We use cookies on whatcar.com to improve your browsing experience and to provide you with relevant content and advertising, by continuing to use our site you agree to this. Please see our privacy policy for more details. Continue

Buying A Car - How to test drive a car

26 September 2011
Sarah driving

It's all very well kicking tyres on a forecourt or shopping in the showroom, but that's no substitute for getting behind the wheel.

A test drive is a vital part of the decision-making process – never buy a car without one. Here's how to get the most out of your test drive.

• If you’re comparing a wide range of cars, try to test-drive them back to back, or with the smallest gap between each. It’s difficult to remember how one car compares with the last if you drive them two weeks apart.

• Weekends are a bad time for test drives if you’re looking at a popular car from a dealership. Test-drive in the middle of the week when the dealership and the roads are quiet.

• Once you’ve decided on the best car for you, give it an extended test drive. A dealership will probably resist but push for at least a half-an-hour drive.

• Don’t just drive around the block, make sure you cover a variety of different road types. Try towns, country roads motorways and A roads to get a feel for how the car handles.

• If you have a bad back or suffer health issues, make sure you can easily get in and out of the car, and sit comfortably for a period of time.

• If the car is to be used as a family vehicle, make sure they all fit in the car, can easily get in and out, and check for cubby holes and storage space if you need to.

• If you have a hobby, or a particular need from your car, make sure you try it out with that in mind.

What Car? Factsheet: How to buy a car

Buying a car





Selling your car




Taking delivery of your car




Looking after your car




Motoring tips


Haymarket Logo What Car? is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media
What Car? is part of Haymarket Motoring
© Haymarket Media Group 2014