Exit Lane: Kris Kringle

Kris Kringle
President & CEO
K. Kringle & Elves, Inc.

1821 Sleigh
Naturally aspirated, 16-nostril power plant, 8 RP
510,000,000 kilometres annually

INEXCUSABLY, THE OPEN-COCKPIT design offers neither retractable softtop nor hardtop, and also missing are windshield, doors and windows. But the seating position is high and visibility unsurpassed, and when you slide into the driver’s seat and take hold of the reigns, the drivetrain comes to life with a buck, snort and lurch. The acceleration is lightning fast and top speed is immeasurable. This sporty little bucket really flies.

THE DASHBOARD IS artfully free of dials, buttons or knobs of any kind. While stylistically refreshing, it represents a complete lack of features: no speedometer, air conditioning, USB ports, glove compartment or adaptive cruise.

THE FRONT SEAT is wide enough for two, but it’s clear from the imprint of oversized buttocks that it was made for one. Legroom is adequate for an obese old elf, but torturously short for anyone with normal proportions. But not all is wrong with the interior—the cargo space is deceptively large.

WHILE THE SWEDES pioneered automobile safety, this old Scandinavian toboggan lacks even the most basic safety equipment. Transport Canada would ban it in a flash due to missing seat belts, air bags, crumple zones, whiplash protection, side impact reinforcement and electronic stability control.

“The air ride suspension gives you the sensation that you’re floating. At their best, Cadillac and Lincoln have never flattened bumps so well” —Kris Kringle

THE ONLY OPTION available for the sleigh is an upgrade called Rudolph. Rudolph adds a navigation system, front fog light and additional power. Unfortunately, these features come with a significant weight penalty—more than 300 kilograms—which adds a decided harshness during rooftop landings.

THE RIDE IS kidney-crunchingly harsh until you get up to speed, at which time the air ride suspension gives you the sensation that you’re floating. At their best, Cadillac and Lincoln have never flattened bumps so well. And even though the steering requires a heavy hand and turning requires forethought and acres of space, the front-hoof drive configuration delivers exceptional traction, even over icy surfaces.

IT’S ABOUT AS environmentally unfriendly a vehicle as you’re going to find. The reindeer are incessantly spewing methane and nitrous oxide, confirmed greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere. Nonetheless, it is fuel-efficient. A trough full of molasses-sweetened oats, a salt lick and a few gallons of water will keep this motor running all through the night. Exit Lane: Kris Kringle  Exit Lane

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