Q: What is a Test-Drive?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

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Before you buy a new car, you want to experience how it handles while you're on the road. Car dealerships encourage a potential buyer to take a car for a test-drive for this reason. You will be spending a significant amount of money on your purchase, so you want to be happy with how you feel behind the wheel. The car dealership also wants you to be happy so that you will refer other customers. The following tips can help you get the most out of your test drive:

Make sure the model you're considering is within your budget. Look over the car specs to ensure the auto has the features you need. Check out alternatives on the lot, paying attention to customer reviews and repair statistics.

When taking a test drive, the salesperson is likely to accompany you in the car. He or she may drive first or suggest a route for you to travel. In order to get the experience you want, have a route in mind before you get to the lot and ask to make modifications if the lot route is lacking. You want to cover all kinds of ground to get a feel for how the car handles in different situations. You may want to include:

* Residential streets (complete with parallel parking spots)

* Highways

* Gravel roads

* Sharp turns

It is a good idea to park somewhere and check out the car?s features. Test out the air conditioner and heater, check the seating comfort, and make sure you can reach and operate the radio. Test-driving a new car off the lot is the final check that determines if it is the car for you and your lifestyle.

If you are considering ordering a car from a dealership, it makes sense to test-drive at least two different examples of the car you?re considering that are already on the lot. This ensures you get a feel for the model and not just one particular car. It will also show the dealer that you are getting ready to buy, and chances are very good that sales management will offer you some incentive to close the deal.

Taking a new car for a test-drive is one of the most enjoyable parts of going auto shopping. However, its importance lies in ensuring you find the right car for your needs. You can also use a test drive to determine if there's anything wrong with the vehicle you're considering, allowing you to get the best deal before you buy. While no one wants to waste someone's time with test drives that won't lead to purchases, getting a firsthand feel for a model is essential when shopping for a new automobile.

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