Every pickup truck shopper is looking for a vehicle that fits his or her specific needs. After all, there’s only so much research one can do online. There comes a point in every buyer’s journey where you need to experience the vehicle(s) you’re considering. The test drive is the #1 way to determine which pickup truck is best.
Buying a pickup truck without a test drive is like buying shoes without trying them on. Except, you can easily return the shoes – not so much with a vehicle.
Importance of a Test Drive
Once you’ve driven a vehicle off the lot, your choices are limited, says Alec Gutierrez, the manager of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book. Buying sight unseen increases your chance of buying the wrong vehicle. Most auto experts still recommend an extended test drive on a variety of roads.
The simple fact of the matter is, used pickup truck reviews can tell you a lot about a vehicle, but only so much as to narrow the field. They can help you decide what, out of the many different types, makes and models, you should focus on, so you don’t have to do all the legwork on your own.
The problem is that the evaluators aren’t actually you – they can’t predict what little (or big) things will matter to YOU. The test drive is how you determine what options you need…and which ones you don’t.
How to Conduct a Good Test Drive
Comfort and Function
Considering how much time the average Coloradoan spends in their vehicle, it’s important to make sure it’s comfortable and functional.
- Is it easy to get in and out of the vehicle?
- How does the seat feel? Are you able to find a comfortable position?
- Is the pickup truck the right size for your needs (compact, midsize, fullsize)?
- Can you easily see all your mirrors and gauges? Are there any obstructions that make it difficult for you to see?
- Are there enough seats to comfortably fit your family?
- Standard, extended or crew cab?
- Standard or long bed?
- Will it haul your stuff?
- Are you planning on towing a trailer? Check towing capacity.
The feel of a pickup truck on the road and your ability to maneuver with ease is just as important as how comfortable you are in the seat. When you get behind the wheel and head out, make sure to replicate your daily driving experience. For instance, if you spend a lot of time on the freeway, take it out on the freeway to get a sense of how it will perform.
Here are some additional things to pay particular attention to:
- How smoothly does the pickup truck ride?
- Is it a quiet ride or is road noise an issue?
- Does the vehicle respond quickly as you steer?
- Are you comfortable with how quickly the pickup truck accelerates when merging into traffic?
- When you brake, is it jerky or smooth?
A Test Drive is Key to Buying the Right Pickup Truck
The test drive is a crucial step to finding the right pickup truck, the one that will make you happy, as opposed to the “best truck” that reviewers rate highest. It will be worth it to spend this extra time now, because a vehicle is a long-term investment. You’re probably going to have this pickup truck for a few years, possibly even a decade, and spend thousands of dollars on it.
You’ll be glad you spent the extra half-day making sure your decision is the right one.
At Dye Autos, we’ve helped thousands of pickup truck shoppers with their test drives. We can help you – no strings attached! Give us a call at (303) 286-1665 or fill out our easy contact form here and we’ll be in touch.