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Mexico City

North America > Mexico > Mexico City

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

(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring. Yes, this site is being updated, but the graphics will come later)

Your key questions for any destination:

Do I need a car in Mexico City?

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 simple 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 Mexico City?

This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Mexico City 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 Mexico City 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 Mexico City? 

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 Mexico City, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.

The vast and sprawling Mexico City used to be the largest city in the world, and although it has now been surpassed by several cities in Asia, this is still one of the largest cities in the Americas at least. Although it’s better than it was, Mexico City also still has a reputation for bad air quality. The city has invested heavily in public transport in an attempt to reduce the chronic congestion that blighted it for many decades.

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 Mexico City car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Mexico City 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 Mexico City? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Mexico City 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 -

 

Mexico City now has a reasonably comprehensive metro system, and buses often tend to run reasonably quick when they are in their own dedicated bus lanes. There are certainly more than enough cultural attractions in the centre of Mexico City.

Many visitors will also want to get out and about and explore a bit, possibly on to relatively nearby cities like Toluca or Guadalajara. Outside the urban area of Mexico City itself, there really is next to nothing in terms of rail service, but express buses are ubiquitous.

Why? Visiting Mexico City using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Mexico City ?


  • A rental car might be useful to explore some of the former mining ghost towns or to visit the Iztacc√≠huatl – Popocat√©petl National park, but this is also easy enough to do in an organised bus tour from Mexico City.
  • If you’re planning on renting a car in Mexico City, it might be something to consider for a day or two at most, but it’s certainly not worthwhile for the whole trip.

Why not? Visiting Mexico City without a car

Why don't you need a car in Mexico City ?


  • If your plan is to look at Mexico City car hire options as the starting point of a greater Mexican road trip, then we would still advise looking at driving in certain areas of the country, such as the Yucatan peninsula or Baja California in the north.
  • For this sort of trip, it might make more sense to rent a car in Cancun (Mexican Riviera) or on the western coast instead.

Does Mexico City need you to rent a car?

Ratings: How does Mexico City compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Mexico City? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Mexico City, 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 Mexico City? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Mexico City (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 Mexico City? 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 Mexico City airport have a direct rail link?

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

 

 

 

 


Changelog

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

2017 - 3

2019 - 4

2021 - 2

Average score - 3

Notes:

 

Ratings: How does Mexico City compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Mexico City? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Mexico City, 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 Mexico City? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Mexico City (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 Mexico City? 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 Mexico City airport have a direct rail link?

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

 

 

 

 


Changelog

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

2017 - 3

2019 - 4

2021 - 2

Average score - 3

Notes:

 

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