REALLY Test Driving a new car vs. polite test driving

I understand your point. But my bursitis makes me sensitive to the non-gemotry, non- visability, non-hand/eye coordination aspects of parallel parking… or perhaps I should say my AGE makes me sensitive to…!!!

@MikeInNH You need a car with a dedicated golf club door like this 1932 Packard.

Were golf clubs smaller in 1932?

I think today, the first thing I’d do is to disconnect the battery, reconnect it and see if it has to go into the shop to get it started. It is getting to be a dealer only service to replace the battery in a lot of todays cars, and its a tow if you leave your lights on.

Go into a test drive informed. I would read as many reviews as possible to get ideas of their weaknesses. For example, if CR said that the rear seat legroom was uncomfortable, you obviously want to check that out. But if that just isn’t a factor as you are shorter and may always have the seats forward, that’s good. I like good mileage but not at the expense of decent acceleration, so why bother testing those with weak motors. Confine your test drives to those whose characteristics you have already decided upon. It’s a waste of time otherwise.


If you call the LOCAL office not the 1-800 number and ask odds are they will hold the car you requested as far as trim level/engine/transmission while you might not find the exact but you’ll know how it rides and how it fits, where the controls are it’s going to give you a much better feel for the car than a 10 min. test drive ever will.

Golf clubs weren’t necessarily smaller in 1932 (some were), but a SET of clubs in a bag definitely were. The best use of a vintage golf bag that I’ve seen was to carry drum and cymbal stands. They didn’t even have to be shortened to pack.

Back in 32…golfers usually had about 6 or 7 clubs. Now most carry the maximum of 14 clubs. Plus my wife uses a pull cart. The bags are a LOT bigger. And I sure wouldn’t want to leave a $2000 set of clubs on the side of my car.

OT, I used to carry four woods, all the irons, plus the putter and runner up club. All I ever used though was the #2 wood, #7, 9 iron and sometimes the 2, and a putter. Started leaving the rest at home.

@rwee2000 - if they have it

I normally buy only new or near-new cars and research them thoroughly on-line, perhaps taking up to a year, and do as much as I can sitting in the cars and checking things out. When I’m ready to buy and have targeted an example, and I know the price I’m going to pay I’ll ask for a test drive. My only purpose is to ensure that example drives straight and doesn’t rattle. If the salesman insists on coming along, I’ll go elsewhere, but that’s a rare problem here in NZ and for someone my age. The fact is most all new cars drive (and smell) wonderful and it’s hard to resist a purchase, so get your ducks in a row first.

One thing that really makes it difficult to even consider a car is the “supervised test drive” where a sales guy rides along and lists the car’s merits while you test drive it. I’d say it must be nerve wracking for him too, as he must ride with all sorts of drivers that he didn’t even know from Jack 15 minutes before.

I prefer it if I can do the first cold start of the vehicle. I also check the color and fullness of the fluids and look under the car for drips, rust, etc. I then will drive it, hitting the brakes hard at least once, at least one full-throttle acceleration, and a highway run.

I have been going through this process off and on while my girlfriend considers buying a “new to her” vehicle. On the two ride alongs with salesmen when we looked at GM vehicles, the sales guy seemed a little miffed after I did a full-throttle acceleration, which caused the check engine light to come on, and I said “Bingo!” One of the vehicles she liked was a Chevy Blazer. (to each their own) After a hard run, we limped back to the car lot with it bucking and jerking, while it drove fine prior to the hard acceleration. If you’re seriously considering a used car, it’s essential to ‘beat on it’ a little when test driving it–it makes any problems that they may be trying to disguise (or maybe just didn’t know about) come to light. An inspection by a mechanic is a good idea too.

The best of the sales folks so far have been ones that have let her take a vehicle home and to be inspected, and let her drive it for a couple of days, no pressure. Unfortunately neither of the vehicles she’s been allowed to do this with panned out, but it makes it much more likely to buy from that particular lot.

I went on a “supervised” test drive a few years ago wherein the salesperson insisted that we had to follow the “approved route”. She said she’d get in trouble with her boss if we didn’t. She was a very pleasent young lady, clearly new to her job. I chuckled, drive the approved route, and when we got back I asked for the sales manager. I had hoped to enlighten him a bit. He was unavailable. I drove by there recently…he’s now out of business.

But consider this too.
When you go to buy a new car and look at the odometer…how many miles do YOU expect to see there ?
How many test drives have been taken in this vehicle and at what amount of mileage each time ?
If you expect to take an extended test drive …will you be willing to but the car that has had many ?
What about buying that 4x4 that was test driven down in the river ?

This is why the test drive is restricted and limited. They want to still be able to sell the car as showroom new even after all the test drives. The mileage needs to be kept to a minimum or theyd have to sell it as used.

The current line of chevy ads make me laugh for that reason. The all day road trip test drive and the mud covered pickup test drive just wouldn’t be allowed to happen.


But why discount calling, if one agency doesn’t have it, it doesn’t mean other won’t or maybe the dealer itself rents cars, in my area they are the only ones who rent cars, or knows which rental agency has them. With the kind of money you spend even on a cheap new car, its well worth the look. There is nothing sadder then finding out you can’t stand the car after a week or two of owing it. As in For Sale 2013 X with less then 5,000 miles. Seen it too many times.

The current ads are rediculous. However an “approved” test drive route is also rediculous. I need to try the vehicle on the type of roads I plan to drive. That is not unreasonable. Frankly, the dealership I buy from hands me the keys and says “see you later”. Most send a salesman, but the place I referred to is the only one that has ever had an “approved route”.

In the old days I was even given a 929 to take home for the weekend. They don’t do that anymore.

I make sure I get some interstate driving in, 65mph min.

I bought a car with a little over 400 miles on it from a new car dealer. It was about $1000 less than the least expensive similar car on the lot. The salesman said that GM would not take that car back, since it had more than 400 miles on it (it had 425 when I test drove it). Looking back, it would seem that GM considered it a used car if it had more than 400 miles on it. BTW, GM would take cars back from this dealer since they were going out of business in 2009. Just not this car. You remember 2009, don’t you?

Then there was the salesman that didn’t want to let us test drive a Jeep. I don’t know why… Maybe we didn’t measure up to his strict character standards. I pointed out that there was zero chance of us considering buying it without a test drive, whereupon he planted himself in the back seat and simpered at us while we drove the Jeep around.