Staring at a list of features for every new car you're interested in won't tell you everything you need to know about the vehicle. It doesn't answer some of the most important questions, such as: Does it drive well? How does it feel in turns? Can it navigate city lanes and country roads well? The best way to answer these questions is to take the vehicles you are interested in out for a test drive. Take the time and get a feel for how they behave on the road. Use this handy test drive checklist from INFINITI of Thousand Oaks to help you make the most of your experience.
Don't Just Take It Around the Block
You'll need to drive any prospect vehicle more than five minutes to get a true and honest feel for it. Schedule a drive during a time that isn't during rush hour to get the most out of your session and allocate plenty of time to enjoy your cruise. Find a lengthy stretch of road or a highway so you can see how it functions and feels at all speeds, then mix it up with some more narrow city streets.
How comfortable are the seats? Is the steering wheel too rough and can you get a good grip on it? Is it too noisy when accelerating and traveling at high speeds? How bumpy is the ride when you turn or traverse rough roads? These are just a few questions to ask yourself when doing a test drive. You'll want your driving experience to be as comfortable as possible regardless of how long you'll spend in your car.
Acceleration is important. Most modern vehicles have far more powerful engines compared to 20 or 30 years ago, so having good acceleration is typically not a problem. Still, not every new model will have the same "pick up and go" feeling compared to others in their class. Larger vehicles are especially prone to being slow to speed up if they are without a high-end engine. Acceleration isn't only a matter of convenience; a car that can move through traffic with ease is safer.
Your (potentially) new car needs to have excellent brakes to be safe in traffic, on the highway, and in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Unfortunately, not all vehicles can stop on a dime, so this is an important aspect to test on your drive. Gently test to see if the responsiveness of the brake pedal meshes with your driving style. Brakes are especially important if you often drive in high-density traffic conditions.
Steering and Handling
Just as you want your new car to have excellent brakes, you also want it to have responsive and smooth handling. Some steering wheels may be too reactive for you, while others are too loose. Take note of the vehicle's turning radius and how it feels on the road. You don't want to get stuck in the middle of a u-turn or backing out of your driveway.
The design of the frame has more impact on a car than just determining its looks. First, it significantly impacts your range of vision; every vehicle has its own ROV rating. Make sure you don't feel cramped inside and that the window frames aren't directly in the way of your natural cone of visibility. The car may not be for you if you regularly need to move your head around just to make a right turn.
You can learn a lot from a test drive, especially if you know what to look for before you head out. If you're ready to take your first driving adventure, we want to help. Schedule a test drive today at any INFINITI of Thousand Oaks dealership of Southern California.