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Take a test drive to choose the right vehicle

A test drive is important to help you choose the right vehicle. Even if you are not going to be driving yourself, you need to make sure the car is comfortable and suits your needs.

To find out whether a car is suitable, it’s worth taking more than one test drive and to take your time during the session. A quick drive around the block may not be enough to get an idea of whether the car is right for you. It’s best to test out different types of roads, especially those you regularly use, including dual carriageways, minor roads with speed bumps and even places to park. If you regularly travel long distances, you will need a long test drive.

It is worth taking someone with you – choosing a car is a big decision and having someone there to talk things over with often helps. If you wish to nominate a driver, they should come with you and test drive the car too.

Don’t forget to make a checklist of any specifics or extras you want in your new car (for example things like, adjustable seats, electric windows etc).

Booking a test drive

When you have shortlisted one or more cars by using our Car Search , the next step is to contact each local dealer and ask to speak to their Motability specialist. That way you can be sure the Motability trained dealer is available to help you choose the right car for your needs. 

Test driving automatic or adapted cars

  •  If you want to test drive an automatic car you will need to arrange this when you call your dealer as there are often less of these models available on site
  • To try out adaptations , if needed, it may be worth contacting a Mobility CentreOpens in new window

Things to check before you take your test drive

  • Is the car easy to get in and out of? This has a big impact on how suitable any given car is to your needs, so you will need to try this several times while you are in the dealership.
  • Are the doors wide enough for you and any equipment you may need?
  • Can you reach the door to shut it from your sitting position?
  • Are you comfortable that the doors are not too heavy, or hard to open and close?
  • Can you turn and stretch for the seat belt?
  • Are you able to see from every angle?
  • Can you reach all the controls easily?

Talk to your dealer and let them know how you feel. They may be able to suggest a simple improvement such as adding a wide-angled mirror or extending the pedals.

Download our checklist on test drives Will download a resource(PDF 56KB)

Test drive tips for cars

  • Test drive more than one vehicle
  • Involve the people that you travel with. If you wish to nominate a driver, they should come with you and test drive the car too
  • Try out the vehicle where you will use it
  • Take your luggage, equipment or mobility aids with you
  • Practise loading and unloading
  • Try parking and reversing
  • Drive on different types of road and try different manoeuvres such as reverse parking to ensure that the car’s performance is what you expect and that you can see from all angles
  • Check that you are comfortable doing a hill start in the car
  • Consider fuel costs based on the mpg of the car

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) home demonstrations and test drives

If you are ordering a WAV on the Scheme, our specialist WAV converters will travel to your home to provide you with a thorough test drive and demonstration of any vehicles you are interested in. As preparation for this demonstration, you should think about any changes in the next five years which could affect the suitability of the WAV before the end of the lease. You should involve the people you travel with regularly to ensure they are happy and confident using the different elements of the conversion, as well as driving the vehicle.

We’ve put together some tips on preparing for your WAV demonstration.

Take your time to choose

If you’re unsure about anything after your test drive then arrange to take a second test drive on another day. It will also help to test drive other cars so that you can compare different models.

Don’t feel under pressure to choose a particular car or to lease through a certain dealer. Your nominated drivers should also take the car for a test drive too but don’t let them over-influence your decision. The choice is always yours.

Download or print these useful checklists:

Planning your dealership visit Will download a resource(PDF 61KB)
Choosing your car Will download a resource(PDF 598KB)
Making the most of your test drive Will download a resource(PDF 56KB)
WAV demonstration checklist Will download a resource(PDF 102KB)