What is the Best Car to Have in Playa Del Carmen? Buying a car in Playa Del Carmen

Little Car in Playa Del Carmen

Buying a car in Playa Del Carmen, what is the best option?

The answer is easy! A white car. Yes, actually a white car (or silver) is best and you will notice most cars are white here in Playa Del Carmen. It helps reflect the sun and keep it a little cooler. A study was done comparing a black car and a white car for one hour in the sun. The cabin air temperature in the white care was about 5-6°C (9-11°F) lower then the identical car, just in a different color. This means you will be more comfortable in your vehicle and spend less energy trying to cool it down. But there are many more considerations to buying a car besides color so here is a list of things to think about.

The answer is also ground clearance. Mexico is full of topes (speed bumps) Some are small plastic bumps and others are concrete mountains put in the road the slow traffic. If you have a car with bad suspension, a low front spoiler, or low ground clearance, you are going to be cringing every time you go over one, or get stuck. So this is a consideration on selecting a car here.

Buying a new car or used car in Playa Del Carmen

Buying a car means usually buying a new car here. Most people will tell you that it is not a good idea to buy a used car in Mexico. For good reason people say this. (If you are looking for a used car, see our article on where to find used cars for sale.) The reason is because people tend to use everything until it is worn out or it is heavily used and the idea that used things should be priced accordingly has not caught  on here. People will try to squeeze every peso out of their used car. There are also legal issues with buying used cars here that you need to be aware of before buying and it can be a little more detailed then just going to buy a new car. At another time we will expound on those issues.

People also want to know make of car that is popular here. This question comes up because people that are moving to Mexico want to know what is easy to repair, equipped for the roads and conditions, and is affordable to own. We can break it down into three categories:

  1. SUV type
  2. Luxury car
  3. Car

What SUV’s are good for Playa Del Carmen?

   Vehicles tend to be smaller here and this is the same with sport utility vehicles. The large SUVs that you typically see on other countries are used here only at hotels as private transportation (for example, the Cadillac Escalade). The Geo Tracker was considered a small vehicle in other countries but was popular here as a mid sized SUV (the Geo Tracker was made and sold longer in Mexico but has since production has stopped). Runners up for the best SUV are the Jeep Liberty and the Honda CRV. Our number one choice for an suv is the Toyota Rav4.This is based on popularity here, Toyota’s presence here and reliability.

Toyota Rav4

Best Luxury Car for Playa Del Carmen

Luxury cars have increased their availability here in Mexico with the growth of the middle and upper class as well as the prosperity of the Mexican Riviera. The presence of all luxury brands is not equal though. Some have yet to gain a foothold in the Mexican market and this influenced our selection of best luxury car to buy here.  Our runners up in the luxury car category are the Mercedes GLK and BMW 3. Our top pick is the  Audi A6.

Audi A6

Best Car for Playa Del Carmen

In the category of passenger car there are many choices based on your budget and style choices. There are a range of cars that are not sold in the United States or Canada. For example if you want a stylish car and want to feel more international, check out the Seat (see-ot) brand of cars. It  is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of the of Volkswagen. Volkswagen has had a large presence in Mexico for years, even making the old style  beetle in Mexico until 2003. So the Seat Ibiza is one of the runners up as well as the Mazda 3. Both cars are popular here and have a good record of quality and availability to be maintained.

Our number one spot goes to the most popular car for taxis. It goes to figure that those that drive for a living know a thing or two about what works here. Not only do they have a good quality history they also have availability of spare parts due to the number of the car here. The interior of the car is amazingly spacious and can seat a family of five comfortably. Truck space is adequate as well. The car is the Nissan Tida or what is also know as the Versa in other markets.

So there you have it. Our picks for best vehicle to buy here. Of course your still going to go on your style and this just serves as a general guide for selecting a new car for Playa Del Carmen.

Seat Ibiza
Seat Ibiza
Mazda 3
Mazda 3
Nissan Tida
Nissan Tida

What have you found to be a good car to have in Mexico? We would love to hear from you in the comment box below.


About The Author


  1. We had a fiat here because it was cute but after so much trouble with it we switched to a Mazada3 those are sweet cars and we lot it. It is a good car to have here in Playa Del Carmen.

  2. We moved to Playa Del Carmen and decided to sell our car because it was too much a hassle to sell an American plated car. We got a Toyota Rav 4 and love it except that we loose it in the parking lots sometimes because there are a lot of white rav 4s.

  3. I see a lot of Nissans, Toyotas and Seat VW products on the road here. All the German luxury cars are imported from other parts of Mexico from people coming here from DF and not using those cars. The main thing is having a good local mechanic that can work on your car because some cars do not have places here in Playa.

  4. I do have an important question. Is it possible to buy a new car here as a tourist on 6 months tourist visa and have it registered in my own name on mexican plates? We do have a rental agreement signed for a condo we live in here and I have heared somewhere that it is possible to do, but only here in Q. Roo Cancun or Playa Del Carmen. Any advice would help me a lot. Thanks.

    • Many people ask this question. Some have done this successfully. Some run into issues after the first year when you need to refile paperwork. Our recommendation is that if you are going to own a car in Mexico and be here for six months and then come again on a tourist visa to “live here” it is best to get a residencial visa. This will help make smooth many things and you will be doing things legally. The system was not designed for tourist to register a car that are leaving although people find loopholes in the system.

  5. Does anyone know of a person we can ‘hire’ to be a car broker for us? looking to find someone who speaks spanish and has a knowledge of mechanics…easy for us to choose a car but want someone with knowledge to have a look at the engine etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.