Score an A+ on Your Test Drive
On paper, the car you’re thinking about buying is perfect. But, since you can’t exactly drive paper, a test drive is in order. Because you don’t know until you know, you know?
Test driving a potential car buy is not all fun and games. Well, it is some fun and games–you’re about to drive the car of your dreams, or at least, a machine that offers personal freedom at a reasonable cost.
And, since the car you have your eye on is all shiny and new or slightly used, but still shiny, it’s easy to get blinded by all the newness. Don’t be new car blind when you go in for a test drive; be critical, inquisitive, and focused so that your test drive tells you everything you need to know before you invest in that vehicle.
Related: Check out the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox
According to Consumer Reports, if you are considering multiple vehicles, try to test drive them all in the same day, test them out on a variety of road conditions and driving situations, and extend the test drive time to at least 30 minutes; don’t let the salesperson plan the drive—stick to your pre-determined route.
The Automobile Association suggests you ask yourself these questions before you start the test drive:
- Is it easy to get in and out?
- Are you able to move the seat and adjust the steering wheel so you are 100% comfortable?
- Are the controls within reach, and is it easy to read the instruments?
- If this is a family vehicle, are your kids comfy in the back? Is there enough room for car seats?
- Does it have adequate space for your stuff?
During the test drive, the experts at Consumer Reports advise you to take note of:
- Ride comfort—does every bump hurt or is it a smooth ride?
- Acceleration—does it have get up and go? (Think about highway merging).
- Stopping power—how do the brakes respond?
- Control—how does it handle? Is it reactive to your steering?
- Sound—with the windows closed and the radio off, what sounds to you hear? Is the interior as quiet as you need it to be?
- Vision—do the design, windows, and mirrors give you the visibility you want while driving?
Don’t forget to test drive the car at night, too, warns Consumer Reports; a night drive will reveal valuable information you need before making a car buying decision.