Algiers - 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?
Something small and not great. It'll get real dinged up. Availability of parts for our Honda has been an issue. - Apr 2021
Small but safe car, as it will get dented. - Oct 2020
Very small car is recommended. SUVs, trucks, etc. are going to be problematic in terms of parking and driving as the streets are narrow. - Oct 2020
As small as possible. And one that won't break your heart if it's scratched or dinged. Parking can be difficult and some garages are very tight squeezes. - Sep 2019
Small - streets are narrow, parking is a challenge, and traffic can be a challenge. - Mar 2019
Something small that you don't mind getting beaten up. This is not the place for the SUVs that so many other posts recommend, they will not fit on some streets/parking garages. - Sep 2016
Car or no car is an important decision. The streets are small, the road surface mediocre with a million speed bumps. Algerians drive poorly and the rate of traffic accidents is sky high. So expect whatever you bring to get beat up.
Regarding a car, there are a number of theories out there regarding cars at post. You should not try to buy a car from an Algerian dealership or Algerian. Instead most diplomats buy from other diplomats, usually Americans, and then sell to Americans when they leave. Cars from other Embassies sometimes are advertised as available, but prices are inflated and quality is questionable. You can bring in a car but it must be less than 3 years old. You can also now bring in a car that is more than three years old but you must apply for a waiver and take it out with you when you leave.
However, you can easily get without a car. I don't have a car and instead rely on the embassy motor pool. There are usually enough people with cars that we still get opportunities to go places. But to be frank, there's not much to actually drive to. You can't drive outside Algiers without a police escort and a dipnote. The two or three major markets/stores that have some items local shops won't have and small handful of attractions. However, you can (and we do) use motor pool to go to restaurants and stores we need.
Ultimately it seems that among the embassy it comes down to personal preference. Not bringing a car will be somewhat limiting, but not crippling. If personal freedom or movement is something that is important to you, then I would say that you should bring a car. - Jun 2016
Anything you bring will get dinged, so bear that in mind. Most of the roads in Algiers are hemmed in by high walls (picture being Pac-man inside the maze), and some of roads are VERY narrow - many should be one way and they're not. Nearly everyone has the back rear quarter panels of their cars scraped up - it's basically unavoidable. Don't try to bring in anything through customs unless the USG is bringing it in for you. The system is so incredibly complicated and corrupt if you try to ship something in one your own you'll probably never see it again. (No one will steal it, but you'll probably have to pay more than it's worth to get it out.) - Mar 2014
Small. - Oct 2013
Local roads can be small, so the smaller the car, the better. Roads in the city are decent, but often crowded. Carjackings are not a major problem. - Dec 2011
The roads are pretty good in Algeria so any normal car would be fine. We got around in a Peugeot. - Sep 2008
All cars would be suitable but there are some difficulties due to importation permits. - May 2008
Something small - Japanese, French or German-made. The roads are narrow, winding and driving is hard.We - Mar 2008
Well, my husband has a car he uses for work. I do not and it is an inconvenience, but I wouldn't have anywhere to park it and you will find that two-car parking is almost nonexistant in any of the off-campus housing. - Mar 2008
A small SUV or an economy-size car. Traffic is crazy. There are a number of Toyota dealerships and French (Renault and Peugeot) dealerships. - Feb 2008