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  • How long for a test drive?
  • King-ocelot
    Free Member

    When buying a car how long do you test drive it for? I have a relative whose a mechanic that will look under the bonnet and kick the tyres for me, but I’m a bit stumped by the test drive lengths. Showrooms seem to like you to go for about 2 miles (on a route they’ve picked) and seem offended if you ask to drive it for a bit longer or in towns. Maybe it’s my rubbish driving that puts them off? I’ve not brought a car before but I expect a more substancial drive in it before parting with a large sum of money. I’m new to this driving thing, am I just being fussy? If I don’t get a proper drive I’ve just been walking away.

    donsimon
    Free Member

    It’s your money, you choose. Remember popping over to France on a booze cruise might be taking the pp.

    brassneck
    Full Member

    As long as you feel necessary, else walk away. Plenty of motors about.

    I’ve only ever had issues buying sports cars, where I can understand they get a fair few test pilotts – turning up in one helps though.

    FWIW it usually takes me a good hour onsite (not just driving) before I get on to negotiating – as you say, it’s a big investment you should be sure you want it before you decide how much you’ll pay for it.

    Hairychested
    Free Member

    I was offered 5 mins by a FIAT dealer when the missus really wanted the 500. I laughed at him and walked out.

    bruneep
    Full Member

    I’ve had a car for 24 hrs, told the salesman what I wanted and he arranged for me to have a demo car for a day. Never bought the car tho…

    crispo
    Free Member

    Last car I bought I was out driving for 30mins and then my girlfriend had another 30mins, good variety of roads mind, country windy, motorway, towns etc. I felt that was enough.

    Girlfriends dad has just had an M3 for 3 days on a test drive though so I guess it varies a bit.

    spacemonkey
    Full Member

    IME I’ve found the likes of Audi/BMW/Mercedes to be less accomodating when it comes to test drive time. Even my local BMW dealer (Vines) gave me only 15 mins in a new M3 when I’d spent £50k+ with them in the last 2 years (and got on brilliantly with them). My main contact had left just weeks before so I had to make do with a new guy who wouldn’t budge. Needless to say I didn’t buy from them.

    Have found the smaller indies far more giving. They seem happy for me to just rock up, have a jovial chat and throw me the keys and say “Bring it back when you’re ready.”

    spacemonkey
    Full Member

    One of my mates once wangled a 320d from his local dealer for a M-F week. He had no intention of buying it but just wanted to compare it (manual/standard) with the one I had at the time (steptronic/Sport).

    1freezingpenguin
    Free Member

    My local Mercedes dealer let me drive an A-class for about 40 miles on back roads and dual carriageways so I could get a feel for it.

    imo if they’re not willing to let you a have a decent test drive go elsewhere.

    rocketman
    Free Member

    As long as you feel necessary, else walk away. Plenty of motors about

    ^^ this

    IME it’s very inconsistent but if the sales bloke says “We usually go…” then for this reason, I’m out.

    As an aside, apart from H*nda I’ve had exceptional experiences with motorbikes. Mostly ‘bring it back when your’re done’ and in some cases contacting me and asking me if I’d like to test ride a bike for the weekend. Oh go on then…

    stumpy01
    Full Member

    You need to drive it for long enough that you feel you have assessed it well enough to make a decision.

    Ideally, I’d want a mix if town & open road driving, taking in some poor quality roads if possible to see how the ride is over bumps & potholes.

    I’ve had 2 Ford dealers take me on a pre-determined route that I didn’t really feel gave me a good assessment of the car, whereas other people have pretty much given me the key & said ‘don’t crash it, but take as long as you want’.

    austen
    Full Member

    In the past both partner and I have test driven for 20mins+ through mixed terrain, that was buying second hand from VW specialist.

    Recently test drove a fast A4 Quattro and they gave us the keys and told us to come back at some point before they closed. In fact we were under instruction to bring it back covered in mud if possible – so to avoid disappointment we made sure there was some splatter on the roof.

    Certainly reminded me how good 4WD cars are on slippery backlanes.

    Cougar
    Full Member

    You need to drive it for long enough that you feel you have assessed it well enough to make a decision.

    That’s the crux, isn’t it. That might be five minutes or a couple of days. If you’re sure (either way), then the test’s complete. If you’re not sure, then it isn’t. If they’re cutting the test short before you’ve gained enough experience of the car to make a decision, no sale, their loss.

    I think for me, the value of the car would have a bearing. For a £300 disposable, I’d probably be happy with a trip round the block and a junction on the motorway to check for obvious defects. If I was spending 20-30 grand I’d expect considerably longer testing time.

    Spud
    Full Member

    Had 30 mins each on a variety of roads when buying our Merc. Volvo let us head off on our own for an hour in each model.

    AlasdairMc
    Full Member

    1freezingpenguin – Member
    My local Mercedes dealer let me drive an A-class for about 40 miles on back roads and dual carriageways so I could get a feel for it.

    We had the same when we got our B class. We’d driven it enough to really like it, yet we could have kept going for hours with the salesman if we wanted to.

    On the other hand, my wife wanted a Meriva so we got a small test in that from a useless salesman who tried to convince me that bikes didn’t belong or fit in cars. He shut up when I mentioned that I’d had two in a Ka.

    simon_g
    Full Member

    A big factor in buying my Civic was having a salesman hand me the keys and say “just bring it back before 5pm”.

    I’ve had some utterly pathetic “test drives” elsewhere, which was 2 mins up the road to a roundabout, down a dual carriageway, then come off and turn around to head back. Maybe 3 miles tops.

    TiRed
    Full Member

    For new cars this has ranged from 15 min on a predefined course (Seat Leon), to “bring it back before we close” for the Saab convertible and everything in between. For work (lease cars), we had the test car for 24-72 hours delivered from the dealer to site, but were limited to three choices – that Civic Type R was great :lol: – even if I needed the diesel.

    Any garage that hands you the keys and sends you on your way is clearly confident of their product. Stick with them.

    momo
    Full Member

    My local ford garage have a set test loop, which is to the edge of town (about 200yds) and out to the next village, through the village and back in to town on a different road, it’s not a very good indicator of how a car would be to live with, needless to say I’ve never bought a car from them. A local indie on the other hand passed me the keys to a car with the instruction ‘try not to run it out of petrol’.

    When looking at motorbikes I want a nice long test run on roads that I know, need to know how long it takes me to get uncomfortable (on the latest R6 that was about 10 minutes!) as I want to know how the bike would be to live with long term.

    I did once take my drum kit to a dealership to check that it would fit into a car I was looking at, have been tempted to try the same with a bike too.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    I’ve been to some decent dealers then. Honda in Reading took me for a short spin, but when I asked to go on a dual carriageway he cheerfully agreed and we went for about a 30 minute drive. He didn’t even mind me ragging it a bit :)

    mightymarmite
    Free Member

    Few years back Williams BMW in Stockport, literally threw me the keys and told me to bring it back when it ran out of diesel on a used X5 (which didn’t take long … it certainly got up and went!!!).

    More recently when trading on BMW (wont shame as they had provided good service up to that point) in Doncaster, took three days to get 15 minutes guided in a new 5 series, and that was after several chase up phone calls on my behalf.

    Honda, wouldn’t even arrange a test drive as “don’t have the diesel here” coupled with my jeans and t-shirt obviously had them pre-judging.

    Hatfields Jaguar in Sheffield dropped an XF off at home, took me out for 15 minutes to run through all the options then collected it at the end of the day. Needless to say guess which two got sales (and the trade in).

    Go with the company that provides you with service from the outset, because you will no doubt be dealing with the same service mentality every time you go in for service / advice / sell on etc.

    crispo
    Free Member

    He didn’t even mind me ragging it a bit

    Yeah with mine I got told he (the salesman) didnt care as long as it was under 100mph because then apparently gets in trouble as well as me!

    molgrips
    Free Member

    One bloke (forget which dealer actually but the car was somewhat sporty) didn’t even look up from his papers when I threw it round a roundabout as fast as I dared. I apologised for driving without due care and consideration for my passengers and he said ‘eh, what did you do?’

    :oops: :)

    crispo
    Free Member

    Mol – wasnt the prius was it!? :lol:

    molgrips
    Free Member

    Lol, no :)

    However once I did see just past a Toyota dealer a Prius bombing by at about 80mph going up a big hill.. someone testing the car’s capabilities on a test drive :)

    Chris.H
    Free Member

    Last car I bought the Land Rover dealer let me have it for 24hrs and a Honda dealer asked me to pick it up in the morning and to be back for 5 so the salesman could go home.

    The LR dealer asked if it was a private purcahse or a company car, the latter would only get a guided test drive.

    Before that we bought an Audi, local dealer let us have the car for 3hrs, another over a 5mile guided route. We bought from the second one as they had exactly the car my wife wanted.

    project
    Free Member

    Had a toyota aygo for the weekend, unlimited miles, was just about to buy one when they told me the high prioce of ther thing.Nice car though.

    Landrover,dealer rang up to ask if i wanted a test drive i said yes, they said about 10 minutes on a 50,000 pound car, so i rang landrover, who paid for a half day off roading, in a 78,000 pound rangerover vogue, lovely car as well.

    Vauxhall dealer, gave me their vivaro demonstrator for a whole week, nice van to drive,

    Ask and you shall recieve

    King-ocelot
    Free Member

    Thanks everyone, intrestingly it’s also FIAT who have been the most stingy. The Mini dealer (two mills) were the best so far, but I realised I don’t want a mini pretty quickly. I’m still not sure of what car I want to buy so I’ve been to a few dealers seeing what’s about. I don’t want to spend more than £8k I don’t want finance and £8k is as much as I’m willing to spend. It’s a big lump of cash to me and I don’t want to part with it over something I’ve only driven for a few miles.

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