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What’s an extended test drive and how can I take one?

Ever felt like you don’t have enough time on a test drive? An extended test drive could help you make the right choice when buying your next car.

Lex Kristan

Words by: Lex Kristan

Last updated on 1 June 2022 | 0 min read

Us Brits like to try before we buy, especially when it comes to picking the right car. There are thousands of makes and models out there and test driving is the best way to try one out. We need to know how it feels, how it drives and, most importantly, if it’s the car for us.
Generally speaking, a test drive at a dealership will last up to a maximum of an hour, with many being completed within 30 minutes. However, if 30 minutes isn’t enough time for you to get a good feel for a car, you have other options available.

What is an extended test drive?

An extended test drive gives you more time to try everything on your checklist and experience driving on various roads in different settings. You could even do the school run or your weekly shop just to make sure everything (and everyone) fits comfortably and securely.
Depending on the dealership and your needs, you could be offered a 24-hour test drive or a 48-hour test drive, but it’s not totally unheard of to get the chance to test out your top pick for up to seven days. However, such long test drives are often only available on certain makes and models, rather than the whole line-up, so you may be limited to which car you can take on an extended test drive. The dealer may also need more notice to sort out a longer test drive than the typical one-hour drive; and, while the test drive can last for up to 48-hours, or even seven days, there could be a limit on the mileage you can cover, as well as stipulations about how much fuel you can use, and whether you need to return the car full of fuel. On top of that, there may be restrictions on the driver, such as their age and how long they have held their driver’s licence. Likewise, in some cases, the offer may be open only to company car drivers, so as ever, the crucial thing is to check what options are available with the dealership and ensure you’re happy with all the conditions before you sign up. Find out everything you need to know about test driving a car here
Friends taking a test drive
Friends taking a test drive

Should I take an extended test drive?

If the option is available, taking an extended test drive could help you settle on the perfect car for you. Ultimately the decision is yours, but here are some helpful points to help you decide:
Pros - Gives you more time to try out everything in the car - Allows you to experience driving in the car in different settings and situations - You can make an informed purchase after spending a significant amount of time in your chosen car Cons - You may not be able to take the exact make and model you want for an extended test drive - Additional costs for fuel and insurance - Can make the buying process longer for undecisive buyers If you think you’d benefit from a longer test drive, don’t be afraid to ask the dealership – they’re more than happy to help and it could result in a very positive experience for both parties. If you don’t have the option, or the time, to take an extended test drive, try out the closest make and model to the car you want. If you’re unable to test drive the car of your dreams at all, head on over to Auto Trader where you’ll find an in-depth review with a video showing you the ins and outs. Also check out our living with a... series, where we get behind the wheel for a few months and really get to know the cars. Overall, though, the longer you can spend in a car, the more certain you can be about whether or not it’s the car for you, but only ask for one if you need the extra time. There could be others in the exact same position you are, figuring out which car is for them, and why drive someone else’s when you could be zipping around in your own.

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Buying your next car doesn’t have to be a headache. Whether you’re on the go or in the comfort of your own home, with more choice than anywhere else online, you can browse thousands of cars available to buy online right now on Auto Trader.

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