Do you hate to test drive? Studies show we’d rather clean toilets and do our taxes than head to the dealership and burn someone else’s rubber…especially if you’re a woman. But I recently attended an event where a bunch of women did nothing but drive cars and just look how miserable we are.
Heels and Wheels is a very special event where they invite the country’s top female auto writers to drive a bunch of cool cars and hang with other unicorns. It’s heaven.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to ask women who test drive for a living how YOU can head to the dealership with confidence. Let’s go!
Rebecca Lindland www.rebeccadrives.com
*Drive it for at least 30 minutes. Drive it on the highway, in traffic, through turns.
*Play with the HVAC and radio. Is it easy? Intuitive?
*Connect your phone. Get in and out multiple times.
*Drive on the designated drive route. The dealer may not want you to, but you’re there for yourself, not for him or her.
*Be afraid to walk away.
*Forget to take your time. The deal will, in fact, be there next time.
Rebecca’s fave features: heated steering wheel, mobile phone integration, second-row seats that fold flat, and keyless entry.
Jennifer Newman, Editor-in Chief, Cars.com
*Drive the cars you’re considering back-to-back. This helps to highlight the differences in suspension, wind noise and handling between the cars.
*Bring your stuff! You can bring along such items as car seats, your kid’s giant sports bag or whatever item you need to fully test the cars.
*Load up on as many of the safety features as you can afford.
*Rush. This isn’t speed dating. Give yourself plenty of time to find the right car for your life.
*Forget Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. They help keep the driver focus on the road rather than distracted by their cell phone. That makes these tech features a must-have.
Jennifer’s fave features: automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection (forward and reverse), forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Carrie Kim, Managing Editor, Autobytel.com
*Bring the whole family along. Test that third row, get back there and try to sit in it.
*Visit the automall. I like to test drive vehicles back to back when I can so I have a fresh comparison in memory.
*Test drive blind. I always research before I step on the lot, and I know the trim level I want so I can drive exactly equipped as desired.
*Make the deal with kids in tow. Drop them off with grandma or the babysitter and then go back to make the deal if the car is a go.
Sue Mead, Freelance Journalist, Automobile, Truck Trend, Cool Hunting
*Bring a list of questions. Make sure you don’t forget anything.
*Research the salespeople. Call and ask them questions about how long they’ve worked there, see if they have similar interests, understand your lifestyle, etc. (Cars.com has a very cool tool for this. Check it out here.)
*Ask if the vehicle has ever been in a flood. The dealer will probably say no, but with all of the weather in the country this year, cars will be moved around.
*Forget to put someone in the back seat and see if you can have a conversation with them while you’re driving. That’s where you’re putting your kids!
*Forget to open the hood! I once found a waterline under the hood (a clear sign of flooding) as a friend was about to buy a car.
Nicole Wakelin, Freelance Automotive Journalist, The Boston Globe
*Bring a friend. You would be surprised at the things you don’t immediately notice because you’re busy driving. A friend sitting in the passenger seat or in back will notice things- good or bad- that you might overlook.
*Shove the stroller in back. A test drive isn’t just about the drive. It’s about making sure the vehicle works for your lifestyle.
*Forget the small stuff. Not just cargo space in the back, but room for your phone, wallet, sunglasses, all the random stuff you carry every day.
*Just drive the loop. Drive it on the highway to see how it accelerates, a side road to see how it handles, on a city street, whatever. Make sure it drives the way you want in the places where you plan to drive.
Have fun! Who says that car shopping can’t be as fun as shoe shopping? If a shoe dude pressured you, you’d step your Louboutins into his palms. Bring this badassness with you the next time you head to the dealer!