9 top tips when taking a test drive at a dealership

With almost 15 years in the motor trade, I’m hoping to clue some of you potential customers up by providing some insider tips and knowledge. Today I’ll be giving a few top tips on taking a test drive in a new vehicle at a dealership and things you should consider.

  1. Comfort. Its all well and good driving a top of the range demonstrator, but if the seats and interior aren’t the same as the model you are looking at, you may find yourself stuck with a car thats uncomfortable. Ask a dealer if he has the same derivative on the forecourt as a used car, this way you are actually trying like for like.
  2. Ask for an extended test drive. Usually dealers will have a set route, its not very long, usually 20 minutes. Ring beforehand, tell them your really interested in taking a test drive and tell them the type of driving you do on a daily basis. Ask them if they can include this on the run. Some dealers go the extra mile and offer 24 or 48 month test drives.
  3. Got an awkward parking space, garage or drive? Then ask the sales person if you can take it home to try it in your regular parking space. I’ve seen it too many times, when customers bring their cars back saying they can’t park it in their garage. I’ve even done it myself.
  4. If its for a company car, don’t tell them. If there is one thing that sales people can’t stand its a company car driver. They aren’t going to get a sale even if you tell them that you can nominate a dealer, thats what the fleet team is for. Usually manufacturers provide a company car test drive where they will deliver a car to your door for you to drive for 24 hours, either that or tell them that you are looking at buying a car.
  5. Need to fit a child seat? This is a real must. Make sure you can easily fit the child seat, or multiples of in the car. ISOFIX is a great invention and if you can go the extra mile when purchasing a child seat, do it. Make sure its also easy enough to get your child into the seat, its difficult when its a 3 door. One last tip on this, make sure you can disable the airbag when fitting a rear facing child seat in a passenger seat.
  6. Like a bit of Golfing? If there is one item for the car boot, that I’ve seen so many people forget when purchasing their car is the set of golf clubs. Take them with you, sales people won’t mind if they think their going to get a sale out of you.

Have you got any other tips or ideas that I may have missed, I love to hear them. Drop them in the comments.