Step 8. What to Look For in a Test Drive
A car might seem to have all the features you want, but the true test takes place when you are in the driver's seat. You should test-drive the car the way you would drive it during your everyday life.
If you commute, try driving the car in both stop-and-go traffic and at highway speeds. If you trek to the mountains, see if you can find some nearby steep hills to climb. Drive over bumps, take tight corners, and test the brakes in a safe location.
Get in and out of the car several times and be sure to sit in the back seat, especially if you plan on carrying passengers. Check out the cargo space. If you plan on using children's car seats, bring yours along to test for fit and ease of installation. Take pictures of the cars so you can reference them later.
While you are evaluating the car, don't be distracted. Take your time looking everything over. A good salesperson will respect your need to experience the car and will let you focus on the driving experience.
Turn off the stereo so you can listen to the sound of the engine. You can evaluate the sound system when you return to the dealership. If the conversation does turn to questions about whether you'd like to talk about purchasing or leasing, you can say that you're still in the test-drive stage.