Struggling to buy your petrolhead friend, lover, parent, sibling [delete as appropriate] a gift for Christmas 2017? No sweat. Here’s our guide to the best Christmas gifts for people who really love things with wheels and an engine.
Christmas shopping can be a painful experience at the best of times. While we cannot help you with baking related presents, nor do we know much about gardening, we can at least make life easier if the recipient is a self-confessed petrolhead.
Thrustmaster TS-XW Racer Sparco P310
Short of buying an actual car or one of those driving experience days, a decent steering wheel will be as close as it gets to the real thing for many petrolheads. Thrustmaster’s TS-XW (for PC and Xbox) is one of the best offerings, with strong levels of feedback – thanks to 40w motors that can make it feel like you are wrestling with a bear – Sparco build quality, adjustability and comfort being some of the highlights. Best served with Project Cars 2 for the full simulation experience.
£549.99 | Box.co.uk
Want to prove your driving prowess? The TomTom Curfer is for you. This handy gadget monitors how efficient you are when it comes to acceleration, braking, cornering and idling and then recommends how you could improve after each journey. You can then share your results online via social media or make use of more useful readings such as like battery voltage, coolant temperature and air pressure. All you need to do is connect the TomTom Link 100 dongle to your car’s OBD port, install the iOS or Android app and away you go.
£59.99 | Amazon.co.uk
Roidmi 2S Music Bluetooth car charger
The Roidmi 2S charger is perfect for device hoarders as it includes two USB ports, allowing you to charge two devices simultaneously at twice the speed of a conventional alternative. You can also hook up to the Roidmi app for streaming music over using Bluetooth and your car’s in-built speakers. The project is currently being funded on Indiegogo and has smashed its target goal of US$10,000 by 1,030 per cent so get in quick.
US$39 | Indigogo.com
TomTom Go 510
Getting lost can be infuriating. So avoid unnecessary carguments (or at least, hinder them) with the TomTom 510 Go satnav. It comes with worldwide maps so you can go abroad and avoid taking the wrong road and you can update said maps on a quarterly basis for free to keep them fresh. Speed camera alerts are included, too, so you have a better chance of avoiding a speeding ticket, while the five-inch touchscreen display makes it easy to see. A ‘Click & Go’ mount for the car is included in the box.
£159.95 | Amazon.co.uk
Lego Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Be honest, even the most sensible adult would find pleasure in assembling all 2,704 piece of the Lava Orange Porsche 911 GT3 RS. At 570mm long, 270mm wide and 170mm tall, the Technic model is one-eighth of the real car and 656 times cheaper, but at £250 it will still knock the wallet hard. Luckily it has absurd attention to detail, including a fully-functioning double-clutch gearbox, that helps justify the cost. Not a fan of Porsche? Here are some more Lego-based alternatives.
£259.99 | Lego.com
Karcher Window Vac WV5 Premium
A mix of white vinegar and water makes glass and windows sparkle, but there is a way to avoid smelling like fish and chips. The Karcher Window Vac sucks up the water to avoid leaving unsightly streaks. Meanwhile three LEDs let you know how long before you need to rejuice the rechargable lithium ion battery. As for noise, the the Window Vac is 10 per cent quieter than the previous model and it is easy to empty the dirty water when you’re done.
£102.00 | Amazon.co.uk
Steve McQueen in Le Mans
In a world of technology, a good book is still unbeatable. But for those who have little time or are shorter in the tooth, the Steve McQueen in Le Mans graphic novel – three years in the making – by Sandro Garbo would make a fine gift. It is based on the classic 1971 Le Mans movie of the 1970 race and features page after page of lovingly drawn scenes that help push the narrative toward the chequered flag. No, you’re not having our copy.
£28 | Garbo-studio.co.uk
Belkin Car Power Valet
Want to charge your ‘iDevices’ without frying them? In steps the rather pricey but sturdy Car Power Valet. It is available with one or two USB ports and plugs into a 12v socket to charges the iPhone 5 onward, iPad 4th gen onward and iPods 4th gen onward at their optimum rate. As for surviving general wear and tear, expect the aluminium casing, braided cable and leather case to do a good job.
£69.99 (£89.99 for dual version) | Belkin.com
Thinkware X550 Dash Cam
Covering yourself in the event of an accident makes a lot more sense now that the roads are so busy. One way to do so is by using Thinkware’s X550, which records journeys in video at full HD 1080p quality for as long as the memory card lasts, with Super Night Vision ensuring it works at night. A hard-wired installation is required for a portion of the X550’s functionality, including lane departure warning, but any DIY-proficient dad should be able to handle it.
From £187.00 (32GB) | Amazon.co.uk
Project Cars: Game of the Year Edition
A good racing game usually goes down a treat for petrolheads and one of the better options is Project Cars, complete with a roster of 125 cars (Pagani Huayra BC, anyone?), realistic physics and the ‘Green Hell’ that is the Nurburgring. The Game of the Year edition features more content than the original so you get more for your money, not that it matters too much when you consider how much actual motorsport racing costs.
£21.99 (Xbox One) | Zavvi.com
Karcher K5 Premium
For cleaning a car, a power washer makes life so much easier, not to mention quicker. The Karcher K5 Premium Full Control Home Pressure Washer is one of the better options and has ample power to remove mud, brake dust and everything else attached to your car. An LED display on the trigger shows you the pressure the water is being leaving the hose at out, while a hose reel keeps the eight-metre hose nice and tidy.
£253.33 | Amazon.co.uk
Tech Dopp Kit 2
It can be easy to forget the essentials when off on a trip if you have lots of gadgets and gizmos, which is why American travel kit purveyor This Is Ground has created sequel to its excellent leather organiser that lets you carry all your cables and other gubbins in neat fashion. The Tech Dopp Kit 2 may not be cheap, but it would be a stylish addition to any travel suitcase and one that will stand the test of time.
£199.00 | Bearandbear.com
Lego Caterham 620R
The Lego Caterham 620R may be less complicated than the Porsche 911 mentioned earlier, but it is just as fun to build and looks great when finished. All 773 pieces take a surprisingly long time to assemble and the end result features a bonnet you can open to view the engine proper rubber wheels, bright yellow paintjob and cute round headlights. Four axle stands, which fit nicely in the boot, are also included in case you need to make any ‘repairs’.
£74.99 | Lego.com
Dyson V8 Absolute vacuum cleaner
Those brightly coloured vacuums with a face are hardy, but cleaning cars and the stairs can be a pain due to the weight. This is where the bag-less Dyson V8 Absolute steps in because it offers strong suction in a compact format. It will work for up to 40 minutes between charges, depending on the mode you use, which should be enough to blitz the car seats and floor. At 2.61kg in weight, there is no need for the arm strength of Lennox Lewis to use it. Meanwhile dust space is 0.54 litres and the storage area can be easily emptied. The Dyson V8 Absolute sucks, then, but in a good way.
£519.99 | Johnlewis.com
Meccano Ferrari LaFerrari
The Ferrari TheFerrari, as Top Gear calls it, is part of the ‘Holy Trinity‘, which is the name for three of the world’s most insane hypercars (the others being the Porsche 918 Spyder and the McLaren P1). Most of us will never earn enough to buy a LaFerrari, let alone get on the list so you can actually buy one, but you could relive part of the dream as you assemble 772 pieces of the Meccano toy instead. It is made from actual metal parts and comes with the tools to put all them together. Once done, you can enjoy actual flip-up doors and coilover suspension – but sadly not the roar of a 6.3-litre V12.
£57.69 | Amazon.co.uk
ioDB2 Engine Data Reader
Lack a telepathic understanding of what your engine is doing? Fear not. One way to spark up a proper human-vehicle dialogue is with the iobd2, which lets you turn your smartphone into an engine data reader that tells you exactly what your car is up to at any given time. It connects to the OBD2 port at the bottom of your dashboard and then to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The app then lets you run acceleration and deceleration tests to see how fast your car is, diagnose and clear fault codes and read all sensors connected to the engine’s primary computer. Neat, eh?
Price depends on model | iOBD2.org
Never drink and drive, even if it is the next day, folks. But if you really have to, a portable breathalyzer such as the AlcoSense Excel will let you know if you are safe or not from a legal perspective (or help convince a relation they should get a taxi). The handheld gadget requires you to blow into it and then it will display the outcome through a colour screen. Unlike most alternatives, the AlcoSense Excel uses a smaller version of the sensor the police use so it should be accurate, especially as it reminds you about recalibrating to ensure it remains accurate.
£99.99 | AlcoSense.co.uk
Huawei Three RoadFi
Forget passengers badgering you every five seconds if you are nearly there yet, the Huawei Three RoadFi provides your car with a WiFi signal so all passengers can browse the web, stream videos and look up navigation directions if you get hopelessly lost. Up to ten devices can connect at once so seven-seaters will be no problem. Unless everyone has two devices, of course. Other options for in-car WiFi can be found here.
From £10 a month | Three.co.uk
Razor Crazy Cart
You didn’t think electric ride-on cars were just for kids, did you? If so, you clearly haven’t seen the Razor Crazy Cart. This odd little contraption lets you drive, drift and donut like a pro – all in the convenience of your own living room. Or the street – if you’re brave enough. What’s more, you don’t even need any skill. The drift system – that’s the little handbrake-looking contraption – lets you vary the rear caster angle so you can kick the tail out to your heart’s content. Glorious and now cheaper fun.
£149.96 | Amazon.co.uk
Gtech Multi handheld vacuum cleaner
Want a little vacuum with oodles of suction power for keeping your four-wheeled pride and joy clean? The Gtech Multi is another great option. It can last up to 20 minutes on one charge so there is no need to plug it in, while the lightweight design makes it easy to carry. A 36cm extension tube helps it reach places your arms can’t and, for even greater ease of use, you can buy a Car Kit for an extra £49.95, which includes a soft dusting brush for the dashboard, flexible crevice tool for awkward areas and a small upholstery tool for cleaning your seats. Take that, dog hair.
£149.99 | Gtech.co.uk
Winnergear Montar Universal Car Mount
The best in-car gadget by far is your mobile phone – hands-down. But to make the most of it you’ll need to ensure it’s safetly mounted, and there are few better ways to do that than with a Winnergear Montar Universal Car Mount. Sure, there are tons of smartphone mounts available, but the Montar UCM has several key benefits, most notably its size – it will accept just about any phablet up to six inches in size including the enormous iPhone 6 Plus. Its super-sticky suction cup will mount to both your windshield or dashboard and it has a rotating grip, which lets you position your device in landscape and portrait modes. A truly awesome mount, make no mistake.
US$29.99 | Winnergear.com
Cobra JumPack 8000
Being stranded because of a flat car battery is a miserable experience, especially around the festive period. Luckily there is a solution that negates the need to find another car and hook up jump leads called the Cobra JumPack CPP 8000. The box of power has enough juice to kick-start a car or motorbike battery multiple times and fits in in most glove compartments with ease. Not only that, it can quickly charge up a smartphone or any other electronic device with a USB connection – in case you need to phone for assistance – and has an in-built LED light with a strobe and SOS function for those worst case scenarios.
£57.54 | Amazon.co.uk