What to check in a test drive?

When buying a car we must review many aspects such as the mechanical conditions of the car, the way to buy it, the requirements of a loan , but we forget a very important detail, the test drive.

All brands and all their agencies are required to provide you with a free test drive. Even if you are buying a pre-owned car , at a car lot, they should give you a test drive.

This is the ideal time to review the model of the car you are about to buy. Here we will tell you what factors you should pay special attention to find out if you are choosing the right car.

Learn about the car

By the time you take a test drive, you should have already researched several models, which cover all your needs and are within your budget.

In our Guide to choosing your ideal car we explain in detail how to select your ideal car. Without a doubt, the test drive will be one of the last factors in making your final decision.

At best, you should have at least half a dozen vehicles in mind to test drive.

Confirm what you investigated

A test drive is not useful to know everything about the vehicle in one day, you should have previously investigated it. The test drive is to confirm all the virtues that you liked about this car.

Seats and comfort

When entering the car, are you comfortable in the seat? Does it have lumbar support, does the door and the seats allow you to get in and out with ease?

Is the seat and dash space big enough for your legs? Does the height of the vehicle allow you to sit upright without touching the ceiling?

In case you are not comfortable, is the seat position adjusted so that you feel comfortable and can control the steering wheel and pedals correctly?

Rear seats

Look for the opportunity to sit in the rear seats to see if they are comfortable, especially if you will be driving regularly with several passengers.

Most cars allow you to slide the front seats back, check that if you do, there is ample space in the rear seats.


controls Are the steering wheel and dash controls clear, easy to use? Are the witnesses to the car understandable?

Without moving much from your seat, it is possible to manipulate all the necessary controls to drive, such as directional, door and window opening, windshield and directional wipers, mirrors, volume controls, etc.

Mirrors and side mirrors

During a test drive, you should never forget to check the side and rearview mirrors. Can you clearly see the cars behind you?

Make sure you can control them to a comfortable and safe position when driving.

Check the trunk

Either at the end or at the beginning of the test, check the trunk of the car. Is it big enough to fit the things you carry regularly?

Take for example the purchase of the pantry, would it fit in the trunk? Check what space in the trunk is left if you fold down the seats.

Infotainment systems Examine the infotainment

systems with which the car works, test the controls, turn on the air conditioning, heating, connect your cell phone in the ports of entry.

Choose the version you are going to buy

Whenever possible, test drives the version of the vehicle you want to buy. Usually, in the test drive agencies, a high version is used with all the extra equipment included.

That is why it is important to have in your hands as much information as possible about the car. In this way you will know what elements the vehicle has and are necessary for you. To avoid being guided by the emotion of the moment, you can make a list of essential qualities that the car must have to choose it.

Watch for noise

The most common thing is that in test drives, the salesperson is the one who drives the car and raves about the car to you. Leave the praise behind and pay attention to the noises, ease of handling the controls.

Listening to music on a test drive is never recommended as the sound can mask strange noises when driving or starting the car.

When you start the car, pay attention to how the engine starts if it struggles or dies. The engine will always tell you the truth about its health.

Drive on similar roads

When you are behind the wheel, drive where you see fit, in places similar to where you normally drive.

For example, if you drive on downhill roads, try to find a similar street and test the brakes and stability.

Acceleration and power

How does the gear increase speed, how powerful is the car? Is it enough power at high and low rpm?

Remember that you must be aware of the characteristics of the engine , you cannot ask a lot of speed and acceleration from a car with little power.

On many occasions it is not possible to accelerate too much but look for the opportunity to reach at least 60 km / h.

Check the brakes

When you step on the pedal you should feel that the braking is firm, that is, you should not have to stretch more than your foot (never your leg) to press the pedal and brake completely.

When braking the car should not move direction if you are holding the steering wheel firmly. Let the seller know that you are going to test the car’s acceleration and brakes before doing so.

Car steering With car

steering we mean how easy it is to move the car with the steering wheel. To be firm but never too stiff that it costs you to move it with one hand.

Is it easy to drive the car to corner? Is it precise in the turn you must be constantly adjusting the steering wheel?

Suspension and stability

Safety systems

In a test drive, you should never forget to check all safety systems, especially those that are essential to you. For example, check that the seat belts are placed in a good way

We leave you a list of the main car security systems and what their function is so that you have an idea of what to expect from them.

If you review these points, you can have a successful test drive and have enough information to make an informed decision about which car to choose.

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