What kind of car for Delhi. SUV or small car? With driver or selfdrive?

#1 Mar 14th, 2011, 09:59
Join Date:
Feb 2011
  • kuya is offline
Hi friends,

since I am going to move to Delhi soon, I am thinking about the question what kind of car is best suitable for Delhi? Actualy I would like to have a SUV, for example a Toyota Fortuner, a Chevrolet Captiva or a indian Mahindra Scorpio,so I would have at least 7-8 seats and could go out of town with the family.

Since I have never been to Delhi I am not quite sure about the traffic, I mean I read it is chaotic and so on, but that's here too in the Philippines where I live. Wouldn't it make more sense to buy a smaller car, like a VW Polo or a Ford Figo, since they are also pretty cheap?

The question is a bigger car like a SUV not much safer and since they are bigger including build-in priority but still able to get though the Delhi traffic?

Or would it even better to get two cars? Since I also have two motorbikes I would like to bring to Delhi, maybe I am going to work by bike? Or is it much too hot in the summer time to drive with the motorbike and will I be arriving work totally sweated?

So what would you expats and long timers in India recommend me?

And then the second part of my question. Here in the Philippines, most expats do have a driver, but I personally drive by myself since more then 5 years, desptite stress, heavy traffic and chaotis traffic. Therefore I could imagine to drive by myself or would you recommend me also because of the left hand traffic to have a driver?

I know in India you also have the animals on the streets like the cows and so on, but the rickschas we do have similar here in the Philippines, like Jeepneys, Trycycles and Pedicabs, which do not follow any traffic rules, so quite chaotic.

So what you guys think about this, do I need a driver? Also my daughter needs to be brought from the house to the school daily. My wife was selfdriving as well here in Manila but no idea how that would be in India?

And how much do you pay a driver?

Many many thanks for your answer...
#2 Mar 15th, 2011, 10:59
Join Date:
May 2010
Austin, Texas
  • professorm is offline
Kuya ---

The best recommendation that I can offer at this time, decide after kicking the tires of various vehicles when you are in Delhi.

Moreover, I believe, it will become transparent that a driver is sine qua non (indispensable) soon after your arrival in Delhi.

By the way I like Scorpio, but it is very expensive to buy and run.

In this case, experience and decide.
#3 Mar 15th, 2011, 11:51
Join Date:
Sep 2008
Varies, currently in D.C.
  • dillichaat is offline
Or would it even better to get two cars? Since I also have two motorbikes I would like to bring to Delhi, maybe I am going to work by bike? Or is it much too hot in the summer time to drive with the motorbike and will I be arriving work totally sweated?
I ride a motorbike myself, safety-wise it's certainly doable,one adapts to the way the other people drive and after 2 years my personal conclusion is that it's not harder/riskier than in the west, it's just risky in a totally different way. The problem is that you don't want to ride one without wearing at least jeans, closed shoes, a protective mesh jacket with inserts and of course a helmet. I know most people here don't take these precautions but many of them carry the scars to prove it. The problem is that between april and end of june, it really gets awfully hot, certainly in that outfit. When I ride my bike then I really have to force myself to wear protective gear and I can't ride it to meetings etc, would arrive all sweaty. From july-september it's less hot but more humid with sometimes serious rainshowers.

For the car the only thing I can advise you is to come over, rent a couple of models and check them out, then decide. A Scorpio looks good and sturdy but I know a couple of friends who own one and they're not impressed at all. Would rather go for a Ford Endeavour myself. The innova is imho also a mixed bag, it's too big and lumpy for 4 passengers but too small to comfortably accommodate 6. You will need a driver, not just because of the traffic but because of parking problems etc. Check references carefully and in person with previous employers, it's an unfortunate fact that many drivers drink like fish, only it's not water they consume. And of course, fuel scams (always insist on getting electronic receipts, not written ones and check siphoning of fuel) and maintenance scams abound. Good luck!
"It is preferable to have a criminal for a servant rather than a fool because a criminal's actions are predictable and you can protect yourself against them, whereas there is no telling what a fool's next move will be.
#4 Mar 15th, 2011, 11:57
Join Date:
May 2010
  • xaverian is offline
My suggestion, based on how I went about it in Calcutta after 18 years in the Middle east, is :
- Initially, hire a car. Find a car rental agency which will give you a car and driver on a 8 hour/ 80 KM basis, probably cost between Rs 1,000 - 1,500 per day.
- Ask for as many different cars as possible from the rental agency so that you can check them out.
- get test drives on all the cars of your choice.
- make up your mind about how many cars, what cars, whether to drive yourself or not etc after a month.

Riding a motorcycle to work is not practical. It is far too hot or raining for at least half the year.

Best bet is a car that you like to drive, plus a driver.

I recommend an Innova if you want a very comfortable car which is good for upto 7 people and for long trips.

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