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 is fine in principle, but Indonesia is a right-side drive country and there are a lot of regulations restricting the age and make of cars that may be imported. A lot of people successfully bid only to find out they can't bring their car. In general the best move is to buy a car locally, or rely on local taxis. - Nov 2018
middle class Indonesians have the full range of Asian makes and models. Diesel is recommended for coutryside in the mountainous parts of the island. In town, roads are usually smooth, so lower clearances will be okay. For out of town, roads are narrow and you will find having a car with high clearance and bigger tires will give you peace of mind whenever you find yourself driving on the unpaved shoulder to let an oncoming car or truck pass safely. - Oct 2015
New GOI regulations prohibit the importation of vehicles by USG staff. This applies to the whole of Mission Indonesia. Motorcycles are considered vehicles under this new policy. Used cars are plentiful in Surabaya. Find a reputable dealer or try to purchase from an outgoing expat, if possible. Common cars are Toyotas, Dihatsus, Hondas, Nissans, Fords, and Chevys. Cars are expensive, but mostly retain their value. Expect a 10-20% depreciation over two years. - Apr 2015
Most cars are suitable for Surabaya, as the roads are decent. Heavy traffic prevents driving at high speeds. For outer island and jungle safaris, I would recommend a nice SUV or even a luxury van if you have a family. Basic cars in Indonesia are very expensive and are heavily taxed. Most people drive boxy station wagons called Kijangs. If you have a nice car that you like, I recommend shipping it, as it may not be available in Indonesia. Local and authorized dealers service BMW and Mercedes vehicles with dirt-cheap labor costs. Body work is also remarkably cheap, and dents/dings are repaired to mint condition. Motorcycles are also heavily taxed, so if you can ship one in your allowance, I recommend it. - Oct 2012
We bought a vehicle there. Very expensive, but when we sold it we received pretty much what we paid for it. No worries about carjackings. - May 2012
The best option is buy a domestic vehicle from a departing expat. Imported vehicles (cars and motorcycles) have a high luxury tax. Don't bother shipping a vehicle from the US; local vehicles are right hand drive; shipped vehicles will sit in customs for at least 8 months and parts will be expensive. Sedans are fine for most travel--roads are not great but they are ok. Plan on getting lots of dings and scratches. Many buy small SUV's which are better when the roads flood. I purchased a domestically made motorcycle, which was fine for city use and great for navigating the massive traffic jams. - Oct 2010
Better to get a vehicle locally. Not as cheap as everything else would indicate. Driving is on the left side of the street, but chaotic. Most people hire a driver. - Aug 2009