Buying a car - what to look out for during your test drive
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Test drives are essential when you buy a car. While it may seem fun, you should always fully utilise the process before making that downpayment.

Category: Car Buying Advice

Test driving is an important component when shopping for a new car. While the short time you get to spend with the car might not be the best representation of living with it, it gives you a good taste of how the car will be like.

The limited time you get when test driving a car means that you have to take the opportunity to get all your questions answered, make an informed decision and not a rash one when you buy a car in Singapore.

Not sure where to start? Well, here are eight important points for you to take note of.
1. Do your homework

Do your homework, so you know what to look out for at the showroom
Research is key. Go online, find all the information on sgCarMart's New Car section, check out the reviews on the cars that you are interested in. Don't just look at the pretty pictures. You have to find out if these cars have the features you want. Saw an interesting new driver assistance system? Put a pin in it, and be sure to try it out at the test drive.

You also have to search for possible issues or quirks with the cars, so you know what to look out for and seek clarification with the sales representative. Forum discussion threads, Facebook groups or telegram channels can be a good source of such information.

Now, with your set of criterias, you can narrow your search down to a shortlist of cars (i.e. SUVs under $100,000), so you wouldn't have to walk up and down Alexandra Road aimlessly.
2. Book your test drive appointments

Book appointments to ensure your test drive happens
You don't want to make your way down only to find out the car you are interested in isn't available for a test drive.

Take leave if you must, dedicate an entire day for test drives and line up the appointments so you can test the cars in your shortlist one after another. Not only will this save you some time - most of the new car showrooms are located in close vicinity here, it will also give you a valid reason to leave the showroom before you start making a hasty decision.
3. Bring a family member or friend along

Bring the missus and kids along and make it a family decision so everyone's happy
Shopping for a new car is an exciting experience, one where you tend to make rash decisions. Having someone else with you, be it a close friend, spouse, or family member, to keep you rational, can be a good idea.

If you are buying the car with the intention to fetch your family about, it would be best to be able to gather their opinions as well. You wouldn't want to buy a car and end up with them grumbling all day long.

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4. Get answers - clarify all your doubts with the sales representative

The experts at the showroom will be more than happy to answer all your questions about the car
You might have read something bad about the car online, saw something off about the car on its spec sheet or wondering if a certain feature is included in the model you are considering.

Just ask away. There's no stupid question, and when you are considering to make such a sizeable purchase, the sales representatives would likely be glad to help you out.
5. Bring along your barang barangs

Don't wait till it's too late to realise your child seat won't fit in that hot new hatchback you bought
Well, lugging all your suitcases and grocery for the week to try and fit in the car at the showroom isn't such a great idea. But if you have specific needs from the car, such as the need to transport a pram or wheelchair, or require the use of child seats, it would be good to bring them down to make sure it all fits nicely.

Don't simply assume everything will fit just from the large volumetric cargo capacity on the spec sheet - differing dimensions can result in differences in the actual useable space as well.
6. Try out all the fancy new features

New cars are packed with features - try them and see how you like them
New cars are packed to the brim with features. This can range from driver assist systems and connectivity options within the infotainment system to various innovative equipments in the car to make life easier.

Give the Adaptive Cruise Control a try, pair your phone to the infotainment system and try knocking down that third row bench - give everything a try and see if their operation is seamless and easy, or finicky and irritating. You might even realise that you don't actually need that Blind Spot Warning system on the higher trim and get to save a few grand, opting for the base model.
7. Drive the car in its various drive modes

Take the keys and go for a thorough test drive!
It's a test drive, so drive and make it count. Recent cars often include multiple drive modes that can affect the fuel consumption, the steering feel, the throttle response and other aspects that can influence the feel of the car when you drive it.

Give all the drive modes a try and get a proper feel of what the car is like before making your decision to purchase the car.
8. Don't feel pressured to make a decision

You don't have to sign the form there and then, take your time make the best decision
You don't have to buy the first car you test drive just because it fits your requirements, and you definitely don't have to buy it to please the sales rep.

There's no harm in giving the other cars in your shortlist a try before you make that expensive decision.

Remember, you wouldn't buy the first house that you view, so don't just pounce on the first car you test.
9. Ask the dealer for discounts or deals 

There's never any harm in politely making your needs known and checking for discounts or deals, such as complimentary accessories
Most dealers will be happy to oblige when you ask for accessories to be thrown in, since they're just as eager to close a sale as you are. 

There's no reason to feel like you're driving a hard bargain if you make your needs known, such as getting a set of window tints if you mostly drive in the sun. If they're part of a purchase package and you have no need for them, just ask for a discount equivalent to their value. 

Others will also bundle our own sgCarMart warranty at no charge, since it protects both themselves and you from hefty repair bills. After all, the warranty is underwritten by Tokio Marine and not the dealer, so there is no incentive to prevent you from filing a claim should a fault occur. 

Just do it during the negotiation processsince you'll never know if you don't ask!

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