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Going on a test drive?
Boot space considerations
Make sure you can fit your stuff! It is important you remember to check the luggage space. It sounds unbelievable, but people do buy cars and completely forget to check that their golf bag(s) and/or buggies will actually fit.
How safe is the car?
Possibly the most important advance in safety since the introduction of seatbelts is ESC. ESC is short for Electronic Stability Control, a new safety technology that helps drivers to avoid crashes by reducing the danger of skidding. ESC reduces the risk of a single vehicle crash by more than 40%. Not all new cars are fitted with ESC. FCAI provides a list of those that do and those that don't. Make an informed choice!
How does it handle?
See how the car handles when you push it a little around corners. Oversteer or understeer is usually the result (unless it comes with Electronic Stability Control). It’s better to know how it handles before you buy – especially if you are used to a car that reacts in a certain way and you feel comfortable handling it. Does the front end dip excessively under a hard stop? Try a couple of times. If the vehicle has ABS you will feel some pulsing. Brake hard while turning, and the system will kick in. If the pulsing is pronounced the ABS system may not be quite as good as it should be.
Wind and road noise can impact on your ability to hear others in the car during conversations. Switch off the radio when you get into the vehicle. Around suburban streets, most cars will sound quiet, but what is the engine and wind noise like on the highway or freeway? The best way for most people to check this is by way of comparing different cars. Have a conversation at freeway speed and compare it to your existing car, or a competing make or model to the car you are testing.
Remember to turn the radio on again at some point before end of the drive to check the quality of the sound. A lot of people like to bring their favourite CD and hear how it sounds in different cars.