1) The cabin of the car is where you will spend a vast amount of time so touch everything and open everything, see if there is a place for all your essentials, is it easy to reach storage holders? Are the controls behind the wheels conveniently located and the dials easy to read.
2) Once behind the wheel can you adjust the seat and steering so you’re comfortable? Are the front seats supportive (not too soft or hard) and is the legroom adequate for you? Can you reach the pedals, and switch easily between the brake and accelerator?
3) The boot is really important in a test-drive, so bring all the stuff you regularly use with you and see if it fits in there, from prams to golf clubs if you use it regularly it needs to fit.
4) Take any child seats you use with you and check that they fit; assess how difficult they are to actually get in the back and how easy are they to install.
5) If you are going to be ferry children in the vehicle, bring them along and let them evaluate the separate controls and amenities in the back seat.
6) Once on the road what you are looking for is a good balance between comfort and performance. Is the steering light or heavy, light steering will make it easier to park but if its too light it may not inspire confidence at speed.
7) How refined is it – Can you hold a conversation with someone in the back comfortably
8) Take the car to a car park. The whole point of this is to determine how easy you can manoeuvre the car in a tight space. Reverse park it into a space and check all round vision and blind spots. – Do you find it easy to see out and judge the size of the car
9) Different cars require a different approach, a sports car is normally firm on the road and the cabin is tiny, when testing a sports car check that it’s not too firm or the cabin too snug. If you are buying a 4×4 check how it handles on roundabouts and in tight situations.
10) That last test is the motorway and the point here is to see how smoothly and effectively it accelerates. So foot to the accelerator and press firmly down and off you go.
1st September, 2015