The process of purchasing a car has been streamlined thanks to the internet. Every car dealer now has an online presence where you can browse through the inventory of new and used cars or even check out the latest models with comprehensive details.

A few dealerships even provide online payment services and have started accepting online bookings. While most of the processes have been digitised, there are certain aspects of the buying experience that will never change. You can book a test drive of the car of your choice online, get a personalised video of the car, but to experience the vehicle first hand, you have to pay a visit to the showroom or somehow get them to visit you. ????

Use the below test drive checklist to make sure you make the most out of your first-hand experience before making that big commitment.

1. Research & Shortlist

With so much information available online, it’s always a good idea to do your research before walking into a dealership. This way, you can compare between various models and depend on your requirements, you can quickly narrow down on a couple that fit your criteria. Nowadays, dealerships also have the capability to send you a personalised video of the car that can be watched from the comfort of your living room at your convenience. It can further narrow down the final test drive list!

2. Book an appointment

Once you’ve done your research and decided on the brand and model, give a call to the dealership and fix an appointment. You can even book a test drive online if such a facility is available on the dealership’s website. This way, the dealer gets time to prepare the car you wish to test drive and that will save you a lot of time.

3. Observe and get to know the car

Once you’re at the dealership, the salesperson will give you detailed walkaround of the car. He will go through all the specifications and features.

3.1 Comfort

Hop inside the car and check for headroom and legroom. Adjust the driver’s seat to your liking and then see if there’s ample leg room at the back. Spend some time in the rear seat as well and see if you find it comfortable with sufficient under-thigh support and shoulder room.

3.2 Practicality

While you’re in the car, explore the numerous cubbyholes and storage compartments. See if there are an adequate number of door pockets and bottle holders. Also, explore the available boot space. Inquire about ski/luggage rack mounting options, if any. Will come handy for your family holidays. ????

4. Make yourself comfortable

Before heading out for a drive, adjust the seat, steering position and get comfortable. Adjust the mirrors and turn down the radio before setting off, so that you get a sense of the Noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels inside the vehicle.

5. Go through all the feature

Get acquainted with the controls, in particular for the turn signals, windshield wipers and headlights in case you’re driving at night. As you may have noticed, some cars have their turn signal controls on the right stalk and wipers on the left and vice versa. If you’re not used to either configuration, it’s easy to get confused.

6. Evaluate performance, ride and handling

Usually, the salesperson will guide you on a route around the area but don’t hesitate if you wish to try out the vehicle on a specific road. Driving on different road surfaces, in traffic and out on the highway will allow you to judge the performance, ride and handling of the car.

7. Experience the drive from the passenger seat

Spend some time in the passenger seat if possible. Let someone else take the wheel for some time so that you can focus on some of the other features of the car.

8. Take a second opinion

It’s highly recommended that you take someone along for the test drive. It can be your friend or spouse. It’s always a good idea to seek a second opinion.

9. Test drive comparable cars back-to-back

If you have narrowed down on a couple of models during your research, it would be better if you test drive those vehicles back-to-back.

10. Take your time

Once back from the test drive, exchange your contact details with the sales representative. Let the person know that you would like to evaluate all the options before making a purchase.

With so many brands and models to choose from, buying a car in today’s day and age can get confusing.

Follow these 10 easy steps, and I am confident you will not be overwhelmed when it comes to selecting the right car!

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