Cotonou - 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?

Four-wheel drive with a high clearance if you plan to leave Cotonou or even get out of the main city center. - Feb 2020

Best decent clearance, 4x4. Most main roads are pretty decent but to go to beaches and other distant locations best to have 4x4. - Aug 2018

Something with high clearance, as the roads in the "downtown" are dirt - which turns to about 9 inches of thick mud, covered with several inches of water almost every day during the rainy season. (That's right, the same people who have the crappy houses also have to wade through mud to get in their front gates....) - Jan 2017

One with high clearance. A SUV is necessary in some neighborhoods, and if you want to travel outside the capital. - Oct 2015

SUVs are good for the Route des Paches and day trips out of the city, but we happily drove a Toyota Avanza for two years. - Jun 2015

Something with good ground clearance and a strong suspension. Four wheel drive is required if you plan on bringing a heavier vehicle; I had a Toyota Rav4 that was FWD, any I never got stuck, while someone with a larger SUV did once in deep sand. And unless you're a hermit, you will find yourself driving outside of the city (to the beaches, for instance) where such a vehicle is a necessity...unless you don't mind wrecking your undercarriage. - Aug 2014

I wouldn't recommend a car--the roads here can get really beaten up and usually the locals' attempt at fixing them (e.g. throwing rocks in potholes) only makes them worse. Our SUV has worked fine here though. Another sidenote: car repair--say you need a tire fixed--is ridiculously cheap (money-wise, not quality-wise). - Jul 2013

Most expats drive SUVs with high clearance and 4-wheel drive. This is necessary if you plan on going out of town or to the beach, or driving to certain parts of town during the rainy season. - May 2013

A high-clearance vehicle is a must. - Mar 2013

Most people at post have a compact, Japanese 4WD SUV like a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. The roads are mostly awful and get flooded out in the rainy season. I don't think that there are any restrictions as to cars that can be imported. Getting parts for any car can be a problem. - Dec 2011

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