IAM RoadSmart’s tips to making test drives more enjoyable

There's no getting away with it – you really do need a comprehensive and detailed test drive to judge any new car's abilities.
Making the wrong choice could be a costly mistake, and one you could regret for years to come. Richard Gladman, Head of Riding and Driving Standards for the biggest independent road safety charity in the UK, IAM RoadSmart, has come up with a set of tips to help you make sure you make the right choice.
Not taking a test drive is a false economy.
We know some people aren't confident when trying out a new and unfamiliar vehicle and it's important to know you're not alone.
Here are IAM RoadSmart's top five tips to making test drives more enjoyable:
  • Sit in the car in the dealership for as long as it takes to ensure access, comfort and visibility is good enough.
  • Ask yourself: is the seat high or low enough, can I see over the bonnet?
  • Am I close enough to the steering wheel and able to operate the controls?
  • How good is the front, side and rear visibility?
  • Check the positions of the mirrors and adjust them accordingly.
  • You need to feel comfortable and focused in the car before you switch on the engine.
  • If you think it would help, ask a friend or family member to accompany you on a test drive. It might be less intimidating, and you can find out how the car feels to them.
  • If test driving a car with a child, make sure the child-proof door locks are activated, ask if your child seat is compatible with that car and ensure it is correctly fitted.
  • Some dealerships are happy to deliver a new car to your home so you can test it overnight or for the weekend. This will give you a better insight into living with the car, and they can only say no if it's something they don't offer.
  • Be firm, but polite if the salesperson tries to use the test drive as an extended sales pitch. This is your time to decide on whether this car is right for you.
Richard said: "Buying a new car can be an exciting time but be careful not to rush into any expensive decisions. Insist on a test drive that is representative of your daily driving and if that is not possible, you are always welcome to walk away. The salesperson is their to do a job which is to sell you the vehicle, if you feel pressured then make sure you take back control of the situation. Be confident in your negotiations and don't forget the car-mats, we all count it as an extra win if we get a free set of mats."


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