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For many of us, a vehicle purchase or lease is a major financial undertaking. It can be the second largest purchase someone makes other than a home. Often I see or hear of customers coming into the showroom and refusing the test-drive. You have done an incredible amount of research and budgeting for your new car but by skipping this crucial step you could be getting yourself into a car that doesn’t truly suit your needs.

While I respect someone’s decision to skip this portion of their dealership visit, I want to point out a few things that you can only assess by getting behind the wheel.

1. How easy is it to get in the car?
This may not be something you think of while shopping your next car but think about everyone who will be getting in and out of the car. Naturally, if you’re the primary driver you want to ensure that entering the vehicle is as effortless as possible. Now think of family members who will be in the car as well. You want to make sure that young and old passengers have little issues entering and exiting the car.

2. Adjust the driver’s seat.
You know how long you will spend in your next car, be it for the daily commute or long family vacations. Take time to set up the seat exactly how you want it. Ensure that when you finally get the seat where you feel it’s best for you that you will be as comfortable as possible for a quick trip to the market or a family road trip across the country. If the driver cockpit doesn’t gel with you after adjustments it may not be the right ride for you.

3. Adjust the mirrors and review all safety features.
Are the mirrors easily accessible and easy to adjust? Try to determine if there are any sizable blind spots based on your position behind the wheel. Finally, have the salesperson show you all safety sensor features and the backup camera in operation.

4. Know the dashboard.
Take time to understand where everything is on the dashboard. Are they easy to locate and reach? Are their dashboard controls that dramatically differ from your last car? This is your command centre, make sure you’re comfortable with everything in front of you.

5. The drive itself.
This is critical, no amount of online research will help you get “the feel of the wheel”. How does the steering feel? Too heavy? Too light? We all have a personal preference when it comes to how the car handles. If you are particular about this, definitely get in the car.

The test-drive also allows you to see the braking system’s response time. With all of the new safety features and sensors in vehicles nowadays you will need to ensure you understand how the car can react to different scenarios. Finally, listen to the car, listen to the drive. If you find cabin noise is prevalent you may want to look at a quieter ride. A quieter ride can lessen driver fatigue and help you be more alert to others on the road.

I could continue to list numerous reasons why the test-drive is so critical in your next vehicle purchase or lease but I hope that these quick tips are enough to ensure you don’t skip this critical step in your purchase journey.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any specific questions on test-drives, and for a no hassle experience. When assessing your next vehicle I hope you consider Mississauga Toyota to find the perfect vehicle for you and your family! If you would like to contact me directly, my contact details are swhite@mississaugatoyota.com and 905-625-3420 ext. 277. I would be happy to set up a test drive with a member of our sales team. We’re located at 2215 Dundas St E in Mississauga, Ontario. Near the 427 and Sherway Gardens.

Happy Driving!

Sarah White, Business Development Coordinator