New test drive service aims to make new car buying easier and better

Test drive service

Trying before you buy is vital. And if possible, take the whole family for second, third and fourth opinions

A new test drive service is being launched to help drivers choose their next new car more efficiently. Trying a new car before buying it is so vital it gets an importance rating of 8.3 out of 10 from buyers according to research by company Testdrives2u. But other surveys show that as many as one in 10 don’t bother with test drives. With car buyers increasingly pushed for time, the new service could revolutionise buying a car.

How the new test drive service works

When a driver has pinpointed the car or cars that they want to try, they go on to the Testdrives2u website. They input some details and the company then contacts one of the dealership groups it’s signed up and arranges for a sales person to bring the car to the driver. At the moment it’s unique and it’s free because if you buy the car, Testdrives2u takes a commission from the car dealer.

Why taking a test drive is important

Just as you’re unlikely to buy a pair of trousers or shoes without trying them on, so it’s vital to try a car. There are all sorts of things you can discover during a test drive. For example, the engine you think you want might not be powerful enough. The seating position might be uncomfortable. Or you might find that you can’t see out of the back sufficiently well to park easily. Our guide on how to test drive a new car is here.

Why is taking a test drive so difficult?

It shouldn’t be but frequently new-car dealers struggle to locate demonstrator cars in the correct specification for test drives. The result is customers can feel dissatisfied. Company director Andrei Tartza from Surrey was one. He said: “We went into dealerships and they were either too busy to help or didn’t have a car that we could drive without making an appointment weeks in advance. I was buying a family car so wanted to test drive the car with my family in it. One dealer said I could go with my wife but not my kids. In the end I gave up.”

Other dealers, unforgivably considering that’s what they exist for, aren’t interested in helping customers, possibly because they’ve experienced too many people try cars and then not buy them.

Is it working?

Testdrives2u claims it’s been delivering a couple of hundred test drives a month since it launched in December. But the number is limited because it hasn’t signed many dealers up yet. However, it’s got the backing of some industry heavy hitters and it’s on the verge of signing up new dealerships so the company is expecting rapid growth in the near future.

Is it a good thing?

The real benefit is that you can have the car delivered for you to test it wherever you want. Customer Sue Mallender said: “I’d sold my previous car so I couldn’t get to a dealership without a great deal of trouble. They brought the car to my work, I drove it for 45 minutes and decided to buy it. It was so simple.” Of course all Testdrives2u is doing is offering a service the car dealers should provide already.

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