What to Look for When You Test Drive a Car?

Test drive a car to see how the vehicle performs. This can also enable you to find out whether you are comfortable with the steering, brakes, suspension, drivetrain and other important systems of the car.

Before you show up at a dealer, decide on the type of car you are interested in. Do your homework and research the vehicle models that suit your lifestyle and budget. If you are interested in many car models, it is best to drive them all on the same day, so that you can do a thorough comparison.

Drive the car in different road conditions and surfaces for at least 30 minutes. This can help detect problems if any with the vehicle.

Comfort and Acceleration

Drive on a stretch of imperfect pavement with cracks, seams and potholes. Does the vehicle feel tight and controlled over bumps? Does the vehicle make jittery noises? Vehicles with better suspensions absorb the pavement flaws and make your ride comfortable.

Speed up to see if the car is able to maintain highway speeds. Climb a steep hill to note how the engine responds. Strong acceleration depends on a powerful engine and a well-designed transmission.


Pay close attention to how the brakes perform and feel. See how the vehicle responds to soft and hard braking. Irrespective of how you brake, it needs to be smooth.

Steering and Handling

A good steering makes you feel easy and in control even through rough turns. Variable power steering lightens up the effort at slow speeds especially during parking. Check how the vehicle responds to quick maneuvers. You need to be comfortable with the way the car reacts.


Always buy vehicles with the best visibility. Check visibility when backing up. See how the headlights perform after dark.

Make notes of the car performance during the test drive. This can help you make an informed choice.

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