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Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and there are plenty of car lovers out there who may not have gotten as much time behind the wheel as they liked over the past year thanks to various lockdowns and quarantines. These gift ideas are meant to help ease the mind of the gearhead in your life who is finding it hard to have some leisurely drive time nowadays.
If you can't get behind the wheel of your favorite car, the next best thing might just be building a LEGO version of it. This awesome LEGO Ford Mustang kit is made up of 1,471 pieces and the car, once built, stands at over 3 inches high, 13 inches long and 5 inches wide. The kit has over 2,300 Amazon ratings and is sitting at a total score of 4.9 out of 5 stars. Amazon reviewer J. Robertson had this to say after purchasing the kit as a gift for their husband:
"I was hesitant on spending this much on a LEGO set for my husband but it is super cool. The detail is great and it's larger than I thought. He LOVED it!"
Sounds like J's husband has good taste. Does this seem like something your car-loving s/o might enjoy, too? If so, you can learn more about the kit and pick it up right here.
One of the best substitutes for driving in real life is driving in a video game. We do it weekly, every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on our Twitch channel. If you want to get really serious about digitally driving, we've got something for that below, but if you're just looking for something easy and (somewhat) affordable to gift the lead-footed love of your life, we'd recommend checking out the Nintendo Switch.
The Switch has all kinds of excellent racing games on it like the modern classic Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Remaster, Gear.Club Unlimited 2, V-Rally 4, WRC 8, Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled, and many, many more. The system is notoriously hard to come by nowadays, and resellers are trying asking ridiculous prices. We'd highly recommend not purchasing a Switch for any more than the list price of $299.99.
If you're on the fence about getting one at all, a bunch of us here at Autoblog own them and love them. The console also has nearly 60,000 ratings on Amazon and is still sitting at an astonishing score of 4.9 out of 5 stars. Amazon reviewer Melissa had this to say in her five-star review:
"LOVE THE SWITCH! This Switch is so cute and I honestly can’t wait to play animal crossing on this! The design on this Switch is so beautiful ... Nintendo did a good job on the color scheme and everything! Hopefully this Switch keeps restocking so that everyone can have the chance to get their hands on this beauty for the original price."
Want to pick one up? You can check out the listing right here.
This Thrustmaster racing wheel is for when you really want a substitute for the real thing. A good racing wheel can crank the realism dial of a video game up to 11. This particular wheel is for use with an Xbox or a Windows PC, but you can get similar products that work with a Playstation as well. It also has over 2,000 ratings and a cumulative score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. A reviewer going by the name Amazon Customer had this to say in their five-star review of the wheel:
"[I'm a] long time Forza fan and someone who really enjoys racing games. After years of listening to the Logitech vs Thrustmaster banter I went with the TMX for a few reasons. I can get pro pedals when I want to learn to clutch and I can add a shifter at a later date when I can handle taking my hands away to shift. ... The quality of the wheel is excellent and while it looks like cheap plastic, it doesn't bend or flex under duress of intense action on [the] track as you "swat flies." Understanding what feels good to you is key to learning how to use a wheel. If you are looking for a cheap and affordable way into sim racing, or just the immersion, this is the wheel to get ... I've easily clocked in 100 hours before this review and have played many games on PC: iRacing, PCARS2, Wreckfest (before and after the major PC update), Dirt Rally, NASCAR Heat 4, and [I] even took it to [my] Xbox One to drive around on Forza Horizon 4. [It's] plug and play. You are not going to buy a better wheel for under $250 ... I hope you find the same pleasure I have in this experience because it's changed gaming for me. I like change like this!"
If you're looking for a gift that will upgrade the racing game experience in a big way, you can check out this wheel right here.
Another great way to keep occupied when you'd otherwise rather be driving is to read a good book! Not everyone is into the whole ebooks thing, but for those who are willing to give it a go, the Amazon Kindle is undeniably one of the best ways to read from a screen. This Kindle Paperwhite edition has 8GB of storage and no ads, although you can get a version with ads to help subsidize some of the cost. This Kindle has over 93,000 ratings with a total score of 4.6 out of 5 stars. Here's a snippet from a very long, well-though-out five-star Amazon review by a user using the name Rustic:
"If you are new to the experience or upgrading from an old Kindle like a Keyboard, welcome. This new Kindle merits 5 stars. You're going to love it. Here are some Kindle Paperwhite features you'll enjoy:
* Built in light - Reading in bed while someone is trying to sleep next to you is now an easy joy.
* Touch screen - Getting around your Kindle is easy. Turn pages [and] shop in the store all by touching the screen.
* Waterproof - This is a new feature to this Kindle. Bring it in the pool worry free!
* Bluetooth - Sync this up with a speaker or headphones to have a book read to you.
Besides that, this Kindle is thin and light. It doesn't fatigue your hand at all. The fonts are adjustable for size. The light is adjustable for brightness. The color of the light is somewhat grayish. My older Paperwhite had the blueish hue which I found a little unnatural. I bought the Amazon case and when you close the cover the Kindle automatically sleeps and when you open the cover it automatically wakes up. I find this Kindle to be a little faster than the previous version. If this is your first Paperwhite there is only reason to be content with your purchase."
This 1:43 scale slot car set from Carrera is an awesome kit to get anyone started on their slot car journey. It's a great stand-alone set, but it's also expandable if you want to get really crazy with it. This one isn't the most "realistic" slot car set you could buy, but with gimmicks like turbo boost and loop-de-loops, it just might be one of the most fun. With over 1,400 ratings on the Amazon store, this set currently sits at a cumulative 4.4 out of 5 star rating. Reviewer Sabastoni7 had this to say about the set in their five-star review:
"The track is awesome! It is pretty easy to assemble if you're careful enough. We took the loops out to keep from damaging the cars and because we plan on ordering more track. [In response to] the other reviews that have 3 or 2 stars [that talk] about the cars flying off, you must learn how to use the controllers for the speed of the car. If you're inexperienced [than] of course cars will fly off, but once you've got it down you'll be racing like the Ken Miles of slot cars!"
Want to learn more? Check out the set right here.
Last but not least, if you're looking for a gift for someone who likes things loud and can't get enough of growl-y engine sounds, then an awesome choice would be a decent surround sound system and a movie like "Ford v. Ferrari." This system includes a sound bar, wireless subwoofer, and two rear surround sound speakers. It also features sound enhancement that promises to create "room-filling, floor-to-ceiling virtualized 3D surround sound." This particular surround sound system has over 1,000 ratings with a cumulative score of 4.1 out of 5 stars. Amazon reviewer D.M. Bar said this in their five-star review of the system:
"You want surround sound without hours of setup? You want fewer wires? You want simple, turn-on-the-TV-and-have-movie-studio-quality sound? If yes to these, then buy this. ... [It] took all of ten minutes to set up from [the] box to turning on the TV and watching [an] HD movie with Dolby! [The] first movie I played was Rogue One. The Tie Fighters flew from behind my head to the front [and] I could hear every word the cast said while explosions rocked from the left, then the right, then behind me, then in front of me. So, yeah, buy it!"
If you're interested in learning more about the system you can do so right here.