Car gifts for petrolheads

Christmas is almost here, and if it’s crept up on you as quickly as it’s jumped upon us, you may now be scrabbling around for last-minute Christmas gifts. But if the person you’re looking to treat is a petrolhead, help is on hand.

Thanks to our suggestions here, plus a subscription to Amazon Prime, your gift-buying headaches may be eased by some of the suggestions here. You can get all of them quickly, and prices start from well under £10 – most importantly, we’ve thought long and hard to come up with things that are both a bit different and hopefully pack a bit of the wow factor.

Let’s go shopping!

1. Magnetic smartphone holder 

Use your smartphone for sat nav? Tired of having your fingers snapped in a spring-loaded smartphone holder? Here’s your answer – a clipless magnetic smartphone holder. Simply stick the magnet on your case, and you can then simply place your device on the air vent holder for it to be held firmly and snugly. Clever magnet design will let you locate it vertically and horizontally, meaning it’s the perfect simple stocking-filler for anyone who both drives and owns a smartphone. Literally millions, then. 

2. USB battery booster

Devices like this are absolutely genius, and little short of unbelievable until you’ve actually used one. We now have, and can confirm they’re, well, absolutely genius. Simply, you recharge them via USB, keep in your glovebox; then, when you suffer a flat battery, simply whip out the tiny device, hook it to your battery, and bingo – an instant jump-start.

OK, they’re probably not quite suitable for really large or really flat batteries, but for most maladies involving left-on lights and other accidental battery-flatteners, they’re brilliant. 

3. The Grand Tour book

The boys are back for a second series, so follow time-honoured tradition and give your favourite petrolheads the book of the first series so they can recap. As with all titles penned by Richard Porter, the reviews on Amazon suggest it’s a very good, very funny read.

And if you want to catch up on all the cars so far in the latest series of The Grand Tour, let us be your guide… it’s the perfect excuse to line up a bit of festive TGT viewing as well, of course. 

4. Reversing camera

Modern cars often have reversing cameras. Older cars do not. Give someone the gift of full-colour eyes in the back of their head with this. Wireless technology means it’s simple enough to fit, so they’re not likely to leave it on a shelf gathering dust, and will almost certainly quickly become invaluable.

This one even has coolour-coded guide lines, just like fancy systems from modern BMWs and Mercedes-Benz. Once you’ve used a reversing camera, it’s very hard to then go without one. 

5. TomTom Curfer

TomTom undersells the Curfer to petrolheads. It’s billed as a behavioural analysis tool, to help you become a smoother, more efficient driver. But we have one on trial, and actually think it’s a must-have because of the advanced car data it lets you view – such as oil temperature and precise engine revs – and the fact it serves as a car location device so you can find your vehicle again after parking up.

It’s very clever, will pull up data from the OBD (on-board diagnostics) socket for multiple cars, and is a bit of a steal at £59.

6. LEGO Porsche

Lose the one you love for the entire week of Christmas by giving them a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Not a real GT3 RS, of course – few are that rich. No, a LEGO Porsche, which they can have great satisfaction in building while eating mince pies and leftover turkey.

Just be sure to keep the box as this thing’s almost a dead cert for future collectability status. Again, not unlike the real thing (although you perhaps won’t be commanding multiples of six figures for this…). 

7. TomTom Start 52

As of this December, using a sat nav is part of the driving test. And the officially-approved device used by learner drivers is? The TomTom Start 52 – so why not give the wannabe new driver in your life a head start by gifting them the very same sat nav device they’ll be using in their driving test so they can get used to it?

It’s ideal for when they do pass their test too, and head out on their first forays on their own before remembering there’s nobody sat next to them giving directions…

8. Intelligent car kettle

Car kettles have traditionally been a bit rubbish. They take eons to boils and are about as practical as, well, having a real kettle in your car. But if you like hot drinks yet hate queuing and paying a small fortune, here’s one that could actually work. It’s also well-shaped and easy to store, won’t leak everywhere and even comes with its own clever cupholder if you want to boil on the go so it’s ready for when you stop.

Pack the glovebox with Pot Noodles and you need never go hungry even if you’re stranded in the inevitable winter snowmagedden, either. 

9. Boot tidy

It sounds a bit boring but if you’re any sort of petrolhead, the sound of stuff rattling around in the boot as you go for another enthusiastic drive across the Evo Triangle is stupendously infuriating. A boot tidy, lashed down using the hooks in your load bay, will thus make the world of difference.

This clever bit of kit can even be a front seat tidy if you’re a person on the move with lots of stuff.

10. Autoglym Rapid Detailer

We did a car cleaning masterclass with Autoglym a few years back. The most-used product by the experts there was Rapid Detailer. You can use it on anything: bodywork, interior, tyres, glass, headlights, alloy wheels, you name it. OK, perhapst they would have the biggest thumbs up for one of their own products, but we were still struck by just what a handy piece of their car cleaning toolkit it was.

A multi-use product that when you’ve used once, you’ll never stop using. Go on, introduce someone to it.

11. Tile key finder

If you’re like us, you’ll lose your car keys before every single trip. In the era of car key theft, it’s harder than ever to find them: drop them in a secure place the night before and, the next morning, can you remember where they are?

This genius little device is your salvation: via smartphone, you can instruct it to sound a locating bleep… and, for when you lose your smartphone, a button on the Tile will help you locate that. Just don’t lose them both, now…

12. Tyre compressor

Air used to be free at filling stations. Then garages started charging 10p, 20p, 50p. These days, it’s as much as £1 to put air in your tyre. Even if you only check them once a fortnight, this air compressor will pay itself back in a year – and if it’s a gift, it will be one that keeps on giving.

You can even preset your favoured pressure and it will auto-inflate to it. Just like those expensive filling station ones.