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How to Make the Most of a Test Drive

Test driving a car is an important step in your buying journey. This is your chance to get a feel of what it’s like to drive the car and see for yourself if it performs as expected. You may have done your research on a particular make and model but nothing beats the actual experience of testing on the road. So, how do you make the most of a test drive?

Why a Test Drive Matters

During your test drive, there are so many things that you might miss, like certain parts of the car that you’d find irritating or impractical. A test drive is short, which is so different from how you’re going to use the car for long journeys or your daily commute. It’s easy to be convinced that it’s the right vehicle for you within that short period. And in doing so, you might not notice its shortcomings. 

Other than that, the car salesperson is with you during the test drive and they will most likely convince you the whole time that the car is perfect for your needs. It can be distracting and overwhelming when you want to pay attention to how the car feels like when you’re driving it. 

To help you in assessing the car, remember the key features that you want from the vehicle and whether the car you’re test driving meets your expectations. Also, keep in mind that you’re the one in control here, so don’t feel pressured to buy the car if it’s not the right fit for your needs. Test driving a car doesn’t mean you’re obligated to buy it. 

Questions to Ponder During a Test Drive

When you’re car shopping for yourself, it’s easier because you only have to consider what you want and need from the vehicle. However, if you have a family, it’s important to consider their opinion as well because you’re all going to use the car. Here are some key questions to ask yourself and your family during a test drive. 

Is the Car Big Enough?

If you’re purchasing a family car, it would be a great idea if everyone can come along. This is vital since all of you will be using the vehicle. If you test drive the car by yourself, you might miss out on some important practical aspects, and you’ll realise too late that the car isn’t right for your family. 

It might help the family in the decision-making process if you make a list of questions that you can tick off as you go on the test drive. How many child seats can fit? Can bulky items be stored easily? Is the car spacious enough for everyone in the family? These are some questions you can ask as you’re test driving the car. 

Are there Defects?

When buying a car from a main dealer, the cars they’re selling should have gone through a comprehensive pre-sale inspection and passed. Just because you’re buying a brand new car doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have any defects. Some vehicles might incur some minor damage while it’s being transported so it’s best to check for faults. 

Car defects are usually covered by a warranty. Check for small chips or scuffs on the vehicle’s exterior, as well as the wheels. Assess the interior to see if there are signs of wear and bad smells, especially for secondhand cars. But for brand new cars, everything should be in pristine condition. Don’t settle for anything less. 

How Does the Car Perform?

While you’re on your test drive, check how the car accelerates. It should be smooth and the brakes should not only be effective but also precise. Observe every detail of the car as you’re driving it. Are there vibrations or strange noises? A car in excellent condition shouldn’t have any of these. 

You may want to test drive the car on different roads so you’ll see how it performs in various conditions. Also, drive it around the route you’ll be using to go to work so you can have an idea of how the car feels like if you’re going to use it for your daily commute. Of course, don’t forget to check if the reverse gears engage smoothly. Try parking the car as well so you can test every scenario and check if everything’s working excellently.   

Are All the Features Working?

Keep in mind that you should also check the features and gadgets of the car, too. Remember that advanced in-car technology is costly to repair so it’s important to be sure that it’s working perfectly. Some of the key features to check are the following:

  • Air conditioning
  • Heated seats
  • Satellite navigation
  • Bluetooth connectivity

This is also a good chance for you to assess if you really need all of the extra features. You may just like them but realise later on that they’re not necessary. Save money by taking the time to really think about each feature and how often you’re going to use them. 


A test drive can tell you so much about the car. It can tell you a lot about your own preferences as well. If you’ve come to a decision about the vehicle and everything is working great, don’t be in a hurry to make the purchase. Give yourself the night to sleep on it so you can gain a better perspective about the car. 

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