Brasilia - 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?

Any type. We have a SUV which is helpful when in the countryside outside Brasilia, but not necessary to have a SUV for daily living in the city. - Oct 2021

I have a sedan which works very well in the city. For trips into the countryside, I wish I had a car with higher clearance. - May 2020

We have a large American car and its been fine, though we sometimes wish we had a higher clearance. If you plan on leaving the city for hiking (there is some great hiking around), I'd suggest a higher clearance SUV. For getting around the city, any car will do. Parking garages and lots can be very tight, so if you have a big American car like us, you get used to parking far away where there is enough space, then walking. - May 2017

We have two cars at post: a Mini Cooper, which is great for the city (esp. in navigating the tiny parking lots) and an SUV. The SUV has been the perfect vehicle when we took trips outside of the city and the roads are mainly dirt. We have not had issues with carjacking, but we do have a private parking garage in our apartment that has a security guard. - May 2017

I would recommend a small SUV or crossover, lots of BIG potholes. Avoid too big, especially if in an apartment as you may not be able to fit into your parking spot. Street parking is hard too find - Mar 2017

Smaller as parking in town is not for the big U.S. car; and if you like to travel get some clearance on your car. The roads can be rough outside the city and you will be grateful for that clearance. Also, get good tires, the rainy season will come. - May 2016

Any car will do, and bikes are handy. Parts for cars are expensive, so bring new tires and spare parts. - Aug 2015

A lot of BMWs are targetd for car jackings and car theft. An SUV with a high-clearance is a good vehicle to have, especially if you plan on exploring outside the city. Hondas, Fords, and Fiats are common here, so it's easy to get parts. If you're on the fence between buying here and bringing one, I would recommend you bring one as cars manufactured here do have the same quality (in terms of build) as those from the states or elsewhere. - Aug 2015

It is certainly easier to park a smaller vehicle but big ones are great for trips outside the city, and we seem to find parking spots no matter where we go, even with our van, as long as we don't mind walking across a parking lot or down a block. - Aug 2015

Pretty much all makes of cars can be found here. SUVs are nice if you plan to travel outside of Brasilia especially into some of the parks. But, you can get by with a sedan in most places. Parts can be a problem for more unusual cars. I think Hondas, Toyotas, Fords, Fiats, BMWs are probably the most common. People tend to bring extra tires, filters, wipers, etc... Windshield washing fluid is not available here for some reason. - Jun 2014

Any car is fine in the city and on major highways, but if you plan on regional sightseeing, a crossover or SUV is nice because you'll have a little more clearance when you hit one of the ubiquitous potholes that characterize the regional roads. - Sep 2012

We brought a giant SUV, which is great for going out of town with the terrible roads, but miserable for city driving. Parking is very limited and the spaces are tiny. - Dec 2011

Cars take a long time to get here. Any slight mistake on your paperwork gets multiplied exponentially by the Brazilian bureaucracy. Any car is a good car if you can actually get it back into your possession. Do note that gas is expensive here. There is a gas pump at the embassy, also expensive. Suspend reality and fill 'er up. A car is a must here. Rent one when you arrive. - Aug 2011

You'll be ok with any US car. However, parking spaces are smaller in Brazil. We had our minivan there and had no problems. - Dec 2009

Car taxes are outrageous (100% of car value!) but dips can import a car duty free. If they sell it during the first 3 years, the tax man comes collecting though (100% tax if sold in first year, 75% in second and under 50% in third). Note this is the car's year, not your year, so if you arrive in August but your car comes in January (like what happened to us) the year isn't up until the following January. That said, if you stay past this 3-year time, you can make money IF your car is foreign (i.e. not Brasilian) but common here (i.e., parts are available). - Nov 2009

Any kind for the city, but if you take road trips, the roads can get rugged. - Jun 2009

Buy a locally produced Civic or Corolla, unless your family is really big. You get to drive a new car and can sell for what you pay 2-3 yrs later. Selling imported cars is possible but this works best if you stay in country for 4 yrs due to tax issues. - Aug 2008

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