Irish motoring expert's top tips for test driving a car
1. The cabin of the car is where you will spend a vast amount of time so touch everything and open everything; see if there is a place for all your essentials, is it easy to reach storage holders? Are the controls behind the wheels conveniently located and the dials easy to read?
2. Once behind the wheel can you adjust the seat and steering so you're comfortable? Are the front seats supportive (not too soft or hard) and is the legroom adequate for you? Can you reach the pedals, and easily switch between the brake and accelerator?
3. The boot is really important in a test drive, so bring all the stuff you regularly use with you and see if it fits in there, from prams and bicycles to golf clubs. If you use it regularly it needs to fit.
4. Take any child seats you use with you and check that they fit; assess how difficult they are to actually get in the back and how easy are they to install.
5. Check the spare tyre; is it a space saver, a full size replacement tyre or a repair kit - usually comprising an air-pump and a self-sealant?
6. If you are going to be ferrying children in the vehicle, bring them along and let them evaluate the amenities in the back.
7. Once on the road what you are looking for is a good balance between comfort and performance. Is the steering light or heavy, light steering will make it easier to park but if it's too light it may not inspire confidence at speed.
8. How refined is it? Can you hold a conversation with someone in the back comfortably or is there road noise? If you're serious about your music, bring some along to test out the car's music system.
9. If the transmission is automatic, concentrate on the smoothness of the gear change and if it is manual use every gear and ensure each one engages smoothly.