For most Singaporeans, buying a car is the second most expensive purchase after buying a house.
With so much money on the line, it is only right that you find the right car that suits your needs and that of your family.
So, after shortlisting several models based on your budget, now comes the exciting part: test-drives!
Here are three test-drive tips to remember when buying a new car.
1) DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS.
Modern cars have all sorts of functions and features that you may be unfamiliar with.
When buying a car, it is crucial that you, along with anyone else who will be driving, know these functions.
Even if you are feeling “shy”, this should never hinder you from asking the salesperson questions.
It is his or her job to address all your queries, be it about the car, the warranty period, aftersales, etc.
Do not let your questions go unanswered before buying a car!
If there are features that irk you, even during a 20-minute test-drive, they will irk you long after you’ve bought the vehicle.
On the other hand, you might end up learning something about the car that you can actually use daily.
2) BRING YOUR CHILD SEAT OR BOOSTER SEAT ALONG.
If your kid will still need a child seat or booster seat for the next few years, bring it along for the test-drive.
Try securing it. Are you able to find the ISOFIX points easily? Is the car too low and causing strain on your back?
How much space does it take up in the boot, if you need to ferry an extra passenger?
You need these questions answered before buying a car.
At the same time, you should also check out the car’s other safety features or safety ratings.
Euro NCAP is a good place to research a car’s safety ratings.
Do not buy a car based on a single factor alone.
If you can only buy one car, buy a model with a balanced mix of abilities.
It should be practical, safe, reasonably efficient, offer decent performance and most of all, reliable.
3) FUEL EFFICIENCY IS ALWAYS SUBJECTIVE.
While we’re on this topic, buying a car should never be about getting the most economical one.
If you are overly concerned about fuel consumption, you probably shouldn’t be buying a car.
A manufacturer may claim a certain combined fuel consumption figure, such as 16km/L.
However, nobody knows how this data was obtained.
Most fuel economy and emissions testing is done under controlled conditions that are impossible to replicate in the real-world.
You may end up with only 10km/L or 12km/L. Or even 20km/L if you practice hypermiling.
Individual driving styles, the car’s state of tune (has it been serviced or not, tyre pressures correct or not, etc.) and road conditions all affect fuel economy.
Do not believe relatives, friends or colleagues who tell you Model X or Model Y is the best because of the excellent fuel efficiency.
Remember, your mileage will vary!