Whether they’re car crazy or perpetually behind the wheel, it’s hard to find the best gifts for the drivers in your life. Not that there’s not enough choice, but more that there’s too much of it. Especially when you’re trying to add some hi-tech flair to a car that’s seriously lacking in anything newer than a CD player.
We’ve rounded up some of the best gadgets, accessories and gifts for drivers. Because we all know someone who spends far too much time in the car, and they deserve something to help make it a little more interesting or tolerable. Here are our top gifts for the best gifts for drivers and car lovers alike.
Simply plug this into your car’s 12V socket, and it will be able to connect to your phone’s Bluetooth and transmit any audio it receives as FM radio signals. That way you can tune in on your car’s radio, and enjoy your favorite music and podcasts on the road. The Roav F2 also has dual USB ports for charging, and has a button for answering calls.
Audible might as well be built for driving, with a huge range of audiobooks and podcasts in its catalogue. All of which can be enjoyed without taking your eyes off the road. It’s just like the radio, but without commercials or annoying DJs. Audible’s Premium Plus subscription costs $14.95 a month, or $120 a year, offering unlimited access to a huge range of audiobooks and podcasts — without any additional payments. Plus credits to redeem on premium audiobooks each month.
Keys are always getting lost, and that’s not ideal for the people that always seem to be rushing around. The best solution is to gift them some sort of tracker, though which one totally depends on what phone you have. For iPhone users it’s Apple’s AirTag, while Android users will be better suited to a Tile Mate. Both trackers use Bluetooth signals (plus Ultra-wideband with the AirTag) to ping off nearby phones. If you’re hunting through the house for keys that phone will be yours, once connected you can force the tracker to make noises and make the search significantly easier to complete.
Car phone mounts can transform a phone from a dangerous distraction into a genuinely useful tool. We’re big fans of the iOttie Easy One Touch range because you only need one touch to get your phone out. This particular model also features a wireless charger, which keeps your phone powered up during those long drives. All without the hassle of dealing with cables every time you drive. It’s also available in three different connection types, with options for dashboards, air vents and CD players.
If you want Alexa in your car, then the Echo Auto 2 is a must-have device. As the name suggests it’s an Echo for your car, giving you total access to Amazon’s virtual assistant in a way that the standalone Alexa app can’t manage. From there you can do all the things Alexa can do at home, like play music, control smart home devices, play games and so on. It can also be used to navigate, should Google or Apple Maps not be to your taste, and locks down your phone into a more driving-friendly “Auto Mode”.
There are some things you just can’t experience on the road, and driving insanely fast is one of them. Gran Turismo 7 and Forza Horizon 5 allow you to go as fast as a car will allow, safe in the confines of a digital world - and giving you access to more amazing cars than you could dream of. Which one you buy all depends on which console your giftee happens to play. Gran Turismo is exclusive to Playstation, while Forza is playable on Xbox and PC.
A heads-up display can be a boon when you’re on the road, showcasing a bunch of useful information without making you take your eyes off the road - even for a second. The Pyle PHUD180BD is one of the best ones we’ve tested, offering a bright self-contained 5.5-inch display and an assortment of useful data from the car’s OBD port. Data on offer includes speed, gas mileage, battery status, coolant temperature and even the ability to diagnose some minor problems. Sadly there’s no phone integration, but it’s still a great tool to make life on the road easier and safer.
Wireless Android Auto is a lot more common than it used to be, but there are plenty of cars out there that rely on a wired connection. If you know an Android user with a severe aversion to cables, the Motorola MA1 is the perfect gift to make their driving life easier. In our testing we found that it was virtually indistinguishable from a wired connection, and all the driver needs to worry about is making sure the phone’s battery doesn’t die mid-drive.
We’re very fond of the Innova CarScan 1000 OBD-II scanner. Not only is the $100 price tag fairly cheap, its compact design utilizes a Bluetooth connection to communicate two smartphone apps on your phone. They come with the ability to diagnose problems and offer up suggestions on how they can be repaired - which includes necessary parts and suggested prices. On top of that, Innova's platform is able to predict when future problems might occur, and what you’re able to do about it.
The Michelin ML0728 is one piece of kit that will go down well in any trunk. Because it’s a dual-purpose device, capable of reinflating tires and jump starting your dead battery. This inflator capable of hitting 260PSI, 40-inch jumper cables capable of delivering 300-1,000 amps, a built-in power inverter for powering electronics and even a digital radio with Bluetooth capabilities. It’s also fairly compact (13.5 x 11.5 x 9.5 inches) and weighs 16.5 pounds, making it easy to store and carry around. It’s exactly the kind of thing every driver needs in their trunk.
Everyone loves a good Lego set, and Lego has a huge range of options for car enthusiasts to build, display and play with should the mood strike. One of our favorites is the Ford Mustang GT, recreating the classic 1960s muscle car in brick form. This isn’t your blocky old-school Lego set, this is a detailed model with dark blue body work, the all-important white racing stripes, and an interior to match. It’s also customizable, letting you swap out the licence plate, engine, rear spoiler and more.
Reversing cameras may be a lot more common than they were, but not all cars have them. For drivers of those cars, the Auto-Vox V5 might prove to be a useful upgrade. It’s not just a reversing camera, it’s a camera that connects to a rear-view mirror to show you exactly what’s going on behind your car. Also included is night vision, an adjustable viewing angle, user-defined parking lines, and a fully functional front-and-rear dash cam. When in dash cam mode the Auto-Vox V5 comes complete with GPS tracking, incident detection and a special parking mode.
The Garmin Dash Cam 67W offers1440p video resolution, a wide-angle field of view, Live video monitoring and the ability to sync up tom other Garmin dash cams via the companion app. On top of voice control, this camera offers useful driver awareness features — including forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings and alerts to make sure you know built-up traffic has started moving again. Plus there are incident detection features which can automatically upload footage to the cloud for safe keeping.
Not all cars come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay built in, Add-on displays, like the Intellidash Pro, offer the full experience. The display mounts to your dash with a suction cup, is powered by your 12V socket and offers built-in speakers of the choice of wired, Bluetooth and FM radio audio output. What’s more, this one is capable of wirelessly connecting to iPhones.
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.