A test drive should be an integral part of deciding what vehicle to lease. Whether you go with new or used, bought or leased, the process of test driving allows you to gather as much relevant information as possible before you make the important commitment.
Some people will sample cheese at a deli before they commit to buying a block. The least you can do before committing to a car is to take it around the block for a spin. Here are a few tips and tricks for making the most of your test drive.
Test Drive Tips
An extensive test drive is the only way to evaluate a vehicle. A test drive should last at least 30 minutes and cover a route chosen by you – not the salesperson. Take a list of the things you want to check to the test drive, and, if possible, bring a third party to listen to the salesperson so you can focus on the car. Here is what to look for during the test drive.
This is why Consumer Reports suggests that the buyer should set the test drive itinerary. If you can, try to drive on all types of road surfaces, especially rough ones. After hitting a pothole or rough surface, the vehicle’s ride should return to normal and not feel as if it is pitching on a wave.
A vehicle should be able to maintain highway speeds without constant adjustments to the pressure on the accelerator. Test acceleration by choosing a test route that includes having to enter traffic from a complete stop; if the engine does not respond immediately drive back to the dealership and walk away.
The transmission is the other half of the power equation. Check the tranny by going up a steep hill. The transmission should shift smoothly and the car should climb the hill without labouring. During shifting be aware of unusual noises and jarring or jerking sensations.
Steering Handling and Braking
A good steering system enables you to feel what the front wheels are doing. Completing a turn or manoeuvre shouldn’t require excessive steering. If it can be done safely, warn others in the car and try a sudden steering manoeuvre; the car should complete the manoeuvre without constant correction.
Try applying different amounts of pressure to the brake pedal. Let passengers know it is coming and simulate emergency braking. The car should stop without you feeling like you were about to be launched through the windshield or stomped in the mud. It is all well and good to get a deal on a leased car or truck but you need to make sure its features – especially safety features – are working up to snuff.
Pre-Test Drive Inspection
You may find a car is not right for you with just a pre-test drive inspection. Here is what to look for: check the outside dimensions to be sure the car fits in your garage; remember, when you lease a luxury car some luxury models tend to be a little larger than average. Consider the car’s internal dimensions – can you easily install a child’s car seat? (Suggestion: take the car seat with you). Are passenger seating and leg room sufficient? Is trunk space ample enough for your storage needs?
With these few tips, tricks and considerations, you should be all set to test drive your dream car. If all goes well, you will be driving off the lot feeling happy and assured.