Tips on how to make the most of the test drive

Tips on making the most of a test drive

While some people are happy to buy a car without test driving it, it makes sense to many to test drive some options before you commit to a purchase. 

Before you even think about a test drive you will need to have done some research and worked out which models (or at least one) that are likely to meet your needs and fit your budget. Our blog How to choose the right car for you and The Car Brokers can help you make your shortlist.

Once you have your shortlist and have arranged for your test drive - here are our tips for doing a test drive.

Before you drive the car

  • Do a full walk around. If you are test driving a new car – you will just want to make sure you like the look from all angles.  If you are test driving a used car – you also need to look for scratches or more serious damage.

  • Research the size of the vehicle. You need to make sure the vehicle will comfortably fit into the places you expect to park it i.e. if you have a narrow driveway or garage. 

Once you’re in the car

  • Check the entry and exit comfort. Is it easy to get in and out of the car?

  • Check the seating and driving position. Is there enough head room and legroom? Can you get comfortable? The car probably has a tilt and/or telescope function to adjust the steering wheel for the best fit – so try adjusting that. Do the pedal positions work for you?

  • Interior space. Is there enough room in the back and the boot for your requirements, if you have a car seat, make sure you can fit that properly.

  • Check the gauges and controls. Are the gauges easy to read? Are the controls easy to understand and comfortably adjust? 

  • Check the visibility. Can you see out of the car easily?

Before you start driving, make sure you are comfortable. Turn off the radio so you can hear the engine and any annoying noises.  Focus on what the car is like to drive.

The test drive

You want to have a pre-planned test drive route, or drive for long enough to get a good understanding of the car.  Once you are driving, think about the following:

  • Noise. Is the cabin quiet?  Are there rattles or is there a lot of noise when you accelerate briskly.

  • Build quality. Does the car feel well put together? For used cars you’ll want to look around and consider the condition of the car and how well looked after it feels.

  • Power. Is there enough power to pass on the motorway or to go up hills comfortably?

  • Braking. Do the brakes bring the car to a halt comfortably?  Do they make an annoying noise?

  • Steering and handling. Does the vehicle steer and handle well enough for your requirements? Do you feel safe driving the vehicle?

  • Suspension. Is the ride comfort what you are looking for? Some people want sportier handling, others are looking for a comfortable ride.

Consider the features and technology

Make sure the car has the technology and features you want and check how easy they are to use - these include:

  • Safety. Talk to the seller to understand all the safety features and make sure the car has all the ones you are looking for. 

  • Air conditioning. Does it have climate controlled or standard air-conditioning and is it easy to use?

  • Bluetooth. Pair your phone and test the calling and audio streaming functionality.

  • Smartphone interface. This is important for many, check how well the in-built functionality works.

  • Reversing camera or other parking aid sensors. How well do they help you park and manoeuvre? Are they easy to use?

  • Satellite navigation. If it has it, how easy is it to use and follow? 

A test drive is a useful tool to help you decide on your next car, once you’ve decided, remember – if you want the best deal for the least effort on a new or used car, contact The Car Brokers.