Christmas is nearly upon us, meaning that Little Saint Nick will be readying his reindeer for Christmas Eve’s mammoth round-the-world trip. While we’re sure Santa’s Sleigh is still up to the challenge in 2018, we think that today’s fast cars and high-tech gadgetry could easily get the job done — giving Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen the chance to enjoy a well-earned night-off.
Of course, finding the right car for this legendary trip is no mean feat. Not only will it have to be fast enough to transport Saint Nick around the world in just one night, it’ll need to cope with the most extreme driving conditions, and have plenty of room in the boot for all those presents.
After careful consideration, here are the cars we reckon Santa could use to deliver the world’s gifts this Christmas Eve.
Hennessey Venom F5
Pros: Top speed of 301 mph means Santa would waste limited time getting from one house to another; plus it looks great, maximising Saint Nick’s cool factor.
Cons: Hard ride wouldn’t cope well with some terrain; roof rack required for magical gift sack. The F5’s eye-watering top speed also hasn’t been verified by the boffins at Guinness Book of World Records, so Santa might take some convincing to use this machine over his trusty sleigh.
Santa’s Sleigh is easily the fastest vehicle on Earth, capable of ferrying SC around the world at the speed of light. To have the best chance of getting to every child in just one night, we think the Hennessey Venom F5 is the car for the job. Blasting past the old road car speed record by over 30 mph, the F5’s 300mph+ top speed should mean Santa has no problem getting from town to town in a hurry.
Sadly, the Venom has limited boot space, so Santa’s sack would have to go on top — reducing the car’s aerodynamics and slowing it down. Its quoted top speed is also something of a ballpark figure, so Santa might want to consider other options like the Koenigsegg Agera RS or the Bugatti Chiron, which have confirmed max speeds of 278mph and 261mph respectively.
Jeep Wrangler 3.6 V6 Pentastar Rubicon
Pros: Hardcore 4×4 credentials mean Santa can go off-road to reach remote houses; 276bhp engine provides plenty of up-hill pulling power; automatic gearbox simplifies things for old Saint Nick, letting him focus on his naughty or nice list.
Cons: Limited top speed and boot space; rugged interior could leave Santa with a numb bum come Christmas morning.
Often considered the off-road lover’s dream car; the Jeep Wrangler 3.6 V6 Pentastar Rubicon was recently voted Autocar’s best 4×4 on account of its nothing-stands-in-its-way mentality. The original, and frankly the best, off-roader on the market, the Wrangler is a great fit for Saint Nick thanks to its high floor, massive ground clearance and low-ratio gear performance. Whether crossing the Arctic tundra of the North Pole or the deserts of Nevada, the Wrangler Pentastar will get Santa where he needs to go.
Peugeot 208 1.6 BlueHDi Diesel
Pros: 141.2mpg ensures limited fuel-stops while CO2 emissions of 79g/km mean that Santa can deliver presents without causing harm to the environment; it’s got a decent boot, too.
Cons: Santa might not make it all the way around the world as the BlueHDi isn’t all that fast. It won’t cope well off-road either, so Saint Nick could struggle to get to some secluded houses.
Should Santa care less about speed and more about protecting the planet during his round-the-world dash, the Peugeot 208 1.6-litre BlueHDi Diesel is a good option. This stylish supermini recently set a new miles-per-gallon record of 141.2mpg, making it the UK’s most efficient non-hybrid car. It’s also the nation’s most eco-friendly, releasing just 79g/km of CO2 – we doubt even Santa’s reindeer could perform better than that.
If Saint Nick can get his hands on one, Peugeot also has a limited number of ‘very low fuel consumption’ 208s which are used for eco-driving contests and events. These super-eco models have ultra-low rolling resistance tyres and a new boot spoiler to eke out even more miles-per-gallon – so Santa can get around the world while leaving as small a footprint as possible.
Pros: Can cope with most terrain; great fuel economy for a 4×4; excellent boot space, especially with the rear seats folded flat.
Cons: Stiff suspension could spell disaster for some fragile gifts; the 2018 version doesn’t come with low-ratio gearing, which could mean Santa struggles on particularly rough terrain.
Despite being the Chelsea Tractor of choice for many city-dwelling mums, the Volkswagen Touareg is actually a great off-roader, and is at home on most surfaces. Opt for the diesel version, and Santa will also benefit from outstanding fuel economy and a range of up to 750 miles between fuel stops. The car’s got a huge boot too, so it should be easily big enough for all those gifts.
However, after a recent facelift-cum-makeover, the Touareg no longer comes with low-ratio gearing, with VW taking the decision to axe it after a flop in sales for the hardcore off-road version. This could easily put Santa at a disadvantage on Christmas Eve, with mud, snow and mountains threatening to slow his progress.
As an alternative, the 2018 Land Rover Discovery is the most refined and luxurious model Land Rover has ever developed, and its off-road credentials mean Father Christmas won’t have to worry about calling breakdown services. If Santa’s not happy with the Touareg, we reckon that’s the best option.
Pros: Legendary off-road capabilities; almost indestructible; huge rear space for presents.
Cons: Large turning circle wouldn’t cope well with tight city streets; 148bhp diesel version has to work hard, so emission figures aren’t the best.
As proven many times on the BBC’s Top Gear, the Toyota Hilux is pretty much indestructible — so Santa needn’t worry about reliability. The Hilux is also renowned for its off-road abilities, and is the vehicle of choice for many extreme-driving challenges. What’s more, there’s plenty of space in the back for presents, and its comfortable enough in the cabin for even the longest car journeys. Its size could be a problem though, particularly on tight city streets.
Another downside to the Hilux – well, at least in the UK – is its 148bhp diesel engine. Although it provides plenty of pulling power, you do have to give it plenty of revs, so Santa shouldn’t expect great MPG figures. This isn’t the case with all versions of the Hilux, only the ones permitted in the UK, so we’d recommend that Santa buys one with a slightly more powerful and refined engine if he decides this is the ride for him.
Whichever car Santa picks to deliver his presents this Christmas, he can count on Prestone to keep his car going in the toughest conditions. Prestone products are developed to work in all extremes — even the North Pole. To find out more, visit the Prestone website.