Categories
UAE

Abu Dhabi

Asia > United Arab Emirates > Abu Dhabi

See: Why hire a car in Abu Dhabi ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Compared to its larger and glitzier brother Dubai, Abu Dhabi is substantially more compact.

Nowhere in the downtown area is more than a short bus or taxi ride away from anywhere else, but you will still be using motorised transport more than walking. There is also still a fair amount of sprawl in Abu Dhabi, so you may be staying somewhere a bit outside the centre.

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Abu Dhabi car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Abu Dhabi is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Abu Dhabi? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Abu Dhabi between the peak and the off peak season?

3/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 4/10

Non car score:2/10

Balance: 8

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Whereas Dubai has invested heavily in rail-based transport, there is no such service in Abu Dhabi, and proposals to develop such a network are on hold. You’ll have a choice of waiting outside in the dusty heat for a bus or taking the much more commonplace option of a taxi.  Then there’s the natural question that if you are spending let’s say one week in Abu Dhabi, will you also want to visit Dubai? Will you want to travel elsewhere within the UAE, and possibly even on to Oman? Abu Dhabi car hire certainly isn’t for everyone, but it might still be an option for your visit.

It certainly is perfectly possible to travel between Abu Dhabi and Dubai by bus, and plenty of people do so. Abu Dhabi is also not lacking in its own huge range of architectural gems. Visitors can either use state-backed scheduled bus services, or they can take guided tours.

For trips into the desert, then 4×4 vehicles tend to be more popular, although the practice of “dune bashing” has been heavily criticised for its environmental damage.

Why? Visiting Abu Dhabi using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Abu Dhabi ?


Reasons why you need a car in Abu Dhabi

  • Fuel is cheap!
  • Public transport in the city is poor – no metro, no rapid bus network, only taxis and conventional buses.
  • Plans for an Abu Dhabi metro are currently on hold. Dspite the rapid growth of the city, including huge expansion of the airport, there are still no confirmed plans for mass rapid transit in the city.
  • Coaches to other cities in the UAE only offer limited service. They are an excellent option for getting to Dubai or Al Ain, but less so for anywhere else.
  • A car provides more flexible access across the whole city.
  • A hire car is useful for day trips to Dubai.
  • Car rental in Abu Dhabi is generally good value when compared with other destinations in the Gulf region. Expect to pay a little bit more than in Dubai, as it’s not quite so competitive here.

Why not? Visiting Abu Dhabi without a car

Why don't you need a car in Abu Dhabi ?


Visiting Abu Dhabi without a car

  • The roads in the UAE are amongst the least safe in the world. It might be better to leave the driving to somebody local.
  • Abu Dhabi is actually very compact. You can get by using buses or walking, especially once you are outside the midday heat.
  • Some parts of Abu Dhabi are well shaded with trees, whereas there are also many other places which are refreshed by the sea breeze. Abu Dhabi is hot by any standard, but there are still ways to enjoy the city on foot without being completely overwhelmed.
  • Plenty of activities based around the waterfront, car not needed.
  • Vist the Mangrove National Park – this is in a very central location, and easy to reach by bus or taxi. You can also go kayaking here.
  • Car fanatics can have lots of fun at the Yas Circuit – but you can easily get there by bus or taxi.

You don’t need a car to visit the main points of interest in Abu Dhabi.[/caption]

Ratings: How does Abu Dhabi compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Abu Dhabi? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Abu Dhabi, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Abu Dhabi? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Abu Dhabi (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Abu Dhabi? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Abu Dhabi airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Abu Dhabi car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 4

2019 - 7

2021 - 8

Average score - 7

Notes:

 

Any Abu Dhabi car hire advice also has to come with the significant caveat that the roads in the United Arab Emirates have some of the worst accident figures of any country that publishes this data. However, given the sheer volume of tourists and expats, these figures tend to look even worse than they actually are. On balance, there is certainly no need to get a hire car if you are literally just stopping over in Abu Dhabi, but for a longer trip then car rental starts to become something as well worth considering.

[james]

Anyone with an interest in technology might well want to take a look at the futuristic Masdar City near Abu Dhabi International airport. Masdar is designed to have much more in common with traditional Middle Eastern cities, with steep sided streets having additional natural climate control systems to make them inherently walkable.

Masdar does also have its own bus terminal. If all of Abu Dhabi was built like Masdar, then our verdict would be very different, but sadly it is not – Masdar is the experiment, not the reality, and it’s only really worth visiting if you have an interest in the architecture or the technology.

[jamesend]

Do I need a car in Abu Dhabi?  Verdict – yes (may be useful for longer visits, especially for getting out of the city).

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Abu Dhabi ?

Categories
UAE

Dubai

Asia > United Arab Emirates > Dubai

See: Why hire a car in Dubai ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Dubai car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Dubai is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Dubai? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Dubai between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 1/10

Non car score:6/10

Balance: 2

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Before you hire a car in Dubai, we would like to sound a note of warning. The UAE has a reputation for having some of the most dangerous roads in the world, and this is not entirely undeserved. If you want the statistics, then the UAE is the most dangerous country in the world to be in a car on a per mile basis, but it only takes this accolade, because it’s the worst place that actually publishes such statistics.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a fatal accident, you will be unlikely to be allowed out of the country, and you may have to pay “diya”, a blood money payment, which may not be covered by your insurance.

There are plenty of other countries out there with far more dangerous roads, but then again, you probably won’t end up holidaying there. Why would we want to start on such a macabre point?

Usually our city by city car hire advice would look at other factors such as the cost of the car hire itself, the availability of good quality public transport, and then maybe the choice of different driving roads or even the cost of fuel and so on, with safety being a general issue, rather than one which warrants specific comment from one city to the next.

In the UAE, we think that any decision about whether or not to get a hire car should be made primarily on safety, so that’s why it’s mentioned first Understandably, if we’re offering advice saying that the roads in the UAE are fraught with danger, then that same advice is going to apply if you prefer just to go everywhere by taxi, and even through there are a handful of token coast front cycle lanes, you cycle here entirely at your own risk!

Why? Visiting Dubai using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Dubai ?


Why should you hire a car in Dubai?

  • We don’t particularly advise getting a rental car in Dubai for the reasons above, and because you can get around using other means.

  • Getting a Dubai hire car to drive to other emirates, or to more rural locations away from the city itself may still make some sense (See Abu Dhabi, Sharjah).
  • Some travellers also hire a car in Dubai and then drive it into neighbouring Oman. Check fully before doing this, as insurance conditions appear to change regularly, and different operators have different policies.

Why not? Visiting Dubai without a car

Why don't you need a car in Dubai ?


  • Based on safety alone, our advice would very much be to use public transport (not taxis) as much as you possibly can.
  • Dubai has rapidly built and extended its own metro system, which works in tandem with a monorail on the Dubai palms and a tram service around the Burj Khalifa.
  • The Dubai palms Monorail is a major point of interest in its own right!
  • Whilst the public transport system is perfectly adequate for getting to and from all of the major tourist sites within Dubai, chances are that you still want to go to some places that can’t be reached through using public transport, in which case going by taxi becomes the default option.
  • Taking a taxi in Dubai rather than driving yourself is still largely a matter of trust, but you are at least ensuring that the liability is the problem of the driver, and not you.

Beyond Dubai

Not all of the glitzy attractions that you will see in any media promoting the UAE will be found in Dubai – many of them will be found in neighbouring Abu Dhabi instead, and Abu Dhabi is absolutely worth at the very least a day trip.

Yet it’s easy enough to visit Abu Dhabi using scheduled bus services or organised coach tours – there’s really no particular reason to hire a car just to do this for one day (see above).

[james]

It’s an important enough concern that anybody who spends any time at here will give you their tales of woe of somebody they know who’s had a bad accident.

On the other hand, if you are only visiting Dubai for a few short days, then you might prefer just to hope that the risk dice aren’t going to be loaded against you during the short of your visit – after all, every form of travel involves risk, it’s just that the risks of car travel are much greater here than anywhere else.

Sure, you will no doubt read of horror stories of Dubai bus drivers, but in reality, they are the ones driving the biggest tank, and as with anywhere else, they are at least trained a little bit more to drive that tank than any other kind of drivers.

“But other places are more dangerous”

Sure! There are numerous other travel destinations where the roads are much more dangerous than they are in the UAE. However, none of these other destinations have anything like the same level of visitor numbers, and hence there is a natural focus on road safety in Dubai, simply because it is very much in the spotlight.

I’ve only been to Dubai once myself, and in all honesty it’s hardly a fair comparison with what the city is now. I was in transit through the city in 1991, when I was just 16, so needless to say, driving wasn’t an option. Would I want to drive in Dubai now? Well fairly unsurprisingly, I really wouldn’t, but what about getting to the most important places of interest, both within the city itself and nearby? Would you really be missing out on that much if you visited Dubai without a car?

[jamesend]

Ratings: How does Dubai compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Dubai? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Dubai, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?

 

 

Do you need to hire a car in Dubai? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Dubai (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Dubai? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel

 

Car hire basics:

 

Public transportation basics:

 

Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):

 

As you start ....

Does Dubai airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Dubai car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 2

2019 - 4

2021 - 2

Average score - 3

Notes:

 

Should you rent a car in Dubai? No!

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Dubai ?