January 26, 2021


This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

The holidays are right around the corner, and maybe you’re still struggling with what to get your car-obsessed loved one. Maybe you saw our other list for gifts under $100 and thought that you’d like to go a bit bigger for the auto tragic in your life. Well, we Roadshow editors have got your back. This is a list of our favorite gift ideas under $500 and it includes everything from see-through engine models to video game consoles to be able to play the latest crop of racing games.

Read more: Best cars and trucks of 2020 


BMW’s classic airhead engine design is one of motorcycling’s most beautiful and iconic, and I’ll be damned if I don’t want to celebrate those incontrovertible facts by having a half-scale see-through one spinning away on my desk. This looks like it would be epic fun to build and a real conversation starter.

— Kyle Hyatt

Arcade 1Up

Nostalgia is a powerful force. A little retro gaming might be just what the doctor ordered for this pandemic-era holiday, and Arcade1Up’s new Outrun cabinet looks like a great way to brighten up the season. Squeaking in under our price cap at $499.99, this cabinet features Outrun, Turbo Outrun, Outrunners and Power Drift, plus there’s a detachable seat if you’ve got the room for that full arcade experience.

Nearly a year ago, I bought an Arcade1Up Galaga cabinet. I’ve been impressed by how much the slightly-downscaled setup replicates that ’80s arcade feel at minimal cost. Unfortunately, I’m probably not the only one, as the first batch of Outrun cabinets has already been spoken for. That said, if your holiday is like mine, out-of-stock rainchecks are a family tradition.

— Chris Paukert


It’s become increasingly clear that, unless you’re exclusively into the Gran Turismo series — a difficult place to be these days — the Xbox is the best place to be for those who love driving games. Whether it be the latest from the Forza franchise or the stellar SnowRunner, this is the console to have. Sure, there’s not much out there that takes advantage of the power the Series X has to offer yet, but that’ll change soon enough, and your special recipient will be mighty glad you splurged on their behalf when those games come.

— Tim Stevens


I’m declaring war on nasty-looking dashcams that hang down like a tacked-on appendage. I’ve also warmed to the idea that a dashcam needs to cover your six, not just the road ahead. The Vantrue S1 gets me there with an integrated look, rear camera, low-light Sony sensor, and supercapacitor instead of a typical internal battery for more reliable power when the car is off. It also has an internal GPS sensor to record car location during a captured incident or for route playback as