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6 Questions to Ask During a Test Drive

If you’ve read my bio, you know I’ve spent a lot of time on the road. But what you may not know is that I’ve driven a variety of vehicles, from a sporty convertible coupe to a 1-ton dually pickup truck to a cargo van.

These drastically different vehicles have taught me what to look for before committing to a new vehicle. The next time you’re ready to test-drive a new car, ask yourself these questions.

Is There Visibility?

How well you can see out of a vehicle is paramount for your safety. When you settle in to take your first spin in a new ride, take a moment to adjust your mirrors and check your blind spots. Take note of any concerns you may have and ask about safety features like lane assist and backup cameras.

Does It Fit My Needs?

If you’re like me, you’ve seen the new Chevrolet Blazer, and it’s everything you’ve ever wanted. However, with two adults, three car seats and two medium-sized dogs, the Chevrolet Traverse turned out to be exactly what I needed. Though it may seem like a hassle, bring your car seats (and anything that might be tricky to fit in your new ride) and really test out how the vehicle will fit with your lifestyle.

Is It Intuitive?

Whether you’re looking for climate control or windshield wipers, one of the most flustering things about driving someone else’s car is figuring out how to adjust the settings. Not knowing how to complete a simple task can quickly turn into a stressful situation. Everyone gets an owner’s manual with their new car, but how many really open them? Now is the time to ask your salesperson about all the operating basics.

How Does It Perform?

One of the most exciting parts of test-driving a car is potentially upgrading from what you currently have. When you get out on the road, take the car through all the paces, including highway driving. Pay attention to how it steers, shifts gears, accelerates and brakes, as well as its turning radius. Don’t forget to ask the salesperson about how the new vehicle performs when it comes to fuel efficiency, too.

Is It Easy To Park?

Parking is something we don’t talk about a lot, but it starts and ends every journey in your car. Having a vehicle that’s easy to park will save you a lot of future frustration, so take into consideration the parking situation where you work and live. Many newer GM vehicles include parking assistance technology that helps take the struggle out of getting in between the lines.

Does It Have Any Deal Breakers?

Getting a new car is a big investment, so now is the time to be critical. Step back for a moment after the test drive and consider if there is anything that you didn’t like. Are you too tall for the rear door? Does the step up make you feel like you’re in a high-intensity workout class? Will your passengers — of all ages — be able to easily get in and out of the vehicle? These minor inconveniences might become a point of contention later on.

Answering these six questions can take the mystery out of what you should look for in a test drive; however, you may still need to find out how much car you can afford. If you’ve completed your test drive and you’re ready to buy, arrive prepared with our car-buying checklist.

Kelly Schaefer Hill
By Kelly Schaefer Hill, GM Financial

GM Financial’s Kelly Schaefer Hill is a seasoned road warrior with a history of long road trips and early morning drives. When she’s not belting out an alternative rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus” to her daughters, she's digging into digital marketing data.


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