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Buy Before You Test Drive?

Buy Before You Test Drive?

Would you consider buying a car before you took it for a test drive? We certainly wouldn’t, but a recent study shows that over 11% of auto buyers do exactly that, according to a story in the Detroit Free Press.

The story references a Maritz Research study of over 80,000 buyers of 2012 model year vehicles. The study also showed that 80% of those questioned used internet research before making their purchase.

With the vast amount of online resources available to research vehicles, from the manufacturers’ websites, to auto buying advice websites (such as AutoBuying101.com, of course), to magazine sites, to test drive aggregator sites, and much more, these buyers feel comfortable enough about the quality of their research to make their choice without driving the vehicle.

Another factor is the continued disdain for the car salesman experience. While many dealerships have eased off on high-pressure techniques, there are still others that have stuck with their old-fashioned methods. Even those that have changed their ways still must battle the old perceptions and stereotypes of car dealers. Until there is a major shift in public perception, internet-savvy buyers will continue to do as much research as possible online before they even step foot in a showroom.

Even with the quality and volume of online research available, and despite the potentially unpleasant and time-consuming dealership experience, we highly recommend you drive a vehicle before buying. All the reviews in the world won’t tell you exactly what you’ll find when you get behind the wheel yourself.

Is the acceleration adequate for your needs? Is the ride too harsh? Or too soft? Are there blind spots that an online test driver didn’t mention? All these questions, and more, can only be answered with your own test drive. Just sitting in one in the showroom isn’t enough.

If you’re shopping for a used car, the test drive is even more important. Even if you’re not a car expert, you could discover any number of performance problems that would not be apparent online or in-person. Shimmies, shakes, rattles, squeaks and wheezes will only reveal themselves on the road.

Internet research is great, and AutoBuying101.com has everything you need, but there is no substitute for the test drive.