A test drive shouldn’t just be an opportunity for sales people to perfect their prattle. Take control and stay firmly in the driver’s seat with this handy guide.
1. Do your research
Whether you’re holding onto it for 5 or 15 years, a new car’s a big investment. To ensure you get maximum bang for your buck, take the time to research your options. Stick to your budget and pay attention to the deals and incentives currently on offer. Sort your ‘must haves’ from your ‘lust haves’ and make sure you only test drive the cars you both want and can afford.
2. Pay attention to first impressions
Unless you’re made of money, your new car’s going to be your main ride for at least the next 3 to 5 years. So pay attention to the little things. How comfy are you in the driver’s seat? How easy is it to get in and out of the car? How heavy are the doors? If you’re ferrying a family around, how easy is it to get everyone in and out of the car? Little niggles can become big ones over time so if your first impressions don’t match up, scratch the car off your list and move on.
3. Put the pedal to the metal
Driving around the burbs might make up the majority of your driving experience, but it pays to know how your potential new car performs at speed. So don’t restrict your test drive to the 60 km/hr zones. While you’re at it, try out the side streets, car parks and less than optimal road surfaces to ensure you get a feel for how the car performs on a range of terrains.
4. Press the buttons (all the buttons)
How easy is it to use your phone, crank up the tunes and access your GPS while driving? Are the controls for air-con within easy reach? How do you operate the fancier tech like lane assist and how the heck do you turn on the lights? Is the car a European model with the indicators and windscreen wipers the opposite way around? If taking care of the ordinary stuff like indicating and defrosting your windscreen is too hard, it might be time to go back to the drawing board.
5. Resist the sales pressure
We don’t always like to admit it, but buying a new car is an emotional experience. Sales people know this and will try every trick in the book to get you to buy while you’re on a post test driving high. Resist the lure of FOMO and take your time to consider your options. Restrict your impulse buys to chocolate at the checkout counter and you’ll be better off in the long-term.
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