Have you purchased a dress or footwear that looked great in photos but didn’t suit you well when you tried them? Car buying is a great deal like that. The stakes are higher, whereas the return policies aren’t nearly the same. It is the main reason test drive becomes one of the most important aspects while choosing a car to purchase. Looking at a vehicle in photos or decide about its features based only on its reviews may not be helpful. You will have to decide after sitting inside it, driving it and feeling it on the road. With a focus on all these points, we present a few tips on how to test-drive a car from beginning to the end.
You will need to perform a little research on cars for the features you are looking for and short-list three to four of them. It is good to schedule an appointment so that the vehicle you like is available in the dealer’s lot. Making an appointment will avoid any possible delay in the process. There are a few things which you will need to check before, during, and after the test drive. They are as under:
Before the Drive
- Color- Does the color of the car looks the same as you saw in the picture. There may be little variations, though. When you examine a vehicle in a particular type of light, it may look different. It is good to check it in broad daylight.
- Child Seat and Cargo Space- You need to check the child seat and space for your cargo in the car. In case you have to carry your big bags or luggage in your vehicle there must be enough room for it to fit.
- Measurements- You must precisely measure your car to fit into your garage or in the parking space provided to you.
- Entry and exit- Is it easy to get in and out of the car without stooping too much or banging your head in the car.
- Seating and Driving Position- Check whether you have enough room to sit relaxed in the driver’s seat. Sit in the back seats too for checking the comfort level. Are you easily able to access and control the brakes and pedals? Is your position an exact fit concerning the point of holding the steering? Ask these questions to yourself as they will be helpful.
- Gauges and Control- You must check whether or not the indicators are easy to read. Is there a volume knob or you have to tap on the screen. Can you adjust the climate control easily?
- Visibility- Can you see the front and rear easily while sitting in the driving seat of the car. It is indispensable as there are few blind spots. Check through all the mirrors and turn your head to see from the rear window.
During the Drive
When you are driving, do not forget to pay attention to each minute detail of the car. Keep in mind a few specific points as under:
- Acceleration- Does the vehicle downshift smoothly and quickly? Is there enough power to pass the highways quickly or climb hills?
- Engine Noise- What kind of noise does the car make when you sharply accelerate it? Is there a lot of clamor from the tires? Is the cabin quiet?
- Braking- How does the pedal feel? Do you feel a sudden jerk while applying them?
- Steering and Handling- Is the steering vehicle responsive? Can you sense the road through the steering wheel?
- Suspension- Is the suspension soft or stiff? Does the vehicle ride restfully on a rough road?
- Technology- Pair your phone with the Bluetooth in the car and try calling or audio streaming. Check the infotainment screen, is it easy to change the track or radio station? Check for smartphone apps. Does it function well with Android or iOS?
- Backup Camera- Does it have one? Is it clear or blurred? It uses sensors or lines to indicate distance?
- Navigation- How detailed is the map? Does it contain traffic data? Does it know the street names? How easy is it to find an address through that?
After the Drive
At the end of your test drive session, the salesperson will invite you into the dealership for further discussions and negotiations. If you are not fully contented, you can fix another appointment with either the same or a different dealer. On the other hand, if you love the car on which you went for the test drive, you can make a deal. Take the card of the salesperson and ask for some time to think. You can hold a stronger bargaining position if you like more than one car. You can also check for the prices on the internet. It will help you in further negotiations.