Test Drives in Pearl City: Everything You Should Know

May 13th, 2023 by

Have you ever bought shoes that appeared great in pictures but weren’t quite right once you tried them on? Car buying can be similar, only that the stakes are higher given that a car is expensive and the return policies aren’t quite the same! That’s why test drives are one of the most crucial car buying aspects. Based on reviews and pictures, a car might appear perfect, but once you sit inside and feel it on the road, you may feel entirely different about it. Keep reading to learn more about test drives.

Key Takeaways:

  • Test drive more than one car (and do it on the same day) to get a feel for multiple options.
  • Test drive with the car’s sound system off to listen if there are any cabin noises. 
  • Brakes are crucial- so check if they can stop the car quickly or if there’s a long braking distance. 
  • You don’t have to buy the car you’ve test driven the same day you test drive it- take time to make an informed decision. 

Test Drives: What to Look for During the Drive

While you’re on the test drive, pay attention to different aspects. You could bring a friend or family member who can jot your observations while you drive. Look out for the following:

How the Ride Feels

You should note the ease of steering- if the steering feels heavy, it might become an issue if you do a lot of city driving. Similarly, you may find that steering that’s too light is challenging to properly control the car. Moreover, you need to check for the smoothness of the ride. If possible, try driving over bumpy roads or railroad tracks to better understand how the car handles.

The Brakes

Brakes are a very paramount component of a car. How do the brakes feel in the car? Do you feel you can stop quickly, or is there a long braking distance? Do the brakes make smooth stops difficult, or do they grab too hard? 

The Transmission

If the car you’re test-driving has a manual transmission, check how heavy the clutch is. Are the gears easy to shift into? Is it challenging to discern between the first and third gear when shifting? And if you’re testing a car with an automatic transmission, notice how smoothly it downshifts and upshifts, particularly on hills.

Cabin Noise

With the car’s sound system off, listen if there’s any cabin noise. Is the car noisy? Can you hear the tires on the roadway? Do you have to raise your voice significantly on the freeway to have a conversation? 


Is the vehicle easy to maneuver through curves and tight turns? Does it accelerate well to allow for easy merges onto highways? Does it park easily? Does it fit well in parking spaces? Is a three-point turn possible in limited spaces? Does the font end sit low enough to scrape on parking curbs?  

Test The Tech, Too

A modern car’s technology interface can easily be a determining aspect of your car buying decision. Automakers have different opinions on the best and safest way to interact with technology. Some use control knobs, some have mouse pad-inspired controls, while others use touchscreens. Ensure you’re comfortable with the interface, and consider these items too:

  • Infotainment screen: How easy is it to use? Can you carry out basic tasks like switching audio sources or changing the radio station?
  • Bluetooth: Pair your mobile phone and test audio streaming and calling.
  • Backup camera: Does the car have one? Is the view clear or grainy? Does it have lines or sensors to indicate distance?
  • Steering wheel controls: Do you like the layout? And is it intuitive or confusing?
  • Navigation: How detailed is the car map? Is it easy to input an address? Are the street names legible? Does it have traffic data?

Tips for Test Driving a Car

Test driving your future is an integral part of the car buying process. Here are a few helpful insights to follow before you test drive any car:

Do Your Homework

What type of vehicle works for your needs, lifestyle and family? You may not want a Lamborghini for a 50-mile round-trip commute.

Make a List

You need to make a list of cars and features you’re looking for. Create a short list of about 3 cars you want to test drive. Also, check various consumer websites for the most recent car reviews- maybe the quality of your beloved brand could have slipped. 

Ask to Pick the Route

Many dealerships have a route they ask their clients to follow. However, that might be too limited to make an informed car buying decision. As such, you should ask to pick the route to get a better feel for the car in different situations. You can try to include various road services, including flat stretches, side streets, hills, and highway driving.

Test Drive More than One Car- And Do It on the Same Day

Evaluating a car is challenging if you don’t have anything to compare it to. So, test drive more than one car to get a feel for multiple options. Moreover, do the test drive in one day so it’s easier to compare the cars?

Don’t Rush Your Car Buying Decision

You don’t have to buy the car the same day you test drive it. Instead, you can give yourself time to ponder the decision to ensure it’s the best choice for you and your family.

Test Drive Your Next Car in Pearl City!

Go beyond kicking tires to see if that new ride suits you. And if you’re ready to buy your next ride, visit our dealership in Pearl City today. We have a wide array of inventory to help you find your dream home. Besides, our auto experts are here to guide you through the car buying process and will encourage you to test drive more than one car for you to make an informed decision. Call us today!

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