There’s a great variety of stylish cars set to be released in 2020 and over the next coming years, and it can be really tempting to fall into a spiral of independent research until you decide on your ‘dream car’ all on your own. We’ve all made the mistake of falling idealistically in love with a model only to realise that it may not actually be the most suitable to our personal needs – and that’s one of a number of reasons why requesting a test drive is so important.
Features and functionality
If your current car is relatively modern, chances are that you’ll be using features like cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, and established safety features like anti-lock braking systems (ABS). But the rapid advancement of technology has ensured that new cars are coming jam-packed with a myriad of new features that must absolutely be experienced before you go making big purchase decisions. It’s not unusual for new cars to boast updated cruise control systems, collision detection technology, and autonomous emergency braking (AEB), otherwise known as the ‘new and improved ABS’.
Alongside being able to trial all these premium features and gauge how they differ between models, taking a test drive will also allow you to develop a hands-on sense of how your shortlisted cars handle, as well as develop a better understanding of the controls and overall functionality. Every car handles differently, and I’ve come across some sports models that have actually been infuriating to drive through city centres. Smart drivers will take the cars they test drive through a number of varied environments to see how each model accelerates, alongside other things.
If you’re looking for a car for the whole family, or perhaps an SUV that you can take on weekend camping trips, these lifestyle details aren’t just worth sharing with your dealer – they’re also worth personally considering during your test drive. For instance, if you know you’ll need to fit a baby seat into your car, take the seat with you for your test drive! Even consider taking the kids along to see how they all feel in the back seat. Be as thorough as possible during your assessment of the model’s storage capacity, and critically assess what you’ll need your new ride to be able to handle. Most importantly, communicate your needs with your dealer in a prompt and straightforward fashion and you’ll be sure to have all your concerns addressed with respect and confidence.
Comfort and satisfaction
Finally, buying a car is a massive milestone that should be treated with the utmost care – you don’t want to find yourself regretting your purchase a mere few months later. This can largely be avoided by taking some time to be extra mindful and present during your test drive. Don’t be too fussed about making small talk with your salesperson. Any respectable dealership should understand the value of being as present as possible during the test drive, and they’ll most likely strive to make sure that your test answers all the questions you have. With this, your own levels of comfort with your chosen model are imperative to consider during your test drive. It’s recommended that you take some time to just sit in the driver’s seat, gently assess every key moment during your test, look at the dashboard and the placement of all the controls, take it all in, and answer the question: ‘do you see yourself driving this long-term?’.
It’s also worth noting that different dealers test drive in different ways, so it’s worthwhile booking any appointments well in advance and, if possible, organising your test drives on the same day to keep all your different experiences equally fresh in your mind before you finalise your purchase decisions.