Making the Most of a Test Drive
A test drive is a crucial part of buying a new car. It allows you to get a feel for the car and see if it’s a good fit for you. You will be able to test how the vehicle behaves on the road and if the extras it offers meet your expectations.
The test drive is an excellent opportunity but since you get a limited time to try out the vehicle, you need to make sure that you make the most of it.
Before the test drive
It is good to do some planning before the actual test drive. First and foremost, you need to decide on the type of vehicle you want to buy. Do some online research and make a decision on a certain make and model or narrow down to several vehicles that you are interested in. Make a list of must haves and nice-to-haves so you can compromise if need be.
Contact your local dealer and schedule the test drive. Be prepared to ask questions. Take a pen and paper and write down your questions right after the test drive.
Take a friend on the test drive
If possible, ask a friend or a relative to accompany you on the test drive. It’s good to choose someone who has more knowledge about cars as they may notice something that you can miss. In any case, having company is good since that person can be in the passenger seat or in the back and tell you how it feels. They may also have questions that for the dealer or see some things around the car that you have missed.
Use the test drive to simulate a real day drive
The best way to utilize the test drive is to simulate an ordinary day from your routine. If you need to drive on a highway or through a busy traffic in the city, make sure to do that during the test drive. See how the vehicle behaves with different speed and on different roads. This way you can get a real feel for the car. Check how it feels and brakes on winding and sloping roads, especially if you live in a hilly area.
Try some other things that you do daily – like parking. Parallel park on a street or in a crowded place. Check how easy it is to get in and out of the car, to open the trunk, see if it will fit your usual grocery shopping, for example.
It is also good to drive the vehicle over some bumps to see how it absorbs the shock. In other words, try to test all the things that may happen on an ordinary day of driving your car.
Check the interior features
It is also important to check and try the different interior features and extras of the car. Adjust your seat, turn on and off the air conditioner, check how the power windows open and shut, turn the radio on. If the car is equipped with a sunroof and/or navigation system, check how they perform as well. Enter an address in the GPS and see how it responds. Make sure that the car actually has the extras listed as offered.
At the end of the test drive take your notes and ask the dealer any questions you may have. Based on the car performance and your feeling, you need to decide whether this is the right vehicle for you.