Got a few car enthusiasts on your holiday shopping list? From inexpensive doodads to gifts that will most certainly break your bank account, we have a few cars and car-related items that will surely jazz those loved ones who claim to have gasoline running through their veins.


Go to Consumer Reports' 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more. Be sure to check our Daily Gift Guide, and sign up to get an e-newsletter with top picks, trusted product reviews, and the latest news from CR.
 

SiriusXM Radio Subscription

A satellite radion subscription is among the ideal Gifts for Car Lovers

For about $11 per month, the music fan on your holiday list can stream more than 80 channels of country, rock, hip-hop, classical, or pop. Or for around $16 per month, you get 140-plus channels, including news, sports, and comedy. A subscription allows you to listen in your car, at home, in the office on your computer, or via smartphone and tablet. For some of us, satellite radio is an essential road-trip companion.

Learn more about car infotainment.


Jump Starter Battery Pack

Jump Starter Battery Pack

Is there a car person in your life who always seems to need a jump start to get their car going? Well, if you’re tired of dragging out your jumper cables, you can buy micro-sized battery packs (most only weigh a pound and are roughly the size of a paperback novel). They’re powerful enough to get your motor running and can also be used to recharge portable devices, such as mobile phones and tablets—a function that makes them a useful part of a home emergency kit as well. All the units we tested had at least one built-in USB port, as well as a flashlight, and some had connectors to charge certain types of laptops. We tested 10 units that had an average price of about $90.

See our jump starter buying guide and ratings.


Driving School

Perhaps you know of a budding wannabe race car driver or you want to give a new driver some top-notch car-control training; there are a number of high-performance driving schools that will do the job. Often held at racetracks around the country, there’s something for everyone—from off-roading and karting to open-wheel racing and even a NASCAR experience. One-day events start around $600, but a high-speed ride-along can be had for $109. Check the links for specific pricing and locations, and search online for schools based in your region. It is worth noting that there are some special discounts available for the holidays.
• Skip Barber
• Richard Petty Driving Experience
• Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving


Performance Tires

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ tire

Suppose your holiday honey already has the car of his or her dreams but has been craving more performance. One way to achieve this with your current ride is to upgrade to performance tires. One extra-special indulgence is the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+, our highest-rated ultra-high-performance all-season tire. It excels in dry braking, dry handling, and wet handling. Pricing starts around $152 per tire (but might vary by retailer and by size). No matter what kind of tires you need, our ratings can guide you to the best performance and long-lasting choices.  

See our tire buying guide and ratings.


A New Car

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda modernized the classic roadster concept with the original Miata. Lighter and shorter than the diminutive original, the fourth generation remains true to the formula. Although 155 hp from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder doesn’t sound impressive, the Miata quickly scoots along while returning a miserly 34 mpg overall. Shifting the delightfully accurate six-speed manual shifter is a joy; we’d skip the optional automatic, though it works fine. Quick and precise steering delivers sublime backroad handling, but high levels of noise, thin and unsupportive seats, and a stiff ride all grow fatiguing during highway travel. Cabin space is snug, and the optional dial-controlled infotainment system takes time to master. Flipping open the convertible top is a breeze.

See our complete Mazda MX-5 Miata road test and ratings.

Ford Fusion

The Fusion is a delight to drive, with a supple ride and handling rivaling that of a European sports sedan. All trim levels and powertrains feel solid and upscale, with a well-finished and quiet cabin, and comfortable seats. But the rear seat is somewhat snug. Both the 1.5- and 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinders are powerful enough, but neither has competitive fuel economy. A new high-end version, the Sport, is equipped with all-wheel drive and a 325-hp, 2.7-liter V6. It is quick, comfortable, and quiet. Though not inexpensive, this ultimate version is quite a treat. The Hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid receive more efficient electric motors for 2017. A new rotary shift dial and Ford’s new-and-improved Sync 3 infotainment system highlight the updates to the interior.

See our complete Ford Fusion road test and ratings.

Audi Q3

Audi Q3

A tidy, compact crossover, the Q3 competes with the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Overall it manages to deliver a premium driving experience similar to the Q5 but in a 10-inch-shorter package. The energetic 200-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder is mated to a conventional six-speed automatic and returned 22 mpg overall in our tests. This is a quiet SUV with a firm, comfortable ride and responsive handling. The cabin is a bit simplistic looking, but it gives a sense of quality. Demerits include the tight quarters and cramped driving position. Though the controls are complicated at first, they prove logical with some familiarity. Front- and all-wheel drive is available.  

See our complete Audi Q3 road test and ratings.