Five Tips When Test Driving a New Car

| January 14, 2013

test driving a new car When the time comes to buy a new car, DexKnows helps you get in touch with car dealers close by. Then comes the test drive. Surprisingly, recent research has revealed that 1 in 9 new car buyers skips this important stage of the buying process. That’s a mistake that leads to buyer’s remorse.

When you buy a new car, you’re starting a long-term relationship. It’s important to get to know your potential partner thoroughly. You can look at all the brochures and read all the reviews, but there’s no substitute for making sure it feels right. And that can only be done by driving the vehicle.

How to Do a Test Drive

A test drive can be an intimidating experience. There’s a lot to keep track of and it’s easy to forget to explore every aspect of the vehicle. Experts at places like EdmundsJ.D.Power and MSN all offer good advice, but for convenience, let’s distill it down to these five tips:

  1. Can you live with it? Yes, you love how it looks and the performance is thrilling, but imagine yourself driving it every day, winter and summer, rain and shine. What about all the duties it will need to perform? Fetching relatives from the airport, taking a foursome to golf, kids to the soccer game — does it really meet your needs?
  2. Can you get comfortable? You’re going to spend many hours behind that wheel, so it’s essential that you like the seating position and the location of the steering wheel, pedals, shift knob and other controls. Make sure the other seats are comfortable, too, especially those in the rear. Sit in every seat. Some cars have limited rear headroom, or taller passengers might not be able to put their feet under the seat in front, so check that out.
  3. Can you see out properly? Make sure the visibility is good in all directions, but especially behind and to your right. Try parallel parking to be sure you feel confident about maneuvering in tight spaces.
  4. How will it ride and handle on the roads you use? If you live off a rutted dirt road, then drive down one to find out how it feels and how the suspension and shocks handle it. If you do a highway commute, put it to the test on that kind of road.
  5. Does it have the performance you need? Many people go for a small engine in the expectation of saving gas, but find they cannot get the acceleration they need. The classic example is merging into traffic from the on-ramp. Put the vehicle to the test and see if it has enough get-up-and-go for you.

Covering these points should take about 30 minutes. Don’t rush to get the car back; you’re making an important decision. And at the end of the test drive, if you didn’t like how the car felt, don’t be afraid to tell the salesperson. They know that people are different and have different needs.

Last, if you have several vehicles on your shortlist, try to drive them all on the same day. That way, the impressions will be fresh in your mind and comparisons will be easier. Be sure to write down notes so you can compare the pros and cons later. Now, find those car dealers on DexKnows and schedule some test drives!

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Category: Auto Buying, Autos

About the Author ()

After twenty years in the automobile industry the craft of wordsmith called. Putting down the wrench, Nigel picked up a keyboard on which to express his passion for all things automotive.