The Car Test Drive is Alive and Kicking… Despite 1 in 10 Saying They Won’t Bother

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The car test drive is far from dead, despite 1 in 10 consumers saying they will buy without trying, according to research by the What Car?.

Analysis of 8,500 consumers ‘in the market’ for a new car found that 45% intend to test drive more cars this time compared with the last time they bought.

On average, the data suggests that buyers plan to test at least two cars – although nearly a fifth said they expect to get behind the wheel of upwards of five different models.

What Car? expects the rise in choice and popularity of electric vehicles over the next few years will only serve to fuel this trend. “Driving an EV or hybrid will be a new experience for millions of drivers and they will want to understand what they are buying,” said Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?.

“As a result, we predict a surge in demand for test drives, but with it dealers and manufacturers need to ensure the experience of the test drive itself fits the customer.”

For some, the purpose of the test drive is nothing more than validating the choice they’ve made which is why nearly a fifth (23%) admit they plan to arrange only one test drive.

Yet for one in 10, the test-drive is deemed completely irrelevant as they will buy without trying their next car at all.

Steve added: “For this buyer, they’ve done their research, they’ve validated their decision with friends and family, and they’re comfortable enough with the monthly payments to simply place an order blind.”

Car Test Drive

“The unpressured test drives at shopping centres win hands down over the traditional dealer experience. Consumers tell us they want convenience but, above all, they want to test their fears of choosing one model over another… can I fit my three kids across the back seat, can I park it easily, can I drive an automatic?” explained Steve.

This demand is already being met by some, with manufacturers such as Volvo and BMW offering 24 and 48-hour test drives, and Seat and DS providing a less pressured retail experience at Westfield shopping centre.

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