So it’s Halloween and because of that we (the people that write things on the internet) love to pump out loads of Halloween related content. One of my favourite Halloween related articles to read is ‘how to survive….’ type articles, one of the best is usually how to survive a zombie apocalypse, in fact this piece is a bit of a follow on from my esteemed colleagued James’ blog post on how to zombie proof a car which you should read here. One thing that is often overlooked though is the type of zombie that inhabits these hypothetical apocalyptic situations. The same goes for the other Halloween regulars like vampires, demons and general all round scary creatures.
You know…. These guys!
If you just spend five minutes thinking about all of the different films and television shows that feature these monsters you will realise that they often have totally different versions of whatever creature it is. For example, in The Walking Dead, the zombies are typically quite slow and fairly stupid but in 28 Days Later they are really quite fast and agile and quite a bit more difficult to deal with. Each film/TV show has their own take on how their particular monsters move, act and think and that is important. So with that in mind I plan to take an inordinate amount of time that should be spent actually working, writing up a multi-part blog post that will outline not just which vehicle would be best for surviving each bad guy, but also which vehicle would be best for each different type of bad guy using popular media as examples.
This is a serious write up guys; there will be nothing but hard facts and intelligent ideas in here, so if you aren’t serious about this I suggest you get your act together because when the proverbial poop hits the fan you are going to wish you paid more attention.
Quick note: Military machinery is not an option. I don’t want to hear anything about tanks, armoured personnel carriers or helicopters. Chances are you can’t operate one and even if you can, they aren’t exactly fuel efficient and that is a key thing in most of these scenarios so just don’t alright, just don’t.
So, Zombies. They are the meat of the Halloween period, the bread and butter and as such it would be rude not to start with it. I want to make it clear that this is not a “How to survive” guide or a “How to ….. Proof” piece, my esteemed colleague James has painstakingly and lovingly crafted a “how zombie proof a car” guide for your reading pleasure.
I already mentioned two types of zombies earlier that have quite a stark difference, zombies from ‘The Walking Dead’ and ’28 Days Later’ but I am also going to add ‘World War Z’ to the mix because they offer something slightly different which I am going to cover a bit later.
A few things tend to come as a given when talking zombies. Firstly it usually means a large proportion of the population is now dead and are zombies. Secondly because there are no people there is no power, I.E no power for pumping fuel from fuel stations so fuel efficiency is a big thing.
Image credit: The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead zombies are the quintessential zombie. The slow moving, ‘dumb’ creature spends its days slowly wondering around until it sees or hears some living creature and will move toward it. I know that technically speaking all zombies are brain dead but I think some are ‘more’ brain dead than others, I hope that makes a weird kind of sense. So which car to choose then? That is why we are here after all.
Well they are slow so you don’t need to worry too much about speed, you won’t have any nine o’clock meetings to get to anymore and there are going to be very few situations where you need to go fast anywhere to be honest. The other thing is that fast, powerful cars use fuel much faster than slower cars and as I mentioned earlier, fuel is going to be scarce, we know this from every post-apocalyptic film ever. So keep that in mind while you are car shopping in the wasteland!
As is the case with most zombies, they are attracted to sound so you will need something that is a bit quiet ideally. People like to think that they will be able to go hooning around in sports cars when the world ends but if you do that you can be sure you will have the attention of every zombie in the area.
Nope. Nope. Nope
Although these zombies aren’t exactly organised, or particularly troublesome on their own, when they get into large groups they can do some serious damage and can be quite strong. So you will need you car to be sturdy, it doesn’t need to be armour plated but strong enough to withstand some standard zombie wear and tear, a Ford Ka would not be a good choice here.
Reliability. This is a big thing, there is not going to be a load of mechanics willing to fix your ride up for you and although you might be able to do some simple maintenance if something big goes wrong you are going to be in trouble. This is pretty much a factor in every single apocalyptic situation we are going to talk about. So you want reliability but also something to think about is how readily available parts are going to be if/when something does go wrong. Popularity of your chosen vehicle important, if you need a replacement part then having an abundance of cars with the same part around is going to be super helpful.
My vehicle recommendation for this particular brand of zombie is: The VW Golf BlueMotion! It was literally the first car that came to mind and I couldn’t think of a better alternative after twenty minutes. It comes with a 1.6 Turbo Diesel Engine so although speed isn’t actually an issue here this thing is actually quite pokey and will be more than fast enough. The fuel efficiency of the most recent model is absolutely outrageous, 88 MPG, you aren’t going to get much better than that. The engine is nice and quiet, VW are always good with the refinement of their engine and this is no exception. Volkswagen are synonymous with their build quality and everyone know the Germans put their cars together well so it will be more than sturdy enough to withstand the odd zombie attack and you could probably get away with mowing quite a few down as well. Mechanically VW are one of the best so reliability is a non-issue, it will just keep on working and if it ever does stop working, Golfs are hugely popular pretty much everywhere in the world so finding spare parts will be a doddle!
Images Credit: World War Z
So these zombies are really very different to those in the walking dead. Where the walking dead zombies are quite slow and cumbersome these ones are very fast and quite agile. If they catch a glimpse of you or hear you, they will come shooting out of wherever they were hiding and relentlessly chase you until you either get away or, more likely, they catch you. They tend to be quite difficult to shake of because they will relentless hurl themselves at obstacles to get over/round/through them. I have provided a clip below to illustrate the kind of behaviour I am talking about, just look at what they do that bus and the way they scale that wall! These zombies are essentially normal zombies on hard mode, they basically have all the same characteristics as your bog standard zombie but are augmented with crazy aggression and speed.
This time speed is going to be a factor, if you are going to get away from these things you are going to need to be moving at quite a pace. The thing to remember is that top speed actually isn’t the issue, almost any car is going to be faster than a zombie at full chat, what you need is acceleration! Fuel efficiency is still going to be an issue and as you will need something that is fast you will need to find a good middle ground between speed and fuel efficiency. Fast accelerating vehicles tend to use a lot of fuel, even if they are quite fuel efficient at higher speeds, getting away quickly is always going to use a lot of fuel. Ideally you should be looking for a fast diesel car because not only are they more fuel efficient but diesel should be more readily available as the marauding vigilante biker gangs will most likely be using petrol to fuel their chainsaws and motorbikes, not diesel.
The other issue you have is that fast cars tend to make a lot of noise and diesels especially make quite a racket when you start them up. The one saving grace here is that because you have a faster vehicle out of necessity, if you do attract hordes of un-dead you can at least speed away from them.
The biggest factor for surviving these types of zombies is build quality and structural strength. As you saw in the clip earlier, these things overturned a bus, although there was a lot of them and if you ever get surrounded by that many you are done for anyway but your vehicle is going to need to survive some serious physical abuse, even just from a few of those blighters.
The kind of abuse that your vehicle is likely to be taking is going to mean you are probably going to have to repair it fairly regularly which means reliability and availability of parts is going to be an even bigger issue than it was for the last example. Sure you can patch up body damage with scrap metal but for engine parts you need the real thing so popularity of the vehicle will play a large part in the selection.
So what is the verdict. You need a fast car, that is fuel efficient (ideally diesel) with decent build quality and it needs to be pretty easy to find replacement parts for. So basically you need a car that every decent car maker wants to build, which is handy because they have done a lot of them over the years. Just think the big three German premium car makers and you will realise what I mean.
My choice is: Audi A4 Estate Diesel. Yep, just a plain old Audi A4 estate. I told you when I began that you wouldn’t be travelling around in anything particularly flash so don’t start.
Get the one with a 2.0 litre turbo diesel engine and you will be plenty covered for speed. I know this because my Dad actually has this car and it goes plenty quick enough for escaping from zombies. We haven’t ever had to escape from zombies but, yeah, you know what I mean. You can get about 50mpg out of the A4 which is pretty awesome for a car that can do135mph (obviously it won’t be doing 50mpg at 135mpg), so it has fuel efficiency down. Audi are pretty good with their engines and as such the A4 is actually quite quiet once it is moving although I can tell you from experience that when it starts up it’s loud enough to wake a hung-over 21 year old.
Audi build their cars well, we all know this, all the big German manufacturers do, so you are safe in the knowledge it can take a beating. The A4 is also very popular so there will be an abundance of abandoned ones at the roadside for you to pillage for parts if the need arises. They won’t need to be estates either because while the body might be different the engines are the same so that’s a bonus. You might be wondering why I chose the estate instead of the saloon in the first place, well just think of all that boot space. When you live in a waste land you need to carry your belongings with you so that you can be ready to move at a moments notice, it also acts as a nice place to sleep should you get caught out without anywhere to stay.
Well those are my suggestions. I know that there are other kinds of zombies that exist in popular media but you are on your own when it comes to preparing for those. I have already spent enough time writing this when I should be working.
I am sure you will all be able to tell me a thousand reasons why I am wrong, so feel free to do so in the comments or on Facebook!
Want some more Halloween content? Check out James’ How to zombie proof your car.