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Taking a test drive

Once you’ve worked out what type of car you want and have looked at the available options, it’s very important that you take a few different cars out for a test drive. A test drive is the only way to find out properly whether a car is right for you and your dealer will be more than happy to arrange this. Even if you are not going to be driving yourself, you need to make sure the car is comfortable and suits your needs.

Important things to consider

When you take a test drive, there are three main things to think about:

  1. Are you comfortable getting in and out of the car? Take your time to check this before choosing your car.
  2. What features are included in the car that you're choosing? Discuss these different features and any other optional extras with the dealer, and ask how much they cost.
  3. Is the car comfortable to drive, or travel in, and how easy is it to park? Take the car out on the road with the dealer and take yoour time on your drive. Remember that the final decision is always yours.

Other things to think about on your test drive include:

  • Opening and closing the door
  • Seat height and adjustment
  • Headroom
  • Reaching for the seatbelt
  • Visibility
  • Reversing
  • Boot space
  • Loading the boot

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

It is also 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.

Booking a test drive

When you have shortlisted one or more cars by using our Car Search tool , the next step is to contact each dealer and ask to speak to their Motability Scheme specialist. That way you can be sure that the Motability Scheme 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 Centre.

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

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.