When you wish upon Astra...
If you've got a car fanatic in your life, the perfect Christmas present you could get them this year would be a really nice car... Unfortunately, most wallets won't stretch that far, so techradar has put together a list of slightly more affordable gifts for your favourite petrolhead.
This guide includes toys, tech and merchandise that ranges from the quirky and the practical to the utterly ridiculous. Whether your loved one enjoys working on cars, playing with cars, or building (LEGO) cars, these are the perfect gifts to consider.
Garmin Nuvicam satnav
This top multitasker is probably the best satnav to leave unsightly rings on your windscreen with. Alongside Garmin's best-in-class maps and navigation there's an in-built dashcam which continually records the road ahead for lane-surfing twerps, and which will save the unfortunate action automatically in the event of a crunch, or a video snapshot at the prod of a button if you're saving lane-surfing twerps for future YouTube compilations. Voice control is still sketchy and Bluetooth support can tend towards the flaky, but the winning combo at a decent price means this is still the year's best satnav.
Xbox One Forza Motorsport 6 bundle
It's been rightly criticised for being a bit clinical – essentially the Harley Street dentist of the racing sim world – but there's no more exhaustive motorsport game out there than Forza, and the look and feel are more next-gen than an Apple Store on the International Space Station. This Forza Motorsport 6 bundle features a bespoke Xbox One and controller given a custom lick of paint, full game download, Tenth Anniversary Car Pack, custom automotive sound effects and a 1TB tummy of memory (you'll need it – our 500GB filled up in a few short months). Plus, with a now non-crap UI, and Christmas exclusives including Halo 5 Guardians and the new Tomb Raider, and with 2016 seeing the likes of Crackdown and Quantum Break, now might well be the time to take the plunge into Microsoft's next-gen world.
Haynes Combustion Engine Model
Pretend you're an actual, real-life mechanic by constructing a pretend combustion engine almost exactly like those people you hand your car over to when it does a bad-smoky thing might do. Consisting of over 100 parts to assemble, and featuring ignition sound and illuminating spark plugs, it includes, handily, a proper Haynes manual to help you screw it all together in your garage, while whistling The Great Escape theme… or maybe in the comfort of your Minions onesie, in your study.
Scalextric James Bond Spectre set
Officially licensed slot-car racing based, presumably rather expensively, on our pouting British rollneck fan. So in the box you'll find the Bond-only Aston Martin DB10 and Jaguar C-X75, with a figure-of-eight track including leap ramps, side swipes, a 90-degree crossover and a bordered 180-degree curve. Then set your nephew and/or niece scurrying off to collect the bloody cars when they continually spin off track.
Let's Race F1 driving experience
You (or even better, you and nine chums) can park your lardy bums in the tubs of the most realistic F1 experience available to Earth's non-Hamiltons. Based in Horley, Surrey, the race room has over a sweet million quid's-worth of simulators based on F1 cars. Pairing high-definition simulation tech with physical chassis that throw you around up to two metres in every direction to simulate high-G braking and accelerating, all the cars are networked for 10s-up races across the entire season of F1 tracks. We've tried it. It's aces.
UK: From £22 at Letsrace.co.uk. In the US Simcentertampabay.com lets you put the virtual pedal to the metal, with prices starting at $40. In Australia, Victoria-based Motionators offers a similar experience from AU$69.
Halfords 200-Piece Socket and Ratchet Spanner Set
If you can't find a wrench here to fit every sticky-out bit on your car we'll eat the whole set, basically.
Lego Ferrari F40
One of the most legendary, boxy supercars recreated in tiny, Danish blocks. Just 1,158 bricks and a squint at instructions that make string theory seem a breeze will get you a hinged and vented rear hatch, a detailed twin-turbocharged, 90 degree V8 engine with quick-release function, opening doors and hood with luggage compartment and tools, pop-up headlights, cabled door handles, windscreen element with printed A-pillars, steering wheel with Ferrari logo, two red racing seats and custom-made, moulded rim inserts. In short: plastic man brick heaven.
This suspiciously effective sliver of silicone slaps onto your dashboard and then, via the wonders of science, holds fast anything you place on it – sunglasses, mobile phones… erm, something other than those things that you might have in your car. Okay, it's basically for mobile phones and/or sunglasses. But it's still strangely awesome. Disclaimer: this is not a drinks holder, so don't even think about trying to stick your mug of coffee to it.
Dent leather driving gloves
Alan Partridge has done his wonky-faced best to resign these to the cultural wheely bin, but then in 2011 Ryan Gosling's unchatty, psycho getaway driver in director Nicolas Winding Refn's cult movie Drive rescued driving gloves from A-ha! obscurity. We'd go for Dent's utter, stick-on classics cut from hair sheep leather and featuring subtle red piping and knuckle vents – you'll look boss in these as you painstakingly park your Astra in the Asda car park. Get them snug – they'll stretch to just the right size. They're also unlined, for that reason. PS: Bond wears them – in exchange for some marketing dosh, most likely.
US: $76 from Selfridges
Porsche office chair RS
This is official Porsche merchandise – it's the same sports seat that Porsche has a robot place carefully in their current 911 Carrera, only for your office. With wheely castors and some arm rests bolted on. So the leather is sumptuous, there's a middle section of Alcantara, the Porsche crest is stitched into the head section, it's stitched with contrasting red details and it features an electrical backrest powered by a rechargeable battery. If you don't zoom yourself around the office, making flat-six engine sounds, you are dead inside. Plus, there's a hook for your jacket, like company cars used to have. Just don't look at the price. WE SAID DON'T LOOK!