Dealership Demonstration Drive: How to Test Drive in Automotive Sales

Test driving a vehicle is a crucial part of the car-buying process. It provides you with a firsthand experience of how a car feels on the road and helps you determine if it’s the right fit for your needs. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of a dealership demonstration drive, from preparing for the test drive to evaluating the vehicle and negotiating the deal.

The Importance of Test Drives

A test drive is your opportunity to assess the vehicle’s performance, comfort, and features. It allows you to see how the car handles different road conditions and if it suits your driving style. Moreover, it’s a chance to interact with the sales representative and ask questions. To make the most of your test drive, follow these steps:

Preparing for a Test Drive

Research the Vehicle

Before heading to the dealership, research the make and model of the car you’re interested in. Know its features, specifications, and price range. This information will empower you during the negotiation.

Schedule an Appointment

Contact the dealership and schedule a test drive appointment. This ensures that the car is available when you arrive, and a sales representative is ready to assist you.

Bring Necessary Documents

Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and any required documentation. This will help expedite the process.

The Test Drive Experience

Meeting the Sales Representative

When you arrive at the dealership, a sales representative will greet you. They will explain the features of the vehicle, answer your questions, and accompany you on the test drive.

Examining the Vehicle

Before hitting the road, inspect the vehicle thoroughly. Look for any damage or imperfections, and make sure everything is in working order.

The Actual Drive

During the test drive, pay attention to how the car handles. Test it on different road types, such as highways, city streets, and rough terrain. Feel the acceleration, braking, and overall comfort.

Asking Questions

Feel free to ask any questions about the car’s features, maintenance, and warranty. A good sales representative will provide you with all the information you need.

Evaluating the Vehicle

Comfort and Ergonomics

Consider the comfort and ergonomics of the car. Are the seats comfortable? Can you easily reach the controls? Is there enough legroom and headroom?


Assess the vehicle’s performance. Is it responsive? Does it handle well? Does it meet your expectations in terms of speed and power?

Safety Features

Evaluate the safety features. Does the car have advanced safety technology like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking? Your safety on the road is paramount.

Negotiating the Deal

Discussing Price and Financing

If you’re satisfied with the test drive and want to move forward, discuss the price and financing options with the sales representative. Be prepared to negotiate for the best deal.

Trade-in Options

If you have a vehicle to trade in, inquire about trade-in options. The value of your trade-in can significantly impact your overall cost.


A dealership demonstration drive is a pivotal step in your car-buying journey. It provides you with real-world experience and helps you make an informed decision. Remember to be thorough in your evaluation, ask questions, and negotiate effectively to get the best deal.


1. How long should a test drive be?

  • Test drives typically last 15-30 minutes, but you can request a longer drive if needed.

2. Can I test drive multiple cars in one visit?

  • Yes, many dealerships allow you to test drive multiple cars to compare them.

3. Do I need to test drive if I’m buying a used car?

  • Yes, a test drive is essential for both new and used cars to assess their condition and performance.

4. Should I bring someone with me on the test drive?

  • It’s a good idea to bring a trusted friend or family member to get a second opinion.

5. Can I test drive without the intention of buying immediately?

  • Yes, you can test drive without committing to a purchase. It’s a valuable part of your research process.