Santa's Top Five Cars Dec 21, 2016 by Ian (Driver Weekly)
The sleigh is in the shop, and Santa Claus needs a new ride—fast. He needs a new car that can deliver presents all over the world. He doesn’t want a military vehicle, commercial van, customized explorer, or cars that are no longer available. Santa Claus needs a new car with the right combination of performance, space, and features—so here are out top picks for the North Pole.
Santa needs a car that can handle the ice and snow when he’s heading south on Christmas Eve. But while every car on this list comes with 4WD or AWD, one of them is even better than the competition: the Subaru Outback. Ideal for arctic conditions, this crossover has superior fuel economy, higher ground clearance, raised suspension, and comes with standard all-wheel drive that sends power to all four wheels for enhanced traction on slippery surfaces. It doesn’t hurt that the flat six delivers 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. Subaru has also developed the “X-Mode” that, when engaged, tunes the engine and drivetrain for better braking over snow-packed roads, especially when equipped with winter tires. While it might not have as much cargo capacity (73.3 feet of storage space with the seats folded flat), it will be gliding past the competition when our other options are stuck spinning their wheels in snowdrifts.
Ford Expedition EL 4x4
Santa Claus needs the right combination of cargo capacity and performance, and the Ford Expedition EL 4WD fits the bill. This supersized SUV have room for eight people (that’s over a dozen elves), and when you fold down the seats there are 130.8 cubic feet of room for presents. Santa has the grunt to get around with the 365 horsepower 3.5L EcoBoost V6. The engine also puts out 420 pound-feet of torque, which will help when the man in red hitches up a trailer loaded with loot. When this model is equipped with the heavy-duty trailer package, Santa can load up 9,100 pounds of presents for children around the world. The only problem? All that room comes at the expense of fuel economy, meaning that Santa Claus will lose precious time at the pump. Overall, the Expedition delivers a decent combination of size and power.
Ram 3500 Diesel
If the North Pole wants to deliver the most gifts in a single haul, then the only option is the Ram 3500 Turbodiesel. While it doesn’t have quite as many horses or creature comforts as the competition, the Ram 3500 delivers the best towing capacity. This stubborn reindeer can tow an almost miraculous 31,210 pounds of happiness and joy. Top-of-the-line hauling is guaranteed by the Cummins 6.7L straight-six turbodiesel, with 385 horsepower and 900 pound-feet of torque. The 3500 delivers fuel economy and towing but not speed or handling. For the biggest deliveries, Santa needs the biggest truck—and he’ll need every pound of torque to swing the attached sleigh around the interstate.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Santa is going to deliver gifts all over the world, and the only car that can haul him across snow, mountains, rivers, deserts, and jungles is the Jeep Wrangler. The classic off-roader has stayed true to form for over thirty years. While the man in red appreciated the rugged style and versatility of a Jeep Wrangler, he opted for the Wrangler Unlimited to increase storage space and deliver more goodies in one trip. Each model has 4WD, increased ground clearance, durable suspension, and independent front- and rear-axle locking differentials. The 3.6L Pentastar V6 spits out 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Optimized for rough conditions, Santa can fight through mud, gravel, rocks, and rivers with ease. Rain or snow, the big man can roll down the roof and drive this beast just like his original sleigh.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus run a successful business and want to ride in style without sacrificing safety and capability on snow and ice. That means the final option is the Volvo XC90. Nordic luxury, reserved elegance, leather trimmings, superb craftsmanship—it’s a perfect fit for Santa Claus. It doesn’t hurt that the XC90 has optional AWD and 85.7 cubic feet of cargo space, meaning that the big man can still deliver presents in style. The turbocharged T6 churns out 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. Importantly for Santa Claus, Volvo puts all their cars through the “moose test” and “moose crash test” to ensure they are safe on northern roads. Moose, elk, and Santa’s reindeer can rest easy—as can anyone in the car when an errant reindeer springs out onto the road.
Santa has his work cut out for him, but any of these five cars can help him get the job done with the right combination of size, towing, winter driving, off-roading, and performance.