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Take the stress out of test driving a car

Buying a car can be a pretty intense process. Firstly, there’s all that research – which car is going to suit your needs? Which one fits your budget? And, of course, which one is going to look the best in your garage?

After you’ve finally settled on your dream car (or narrowed it down to a few possible winners), then comes the part that’s crucial to your decision-making – test driving. Taking your potential new ride for a spin is incredibly important.You might know every last detail and statistic about a vehicle, but without actually getting behind that wheel and seeing how it feels, you’ll never truly know if it’s the right car for you.

The problem is, organising time to get out to car yards or arranging to meet private sellers can be a huge hassle. You’re already busy, so having to spend your weekends or weekday nights travelling here and there to test drive a bunch of vehicles isn’t exactly all that appealing.

What to look for when test driving a new car

When you’re test driving a new car (as opposed to testing a used one), you aren’t usually looking for potential faults or mechanical issues. Instead, it’s really about getting a feel for the vehicle and seeing whether or not it’s going to suit what you want and need out of a vehicle.

Here are some tips for making sure you’re prepared ahead of test driving a new car:

  • Don’t feel pressured to go on a short drive – that won’t give you a proper indication of whether it’s ‘the one’. While it can feel a bit weird with a car sales person sitting next to you, try to push past the discomfort and make sure you get in enough time behind that wheel to actually test it out
  • Before you head out on the road, make a checklist of features that you use or think that you would use regularly. If you already have a car, it’s worth mentally going through which features are important to you next time you’re driving. That way, when you hop in the new vehicle to test drive, you can check out things like how big the glove box is, how many cup holders there are, does it easily accommodate a baby capsule or whatever else is important to you and your lifestyle
  • Make sure you test the technology, and see how easy (or cumbersome) it is to use. There’s no point getting excited about a safety camera or being able to listen to your music through Bluetooth if the way it’s set up isn’t condusive to how you operate
  • And, finally, take note of the feel. This can be a bit of an elusive one, but basically it means really concentrating what it’s like to drive - the steering, the brakes, the acceleration, everything. If you already have a car you regularly drive, don’t feel put off by the fact that it’s different to what you’re used to. But do take note about how enjoyable it is for you, personally

The information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.

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