For many, test driving is the most exciting part of the car-buying experience. It’s a chance to take a car for a spin and check out a variety of new features that your current car may not have. However, you should also remember that test driving is an important step in deciding which car you will invest in, as you will likely be driving it for the next few years.
Whether you already have a car in mind or you’re browsing a variety of different vehicles, test driving can help you narrow in on the right brand, model and specific car for you, new or used.
When test driving a new or preowned vehicle, keep in mind these questions to help you decide if the car is the right fit for you.
- How does the car perform?
- How easy is it to park?
- Does it fit my needs?
- How comfortable is this car for me?
- How does the technology work?
How does the car perform?
This question might sound vague, but all it really means is: “How does the car drive, and how does it feel as you are driving it?” Each car performs differently in how it accelerates and brakes, as well as how it steers and shifts gears.
As you are driving, ask these questions to rate the car’s performance:
- How does the car feel when I pick up speed or make a turn?
- Does the steering wheel work with my driving style?”
- How is the reaction time when I steer?
- Do the brakes respond quickly without jerking? How resistant are the brakes when I push on them?
How easy is it to park?
Parking is a necessary evil when it comes to driving, so try to park the car on your test drive to see if you can do so easily and comfortably.
- Does the car maneuver without resistance?
- Do I feel comfortable parking in a tight space?
Some cars come with features like park assist and many now have side and back-facing cameras to help you see the lines, especially when backing into a spot. These things might be helpful to consider, especially if you live in a city where parking is scarce.
Does it fit my needs?
Think about your own personal needs and if your new car fits those necessities. Make a list of your priorities when it comes to your new car and what you consider a necessity as opposed to simply an amenity.
You might consider:
- What is a deal-breaker for a new car?
- What is the size of the car? Is it big enough for me and my family?
- How big is the trunk space?
- What other storage space is there? Is there a center console or glove compartment?
- How much legroom do I have?
- How easy is it to install a car seat? How much room does a car seat take up in the car?
How comfortable is this car for me?
Since you’ll likely be driving your car quite frequently, maybe even daily, it’s important to see how comfortable you are in it during your test drive.
Take into account how comfortable you are in the driver’s seat by asking these questions:
- Does the seat adjustment allow me to see any potential blind spots without having to strain my neck?
- How does it feel to go over bumps in the road?
- How does the car move when going up and down hills?
- When I make turns, do I feel like I’m being thrown around or do I feel steady?
You can also consider potential distractions or nuisances that could become more annoying the more you drive, such as noise:
- How much noise does the car make when idling?
- Is the engine loud as I am driving and when I accelerate?
- How much outside noise do I hear from wind or nearby cars?
How does the technology work?
New cars, in particular, come with a LOT of features in this day and age, and you may not know exactly how to work every new technological innovation from the get-go. Make sure to ask the salesperson questions about how the technology works so that you can try them out during your test drive and take full advantage of the car’s amenities.
Consider questions like:
- How does the radio work?
- Can I connect my phone to Bluetooth?
- How intuitive are the screen displays?
- What does the navigation look like?
- Are the cameras clear and easy to see?
- Does the car have USB chargers to charge my phone or other devices?
- Is this a keyless entry car?
- Are there heated seats?
- What about a heated steering wheel?
Test driving a car is more than just a chance to take your dream car for a drive. You should consider your daily routine and use the test drive as an opportunity to see if the car matches what you need out of your vehicle.
Make a list of questions like the ones above and take it with you to the car dealership so you can keep your priorities in mind while test driving.
Car buying tips for you to get the best deal!
- Top 7 questions to ask a used car salesman
- How to negotiate the best car price
- Best Used Vehicles for Teen Drivers
Located in Sedalia, MO, Bryant Motors is one of the oldest car dealers in the Midwest. Great selection of new and used cars and trucks by Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. Serving customers in Sedalia, Warrensburg, Whiteman Air Force Base.