The Best Gifts for Car Enthusiasts
If your boyfriend’s head is always stuck under the hood of his car, or your mother obsesses over her new convertible, you’ve got a veritable car fanatic on your gift-giving list. But you don’t need to be shopping for a serious auto buff to find the perfect present in this guide. After all, nearly 90 percent of Americans use vehicles to get to work every day—and that’s not even counting your teenage sister who loves to cruise around town on the weekends. Some people even travel across the country and live inside their four-wheeled homes.
From the completely practical (car chargers) to the just plain fun (Italian leather driving shoes), gifts for cars (and their owners) are can be practical or entertaining.
This year, Travel + Leisure is offering its most comprehensive gift guide ever. The goal? Make sure you can find the perfect present for everyone (yes, even your mother-in-law) on your list. Below, our picks for the car fanatic in your life.
Secur Products Six-in-One Car Charger
For the person on your list who more or less lives out of his or her car, consider Secur Products’ new six-in-one charger, which turns the 12-volt power plug into a multi-purpose tool. In addition to charging phones and other devices through a USB outlet (with a removable power bank), the charger contains a high-powered flashlight, a flashing red emergency light, a seatbelt cutter, and a window breaker. Finally, a way to turn that cigarette lighter into something really helpful.
To buy: amazon.com, $29.99
Keep your eyes on the road at all times with Navdy, which has declared itself the first augmented driving device. Instead of staring at a GPS, travelers with Navdy can see maps and information as transparent projections on the windshield. Drivers will be able to control incoming calls and messages, as well as music, with intuitive hand gestures or a special dial clipped to the steering wheel.
To buy: navdy.com, from $799 or $71 per month, for 12 months
Mophie Wireless Ecosystem
Stop fussing with a dozen different charging adapters and cords. With the charge force vent mount, any phone with a wireless Charge Force Mophie case (we recommend giving both) can be magnetically held onto a car’s air vent mount. The vent mount allows you to easily flip between portrait and landscape display—ideal for keeping your eyes on the map, and your hands free.
To buy: amazon.com, from $59.95
Verizon’s new trio of components—an app, speaker, and reader that plugs directly into your car’s onboard diagnostic port—turns most standard passenger cars into high-tech vehicles. Hum will provide regular vehicle diagnostics (think: heads up about potential mechanical problems), roadside assistance, maintenance reminders, and access to a hotline with certified mechanics. While largely used for Bluetooth-enabled hands-free calls, the speaker doubles as a one-button emergency call device.
To buy: hum.com, from $289.99 for two-year subscription
Logi ZeroTouch Dashboard and Air Vent
Get a connected car without dropping tens of thousands of dollars with Logitech ZeroTouch. A voice-command app (currently only available on Android phones) uses natural language processing to provide helpful, hands-free services like voice-to-text messaging, voice-activated calling—even voice-controlled music. ZeroTouch also works navigation services like Waze and Google Maps.
To buy: amazon.com, from $59
Piloti Driving Shoes
These work for the guy on your list who needs a little extra grip on the clutch—or maybe just dreams about driving around the Italian coast in an impossibly expensive roadster. Piloti’s driving shoes are all about performance, but a new luxury line brings the technical details (spherical heel cushions, toe springs) into everyday style. This upscale collection of leathers and suedes is handcrafted in Italy, and features the brand’s iconic tire tread sole.
To buy: piloti.com, from $350
Garmin DriveSmart 70 LMT
Garmin’s smart GPS navigator has a large, seven-inch screen with a pinch-to-zoom display, and also works with your phone for Bluetooth-enabled hands-free calling. Updated alerts can tip you off to red-light cameras and sharp curves. Garmin also works with Foursquare to provide landmark-based tips, like “turn left after the Starbucks.”
To buy: amazon.com, $350
Heat Pipe Fridge
Drivers who use their cars to go on road trips or camping should absolutely have a heat pipe fridge in the back of their RV or truck. The portable refrigerator cools up to 54 degrees below the surrounding temperature, and runs on 12 V DC or 110 V AC.
To buy: brookstone.com, $224
Heated Car Seat
Beloved old cars can get a serious update with this heated seat cushion. Wagan’s velour cover fits most car seats, and provides additional lumbar support. Now, car enthusiasts will even love driving on frigid winter mornings.
To buy: amazon.com, $18
Roof Top Cargo Bag
Give your car lover an extra 15 cubic feet of cargo space with the Keeper Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag. The bag is designed to fit any roof rack, though it works best with four attachment points. Thanks to rubber-laminated nylon, luggage and equipment is well-protected from the elements.
To buy: amazon.com, from $49.99
Trailer Hitch Cradle Chairs
When you’ve finally gotten wherever you’re going, mount this trailer hitch stand with twin Hammaka cradle chairs to the back of your truck or RV. The rugged hammock-style chairs are made of hardwood and UV-protected polyester to withstand every road trip or camping and fishing adventure. There’s even a removable footrest, though why you would want to detach it is beyond us.
To buy: brookstone.com, from $219.99