Every once in a while, we all fall foul of car trouble. No matter who you are, or what you do, one day you’ll find yourself stranded on the hard shoulder of the A361 staring at your sorry looking vehicle as cars whizz past you, their drivers rolling their eyes and tutting in your general direction. You’ll know there and then that it is time to buy a new car… but what to buy? We all have different needs from our cars. Some of us simply need a way to get from A to B, but others have a much more complicated situation to overcome…
“Ho, ho, ho…lly and the ivy, what happened to the sleigh?” Santa stared in disbelief at the collapsed contraption.
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!,” he called. “On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Dunder and Blixem!”
The reindeer amassed around the broken sleigh. “This is worse than that time I got stuck up the chimney,” huffed Santa, his nose twitching at the thought. “What are we going to do?”
However, magical though the core herd of reindeer might be, it is not known for coming up with plans on the hoof. For that they need the problem-solver of the group, and so it was that Rudolph emerged from the corner of the workshop to set about securing his place in history. Again. With his shiny red nose the unwitting hero pushed a smartphone into Santa’s hand.
“Thank you Roo,” he said, “but I’m afraid now is not the time for Elf Yourself.”
Rudolph shook his head and gestured again towards the screen. Santa squinted, adjusting his spectacles. “CarGurus,” he read aloud. “Interesting”.
So it was that as if by the magic of Christmas (and some proprietary algorithms) Santa soon had a list of great deals from top-rated dealers at his fingertips, and within no time at all had narrowed his search for a replacement sleigh to the following six options, based on what he considered to be the most essential attributes for his next vehicle.
It is never explained how Santa manages to cram so many presents into a sleigh, let alone how they stay dry in all that snow. What you can be sure of though is that as one of the biggest estate cars on sale the Mercedes-Benz E-Class will make a suitable replacement. With the rear seats folded there’s more than 1,800 litres of space, which is easily enough to ensure the girls and boys get all their toys.
Estimates from The Telegraph put Santa’s annual Christmas Eve journey at 510,000,000km in total, so the last thing he wants is to be uncomfortable between deliveries. With that in mind what’s required is something luxurious, allowing him to bathe in quality craftsmanship and at the same time be shielded from the excitement of the world outside. A Bentley Mulsanne fits the bill in every single way.
Aside from the odd jingle of bells or inevitably indiscreet releasing of gas, Santa’s entourage is known for making discreet yet rapid progress. The kind, indeed, that’s permitted by the all-electric Tesla Model S. That it is also available with all-wheel drive for inclement conditions and can even be put into Autopilot mode for those long stints between continents all add to its credibility as potential sleigh-replacement material.
With an astronomical annual mileage and the possibility of business use to consider, Santa is going to want to keep insurance costs to a minimum by opting for a car that sits in a low insurance group. Bearing in mind he’ll also need all-wheel drive for those parts of the world that are trickier to access, a Fiat Panda 4×4 is a fine choice.
It is possible the lack of a roof on Santa’s customary mode of transport is a result of some kind of otherwise undiscovered aerodynamic advantage of such a layout. But more likely it just makes it easier to hop in and out for chimney-based excursions. It follows that having a car with a retractable roof could be a real boon – with its quattro four-wheel-drive system the Audi A5 Cabriolet makes for a strong contender here.
Despite dishing out some of the most sought-after – and often expensive – toys on the market, Santa himself comes across as a humble kind of chap. He recycles the same outfit on a yearly basis and, December aside, tends to keep himself to himself. All of which might make you question if some of our replacement sleigh suggestions so far have been a touch on the flashy side. Not so the Dacia Duster, which couldn’t be less ostentatious if it tried.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
Much as we believe in the power of CarGurus, the truth is there’s only one vehicle that could ever make the cut. And so while Santa was busy researching the advantages of Instant Market Value and admiring the new levels of transparency it brings to searching for a used car, it once again fell to Rudolph to save the day by designing something that meets every one of his requirements.
Santa gasped in amazement at the result. “It’s everything I wished for,” he beamed. “Spacious, Luxurious, Extremely quiet, Insurable and it has Great access for a Humble man such as me.”
He called it the S.L.E.I.G.H.
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