There are many questions to be asked about Father Christmas. Can his reindeer really fly? How does he get around the world so quickly? How does he avoid getting drunk when people leave so much alcohol out for him? How much does he earn from giving out presents? Does he even exist?
But the question that’s been burning in the Bahnstorm office this week has been about what St Nick drives – apart from his sleigh, obviously. So, with some very tenuous criteria and a dose of festive brandy, we’ve come up with five cars that should be on Santa’s shortlist.
Land Rover Discovery
Price: From £45,895
Pros: Good off-roader, pulls sleighs if reindeer are ill/lost/striking
Cons: Land Rover’s reputation for reliability, expensive
Assuming money’s no object for Mr Claus and his lovely wife, this is probably the do-anything car of their dreams. The new Discovery may have divisive styling, but that’s countered by a sumptuous cabin, bags of off-road capability (Lapland is a difficult place to get around in mid-winter) and plenty of room for carrying elves, presents, sacks, brandy or carrots. It’ll even make a decent job of pulling a sleigh if the reindeer are otherwise engaged, although we aren’t sure it’s great at flying.
Audi TT RS
Price: From £52,100
Pros: Four-wheel drive, very fast
Cons: Only elves fit in the back
When you live in a land that’s almost permanently covered in snow, it’s probably difficult to find many fun cars, but if any sports car can deal with the Arctic Circle’s freezing conditions, it’s the Audi TT RS. It’s a stunning car, this – one that makes the R8 look a bit pointless, if truth be told – and it’s sure to brighten Santa’s day every time he steps inside. There are catches, though, such as the desperate lack of interior space and the minimal ground clearance.
Fiat Fullback Cross
Price: From £32,863 (inc. VAT)
Pros: Great 4×4 capability, big load bed for moving presents around the workshop
Cons: Not much space (inside) for elves, Fiat reliability may be a worry
If Santa needs a workhorse to get around his Arctic homestead, then we can think of few better pick-ups than this. It maybe an expensive version of the Fullback, but it’s one that comes with chunky off-road tyres that will play well on snowy ground, as well as a load-carrying sports bar for strapping larger presents to. Its one-tonne payload makes it perfect for carrying reindeer food, too. The only catch, then, is that other trucks may be better suited to towing the sleigh, as the Fullback’s maximum towing weight lags behind that of rivals.
Volvo V40 Cross Country
Price: From £24,415
Pros: Surprisingly fun to drive, local manufacturer
Cons: Small, dashboard difficult to use while wearing gloves
Should old St Nick be looking for a day-to-day runabout, we think we’ve got just the thing. Built locally – or at least as locally as it gets when you live in Lapland – the V40 Cross Country’s capability on icy roads, premium cabin and relatively modest price tag make it the family hatch of choice for any snowbound Santa. Get it in one of the more powerful petrol guises and it’ll be good fun, but Father Christmas should probably beware of the slight lack of space and the fact that the button-fest dash is a nightmare for anyone in gloves.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain
Price: From £58,880
Pros: Lots of room for elves/Mrs Claus/carting presents around, exceedingly comfortable
Cons: Expensive, pale interiors won’t look great after returning from a chimney
For luxury, comfort, and enough off-road capability to get around when the snow is falling all around, it’s really tough to look beyond the Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain. Most of the time it’s a normal E-Class, with a big boot, marshmallow-soft ride and lots of lovely leather, but if you put it into its off-road mode, it rises up to become a semi-SUV that’s much more competent than you’d expect. Of course, it has rivals in the shape of the Volvo V90 Cross Country and the Audi A6 Allroad, but neither has the panache of the Merc. Or the price tag.