The zombies are coming, sooner or later. And that got us wondering what car we’d want to escape the zombie apocalypse…

Hundreds of horror movies can’t be wrong, so it must only be a matter of time before we have to deal with those who should be dead – but how?  We asked zombie expert and horror writer Narrelle M Harris to set the scene…

“If I had time, I’d wonder how everything fell apart so quickly, and why. But I don’t have time. I’m busy running for my life from the zombie hordes. 

“Zombies are the undead come to life, and they’re a bitch of an enemy. They’re stupid and could be outwitted by a soggy sandwich, but there are so many of them!  They convert victims to fellow zombies in a matter of hours with a single bite (unless they’ve actually eaten your brains).  They’re not as fast as Usain Bolt, but they’ll outlast any marathon runner you care to name because they just don’t quit, a mindless horde that can break into a shrieking, shambling run at the slightest scent of fresh human.
“It’s a numbers game and they’re taking over the city, surely and not so slowly.  That’s why I need to get out of the place, now.  There’s early news reports but nobody is taking them seriously, except for people like me that know the awful truth.   I’m going to make my escape by car, and I’m lucky that I can take any vehicle I please. It had better be the right choice as my life, and that of others, depends on it. I don’t know what car I need, but I do know what it needs to do…”

Speed. I will need a car that can go from zero to the hell out of here in nothing flat, and keep on going, because the zombie horde will only give up if they can’t see me any more. 

Toughness: I might have to do some rough driving to escape – through fences, over kerbs or the debris of civilisation. I don’t want the axle breaking on the first rough patch.

Manoeuvrability: I’ll need to be able to drive around obstacles quickly to get out of trouble. I don’t want to be wrenching the bloody thing around abandoned motor bikes or having to slow down too much, because once those drooling monsters are on the car, I’m pretty much just tinned tuna.

Fuel economy: I want to get a lot of kays for a litre here. The less often I have to stop to refuel, the safer I’ll be.  And that assumes fuel is available where I’m going.  And I don’t know where I’m going!

Storage space: I might find other survivors on the way, so I want some space to pack ‘em in. I’ll also need room to store weapons: rifles, flame throwers, whatever I can get. I’ll want weapons with reach so I can stay as far away from their gruesome gnashers as possible – one bite and I join the brain-slurping masses – so I’ll need plenty of length to stow the gear. If I live past the week, I’ll also want lots of space to store food and supplies that I scavenge along the way.


If I can get a car that can handle deep water, that would help. Zombies tend to lose their footing and get washed away in a high river. If I can cross without getting bogged down, that’s one more barrier against something nasty gnawing through my skull.

A sun roof could be a vulnerable point if the car gets overrun, but if I can find someone to ride shotgun, they’ll get clearer shots through the top than out the side windows, which is also asking for trouble if a zombie blindsides us.


So, Which vehicle is it to be? 

Robert Pepper selects a getaway car to steal from a new-car dealer… but only in the event of an zombie apocalypse, okay.
In a panic situation – such as an imminent zombie cuddle – you want to move fast, so a fast car is the obvious choice.   That would mean a sportscar – a Lotus Elise maybe, or BRZ, or MX-5.  Wait, I said “fast”.  Those are nimble cars but not straight-line quick…yet thinking about this further they’re totally wrong.  We do need speed, but those cars are going to curl up and die at the first sight of a gravel road, and the only supplies I’ll get on board would be a latte and a muffin.  I’d be driving into an early grave.  
It’d be pretty much the same for their bigger brothers like the BMW M4, HSV, AMG C63 which have the top speed and aren’t as bothered by a load, but will still struggle on the run.  Nope, sportscars are out for this survival situation, it’s not a short dash out of danger and I can’t be sure I’ll be chased on a racetrack.  Some car-control skills might be handy though.
OK then, maybe a nippy city runabout, an i20, Yaris, Fiat 500?  Would be good for darting in and out of tight spots, but still a bit slow, no rough terrain capability and still limited space for storing gear.  And you lose a lot of the agility once you load a small car.  Top speeds aren’t great either, I can see lots of foot to the floor not much happening other than noise and munching sounds.
What I need is something that can handle any terrain, from bouncing over a kerb, up and down stairs, or diving through a river.  That means a 4WD, but which one?   Maybe a softroader… the CR-V, Santa Fe, Kuga and the like can handle dirt roads, but onroad they’re pretty doughy handlers and still lack tough load-carrying capacity.  Not that fast either, kind of the worst of all worlds for this job. No, this has to be a serious 4WD.  And a diesel, I need the long legs and easy access to fuel – even maybe running it on biodiesel if I need to.  I’d like an armoured vehicle like this, but my car has to be sourced from a city dealership and they’re a bit low on multi-million dollar specials.
Let’s think.  Serious 4WD.  Well, moving to the other end of the scale that would be a Land Rover Defender or Toyota 70 Series.  Certainly tough load carriers and great offroad…but I’d struggle to outrun even a wounded zombie in one.  Need a bit more grunt.  And if I crash either of those, or am crashed into, or I need to crash my way out then I’m a goner. Need something quicker and safer.   Actually, both of those are out because they are manual only and I’m going to opt for an automatic – much as I love my manuals, I might need to steer with one hand and fire a gun with the other, or maybe my clutch leg will be out of action.  So…maybe Jeep Wrangler?  A superb offroader, but it really needs a suspension lift, is a bit light on for storage space and isn’t noted for onroad maneuverability. 
Let’s go fast, automatic 4X4s then.  Now we’re looking at a Cayenne, BMW X car, quick Audi SUV or something similar?  Fast for sure, and one that won’t be stopped by a kerb.  But I need toughness not beautiful interior design.  I don’t have time to change those pretty street tyres for rubber that will handle the desperation of a chase, and most of them have run-flat or space-saver spares.  Can’t be doing with that in times like these.  No, sports SUVs are off the list.  Actually…Range Rover Sport diesel.  Now there’s a thought.  Great handling, fantastic offroad, diesel…but storage space is a bit limited.  I think I can do better.
So where are we now? Diesel… 4WD… good off-road… robust and reasonably quick.  Obviously a diesel 4WD wagon then.  A Prado, LC200, Discovery, Colorado 7… well, yes, kind of…but I want the thing to handle and move quickly so I’m thinking Discovery would be a good move, it’s fast, great off-road and there’s lots of storage space.  But is there anything else?  I know, utes!  Wouldn’t have said that a while ago, but the 2015 ute is very different to that of just a few years ago, with the latest Ranger and Hilux leading the way.  Tough, good enough offroad.   Not the most nimble of vehicles, but agile enough, able to turn on a bit of speed, strong, robust and cannot be beaten for load carrying.  Except…you need to tie stuff down in the back of a ute, and there’ll be no time for slipknots and straps.  I’m going to have to give the ute a miss, and go back to wagons.  
Aha.  I think I’ve got it.
Out of all the cars on the new market, I’d choose this:
A Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen G350, the diesel version. It’s big, spacious, powerful, extremely strong and reliable. I really, really want a vehicle that will just keep going no matter what, and that comes ahead of all else.  Sure, handling isn’t up with the best but it can be thrown around well enough to make a getaway, and it’s reasonably frugal.  Armed forces and government agencies around the world rely on them, and I will too.  Maybe I can find one with a gun turret…

About NarRelle M HarriS

Narrelle is an award-nominated Melbourne-based writer of crime, horror, fantasy, erotica, romance and non-fiction. Her books include Fly By Night, Witch Honour and Witch Faith, The Opposite of Life and Walking Shadows, and the series Talbott and Burns, Hammer and Tongue and Secret Agents, Secret Lives. Her zombie story, The Truth About Brains, was published in Showtime and Best New Zombie Tales Volume 2. Find out more at and or follow her on Facebook.
Zombie photographs taken at great personal risk by Lady Fran W during the Melbourne Zombie Shuffle.   Car photos taken by Robert Pepper at much less risk.

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