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8 Things to Know Before You Take A Test Drive

Modified On May 19, 2016 12:41 PM By CarDekho


Test drive is certainly a vital part for choosing the right car for yourself. You have to make careful observations and know what are the important things to look for, while taking a new car out for the first time. By following a simple checklist you will be able to find out if a car is good to drive and practically meets your requirements or not.

1) Shortlist First

Keeping in mind your budget, decide and research about the features and specifications you want in your car before finalizing a test drive. You can logon to to get a detailed list of the price, specifications and features of the cars. Shortlist 3-4 cars that best match your criteria and try to test drive all of them on the same day.

2) Test Drive the Variant You Want

As far as possible, ask your dealer to provide the particular variant that you are willing to buy, for test drive. If it is not possible, confirm the following from the dealer before fixing the test drive:

  • What type of engine and capacity does the test drive car have e.g. Petrol or Diesel?
  • What type of gearbox does it have, manual or automatic?
  • Does it have the features that you are looking for, like power steering and lumbar support.
  • Check if there are more than one upholstery available for the car, e.g. black or beige, leather or fabric.

3) Time and Place Convenience

Try to schedule your test drive at a convenient time and place so that you have ample of time to gauge all the ifs and buts of the vehicle. A perfect test drive can vastly help you in taking the final decision.

4) Take Along

  • Take your family or friend with you for the test drive. This will help you figure out how many people can fit in comfortably. Also their feedback will help you in noticing small points.
  • Take a CD/ USB drive with some music to test the infotainment system of the car.

5) Explore the Car

  • Take a walk around the car and observe the styling and overall appearance while emphasizing on build quality, paint, door handles, panel gaps, etc.
  • Analyze the length, height and width of the car. Also, try to estimate if the boot space would be able to accommodate large luggage.
  • Let the doors open as wide as possible. Check if they get locked at certain angles and how comfortably you can get in and out of the car.
  • Move to the rear seat and check if the leg, shoulder and headroom is enough. Take your kids with you to test the space.
  • Now take the front seat and try to feel if it is ergonomically suitable to drive or not.

6) Just Before the Test Drive

  • Before actually driving the car, check for the driver's seat adjustment, as good visibility is a must for safety.
  • Examine the adjust dials, push buttons and compartments properly.
  • Check if the instrument cluster, air condition knobs, radio keys, and other controls are easy to use.
  • Analyze if the driving position is comfortable, steering wheel is adjustable enough and you are able to reach the gear lever and the foot pedals easily.

7) Test Drive

  • Test the car on the route where you are going to use it frequently until you get well acquainted with its controls.
  • Twirl the steering left and right to ensure they turn quickly and effortlessly.
  • Next, see if the brakes are too weak or strong. It is good if they are applied in a linear manner as this helps in controlled braking.
  • Check the adjustability of the mirrors for a good vision of the rear.
  • Accelerate the car to about 4000rpm to get an idea if the engine is quick or not, loud or quiet; and sounds nice or coarse.
  • Drive the car at changing speeds in different gears, and note the noise, vibrations and harshness in the cabin due to traffic, wind and tyre noise etc.
  • Shift the gears to check if they are easy or hard to shift. Also, see if the clutch is light or requires a lot of effort to get a move.  
  • Try to drive the car on a bumpy road and notice the suspension performance, ride quality, cabin rattles and squeaks, etc.
  • Change lanes while driving to check the visibility at the sides and rear.
  • Switch on the AC while driving at high speed to see the drop in the speed. Check if the AC cuts off when the engine is revved hard.

8) After the Test Drive

  • Discuss with the sales executive all the issues that you have noticed during the test drive.
  • Fill the feedback form and ask for the car brochure, price-list, etc. from the sales person.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for another test drive if you still feel doubtful.

Image source: Team bhp

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