test drives - getting the best out of yours

getting the best out of your test drive takes a bit of planning. here's what to consider

Spend Time On Your Test Drive ask if you can have the car for the day or the evening: they can only say no. If the answer is negative, try and at least get a few hours with the vehicle and try and ensure that for some of that time, the sales person leaves you alone.

Bring Your Family Or Your Partner after all, they'll have to live with the car too and they'll bring a useful extra perspective.

Get a Thorough Rundown Of The Controls Before You Set Off don't be too proud to do this. You're not going to be able to properly concentrate on the job in hand and you're going to be dangerous if you find yourself trying to figure out the stereo or what various buttons are for halfway round your test route.

Choose A Varied Driving Route you're not going to learn much about the car if all you do is shoot up and down the local dual carriageway. Try and include a mixture both of challenging roads you know and some you don't.

Get Someone Else To Drive At Some Point there are things about the car you'll discover from the passenger seat that you'll never know if you constantly stay behind the wheel.

Ask Questions - don't worry about sounding stupid. Moreover, some of the things that irritate you might be distinct to the derivative of the demonstrator you're driving. Dealerships can't run demonstrators of every derivative in a particular model range and it might be that a different engine, transmission or specification choice would solve your irritations.

Always Drive At Least Two Comparable Cars From Different Brands - preferably on the same day or over the same weekend.

If You Like The Actual Demonstrator, Don't Be Afraid To Ask If You Can Buy It - dealers only tend to keep demonstrators for six months and they're well looked after and relatively lightly used. If the saving's right, then why not?

Never Buy There And Then - at the end of the test drive, always walk away and think it through

Don't Feel You Have To Buy From The Dealer That Gave You The Test Drive - just because you like the car, it doesn't mean you have to buy it from that dealer. All they've earned from giving you the test drive is first shot at quoting you on the sale. Don't feel obligated to take it further.