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What you need to check during a test drive!

You did your research, shortlisted a car, almost made your mind to buy it. But you still have some questions that need validation. How do you go about it? Simple! Take a test drive. This will make sure you end up buying the right car. At the end of the day,  investing in a car is the second big investment after a home. Isn’t it? Here’s what you need to check during a test drive.

Get The Right Variant

Before you begin the test drive, make sure the test drive car is of the same variant that you are interested in buying. This will give you a fair idea in terms of how the car looks, its performance, and the features offered. If your nearest car dealer doesn’t have the variant you requested, contact other dealerships.

Fix The Right Time and Place

Schedule your test drive when you have ample time. You shouldn’t be in a hurry to complete it. Test drive the car on open roads, potholes, as well as in bumper to bumper traffic. This will give you a sense of understanding of the car’s power, suspension and how convenient it is to drive in city traffic.

Take Your Family

Have your family with you during a test drive. They can provide you feedback on the ride quality, rear-seat comfort, and other things which you might otherwise miss out. You can also check the car’s performance with all the occupants.

Behind The Steering Wheel

If you are going to spend most of your time in the driver’s seat, check the following:

  • Tilt & Telescopic steering
  • Height adjustable seats
  • Backrest comfort
  • Easy accessibility to the gear lever, foot pedals and other buttons.
  • Light clutch
  • Instrument cluster 
  • Steering mounted controls
  • Electrically adjustable rear-view mirrors
  • Good headroom and road visibility

Rear Seat Comfort

On the rear seat, check the following:

  • Ingress and Egress
  • Headroom and the legroom
  • Shoulder room for three adults
  • Under thigh support
  • Rear AC vents
  • Armrest
  • Storage space

Ride, Handling & Performance

Drive the car at various speeds (within the speed limits) in different gears and observe the following:

  • Steering responsiveness
  • Smooth gearshifts
  • Stability at high speeds
  • Lag (if any) during acceleration
  • Body roll during turns

NVH Levels

When you drive the car, check the Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels. Lower the NVH levels, quieter the car will be. The main sources of NVH are engine, drivetrain, tyres and the air-conditioning unit.


When you apply the brakes, the car should:

  • Come to a smooth halt
  • Stop in a straight line
  • Steering should not be affected
  • No vibrations in the brake pedal


  • Parking - Check if the car is easy to park and fits in your parking space
  • Maneuvering - Check if you are comfortable maneuvering the car in tight spaces
  • Turning Radius - Cars with a short turning radius require less space for a U-turn

While you may be on a high after driving a new car, it is important not to get carried away. Take some time to gather your thoughts, see if the car meets your requirements. If you are still in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask for another test drive. Also, evaluate other car models and then take a call.  Happy Motoring from Cholamandalam Car Insurance.

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