The Test Drive is the most important step in the car buying process. With all of the available online information sometimes we forget to actual take a good test drive. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we have read on all of the websites, review sites and expert car enthusiasts sites that we forget that we still have to be comfortable in the car. Without sitting in the vehicle, opening the doors, crawling through it and actually putting it through it’s intended purpose; how are we to know if we have chosen the right vehicle for us? The answer is, you can’t. Now at Buckeye we firmly believe that doing your research is a vital part of the process but until you sit behind the wheel and adjust the seat and mirrors of that “perfect car” you don’t know if the dashboard layout doesn’t jive with your vibe. Maybe the console rubs your knee the wrong way or hey no where online did it mention that someone with my exact height, build, seat adjustment, preferred mirror placement and head tilt would experience a really annoying blind spot or ???.
So now that we agree that taking the test drive is important, how should we maximize our time and get the most out of the experience? I am glad you asked…
First, you should start with simply sitting in the car. Make sure the car is easy to get in and out of. Once seated, survey your surroundings and assess your comfort level. If you’re taller, make sure you have enough headroom. Also, consider how easy it is to adjust and personalize your settings. Is the steering wheel able to tilt or telescope for a better reach? Next, scope out the adjustability of the seat in terms of height, legroom and lumbar support. When you’re situated, check the vehicle’s visibility. Adjust the rear-view and side mirrors and look for potential blind spots.
When you’re actually ready to test drive the vehicle, it’s important that you find a route most similar to the daily drives you will take in your new car. For example, if you commute daily on the highway, take the car out onto the freeway to see how it performs at higher speeds.
When on the road, assess the following vehicle characteristics to get a better idea of the car’s capabilities:
- Acceleration. The car should accelerate and downshift quickly and seamlessly.
- Engine sounds. Pay close attention to how the car sounds upon acceleration. Some models are meant to sound louder and sportier than others but in some models, loud engine noises could indicate powertrain problems.
- Handling. Can you feel the road through the steering wheel? How is cornering in the car?
- Braking. Brakes are equally important for performance and safety. See how quickly they “grab” and assess how much distance you need to come to a stop safely.
When you return to the dealership, check the trunk space or cargo capacity. This is a component that a lot of people forget to look at but can be very important, especially if you’re regularly hauling a lot of gear. You should also evaluate how easy and uneasy it is to load items. If this is difficult, you might want to reconsider your vehicle choice why would you want something as easy as grocery shopping to be a complex or arduous task?
Are you ready to begin your test drive process? Contact our Buckeye Honda or Buckeye Toyota locations and we can arrange for one of our professional test drive coordinators to assist you in making sure your test drive is a perfect one!