Websites, ads and brochures can only tell you so much. If you’re buying a car, you have to test-drive it. Sure, you’ll get behind the wheel, drive around and 5 or 10 minutes later the salesman will say, “That’s it Sir, please head back.” That’s all they want to give you. But that’s not how it should be. We’ve put together six basic things to check when you head out for a test drive.
1. Do your homework
It all starts before the actual test-drive. Check the website, e-brochures and ask the dealership to email you the price list. Also make sure you read up independent and credible reviews about the car. You’ll get a fair idea about how it looks, how it performs, its variant list and the features offered. Check how many safety features come as standard and which are optional. Accordingly, inform the dealership which variant you’d like to test-drive. Plan when you’d like to test it, whether you’ll be going to the dealership or if they’ll be bringing the car to you. Inform them that in order to make a decision, you’ll need to spend at least an hour on the test drive. Tell them that you want to drive it on the route you normally take every day to work at the time you normally go to work or return from work. Let them know you’re only willing to commit time if they agree to this. Check with multiple dealerships as some may refuse.
On the test drive
2. Pre-drive check
First, ensure that the test-drive vehicle is the one you’re interested in buying. This means, that it has the right engine option (fuel type, engine capacity, power output) and that it has the transmission type you want. If they’re not providing the option you want, it’s up to you to continue or leave. Check which trim level they’ve provided for the drive and understand the differences. Sit in the passenger seat and on the rear seat. Check for under thigh support, lateral support, lumbar support and overall comfort.
3. Check the build quality
Walk around the car and gain a perspective on its dimensions. Look at the lines and design features carefully. See which parts bulge out and could cause issues in traffic. Check the tyres and ground clearance. Check for panel gaps and point them out. Open and shut all the doors. Do they close with a satisfying, solid sound like those on a Ford? Take a closer look at the doors. A good sign is if they have dual sealing. This will keep a lot of dust from entering the car. And dust is a major problem in India. Check this video and see how the dual sealing on the doors of the Ford Ecosport keeps dust out even in conditions that resemble a dust storm.
Issue: 210 | Autocar India: February 2017
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