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How to Make the Most of Your Test Drive

Monday, October 29 2018 2:31 PM
By 360 Administrator
How to Make the Most of Your Test Drive

The test drive in a crucial step in purchasing any vehicle. You need to know that you not only like the features and look of a car, but that you like how it drives, feels and handles. You need to know that the car is a comfortable fit for you and your driving style.

Buying a car can be both exciting and overwhelming, and it’s easy for these feelings to transfer over into the test drive. It’s common to feel exhilarated behind the wheel of a flashy new or new-to-you car....which can sometimes cause you to overlook more practical considerations. Or, your mind might be so crowded with questions about pricing and financing that you don’t give the test drive the attention it needs.

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your test drive, and ultimately, make the right decision when purchasing your next vehicle.


Do Your Research

Before you head to the lot, it’s important to spend some time researching vehicles. Everywhere you go, make a point to notice the vehicles around you and note which colors and styles catch your eye. Are your tastes more quirky, practical, or luxurious? Talk with your friends and family members about their experience with their cars to get recommendations.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few makes and models, do some in-depth research. You can find an endless amount of information online about nearly every make and model on the market. Expert reviews can help you figure out how a particular make and model performs and how it stacks up against its competitors.


Schedule an Appointment

Just like you need time to prepare, the seller needs time as well. This way, your prospective vehicles are ready to go when you arrive on the lot. This also gives the dealer time to put together questions and paperwork that will make the financing and buying process easier.

Scheduling an appointment isn’t required, but it helps you make the most efficient use of your time. Everything will be ready to go—you can do a visual inspection, test drive, and be on your way.


Visually Inspect the Vehicle

Now that the vehicle is in front of you, take a moment to look it over. Visually, make sure that it can meet your needs. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is it big enough?
  • Does it have all the advertised features?
  • Is there room for children, pets, cargo, etc.?
  • Do you like the way the interior materials look?
  • Are there any scratches or dents on the exterior?
  • Are the tires in good condition?
  • Can you picture yourself driving the vehicle?

Take it for a Spin

The test drive is the most crucial part of the car buying process. It’s when you finally get to figure out if the vehicle of your dreams is truly the best vehicle for you.

Before going on the test drive

  1. Map out your route. Make sure you get the opportunity to drive on different types of roads, including a highway.
  2. Choose a route you’re familiar with. You want to be focused on the car, not getting lost or navigating confusing intersections.
  3. Make any adjustments you need. Move the steering wheel, mirrors, and seats to get the best driving experience.
  4. Connect your phone. Most newer models have sophisticated infotainment systems. Pair your phone to make sure it’s compatible and easy to use.
  5. Adjust the vehicle controls. Make sure everything is easy to reach and use, including:
    - radio and infotainment system
    - heating and air conditioning
    - wipers
    - lights
    - parking brake
    - sunroof and other special features

While you’re on the road

Take the opportunity to drive the vehicle like you normally would. Also, remember there are times that you may have to accelerate quickly and brake suddenly—try this in an empty parking lot or another safe place away from other cars and obstacles.

Listen to the road noise, engine noise, and interior noises. Get a feel for the handling. Continue to adjust the radio volume, lights, and air controls like you normally would.


After the Test Drive

Take your time to consider the test drive and think of any questions for the seller. If you fell in love with the vehicle during the test drive, great. If you need more time to think about your purchase, that’s OK too. Buying a vehicle is a big decision that takes time.

If you’re planning on taking a test drive, is a new or pre-owned Honda on your list of candidates?


Interested in taking one of our vehicles for a spin? We’d be happy to help you through the process. Visit our showroom at 7017 East Kellogg Drive in Wichita, KS, or give us a call at 316-688-6400 to schedule a test drive today.