A test drive is a great way to get a feel for what it’s really like to drive the car before you make any financial commitment. Before you start your test drive, it's important to know what to look for. Use this guide from Rodland Toyota of Everett on what to pay attention to during your drive.


Performance

What you're looking for in terms of performance will vary depending on the type of car you're test-driving. That being said, make sure the vehicle has the right balance of around-town agility with decent highway cruising capability. 

Quality of ride and handling

To really get a feel for it, try to take the car for a test drive on a wide range of different road conditions. You need to be sure of the car’s capability in a variety of different environments. It's important to find the right balance between comfort and control, so try turning at different speeds to get a feel for the car’s handling. Does the car hug the road or lose control? Also helpful--do a full circle in a car park a few times to check the car’s turning radius. (Doing donuts, while fun, is not recommended.)

Safety features

Any vehicle you drive needs to keep you and your family safe, so don't be afraid to put your test car through its paces. Accelerate and then brake hard to see how well the vehicle handles under pressure. Make a number of maneuvers that require the use of your rear-view mirrors, so you can get a better understanding of what using them will be like if you do decide to purchase the vehicle.

Interior comfort

Driving a car isn't just about performance and safety, of course, and you want to be confident that your vehicle is as comfortable to drive as it is fun. Check out features such as the climate control, audio system, and satellite navigation to make sure that they're easy to adjust and use while driving and that they work effectively. Aside from how well these features work, if you play with all the different controls, you'll get a better impression of how the car feels in terms of quality.

Driver seating position

Features aside, comfort in a vehicle also extends to the driver's seat. You and your new car are going to be traveling a lot of miles together, so make sure that you enjoy your time behind the wheel. Check the headroom as you get in and out of the car, making sure that there's enough room to enter, exit, and remain seated comfortably, and pay careful attention to the seat. Can it be adjusted so that you are fully supported and comfortable? Make sure that you're stable during turning and that you have good all-round visibility, too.