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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# insights
5 questions to ask when test-driving a new car, according to a motor expert
As part of our new Insights series, we’re taking your crucial motoring questions right to the experts.

FINDING THE RIGHT car for your needs, lifestyle and budget can be a tricky process. We want to help streamline the search. As part of our Insights series, every week we’ll take a different car-buying question to the experts at the heart of the motor industry.

This week, we asked Patrick Comerford, Dealership Manager at Windsor Deansgrange Nissan, to share his thoughts on what a buyer should look out for when test-driving a new car. 

Here are Patrick’s five must-checks, before and during that first run with your potential new wheels…

1. How does all that ‘cool’ tech actually work?

Request that the salesperson demo the car first, just for a short drive, so that he or she can show you how some of the tech features work in a real-world situation. Things like emergency brake systems or hill assist can be tricky to figure out when you’re at the wheel for the first time, and you’ll save yourself lots of questions by allowing the salesperson to take the lead.

2. Do I feel at ease in the driver’s seat?

If you’re trading up from an older model, you might be dealing with a totally new driving position. Before starting the car, set everything in place. Make sure your seat, mirrors and steering wheel are in the right position, and above all ensure you’re comfortable. If you don’t feel at ease, don’t drive the car. It’ll only add to your nerves.

shutterstock_695946406 Shutterstock / thanmano Shutterstock / thanmano / thanmano

3. Is there enough storage for my needs?

If a customer is wondering whether a car will fit their golf clubs or baby buggy, I’ll often recommend they just bring that stuff into the dealership and find out for themselves. You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on for size, and the same goes for a car.

4. How does it drive in different situations?

Mix up the route on your test drive. You want to see how the car drives at a low speed on a tight road with speed bumps, but also how it handles some acceleration and open road. So ask the salesperson to bring you to a housing estate, for example, and then onto a main road too. It’ll also give you some extra time to get comfortable with the car.

shutterstock_647611684 Shutterstock / Humpback_Whale Shutterstock / Humpback_Whale / Humpback_Whale

5. And finally, what do the kids think?

If you’re buying a family car, bring the kids along for a second visit after your test drive. With bigger cars, you want to be assured there’s enough space for the family now and in a few years too, so allow the rest of the family to check the car out. Take a bit of time on the forecourt with the car, allowing the kids to run around inside it.

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