Does anyone have a recommendation for the type of car that is ideal (or at least the best option available) for Belize for local mechanical service, gas consumption, and comfort?
Toyota HiLux diesel 4WD crew cab pickup. Or a Toyota Prado turbodiesel 4WD SUV if you had a lot of money.
The reason to get a diesel instead of gas is that in addition to the longer life of the diesel engine, diesel costs one-third less than gas in Belize. A big savings over the course of a vehicle's life.
The HiLux crew cab diesel 4WD has been proven all over the world (except for some reason in the U.S.) More than 13 million HiLux pickups have been sold worldwide. The last major redesign was in 2004, so it's a modern vehicle but not too new. Many run 500,000+ km in third world conditions, with minimal maintenance.
Our first trip to Belize, we spent about $1300 US to rent a car for three weeks. On our next trip a friend found us a 1990 Isuzu trooper, with 270,000 miles on it. Cost was $1500us. Well, she's still running like a "Trooper." Parts are fairly easy to find as Troopers are everywhere. It may not be the prettiest car on the road, but it's great to drive and hauls what we've needed so far. Hope when we finally make the move we'll either take our diesel truck down or find one in Cayo.