Asia > India > Chennai
See: Why rent a car in Chennai ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments
(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)
Your key questions for any destination:
Do I need a car in Chennai?
Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.
That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!
- The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
- How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
- Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
- Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?
Is it worth hiring a car in Chennai?
This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Chennai car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.
How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Chennai with other destinations locally and around the world.
This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.
Should I rent a car in Chennai?
This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Chennai, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.
Generally speaking, hire cars don’t make much sense when visiting India, partly because many visitors are not comfortable with local driving conditions, but also because large Indian cities tend to have extensive public transport, and taxis are cheap and plentiful.
Furthermore, because India is so densely populated, it’s also relatively easy to move between major Indian cities by train, and this is especially the case in and around cities such as Delhi and Mumbai.
Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season.
We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.
Chennai is in car rental price band: 8/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)
General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Chennai?
No. Car rental is very expensive by global standards.
Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Chennai between the peak and the off peak season?
5/10 (0 = stable prices)
Driving score: 3/10
Non car score:2/10
(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)
General comment -
Why? Visiting Chennai using a hire car
Why do you need a car in Chennai ?
However our advice is that Chennai is somewhat different to what we would recommend in many other Indian cities. This is partly because, relatively speaking, the city of Chennai itself doesn’t have anything like the same level of stunning architectural quality that might be found, for example, in Rajasthan. Yet what the area around Chennai does offer in abundance is a huge range of national parks and other scenic locations, but these are all well away from the urban area.
Why not? Visiting Chennai without a car
Why don't you need a car in Chennai ?
Ratings: How does Chennai compare?
Is it worth hiring a car in Chennai? TBC
This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Chennai, 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 Chennai? TBC
This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Chennai (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 Chennai? 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
High Speed Rail:
Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):
As you start ....
Does Chennai airport have a direct rail link?
(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No
Has our advice for Chennai car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?
2017 - 1
2019 - 1
2021 - 3
Average score - 2
A recommendation therefore is certainly to consider getting a car in Chennai, or at the very least arranging some sort of private tour. Some visitors might prefer to hire a car with driver – this is a matter of personal choice, but either way, it’s well worth getting out of the city here.
Do you or don't you need a car in Chennai ?