Mexico City

By | 16th January 2018

Should you rent a car in Mexico City?

Do you need a car in Mexico City > Should you rent a car in Mexico City Mexico > Mexico City ( MEX )
Car: Do you need a car in 0? No car: Is it worth hiring a car in 0? Slider: Should you rent a car in 0? Should you rent a car in 0?

Mexico City car hire quick facts

Cheapest rate for one week Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]

115

 #130/300

  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Mexico City but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
How much should I expect to pay in the peak season? Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]

 €

X

 300/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.
Free parking score Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking.Total 478 - of which 199 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

42

%

152/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.

Mexico City public transport quick facts

"Top trumps" train score

Higher scores go to the systems which take you to the most amazing places.

25%

#162/300

  • [full notes - top trumps trains]
  • A good rail system doesn't mean you shouldn't hire a car, but it often means you have a decent range of options.

Overall public transport score {coming shortly}

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel.

--%

#---/300

  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Mexico City good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score {coming shortly}

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Mexico City

--%

#---/300

Need, worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Mexico City", "is it worth hiring a car in Mexico City", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme:

Do you need a car in Mexico City?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city.

Is it worth hiring a car in Mexico City?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares?

Should you rent a car in Mexico City?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

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.

Do you need a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
?", this often breaks down to two key questions:

  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
    ? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?

Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in [table “1” does not have that cell /]
?

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments


So is there any real need to rent a car here?

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 should you rent a car in Mexico City?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Mexico City?


  • A rental car might be useful to explore some of the former mining ghost towns or to visit the Iztaccíhuatl – Popocatépetl 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

What is public transport like in Mexico City? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent 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.

Should you rent a car in Mexico City? No, certainly not within the city. A car could be useful for a one day excursion.

Ratings

Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Would you hire a car in Mexico City?

Have you driven in Mexico City? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Mexico City?

Do you need a car in Mexico City? For some or all of the time? 

Tell us what you think using the comments section below:


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