Dushanbe - 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?
If you are only planning on driving in Dushanbe, anything is fine. If you want to get out of the city (and you should!), a small-to-medium SUV with all wheel/four wheel drive is recommended. Every other person seems to have a RAV-4, and you can get up most mountain roads in them. - Aug 2021
Recommend 4 wheel drive and decent ground clearance if you want to get out into the mountains. Many people at post have CR-Vs, 4-Runners, and the like. - Apr 2021
Many people within the city have sedans, but roads are frequently under construction, so a small SUV would be better. If you plan to explore outside the city, you'll need a vehicle with good clearance. - Jun 2020
If just want to toodle around Dushanbe, anything will do. If you want to explore the country, you want something sturdy with a four-wheel drive and high clearance.
The local standard of driving is not high, so be alert. Also: if you don't have diplomatic license plates, you will regularly get pulled over by cops looking for a bribe. This has nothing to do with your actual driving... they just randomly flag down cars and demand money. The going rate for a foreigner is 10 somoni (about $2.50). Annoying but it's how things are here. You can call the embassy and make a fuss, or shrug and pay it and drive on -- up to you. - Dec 2016
Something with plenty of clearance for large potholes. - Dec 2015
I had horrible automobile luck. Just bring something small to fit through the tiny streets, and something sturdy because it will get beaten to shreds. - Jun 2014
AWD is a must and something with clearance is suggested. You can't bring anything with tinted widows...have them replaced before shipping anything in. - Mar 2014
We have a small SUV (most do) and it works really well to handle the rough road conditions, but be aware of the narrow side streets. - Oct 2013
Bring a four-wheel-drive car. We brought a Jeep Cheroke from the US. The roads have huge potholes; if you drive out of town they are mostly dirt roads. Carjackings are uncommon, however I would not advise bringing a new car that might tempt someone to steal. You would have to email the GSO to ask about service and parts. - Jan 2012
Listen up: do not bring a car with tinted windows. Period. It will not be registered. SUVs are recommended due to poor roads, especially if you want to get out of Dushanbe. Toyota Land Cruisers seem the most popular. Bring parts, including oil. Shipping time from the States is at least four months. If I could do it again, I would have bought a car here, although they are more expensive. Soviet-made cars are omnipresent and easily fixable, if not comfortable. Drivers here are insane - I joke that Tajiks are lovely people until they get behind the wheel of a car. Expect lots of dings and a little road rage. - Jun 2009
Something with some suspension and 4WD is nice. The roads are in bad condition, as are the drivers. You might get dinged here, and your suspension will certainly suffer. We joke that the way the speed limits are set is by the condition of the road. - Jul 2008