New Car Test Drive Checklist
Follow this checklist to make the most of your next new vehicle test drive.
- Walk-around inspection
Get a feel for the car. This is a big investment and you should like the way it looks from every angle.
- Test all the seats
See if the vehicle is comfortable for you and any passengers you may be driving.
- Try accessories and controls
Don’t search for unfamiliar buttons when your on the road. Get acclimated with new features before you start the car.
- Open/close trunk
See if it suits your needs. If you have a large item you travel with regularly, bring it along to see if it fits.
- Listen to sales person
Let the sales person tell about the key features that will help you enjoy your drive.
- Drive the exact model you desire
Different trim levels can have very different feels and drive differently. Don’t fall in love with a model you can’t have.
- Choose a route that simulates your typical driving conditions
Some vehicles that are great on the highway aren’t so good in tight city streets. Make sure the car fits your lifestyle.
- Test ride quality on different surfaces
Different roads affect vehicles differently. Is the vehicle you’re driving up to the task?
- Test acceleration during merging and passing
Step on it! See what the car is capable of to get you out of a jam.
- Check steering on tight and wide turns
Put the car through the ringer. An easy Sunday drive won’t tell you much about a vehicle’s performance.
- Note transmission smoothness
Transmission smoothness can vary quite a bit between models. Find one that fits your comfort level.
- Brake hard and soft
See if the breaks are sticky or soft in a variety of breaking situations so you know what to expect.
- Listen for engine and road noises
Some love to hear the roar of the engine, others prefer a more serene ride.
- Note any blind spots
Every car has blind spots. Make sure you know where they are before attempting advanced maneuvers.
- Try parallel parking
You’ll find yourself in this situation at some point. Make sure you can handle it.