So you’re thinking about buying a new car? That’s a great idea: engineering and technological advances mean that new cars are typically significantly safer, more capable and more reliable than older models – whichever brand and type of vehicle you opt for.
Once you’ve browsed through the web pages and brochures to narrow down your options and identify the right type and choice of vehicle for you, your next move should be to book a test drive. This is a sensible next step, to ensure you’re making the right decision. Not least because, for most of us, a car is likely to be the next most expensive purchase after buying our home.
You should use your test drive to be sure that the car you’ve chosen feels good to drive and fits into your lifestyle in just the way you’ve imagined…
Safety is always a key consideration. So it pays to take a few minutes to check the Euro NCAP safety assessment ratings for the vehicle you’re interested in – and how its ‘fitted as standard’ safety systems and features compare with those of other potential contenders.
Oh, and don’t forget to check if your preferred car manufacturer or local dealership is promoting any test drive offers that might be linked to attractive finance options!
To help you get the most out of your test drive, we’ve compiled some top tips to ensure you have the best possible experience – especially if you’re on an unaccompanied test drive during the Covid-19 outbreak.
At Subaru, all our showrooms are independent dealerships, meaning that we can’t guarantee that all test drive procedures will be the same UK-wide. So our first tip is to always speak directly with your local dealer to arrange your test drive.
What do you want to get from your test drive?
Whether you’re phoning or dropping into the dealership in person to request a test drive, take the time to explain what type of car you’re looking for and why, where you’d like to test drive it, how long you’d like to test it for, and what sort of things you want to check to ensure that this particular vehicle will suit your specific driving and lifestyle needs.
You’ll find that most dealers are happy to be flexible about how they arrange your test drive for you – and may even be able to offer some additional useful advice before your test drive. After all, it’s in their best interest to ensure you enjoy the best possible experience in your potential new vehicle.
Bear in mind that a dealership is unlikely to have every derivative of their model range within the demonstrator vehicles they offer. So be sure to be clear about the specification of vehicle you’re looking to purchase. If that particular model isn’t immediately available to test drive at your local dealership, and your intent to buy is genuine, you may find that they’re able to locate one for you – it’s worth asking...
Likewise, it’s always worth requesting an extended test drive – so you can really get to know the vehicle that you may end up owning for years to come. Some dealers will be happy to facilitate this, while others won’t be able to. Either way, it never hurts to ask.
Think about how you’ll typically be using your new car and try to test drive it in similar circumstances. So if you’re going to be driving it on your regular commute or for the school run, for example, see how it fares on that familiar route (or sitting in traffic maybe!). If you’re more likely to be using it on main roads, make sure you do the same on your test drive to see how it handles at different speeds and how easy, safe and efficient manoeuvres like lane changes feel to you. Do you need to tow something? Speak to your dealer about potentially testing those capabilities too.
If you’re unfamiliar with the area, ask the dealership to share an appropriate, pre-determined test drive route with you to ensure you get the best and most suitable experience with the vehicle.
Remember that you’ll also need to speak with the dealer to arrange suitable insurance to cover your test drive, so you’ll need to have your driving licence to hand when you arrive.
Getting accustomed to unaccompanied test drives
If you’d rather avoid a trip to the showroom – especially with a heightened focus on personal wellbeing as we all strive to adapt in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic – ask whether your local dealership is offering delivery and collection options for your test drive vehicle.
During the Covid-19 outbreak, Subaru is offering unaccompanied test drives, to help keep everyone safe and healthy. So consider how this might affect your test drive experience...
If you’d like to familiarise yourself with the various controls and technology offered in your selected test drive vehicle before you actually jump into the driving seat, ask the dealership to record and send you a brief walkaround video to cover key features in advance of your appointment. Alternatively, you could arrange to view these features via a FaceTime or WhatsApp call for a more interactive experience.
You can rest assured that all demonstrator vehicles will be thoroughly sanitised between each use and protective vehicle equipment will also be fitted where possible to ensure the safety of all dealership customers and staff. We recommend further mitigation of any personal risk through the use of disposable gloves and thorough hand-cleaning before and after both your visit to the showroom and your test drive.
As the dealer will be unable to accompany you on any short test drive while coronavirus is still a threat, you may like to take a close friend or family member with you instead. If you have any questions during your drive, they can make a note of these for you to ask when you return the vehicle.
Check comfort and suitability for the whole family
Taking the whole family on your test drive is a good tip at any time. Because you need to be sure that this is the right choice of car for everyone who’s likely to travel in it. All potential passengers should feel comfortable and secure during every journey – not just the driver. And you’ll want to check that the car performs as well with a full complement of people and gear as it does with just you at the wheel.
Many Subaru owners are also dog owners. So some of our dealerships are also open to requests to take the family pet on your test drive – because you’ll naturally need to make sure that your furry friend’s travel cage fits into the boot or that he or she can be comfortably secured into the rear seat.
It’s all too easy to focus solely on basic performance, engine sound and the general feel of a car when you take a test drive. Especially when you’re driving an unfamiliar vehicle and you’re concentrating so hard on being in charge of someone else’s shiny new car on potentially unknown roads!
That’s why requesting an extended test drive is such a good idea: you can give yourself a break and take some time to really think about how the car will suit you and your family in a variety of different ways.
How well will the car fit into your lifestyle?
Don’t forget to consider the practical elements of your chosen vehicle, as well as how it handles in various road and weather conditions.
Making sure you’re familiar with the in-car technology, navigation system and any advanced safety features like Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist technology or Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection is one element of this. But there are plenty of other considerations that all add up to helping you decide whether this is the best Subaru (or any other type of car) for you and your family.
Check that the boot space is suitable for your needs, and that you can easily increase cargo space by dropping the back seats down in a sensible way when required; that your driving position feels comfortable, and passenger seats are equally supportive; that you have plenty of storage options front and back for all the bits and pieces you tend to keep in your car; and that you’re happy with where you’d rest and charge your phone while driving.
If you have young kids, be sure to take a few minutes to see how easy it is to fit and remove your own child seats from the car you’re test driving – and whether the pushchair will fit comfortably in the boot and still leave space for all the other gear you know you’ll need to pack in for any extended family road trip!
Once you’re happy that the car offers all the comfort, space and capabilities you need, that it will fit perfectly into your lifestyle, and that driving it puts a big smile on your face, it’s time to return to the dealership. And a friendly talk about the availability of any compelling finance offers…
News & stories
Start exploring the vast range of SUVs available to you and you’ll soon discover that it pays to put in a few hours of focused research about what would make …Read more
So you’re thinking about buying a new car? That’s a great idea: engineering and technological advances mean that new cars are typically significantly safer, more capable and more reliable than …Read more
Subaru is renowned for the safety, capability and reliability of its range of SUVs – but which is the best choice for you? We constantly strive to build cars that …Read more
We’re delighted to announce that Subaru dealerships across the country have re-opened both aftersales and sales operations, following the latest Government guidance. For Subaru, safety is always paramount. A focus …Read more
Craig Goulding, part of Subaru’s technical team, knows a thing or two about towing a caravan. He’s been doing it for 30 years and has probably visited every caravan site …Read more
For the second year running, Subaru has been voted Best Manufacturer for Safety Features in the 2020 Driver Power survey, the UK’s number one car ownership poll. In the overall …Read more
With the country in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, you’re probably not driving your Subaru as much as you’re used to. If you’re wondering what to do with your …Read more
With the situation in the UK continuing to evolve as the nation responds to the coronavirus pandemic, we’d like to assure you that Subaru UK and Subaru dealerships across the …Read more
The UK is gripped by the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping across Europe, but for me it’s almost business as usual. As a busy mixed practice vet, theservice my colleagues and I …Read more
Later this year, Euro NCAP is introducing even more rigorous safety tests for new vehicles to give consumers enhanced guidance about the collision safety of their cars. We explore the …Read more
All-new Forester e-BOXER – the first self-charging hybrid from Subaru – has awarded 4×4 Magazine’s Best Small SUV of the Year 2020, a testimony to our on-going commitment to build …Read more
The all-new Subaru Forester e-BOXER – the first self-charging hybrid from Subaru – has been named Euro NCAP’s Best in Class 2019 in the Small Off-Road / MPV class. This …Read more
We’re delighted to announce that all-new Forester e-BOXER – the first self-charging hybrid from Subaru – has achieved the maximum 5-star rating in the 2019 European New Car Assessment Programme …Read more
It’s that time of year again; where the world and their offspring load up their motors to visit loved ones and spread festive cheer. Here are a few tips to …Read more
The price of many vehicles will be going up in January 2020. Find out what the Excess Emission Premium – also known as EEP – is and how it could …Read more
As a man that’s driven practically every car we’ve ever made, we wanted to know what Subaru fanatic Paul Cowland would make of the all-new Forester e-BOXER, the first self-charging …Read more
Looking ahead, Subaru Corporation recently announced Subaru’s vision to eliminate traffic accident deaths involving Subaru vehicles by 2030. Already, the new Subaru Global Platform (SGP) is delivering new vehicles with …Read more
You’ll likely recognise Julian Norton from the hit Channel 5 series The Yorkshire Vet, now into its eighth series of heart-warming tales of veterinary life in rural Yorkshire. We chat …Read more
Subaru has been voted Best Manufacturer for Safety Features in the 2019 Driver Power Survey, the UK’s number one car ownership survey – beating off stiff competition from 29 other …Read more
This month we’ve caught back up with Julian Norton, co-star of hit Channel 5 series The Yorkshire Vet. We might have faced some wintery conditions in the UK of late, …Read more
Known as the world’s toughest race track, the fabled Nürburgring requires a special kind of car to truly get the most from its many twists and turns. Paul Cowland tells …Read more
Subaru UK are pleased to announce that K T Green have been named ‘Subaru Dealer of the Year 2018’. The family-owned dealership, based in Pool in Wharfedale, Leeds, was recognised …Read more
Birmingham, 11th January 2019 – Subaru UK is pleased to announce the Subaru XV has been awarded 4×4 Magazine’s ‘Crossover Estate of the Year 2019’, a testimony to Subaru’s on-going …Read more