Buying A Car? What To Look For When You Take A Test Drive
Most car buyers don't do more than the most perfunctory test drive of new or used cars. But with so much new technology and features in today's cars and trucks, a thorough test drive is more important than ever.
According to a survey by Cox Automotive only 32 percent of consumers know the exact vehicle they want when they start car shopping. But 55 percent test drive only one vehicle — the one they end up purchasing. You're likely to try on more than one pair of shoes or hat, even when they have your size and you know what it is.
Ron Montoya with Edmunds.com, the car buying website, says a lot of people think, " 'Hey, this car's new. I'm driving an old car. I don't really need to drive this new car. Anything is going to be better than what I'm currently driving.' So they don't test-drive it."
But they should. The average car on the road is over 10 years old. Technology has changed significantly in the last decade, so many of the features on that new vehicle may be unfamiliar. Things such as drive assist, lane keeping, and turn assist weren't around just a few years ago.
"If you want a certain package, if you want a certain engine, make sure you drive that one and don't drive something else just because it's closer to the lot or it can be a quicker test drive," Montoya says. "You want to make sure that it's the car you want, because that's the car you're going to buy. You're going to be spending a lot of money on it."
While driving the car, pay attention to things like how the steering feels in your hands, how the vehicle feels as it's turning and how the brakes respond, says Jean Jennings with Jean Knows Cars. "Your hands, your feet and your butt — those are the things that are most important," she says.
Jennings, who was the longtime editor of Automobile magazine, says most importantly, you should enjoy the experience: "The first person who knocks your joy down one tiny bit, walk out! How dare they! It's your money and your joy. If you're going to spend that kind of money, why would you deal with anyone who gives you any pain at all? Am I right?"
Jennings is right. Driving a car should not be painful. Here's some ways to ease the pain.
Tips For The Test Drive
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.