Our Rides: 2021 Gift Guide


No matter what you drive, there’s always something to give that special person in your life to make mobility better for them. What do we suggest?

Pet Accessories Seat Cover. Courtesy of Subaru of America

PET TRAVEL PRODUCTS: Traveling with your pet? There are plenty of items available to make them comfortable while you’re on the road. These products range from seat harnesses and protectors, portable water and food receptacles, dog carriers and backpacks, even booster seats. We love our pets and we want them to feel safe and happy while on a road trip. Not to mention, these items fit most vehicles—even the front passenger seat of a sports car!

Available through your local pet store or online retailers.

E-ZPass Tag. Courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Transportation

E-ZPASS: Did you know that MNPass is now E-ZPass? The toll-taking tag units actually do make your commute much better. Not only can you use it on the high-occupancy lanes within the Twin Cities, you can also use it for your trips back east! The E-ZPass can be used on toll roads across the Northeast, parts of the Midwest, and in the South. Just start up an account for $25 and let it collect tolls for you. Think of this as a gift for your vehicle. On those long road trips, it will thank you many times over. 

Available through the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Starts from $25.00. www.dot.state.mn.us/ezpassmn

Dash Cam. Photo by George Torline

DASH CAMS: With the uptick in offensive driving across our region, sometimes it pays to have evidence when you see something and cannot readily say something about it. Setting up an in-vehicle camera system—or dash cam—is a good way to get information on collisions, thefts, or other on-road incidents available to insurance companies and law enforcement. 

Available through Best Buy and other retailers, including online sources. Priced from $50.00 and up. 

Car Wash Detailing Items. Photo by Randy Stern

CAR WASH AND DETAILING ITEMS: If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we must be on top of taking care of our vehicles. That includes keeping it clean. This is something you can do yourself. All you need is a hose, a bucket and plenty of great car wash and finishing items that make your ride sparkle and shine. Unlike a car wash, doing all of this yourself puts you in control of how you want the car, truck or SUV to look. Plus, it prevents someplace else from damaging your vehicle—such as a car wash. There is no particular brand we recommend, because they all do a great job at their particular task. Ask an expert on what they use for their vehicle. 

Available at auto parts stores and larger retailers with an automotive section.

Cell phone holder. Photo by Randy Stern

CELL PHONE MOUNT: If you want to try your hand at driving for an app-based shared ride service, you’re going to need one of these. This is not just for commercial purposes; anyone who has a phone in their vehicle must adhere to the law, which states that you cannot pick up a cell phone while driving. If your vehicle does not have a smartphone link or a Bluetooth connection, you can still have your phone attached to a mount on your vehicle. You can still take calls and get directions from your navigation app while the phone is mounted in your car. It is perhaps the handiest item one can have when on the road.

Available at Best Buy, Amazon.com, and other retailers. Priced from $8.95 and up.

Michelin X-Ice Water Tire. Courtesy of Michelin North America

WINTER TIRES: Winter is coming. If not, it’s already here. Living in the Upper Midwest, we already anticipate that our roads will be slick with snow, ice, sleet, slush, and so forth. We always say that the best way to make your winter drive safe is to get a set of winter tires. Over the years, we featured vehicles that wore a set of winter shoes, and we can speak on the benefits of why you should have a set of them on your vehicle. If you know of someone who needs a set of winter tires, be a good friend or family member and gift them a set! They’ll be safe for the holidays!

Available through your local tire retailer or TireRack.com.

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