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Why a proper test drive is so important

Spec Sheets are all well and good, however sometimes a car that looks great on paper may not be a great match for your routine.

That nice looking car you’ve seen on TV or that car your friend recommended to you, may harbour hidden quirks that will drive you crazy within days. This is why test drives are so important and I cannot recommend them highly enough, especially a proper test drive, one that lasts longer than five minutes!

When you’re going on a test drive, try and take the correct variant, if you’re only after a base model, don’t take the top spec variant for a spin, as it won’t be a true test of the car you are going to buy, and vice versa.

Test out everything, don’t just think of how fast it goes or how it handles, there are so many other features that you need to try out to make sure you don’t get frustrated at your new car a few weeks in.

Test out the parking sensors, the reverse camera, the stereo and connectivity.
Really try connecting your own phone via Bluetooth and see how easy it is, firstly to connect, and secondly to use, call a friend while you’re on the handsfree and test out the clarity.

Test how easy it is to use the navigation system, the audio streaming, the air conditioning controls and the much overlooked, but very important, cup holders!

Bring along your usual travel mug, or super-size slushie cup and make sure it fits, even try fitting two coffee cups next to each other, this is where I have previously run into problems in some cars!

Really poke around the interior, see if there are some sneaky but clever little compartments for your wallet, your phone, or even a rubbish bin or a hidden umbrella!

Also remember to look into the future, if you’re buying a car to last you for the next five or even 10 years, think ahead… Will there be room for perhaps a baby seat (or three) and strollers?

A 24-hour test drive is the best option to truly test out a car, most dealerships should offer this, you may just need to book it in advance.

You can then take the car on your usual routine and see if it is the right car to fit your life.

Debbie Clark is the Dealer Principal at Nepean Motor Group. Visit