Vacation Classics: Vehicles of Tulum, Mexico

We recently returned from a family vacation in Mexico. While it was not ideal for car spotting I did manage to take a in flavor of the automotive market. My son and I managed to take a wrong turn after exiting the Tulum ruins site which resulted in us almost missing our ride back to the hotel but did allow for significantly more car spotting opportunities than expected.

One of the first vehicles one sees when arriving via an airplane is the large number of buses and passenger vans ferrying tourists to their resorts. This Toyota HiAce van is a very popular choice in the van category.

At least in the Cancun/Riviera Maya area we stayed there were very few older cars with the exception of a handful of air cooled Volkswagen Beetles. These are prized classics in Mexico.

A more typical private vehicle is a small sedan or hatchback like this Volkswagen Polo.

Size wise it looks rather like a Golf from a few generations back.

Pint size SUVs are popular as well.

This is one is a Volkswagen Crossfox. The matching rear mounted spare is a nice touch.

When I think Beat as a model name I immediately think of the Kei class Honda Beat but in Mexico it is the Chevrolet Beat.

This one appears to a brand new one destined to start life as a rental car.

The Cavalier name is gone from the current US/Canada Chevrolet line up but it lives on in Mexico.

A little older is this thinly disguised Opel wearing Chevrolet Corsa badges.

Quite a bit of badge engineering on display as this Dodge Attitude (Mitsubishi Mirage) shows. The previous generation Attitude was a Hyundai.

I was happy to spot a few Nissan Tsurus (B13 Sentra) which are popular as taxis.

I sure wish we could get a genuinely small pickup truck like this Fiat based RAM 700.

This similar in concept Ford looks to capable of handling a decent load.

There was plenty of small displacement two wheeled transportation on display as well. This Suzuki Thunder 125 had vaguely classic Universal Japanese Motorcycle look to it. It is still sporting drum brakes at both ends like my old Honda Nighthawk.

This Italika WS 150 is sold as an all terrain moped with 149.6cc engine and a top speed of 90km/h. Plenty of Mexicans ride these on the highway next to large buses and trucks often two up.

These Mercedes powered buses transport tourists to local theme parks. A more familiar sight lurks behind it.

This late model Dodge had stickers indicating it was on a trip from Argentina to Alaska. The couple’s photos on looked fantastic. I was shocked when my wife indicated some interest in doing a similar trip in a few years.

The Chinese are making inroads into the Mexican market with one example being this BAIC D20 sedan. The styling apes the Mercedes B-class but surprisingly these are based on the Smart Forfour platform instead. The wheels appear a tab undersized from this angle to my eyes.

Another Chinese product is this FAW Jiabao V52 van.

The Ford Figo is a size smaller than we would see in a Canadian or American Ford sedan. The Figo is based off the European European Ford Fiesta hatchback and manufactured by Ford of India. This example is second generation Figo which is globally sold with either a 1.2L gas or 1.5L diesel engine.

Since the world is SUV crazy here is a Ford EcoSport.

While we got a Chevrolet Aveo (Daewoo) rebadged as a Suzuki Swift while Mexico got the real thing.

Not a bad looking little hatchback.

This Ford based amoured vehicle is a little different my local flavor.


A very solid looking Volkswagen van. I did not see any of the later ones with the awkward looking radiator placed up front which were common when the wife and I visited this area almost twenty years ago on our honeymoon.


The massive rear wing along with the large and modern wheels are not to my taste but this Bug looks to be well cared for.

A Mexican hippy van?

A pair of Beetle to close out. I hope you enjoyed a little tour of some of the Mexican automotive landscape.


Related: The CCs of Tulum, Mexico in 2012