New Car Test Drive Checklist

New Car Test Drive Checklist

test_drive_checklist_572X360Follow this checklist to make the most of your next new vehicle test drive.


  1. 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.
  2. Test all the seats
    See if the vehicle is comfortable for you and any passengers you may be driving.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Listen to sales person
    Let the sales person tell about the key features that will help you enjoy your drive.

During Drive

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Test ride quality on different surfaces
    Different roads affect vehicles differently. Is the vehicle you’re driving up to the task?
  4. Test acceleration during merging and passing
    Step on it! See what the car is capable of to get you out of a jam.
  5. 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.
  6. Note transmission smoothness
    Transmission smoothness can vary quite a bit between models. Find one that fits your comfort level.
  7. Brake hard and soft
    See if the breaks are sticky or soft in a variety of breaking situations so you know what to expect.
  8. Listen for engine and road noises
    Some love to hear the roar of the engine, others prefer a more serene ride.
  9. Note any blind spots
    Every car has blind spots. Make sure you know where they are before attempting advanced maneuvers.
  10. Try parallel parking
    You’ll find yourself in this situation at some point. Make sure you can handle it.

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