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Would you buy a car without test driving it?



  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,637
    In 1995 I special ordered my Club Sport without driving one- mainly because Munich was building less than 400 of the little beasties. I had already driven a base 318ti and liked it, so I figured that adding an M Technic suspension and M Technic bodywork would only make the car better. Seventeen years later, I still love the car.
    Last month my wife bought a CPO 328i- again without a test drive. Both of us had driven several permutations of the E9x 3ers, so there was no need to waste everyone's time.
    Having said all that, there is NO WAY that I would buy a car that I had not driven in the configuration I was buying. One example:

    I was a bit interested in a Lincoln LS V6 with a manual. They were extremely rare and there was no way to test drive a stick prior to purchase. I might not have liked the clutch take-up or the shift quality, but I'd be stuck with the thing(I guess I should count my lucky stars that I didn't get one, as Ford threw the LS under the bus and Lincoln began to specialize in building overpriced, tarted-up Fords).

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I think the big issue is the ergonomics, especially with the seat. What if it turns out that the thigh support is just too short for you?

    The problem is that often test drives are just too short for you to learn how comfortable the car is going to be after sitting in it cruising the Interstate for four hours.
  • nortdnortd Posts: 13
    First, I do my homework on the internet as to what I am interested in. When ever I purchase a new vehicle, I almost always rent that make and model for an overnight week-end day (the rates are very low on weekend days). This eliminates all the sales pitch nonsense (until you get to the Finance guy, who then tries to sell you everything from an extended warranty to a "lifetime wax job"!!!
    I have done this with my last three vehicles. I know someone will say "well that's expensive" but this way I get to really test drive the car and can put bookoo miles on it and get to really feel how it drives and feels. :)
    I am not an expensive car buyer, so almost always I can find what I am interested in at local rental agencies.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    "A new online service enables car shoppers to test drive vehicles without going to a dealership.

    Tred, a Seattle startup with ties to former GM CEO Rick Wagoner, cuts dealership trips by delivering new vehicles for consumers to test drive and possibly purchase.

    Tred drivers, not salespeople, deliver the vehicles wherever the shopper wants. The service ensures that dealerships can keep salesmen on the floor at all times, the company said."

    Seattle startup tied to Wagoner delivers cars for test drives (Automotive News)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683

    "Test drives are one of the most important parts of the new car buying process but studies show that many Americans are skipping them. Automotive marketing company DMEautomotive recently found that one third of shoppers test drive just one vehicle prior to purchase and 16 percent don’t test drive at all. Studies also show that the number of dealers a consumer visits prior to purchase has gone down substantially in the last several years."

    Consumers Test Drive Less, Visit Fewer Dealerships (US News)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726

    Unless the dealership is going to let me have the car overnight with a 200-mile limit, I really only need 10 minutes in a car for a test drive. What's the point of 30-45 minutes vs 10? Either way you're not getting enough information about the car to know how you will feel about it for the next five years.
    I do a quick check that I can get comfortable in the seat and take it a couple of miles down the freeway to check for ride and noise at those speeds and call it a day.

    Now if I was ever going to spend serious money on a car, then I would figure out a way to get the car for an extended period, at least overnight. But for the under-$25K cars I typically buy, it's not worth the trouble.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

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