As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Australia’s Best New Car News, Reviews and Buying Advice

Private Fleet Car(?) Review: Santa’s Sleigh

At this time of the year, one particular vehicle is commented on, illustrated and watched for (on Google’s Santa Tracker, for example). It has come to my attention that we haven’t reviewed this vehicle yet for Private Fleet.  Unfortunately, it won’t be available through our car reviews page, as it’s an extremely limited edition vehicle and pricing information isn’t available. Nevertheless, because this is the Christmas edition of the Private Fleet blog, let us now present you with the official Private Fleet review of Santa’s Sleigh.

Make and Model: Santa Sleigh, Yuletide Saturnalia variant.

Years manufactured: First reviewed in 1821, then modified in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.  Updated in 1939 to include Rudolph. Prior to this, Santa’s transportation of choice has included a white horse (possibly eight-legged). The sleigh concept was apparently imported from Finland – obviously some winter rally driving expertise went into the development of this vehicle.

Top speed: According to an article originally published in Spy magazine that worked out the physics of Santa’s Sleigh, the top speed required by Santa’s Sleigh is 650 miles per second, which is about 3000 times the speed of sound. As the sleigh operates silently without sonic booms, we suspect that the sleigh makes use of hyperspace and multiple dimensions to cover the necessary distance.

It is not known if any other vehicle can match this speed, although it was once given some stiff competition by Six White Boomers (snow white boomers) who raced Santa Claus through the blazing sun on his Australian run. It is thought that these may be used as his hot weather equivalent for Outback use.

Engine: The very best in German engineering, the Dasher-Dancer-Prancer-Vixen-Comet-Cupid-Donner-Blitzen-Rudolph unit is laid out in a V configuration.  The actual power output of this unit is uncertain, as the power equation requires us to know the weight, which is unknown and also is linked to gravitational force acting on mass, and the sleigh may have anitgravity features. The power requirements of interdimensional or hyperspace physics are also uncertain. Torque is not applicable, as this refers to rotational acceleration; as a sleigh uses runners rather than wheels, the acceleration – which is considerable – is linear rather than rotational.  The 0–100 km/h time is phenomenal and is probably measured in nanoseconds.

Fuel type:  Runs exclusively on biofuels, mostly carrots, with refuelling stations provided along with milk and cookies (or mince pies and sherry, depending on the household) down many chimneys.  Emissions are also environmentally friendly and while they contain some greenhouse gases in the form of methane, the majority can be used for compost or can be broken down by algae for biodiesel (as invented by Rudolf Diesel – a relative of the other Rudolph?). We presume that the compost is used to grow carrots, possibly enhanced by fairy dust and magic.

Seating: One main seat is provided for a driver, although smaller passenger seats may be installed for elf assistants.  A pinhead may also be provided for angels to dance on, as angelic beings are multidimensional and multiple entities are thus able to occupy the same unit of space-time (so that’s how the interdimensional capacity of the sleigh is worked!).

Lights: Bioluminescence provides the main lighting system.  Fairy dust and candles may also provide auxiliary lighting. The most notable feature of the lighting system is the Rudolph front fog light, a nose so bright and you could even say it glows. The Rudolph feature is illegal in most countries, which do not allow red lights on the front of vehicles.  We can therefore assume that the North Polar road regulations are different from those of the rest of the world; the importance of red in the total ensemble also suggests this.

Off Road Ability: The off-road ability of Santa’s sleigh is second to none.  Not only are sleighs and reindeer superbly suited to winter driving conditions without the need for snow chains, Santa’s Sleigh can go further off the road the most vehicles.  According to the original reviewer, Clement, “when they meet with an obstacle, [they] mount to the sky”.  Flight capacity is an essential feature of this vehicle, so ground clearance is, theoretically, infinite.

Cargo Capacity: The cargo capacity that is usually depicted as being located to the rear of the sleigh and is styled to resemble a sack probably also makes use of hyperspaces and interdimensionality.  According to the Spy magazine review, Santa delivers to 378 million children (this figure doesn’t include Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim children, who have their own traditions and figures).  Quick experimentation with a sturdy hiking sock and a couple of small beer bottles reveals that the typical stocking contains approximately 1 litre, giving the sleigh a cargo capacity of at least 378 million litres.

Safety Features: The braking system allows the sleigh to go to a complete standstill from Mach 3000 almost instantaneously.  As the sleigh appears to use multiple dimensions and appears to be weightless, it is possible that an antigravity function is at work and the braking ability is achieved by suddenly switching this off so the force of gravity can slow the sleigh to a standstill.  It is no wonder that the driver comes with side and front airbags installed.

Sound System:  Similar to other wintertime forms of transportation involving animals with a bouncing gait, music is provided by small bells attached to the harness: jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way.

Driver Assistance: Some navigation appears to be provided by the Rudolph package, which was specifically asked to guide the sleigh one foggy Christmas Eve.  Stop-go functionality, off-road ability and possibly steering are completely voice activated:

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!


“Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”


As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too.

The sleigh also seems to have automatic parking ability.  Reindeer are capable of seeing light in ultraviolet spectrum that humans cannot see and each reindeer has a 310° field of vision; detecting signals in the remaining rear 50° degrees is handled by the ears, which are capable of tilting in any direction.  Possibly, the elf assistants also provide rear sensor ability.

It is probably just as well that all these driver aids are provided, given the British, Irish and Australian trend of leaving alcoholic beverages out for the famous and presumably immortal driver.  These units of alcohol are probably not off-set by the milk and cookies provide in the US.  Even given the noted bodyweight of Santa Claus, the amount of alcohol would probably put him well over the legal limit in all countries, probably excepting the North Pole.  However, as only one accident has been recorded involving Santa Claus (involving Elmo and Patsy’s grandma, who was reported to have been drinking too much egg-nog and to have forgotten her medication when she got run over by a reindeer), the sleigh operates at full speed and with perfect safe handling year after year, so the driver assistance and collision avoidance ability of the sleigh must be superb and flawless.

Have a safe Christmas and New Year season, everybody.  And for goodness’ sake, leave the high speeds and driving under the influence to Santa.  His vehicle is built handle it.  Yours isn’t.