If Santa Had A Daily Driver…

Santa’s sleigh is basically his once a year, garage-parked, dream car. So we can easily assume then, that Santa (spoiler alert) if he were real, would need a daily driver. A car that he drives to and from his favorite organic coffee shop that serves the cookies and milk that he loves so much, and to the gym. Santa stays fit in the offseason. 
To narrow the car search for this jolly fellow, we’re going to consider a few criteria:
  1. It must cost less than $200,000. He gives away toys for a living so he’s rich, but not THAT rich.
  2. It has to have at least five seats, because elves.
  3. It needs to be All Wheel Drive. The commute to and from the North Pole can get a little dicey around the holidays.
  4. It must be 300 horsepower or above. 

With these five criteria in place, we can set to work perusing the current lineup of each manufacturer to create a shortlist of cars for Santa.

Applying the first criterion rules out a number of dramatic but impractical options. Cars like the Brabus G63 6×6, the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso, a Lamborghini Urus, and the Rolls Royce Phantom are all out of Santa’s reach. Can you really see Santa in a six-wheel monster anyway?
The five-seat requirement means that options like a Miata, an entry-level 911, a Corvette C8, or the new GT500 are also a no go. Contemplating this purely made up criterion has us realizing that Santa probably needs a bit of, err…stomach room in addition to the five seats. Practically then, hot hatches are too cramped. As, if we’re being honest, are the current generation of small crossover vehicles. They provide AWD stability and a higher view of the road, but don’t add much space. The subcompact and compact offerings from each automaker are also just too much of a squeeze for Santa each day – the gym hasn’t been THAT effective. 
When searching through to find the best cars out there that offer AWD, two automakers come to mind. Audi and Subaru. Audi’s Quattro system and Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD bring with them a certain off-road pedigree. As the owner of a Subaru, this author is trying really hard to remain unbiased – but a Forester seems like a really great idea. Apart from these two, other automakers offers a few SUVs and top of the line sedans with AWD, though many of them are far too vanilla for Santa’s refined cookies and milk taste. It’s a daily, not a mind-numbing commuting machine. 
Now to the topic of horsepower. Santa is used to eight reindeer (nine if it’s foggy) powering his sleigh. Quick research shows us that other engineering types on the internet have come up with equations to calculate the ratio of reindeer power to horsepower. However, as a coworker reading over my shoulder pointed out, “These are Santa’s reindeer. They’re magic.” This launched us into a conversation about how in every movie, the reindeer appear to have instantaneous torque available. Think Tesla-like power available at all times but with unlimited range (foreshadowing?). On the other hand, there are moments in these same movies that reindeer appear to struggle; so they’re not equipped with unlimited power. More internet research led to the discovery that reindeer are 60% as powerful as horses. However, we decided that the Magical Factor* multiplies that by 200%, meaning that each reindeer contributes about 120 horsepower. With eight reindeer each contributing about 120 horsepower (Comet a bit more, Dasher a bit less) Santa’s sleigh is a 960 horsepower beast. 
*Magical Factor is not based on any logic or science.
This image shows a reindeer, like Santas.
Three hundred horsepower, then, sounds about right for our main man. It’s about a third of what he gets in the sleigh, but still gives ample acceleration. This rules out a large number of car models from our search. The AWD cars that stuck around have largely been eliminated, gone also are a majority of the run of the mill SUVs. Performance editions of many of these cars stick around and super-SUVs are still a natural contender. Truthfully, we thought that by this point we would be left with one vehicle that screamed Santa. Instead, we are left with a number of directions that we could go, each advantageous for Santa in its own unique way. 
With all of this criteria in place, here are five Daily Drivers that Santa could get behind the wheel of in his off-season:
  1. The Ford Explorer ST. It makes it with 400 HP, but has lots of room, looks great, and is supposed to be a pretty great one to drive. It draws from the Focus and Fiesta ST; both great cars.
  1. A BMW M5. Yes, it’s controversial because the new M5 strayed from a tried and true formula. However, if Santa wants to have fun going to and from the North Pole, he can’t find a better option. 
  2. The Kia Stinger GT. It still sits in a very niche category (with the Panamera, Audi A7, and another few I’m forgetting) but then again, Santa’s a pretty niche guy. The Kia Stinger GT continues to defy the odds with the circles it wants to hang in. 

  3.  A Subaru Impreza STI. Does it squeak in with the amount of driver space that Santa has? Of course. Does it deliver in terms of fun and versatility? Absolutely. Now it’s just a matter of whether Mrs. Claus will put up with driving stick.

  4. The XSE V-6 Toyota Camry. Yup, I said it. Maybe at the end of the day, with all the criteria in mind, Santa just wants to go simple – and it doesn’t get much more simple than a Camry. The new ones look great, have just enough HP to make Santa happy. It also now comes with AWD. 
So what is Santa’s perfect daily? For me, it is the Kia Stinger GT. Santa just seems like the guy who needs a bit of extra space to feel important while he carries his passengers. The Kia doesn’t just match the large European sedans in terms of space, it also matches their style. The Stinger GT exudes class, both inside and out. Most importantly though, it is far from vanilla – it’s distinguished look just barely manages to hide how much fun of a car it is. The 365 HP isn’t massive, but it gets down in the right places and to the right wheels as needed. Santa will be satisfied all 364 days of the year when he’s driving it. 
That’s my opinion – undoubtedly you have formed your own. Do you agree? Or, is there a different car that you think is that much better for Santa to daily?
No matter what your opinion is, we can all agree that we hope Santa leaves a Supercar Xperience under the tree this year.