Looking for car buying advice for the test drive process
June 12, 2012 1:47 PM Subscribe
What do I need to be thinking or asking about when I go for a test drive of some new cars?
posted by marylynn to travel & transportation (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm primed to buy my first new car in 13 years. I currently drive a '99 Saturn and, well, it's time. I've done a lot of reading about various models I'm interested in (Volvo C30, Lexus CT hybrid, Mini Coupe S, Volkswagon GTI are the top contenders in theory, with the Nissan Juke and Madza 3 bringing up the rear. I do intend to buy a new one, not used.) and now I need to get out to drive them.
When I bought the Saturn I can't even remember if I test drove it at all (I must have) but at the time I needed a car fast, didn't have time or inclination to delay or haggle or discuss it and just bought it. It's been a fine car but I'm not entirely sure it'll pass smog when I need to renew it at the end of the year and the interior is starting to fall apart (it has less than 70,000 miles on it though so it's not like I'm desperate to buy something right this second). So I don't have a lot of experience actually being on the lot.
I'm not afraid of the negotiation - I'm tough and pretty smart - and my financing is going to be handled through my credit union before I even really start to talk to the dealer. But I definitely want to make sure that I'm using my time in the car and talking to the dealer to give me the information I need and set myself up to try to make a good deal if I decide to buy that car. So what should I do or not do, ask or not ask about when I first make contact? My initial goal is to eliminate some of the cars on the list and have 2 or maybe 3 I'd be happy to have and that way be able to negotiate with some options in mind.
My plan is to bring my boyfriend so he can distract the dealer and so I have someone else to bounce commentary on who might remember it more afterwards. He also just bought a new car so he's not shy about the process.