Ok, Susie Survivor, you've escaped the immediate situation of the undead rising and chasing hungrily after your intelligence-center meat. Now, what to drive?
You make your way further away from the ever-spreading threat, and realize that perhaps escaping what everyone knew was coming the surprise epidemic will probably be quite difficult on foot. You sneak around, quietly as to not alert the mobs, and make your way to a car park. Now, let's assume perfect circumstances and say that you have a wide range of vehicles available to you, but staying within reality also means that a U.S. military Hummer, equipped with weapons, is probably not going to be conveniently placed in the parking ramp at the local Holiday Inn. Also, this guide will be for long-term use of the vehicle, not just to get you out of the immediate area. I'll arrange the guide in order of priority:
1.) Reliability: Awesome! Looks like you scored big, and some Wall-Street executive who now likes cerebrums as an appetizer parked his new Ferrari 458 Italia in this ramp! This can get us out of this city in a jiffy, and do it in style. Hold on just a second now, sport. That car will do you no good against the onslaught when it starts on fire, and will destroy the very small amount of supplies you could get in the car. Bad idea. Being that we're planning ahead here, let's think a bit here. A Jeep Cherokee may not look pretty, but it's 4.0L inline 6 engine has proven itself time and time again to keep on tickin', and the Cherokee is pretty capable to boot. Another example would perhaps be a Mercedes Benz diesel-powered station wagon. It may not be the cat's meow for power, but it makes up for it in legendary million-mile lasting reliability; the fuel efficiency, comfort, and torque compliment the package. Another sub-part of reliability is the ability to be fixed once it breaks; auto parts stores generally don't stock many Ferrari 458 Italia parts regularly. A vehicle with a GM 350 engine, though, could essentially be rebuilt completely with the new parts from any given parts store. Common parts are good parts.
2.) Capability: So, at this point, you're considering your escape plan. Let's say, theoretically, that the best plan would be to skedaddle north, up to America's hat, Canada. Zombies can't live in arctic condition, right? Right. You'll also be depending on your vehicle for survival in the harsh climate of ice, snow, and general hypothermic conditions. There won't be any snowplows on the roads, any nice random person with a truck to pull you out of the ditch you'd get stuck in whilst hunting for food. 4x4 would have to be a must, preferably with some sort of locking differential. Again, the Jeep Cherokee looks appealing in this situation; they have been proven time and again by Jeep enthusiasts in a variety of environments to get you there…and back. The Toyota Land Cruiser is easily one of the most capable vehicles on the road as well (although you may run out of gas before getting there); some versions even came with full locking differentials. But it's not just terrain capability that's needed. The Great White North's winter would need to be countered with a good heater. Conventional wisdom would say that British 4x4's should not be used for that purpose; as it's not so much a heater, but more like another person exhaling a puff of warm breath on you. American and Japanese vehicles tend to excel in that department, especially Ford trucks. The vehicle will also need to be able to both store as many supplies as possible, but also have room for you & any possible occupants (human, hopefully) to sleep and live. This isn't saying that you'd need an enormous SUV, like a Toyota Sequoia for example, but a Suzuki Samurai would be a tad small to store a decent supply of Twinkies and beans. Lastly, weapon mounting is also important here. How are the ergonomics of the vehicle? Is your fire ax/sawed-off shotgun able to be mounted in a quick-grab position, or will you have to fight the center console for it? I'd personally prefer not to be zombie lunch because it wasn't possible to quickly pull out a chainsaw from the Subaru Brat that I thought would be a good idea to commandeer.
3.) Entertainment: Perhaps a less obvious objective, but important nonetheless. After the adrenaline rush and eventual entertainment of zombie slaying turns into an everyday dreary chore, you may not have another to entertain you, leading to your eventual loss of mental stability (referring to I Am Legend, Will Smith renting movies from cardboard stand-up people). In-car entertainment can possibly prevent or help with this; does the vehicle have iPod connectivity? What about the number of 12v outlets, for perhaps a laptop, cell phone (if you still have hope that your girl/boy-friend's alive, anyways), etc.? Perhaps you'll discover that AC/DC played through Bose speakers alleviates dementia. It might also be easier to keep track of time with an in-dash infotainment screen, as opposed to scratching marks on a rock. This issue may not sounds the most important now, but you'll be the one who personifies the HVAC controls and gives them names, because you didn't plan for the radio stations to eventually go off the air. Tom Hanks got mad at Wilson; you'll probably end up yelling at Jim, the fuse panel cover. That is, amidst your struggle for fuel, clean water, food, gas, warmth, ammo, and the hordes of zombies ready to turn you into a 1-course meal.
So Just remember to choose carefully! Your life may depend on it! Happy trails, camper, and don't let the infant-undead bite.
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