Would you buy a jacket without even trying it on? Probably not, but it might surprise you that one study shows about half the people buy a vehicle after a short test drive around the block or none at all. If you're in the market for another vehicle, make sure you check out the most important things, so you'll know if that's the right vehicle for you.
Check out the gadgets.
Love a good sound system? Then turn it up loud. Does it have enough bass for you? See how you like its navigation system if it has one. Try pairing your Bluetooth smartphone with the vehicle. Test out how to set the cruise control and how steady it keeps the speed. Back up and check out the rearview camera. If you buy this vehicle, you'll have to live with all of these things every time you drive.
Test the vehicle on roads you know.
See how it handles bumps and potholes, how it takes that tight curve that you drive every day to and from work. Driving on familiar roads gives you a chance to compare what you know with what you're thinking about buying.
Check the fit.
One suburban driver drove a full-sized SUV and loved it until they got it home and realized it was too high for her old garage. Remodeling the garage would be the only answer! Try installing your child seats. Size matters, especially in a vehicle.
Gauge the fuel economy.
Many vehicles have a trip computer that will calculate fuel economy quickly. Here's a tip: you can reset it before your test drive and when you're finished, check it and see what fuel economy you got. It will be a smaller sampling than would be ideal, but it will give you an idea.
Take as much time as you can.
A lot of sellers will pressure you to restrict your test drive to 10-15 minutes. Ideally, you'd like to have that vehicle for a week, but that's usually not possible. So, try for something in between. Remember, this could be your vehicle for years to come.
Keep in mind that every vehicle will feel strange to you at first. Buying a vehicle is a little like getting married. You want that marriage to be happy, and you want it to last, so take the time to get to know it as well as you can.