seem to be an issue, but drivers can be aggressive there. Don't bring a car you care deeply about, and don't be surprised if you get some dents and dings. We made it through without anything but a few minor scratches due to good defensive driving. Having an AWD/4WD vehicle with high clearance is necessary if you want to go dessert camping, but we found it quite easy to do local and regional tourist trips without it. There are high road fatalities in Saudi; not many serious crashes but the ones there are can be really bad. So I recommend car seats for small children that can be used in extended rear facing position, at least until age 2.5 but research recommends until age 4. - Nov 2020

Most people drive SUVs. Gas is super cheap. - Oct 2019

I have not heard of any burglary/carjacking. Toyota, GM, Ford, Kia, BMW, VW all have dealerships in town so I suspect getting parts is not difficult. Most people have SUVs, if you think you are going to go camping in the desert a lot I'd get 4WD. - Mar 2019

Driving is not something for the weak here. Bring something that won't make you cry if it gets hit. - Jan 2019

Any type is fine. - Apr 2016

People like to bring 4*4, to camp in the desert. Gasoline here is the cheapest in the world. - Nov 2015

4X4 - Oct 2015

All American and Japanese brands can be seen here. - Oct 2015

I'd bring something with good road clearance as rare rainstorms flood the streets - not a must, though. For brands, Hyundai, Toyota, and Kia are most popular. - Aug 2015

Some people don't bring their own car. This is a big mistake - motor pool is sometimes a headache to organize and they can only wait for you for about an hour (and shopping takes time here!). The most inconvenient part of this culture are the prayer times - this means that the stores are closed for about an hour and then open 2 hours etc. Sometimes you get kicked out of stores due to prayer but the supermarket is generally open continuously. - Feb 2014

Some people say get a 4x4 for offroading, but I've been able to go everywhere I want to go, and I think I explore more than most, with a 2 wheel drive Suburban. Toyotas and American makes like GMC, Ford, and Chevy are most popular. I see a lot of Nissans and Hondas too. There's no comparison though to Toyota -- it is far and away the most popular make in the Kingdom. Saudi won't let you ship in something older than 5 years. Also, bear in mind you'll be marginally safer in a bigger car than a smaller one when it comes to the inevitable traffic accident. - Dec 2013

SUVs are preferable. They command the road, and gas usage is not an issue because it is super cheap. In terms of service, the best brands to go for are Toyota (ForeRunners are very popular) and GMC. Toyota dominates the market. We bought our vehicle here, but it was a headache. Shipping is a headache too, however—it often takes 5 months or more to clear customs. If you buy used, endeavor to purchase from an expat because locals trash their cars and sometimes make adjustments so that the reported kilometers appear to be less than they really are. Vehicles don’t depreciate in cost much, so you generally don’t lose much on resale. - May 2013

4-wheel-drive is nice if you want to be adventurous but it's not needed. A large vehicle is good for safety, people drive badly to quite badly here. You can bring a nice car if you want - the roads for the most part are decent and parking is usually v. easy. Everything is made to be convenient. No crime to speak of; I've never heard of anyone getting robbed or broken into, etc. - Nov 2010

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