By on August 29, 2019

2019 Mazda Mazda3 interior

We’ve all eyeballed a pair of pants in the store, assumed they’d fit just fine, and took them home — only to discover that our waistlines aren’t as svelte as initially thought. Ignore the fitting room at your own peril.

Big-ticket purchases can also backfire, especially if they’re ordered online and come with “some assembly required.” But for the most part, large transactions — houses, cars, furniture — occur only after you’ve parked your ass in it for a little while, given it a once-over, and declared the pending purchase A-OK. For the most part, anyway.

Thanks to the internet, it’s not unusual for collectors or plain-old used car buyers to purchase a cheap, historical, or oddball vehicle without ever slipping behind the wheel, but would you do this with a new car?

The reason I ask is because of this:

 

Tesla’s retail stores are not as plentiful as they once were, and it seems there’s a bit of a Wild West thing going on at those that remain open. Anything goes. In this case, a mandate to only offer test drives to those who’ve already signed away their cash on a Model 3?

While this could be an isolated occurrence (certainly, the move to online sales and culling of storefronts makes Tesla test drives more of a rarity these days), it begs the question: would you buy a brand new, full-price vehicle without ever driving it? Without ever sitting in the driver’s seat, adjusting the rake and reach of the steering wheel, fiddling with the switchgear, gauging the front- and rear-seat legroom, or soaking up the driving dynamics?

How would you respond to a retailer that wouldn’t let you take it for a spin?

Weigh in below.

[Image: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

62 Comments on “QOTD: Buying Without Wheel Time?...”


  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I bought a 1978 Malibu from Arizona, a 1990 Miata from South Carolina, and a 1992 Toyota pickup from Iowa, all shipped to me without ever driving them. But I had either owned or rode in similar models before, knew their strength and weaknesses, and had thorough discussions with the owners before purchase. All three transactions went well and I was very pleased with the vehicles when I received them. Almost like a kid a Christmas waiting on the transporter.

    But a new car, I don’t think so. Especially in the current climate of sales stagnation and some 2018 “New” cars still on lots. There are to many dealers willing to move the metal to put up with any bullsh!t.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The only realistic rationale for not allowing test drives is that future customers don’t want miles, especially hard test drive miles, put on their vehicles. I can see the point for rare or sporty cars, but is any buyer of a commodity Tesla going to care if they take delivery with 10 miles or 80 miles? The fact that this is an electric car, with no concerns over rings seating, or hard starts from cold, or any other break-in concern an ICE car might have just proves the ignorance of the Tesla dealer and/or customers.

    As for me personally, I won’t buy a car without a test drive, no matter the situation.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I would say me neither, but when I made the deal for my 2013 Tacoma, it had just rolled off the assembly line in San Antonio that day, and I took delivery at the dealer ten days later. With my last vehicle (1995 F-150), I had driven it, not really thinking I would end up with that exact vehicle – I had the dealer searching for SuperCabs with 8′ beds, but everything was either several hundred miles away, had a 351 instead of a 302, or both. Plus, I wouldn’t get the same deal for a truck traded from another dealer, and it would have to be transported by a driver, potentially putting hundreds of miles on it before I even got it. I ended up buying the one I test drove, then drove it 214,000 miles over 17 years, before trading it for the Tacoma.

      As for used cars, I won’t won’t buy anything without driving it. So places like Carvana are out. They may say “It has a clean Carfax” in their commercials, but Carfax isn’t perfect.

      • 0 avatar
        jeoff

        Carvana will get you a week of seat time before the transaction is final. Better than most any test drive you will get anywhere else!

        • 0 avatar

          Regarding Carvana. When car is delivered by truck you can inspect it and test drive it around and if do not like it you do not take delivery. But then you still have to pay for delivery costs and return trip. What concerns me about Carvana it is cost of shipping and return and also the fact that delivery truck driver has a good chances of damaging your car during delivery process.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      That’s why dealers have demos. Tesla takes it a bit further since they usually don’t even have cars to sell in the showroom, and they are all basically demos. They don’t want you to see how crappy their cars actually are.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        I wouldn’t say their cars are crappy, but they definitely take snobbery to a new level. If you want to drive one of their cars before buying one, it’s like you’re not worthy; one of the Unwashed Masses.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Just curious, Mbella – have you actually shopped a Tesla? I have, and it was pretty much a regular dealership, with a showroom, a lot with inventory, and a repair shop. I think they’d prefer you schedule a test drive (which you can do on their website), but as I said below, I walked in on a Saturday and had zero problems getting a fairly long test drive. It wasn’t much different than showing up at any upscale dealership.

        Maybe this varies from market to market?

      • 0 avatar

        It is no different from Honda dealerships. Try to test drive Honda. I tried once and after that I ignore Honda or Acura – have no desire to go through that misery again.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      My last two cars have been factory orders, just so I didn’t chance getting a car which had been pre-hooned! With my 2019 Accord Touring, the Radiant Red color was somewhat rare, as opposed to dime-a-dozen grey.

  • avatar
    analogman

    I can understand dealerships being skeptical if they see a couple of 16 year olds saunter in and ask to take a high-power big-bucks performance car for a ‘test drive’.

    But if I as a serious potential buyer come in and am not allowed to test drive the car I’m considering, I would invite the salesperson to do something anatomically very difficult and painful (if not downright impossible) and then walk out.

    With new or most used cars, there are always plenty of other alternatives, and other dealers to buy from. With some kind of rare “one of a kind” or old car, there are too many risks and potential problems that could be hidden for me to gamble my money without a test drive. I once bought an old (1960’s) British sports car without test driving it, just from internet photos from a supposedly reputable dealer on the other side of the country. It turned out to be a very expensive lesson, and I’ll never do that again.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I would buy a car without a test drive if I knew the car well and had driven similar models, I mean how different could one be from another? They’re not if similarly equipped. However, if a dealer is going to insult me by not knowing the difference between a real customer and a tire kicker then I doubt we have the basis for a deal

    I still may want the kind of car offered, I’ll just buy it elsewhere

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      I’m ok with driving a representative sample of the (new) model I want, with the same trim. As long as the seats and suspension setup are the same, the options and gizmos can differ. I’ve done this, then the actual car I bought was acquired from a dealer transfer. For my next new car purchase I plan to do a few test drives at off hours so as to not be inconvenient and waste anybody’s time, but the actual purchase and paperwork will probably be handled by an agent.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Exactly, the same model cars with the same engine and accessories and options are pretty much going to be the same. A different color would be ok ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Did this last time just to make sure I wouldn’t be put off by the 2.0T motor. I hadn’t driven a 2013, so I took a couple out first.

          Bought my 2006 without a test drive; my Dad had a 2005 Accord, same as I wanted, but I only had taken it around the block a couple times.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I was going to say that I bought a new car w/o driving it because we did a dealer transfer for one in the right color combination (and w/o the hideous gold emblem add-on that was on every unit on their lot). However now that I think about it when we came back they threw the keys to me so I could verify it was the correct vehicle, inspect for any damage and take it for a spin. It was not until that was over that we actually sat down and did the rest of the paper work, though we had given a deposit.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    It really depends on the car. The shelf life of a Hellcat in the hands of a mere mortal is not very long in some cases, most dealers are careful of whom the let behind the wheel with the red key (at least I think that is the 707HP key) prior to signing on the dotted line.

    No test drive for a Model, a 3 dime a dozen sedan? Um yeah, no thanks.

    I bought my Vette’ on Ebay, which was the first car I ever bought and paid for prior to driving. 22 months later, I am still happy with my purchase.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Last night I was watching a surfing competition on TV at a friend’s place when I saw a commercial for a place that sells used cars out of vending machines. Part of their pitch is a seven-day return policy. These are the sorts of things that invite abuse. Normal car buyers are going to accept their losses in buying the wrong cars while psychopaths will see it as a source of cheap weekly rentals.

    When I buy a new car, I want a test drive. I’ve come awfully close to buying a car based on reviews and expectations only to find that critical acclaim is for sale and most people are clueless sheep. On the other hand, I don’t want to buy a new car that has spent its first forty miles experiencing full throttle with room temperature engine oil. Anyone who tells you that they need to drive a car hard on a test drive should probably buy based on test numbers instead. If you’re looking for a car that actually drives well, you can assess anything other than limit handling without breaking traffic laws.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      How do you judge the power delivery of an engine without winding it out?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        +1 to Ajla

        When I got behind the wheel of the TourX for a test drive it had 40 miles on it. When I returned from the test drive it had 80 miles on it, but I knew I wanted one. Yeah I tested the hp/torque and the handling.

        Anything that is going to go wrong as a direct result of a test drive is going to be revealed during the 4 year/50,000 mile bumper to bumper or the 6 year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty (on a Buick anyway).

  • avatar
    TheDutchGun

    Back in 2006 I ordered the first mazdaspeed 3 scheduled to come to Ottawa. This was before Mazda had released the Canadian pricing. Once the pricing was announced, I felt it was a bit high and ended up buying a mustang GT at end of 06 model year pricing. It was actually less than what the Mazda was priced at (if the dealership even intended to stick to MSRP on the order).

    More recently, I made the decision to move on from my 15 F150 to cut down on fuel costs. I did test drive the Focus ST I ended up in, but it was more of a formality and killing time while the necessary paperwork was drawn up.

    So im willing to make the purchase without a test drive, but not being “allowed” to test drive is a red flag.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Yes, a Corvette. Had never sat in the driver’s seat of one, let alone driven one. But I wanted one. And I knew of no dealers who would let someone my age at the time test drive one.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      How old were you? I could understand this. If I were a dealer I wouldn’t let some young guy come in and abuse a high performance car.
      Now if some kid showed up with his Dad or Mom, then the situation would be different.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        No parent or co-signer involved. At the time I was 20 years and 4.5 months of age, and was making more money than the average salary on the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team.

        Boy have things changed.:-(

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          I did the same with the Cobra replica. Wanted one, bought it and built it. I was not yet 25 and thought the insurance would be worse.

          My much younger friend was trading his Neon. First dealership would not let him test drive anything. On his way home he stopped in that same dealership with his brand new Acura Integra Type R.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I bought a Corvette at 19… Dumbest thing I ever did

  • avatar
    crtfour

    What comes to mind is if you want to be the first to have something. For example a friend of mine has ordered a 2020 Corvette and obviously it can’t be test driven at this time.

  • avatar
    puddleJumper

    I had the opposite experience. Bought a then-new 1998 Wrangler TJ. Dealer wouldn’t let me buy until I drove it. I guess they felt driving a TJ was different enough that they wanted to eliminate any returns from buyer’s remorse.

    • 0 avatar
      pinkslip

      A good salesperson (or manager pulling the strings) knows to have the customer experience the product before discussing numbers. The test drive is the ether that gets the customer emotionally committed to that particular vehicle, and it also help marry the customer to that particular salesperson (at least some people feel guilty for wasting a salesperson’s time).

      Can you see it in your driveway? You can after you’ve been enjoying the drive for the last 20 minutes.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Apparently this policy varies by Tesla store – they’d prefer you to schedule test drives in advance, but a couple of months ago, I walked into the local Tesla store (on a Saturday afternoon, no less) and was able to take a nice, decently long test drive of a Model 3.

    (BTW, if you haven’t driven the Model 3, try it out – it’s damned good. The silly Ipad control screen would prevent me from actually pulling the trigger on one, but otherwise, there’s precisely zero wrong with the way it drives.)

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ FreedMike – A friend got a Model 3 this spring, and he really likes it. I haven’t poked around on their configurator, but as I understand it his comprises the least amount of money you can spend on a Tesla and still get Autopilot (one level up from Model 3 stripper, I guess). He’s not a huge technophile or Tesla evangelist; he just went shopping for a four-door within a fixed budget, and the Model 3 was what he ended up liking best under that cap.

      I haven’t driven it, but I’ve ridden in it a couple of times. Impressions:
      – Acceleration is stupid-good. There’s no reason to upgrade the powertrain other than for bench racing purposes. (Disclaimer: powertrain upgrades may entail speed AND range improvement, which I guess is more legitimate.)
      – It’s very roomy, especially with regard to rear seat headroom (a true rarity on today’s market).
      – Fit and finish is much, much better than the B&B haters would have you believe. I’d have to wash my friend’s car to really scrutinize it, but I haven’t noticed any flaws on his.
      – Some of the “technology for technology’s sake” strikes me as foolish, like the unnecessarily complicated door handles. (They do have allow for manual operation too.)
      – I tend to agree re: the control screen but I’ll add one counterpoint: Everything seems to be configurable by user, so the car recognizes either my friend or his wife as the driver and invokes all of their preferences accordingly. (I don’t know if this is via fob or smartphone or either. The touchscreen does have links with his name and his wife’s name, so saved settings also can be loaded with one touch.) If you’re using it as intended, there’s very little touching of or even looking at the screen. Counter-counter-point: I have less faith in the average person to use this technology correctly.
      – My friend doesn’t use Autopilot in most driving but will engage it if he gets stuck in stop-and-go commuter traffic. In that situation, he really likes it.

      As someone whose own preferences skew toward a 1990s driving experience, I’ll weigh in that the Model 3 is vastly, vastly superior to the way its characterized by many of the writers and commenters on this site.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’d agree with you on everything you wrote. I’d add, though, that the touchscreen controlling everything – even stuff like mirror adjustments and the wipers – is a really egregious example of “technology for technology’s sake.” I’m sorry, I don’t want to go through a smartphone-style set of submenus to just turn on the wipers (yes, I know they’re automatic).

        It seems automakers are bent on touch-screening everything, and I don’t like it. I like the satisfying “click” I get when buttons are pushed. My current car’s an Audi, and that brand’s going down the path, which is disappointing – their current infotainment system works quite well.

        Ah well…I’m old, I guess.

        Otherwise, the stupid touchscreen aside (and assuming you like the front end styling, and have a burning desire for glowing white upholstery), there isn’t a whole lot to dislike with the Model 3. If cars like that are the future, then bring it on.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Yep, I agree. My take on the touchscreen is “much less worse than I thought would be, still would rather have physical controls for many functions.”

          The 3’s front-end styling doesn’t bug me, but the extremely similar facelifted S’s styling bugs me a lot. Having seen the S with its original “we’ve put some contrasting color where a grille would have been” styling, the facelifted version reminds of a person with a zentai suit covering his or her face. Creepy. And no, my acceptance of the 3 isn’t necessarily logical given that it’s so similar. But I’ll cite the S as yet another example of “a facelift almost always makes a car look worse by compromising the original designer’s original intent.” Apparently some Model S owners have shelled out good money to update their cars’ noses, which strikes me as insane.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          The A/C vents controlled by the screen would drive me crazy. In two seconds I can reach up and adjust them, then when the road moves the sun to a different window, I can reach up and fix it again.

          The mirrors I could get used to since you don’t move them much.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The wipers are the worst part for me. Unless the rain is heavy, which it usually isn’t around here, I leave my wipers off and just hit the “one swipe” switch whenever there’s too much rain to see well. You can’t use that approach in a Model 3.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            I use that feature all the time too and I assumed the Tesla would have such a feature.

            The cars sounds more and more like a thought exercise on how to integrate as much tech as possible regardless of if it makes sense.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    I still don’t get the point of a test drive only after you’ve bought the car.
    Also noticed Carfax brought up a few times. Years ago I put my wife’s Forester up for sale. Signed up for Carfax to look for another car and for the heck of it put the Forester in for a look. Imagine my surprise to find out it had been in a significant accident in some town in northern Maine. We bought the car new and were quite sure we were never even within 500 miles of that place. I read up on trying to get it fixed and decided it wasn’t worth it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    No I wouldn’t unless it was a “trim level variation”.

    Lets say you test drive a Mazda 6 Signature and decide you can live without the fancy Napa leather etc, but can’t live without the turbo 4.

    I’d have no problem buy a Mazda 6 GT Reserve without a test drive or getting on the internet and finding the best price to go fly and buy.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I bought a new 2011 Cruze Eco based purely on the reporting I’d seen on various sites like Motor Trend and Car and Driver. It was in dealer inventory but I didn’t bother to drive it. I was very pleased with my purchase.

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    I bought my AC Cobra replica having never driven it. I didn’t drive it til 4 days after I bought it. It was not leaving the garage til registration and insurance were in place.

  • avatar
    volvo

    If you are talking about actually driving the car you will take delivery of in my experience that is pretty unusual. I would of course want to drive a representative sample of the car I was going to buy. The dealers usually have these and call them demos or dealer cars.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    It would be a cold day in hell before I bought any car without a good long test drive. It would be frigid before I plunked down 50K plus on a Tesla and arrogantly told I couldn’t test drive it before plunking the cash down. But then again I have zero interest in any Tesla and would never buy one with such an iffy future, quality control and the questionable dealer experience or getting warranty work completed.

  • avatar
    ImAbeFroman

    This is unusual. My local Tesla dealership said 95% of their test drives are informational, as in to people with no intent of buying at the moment.
    They let me take out a Model S in both the 70 and P100D form. We did a Ludicrous launch and it was mind blowing!

  • avatar
    nsk

    Yeah, I’ve bought a few new cars without test drives, but only one was a terrible mistake. It was a 2007 S4 sedan with a manual transmission, and the dealer had to swap it in from another store because they weren’t common on the ground. I committed to the car because it looked great on paper. I knew within minutes of driving away from the dealership that I didn’t like it.

    I ended up only having to keep the car for about 10 months because a kid in an Eclipse ran a red light and T-boned the car, and I let the insurance company buy it from me. The experience made me a lot more critical about car purchases.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      nsk,

      What didn’t you like about the S4 manual? I’ve been driving a 2008 A5 (with a manual) for a decade, and I’ve always wondered if I should have gotten an S5. I do know that the S5’s gas mileage was dismal compared with the A5’s, and I have never found the A5 to be too slow. I’ve had no issues with the manual.

      • 0 avatar
        nsk

        I think your A5 is a generation newer than was my B7 V8 S4, for what that’s worth. I found the B7 S4 to have overly light and numb steering, ever-present understeer, poor fuel economy, poor cruising range, and it just wasn’t that fast. That said, the interior was really nice, and the infotainment worked well. The manual transmission and clutch feel were fine. I didn’t keep the car long enough to have any maintenance or reliability issues.

        My frame of reference then was E46 M3, of which I had a new 2003 before and a used 2005 after the S4. Was much happier with the M3s.

  • avatar
    RSF

    I have no problem buying a brand new car without a test drive or inspection first. However, no way would I buy something used without driving and inspecting first. Every used car is different. Some have been wrecked, other haven’t. Some have been maintained and others haven’t. Some have structural damage that’s been repaired, others haven’t. Etc, Etc. I don’t understand how anyone would buy a used car without the proper due diligence first.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I would never buy a car without having driven one of the same model and powertrain.

    I’m perfectly fine buying a car without having driven that specific car, provided that I have either a return period or very, very good photos.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    I would never buy without driving. Having driven many different rental cars I had a long list of “must haves” and “must not haves” when i purchased last January – many like a comfortable, (not permanently pointing forward)headrest and comfortable driving position were only verified by driving.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I bought my M235i without a test drive. But I had driven a 335i, so I figured it would be the same but more so. And it was. I did sit in one at the dealership (needed to see if I fit with a sunroof – I did not), but they didn’t have a stick to test drive so I didn’t bother. I had driven a 228i for a week as a rental though, so I guess that counts. That car was what got me looking at them. Same way I got interested in Fiat 500s and ended up buying an Abarth – had a Sport for a rental and loved it.

    But not being *allowed* to test drive a car? That dealer can go f*ck themselves. As can Tesla, as far as I am concerned. I know five people who own them, and none of them have much good to say about the buying experience.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’ve only bought one car without driving it first – my former 05 Odyssey, which was a lemon from day one. Sure, that could have happened even if I had test-driven it, but I can’t help but relate the two.

    As for Tesla, I’ve test-driven two of their cars – a Model S P85 several years ago at a Tesla drive event, and a Model 3 at a local store. The sales people were low pressure and really the best I’ve ever experienced.

    I said many times here that I wouldn’t buy a Model 3 without driving one first; Tesla is wrong to expect otherwise. The drive impressed me with how easy and fun the car is, but I found the center display to be too busy and too close to the driver. Simply reading your speed requires your eyes to leave the road – this is far different from my Scion xB1’s speedo which was center-mounted, but up closer to the windshield.

    I’m no fan of the Model 3’s door handles, and I found egress from the car to be difficult (I’m 6’6″), although ingress and comfort were fine.

    I also learned that I couldn’t read the Model 3 display, which resulted in me getting laser eye surgery the next week.

    Ultimately, I was put off by too many issues (including the poor build quality of the showroom car), and did not buy. Maybe later.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    did he try turo? seems to work for doug demuro. when i bought my xA id already driven one and just wanted to get the deal over with, the civic i had before that was sight unseen, no test drive.

    as far as scooters/motorcycles go it seems a lot of places dont want to offer a test ride since a lot of the stuff on the floor isnt prepped- unhooked battery, no gas or oil.

    bought all my scooters and bikes with just seat time at the dealer. no ride. i already knew more than the salesmen did so nbd. my 25,000 mile zuma was bought by watching the salesman start and ride it around the small compound. quick start, smooth idle, no smoke, smooth trans engagement. but that was a $1000 spur of the moment purchase. bout to take it out now on some errands. cant beat 80mpg, top speed of 53mph, and $100/yr to insure.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I wouldn’t buy without at least the option of a test drive. Then again, I wish test drives in my area were a bit more substantial. Most dealers have a short route where you can go around the block once and if you’re lucky hit the freeway.

    The one vehicle I should have passed on post-test drive would have been my Kia. Driving that thing smoothly was a chore, and when I unloaded it in favor of my red Focus, 18 months later, the difference was night and day. But, you live and learn.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    My worst car buying mistakes weren’t because of a lack of test drive, but because of a lack of clear thinking in my head.

    Blew through multiple physical red flags about the POS ’89 Taurus SHO because I wanted it too much.

    Allowed myself to be talked into a bad lease deal on the ’06 Civic, due to a combination of an urgent need for a car and very low inventory of stickshift Civics in the Boston area.

    Got myself fixated on low TCO when I bought the seven-year-old LX 570 (because those things just don’t depreciate after the initial hit) and let the dollar signs drive my purchase decision more than my own preferences. (Even though it turned out a bit too trucky for me, I would have still kept it for a few years if the interior air had been exhaust-free while driving.)

  • avatar
    wdburt1

    In 2018, I bought a 2007 Honda Accord EX-L online, from across the country, and had it shipped. It had 36,000 or so miles on the odometer. Eighteen months later I am very happy with it. I owned a new one previously, so I knew what the car was like.

    I did learn that if you’re going to try to do this without a test drive, you need to be prepared to handle surprises. The driver’s side power seat didn’t move. I bought a used seat at a junkyard and replaced the underside including the motor. There were a couple of other little things that would not have been noticed in a test drive. Due to the sheer passage of time it needed to have the timing belt replaced–no one thinks of that, do they? But overall it’s a joy.

    Personally, I believe that regardless of their ethics, used car salesmen know next to nothing about what they are selling. The industry’s standards simply do not include knowing the vehicle in depth, and avoiding such knowledge is preferable to knowing it and withholding it from the customer. With the Honda, I was allowed to form an opinion by listening to the low-pressure seller recount the vehicle’s “story,” and it explains much. But he did not mention, or perhaps did not know anything about, the seat that didn’t work or the paint chip on the rear trunk lid that signified the minor rear-ender and cheap repair that had taken place. I would have noticed the problem with seat in a test drive. I could have quizzed him about the timing belt in our phone calls, but failed to do so. The fender bender I would have missed anyway.

    So would it have been worth flying 3,000 miles to test drive it? No. I used to fly about 60,000 miles a year. No more. Some risks are worth taking.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Test drives aren’t always adequate. I hear it all the time, buyer’s remorse due to can’t stand the frackin’ seats (Camry) or bad seating position (Tacoma), (but hey reliability and resale!).

    I did buy my ’05 F-150 V8 supercab without a test drive, figuring ‘how bad could it be?’ It was buried against a wall anyway. It’s been great of course, but I sat in the driver’s seat for a good hour while discussing rebates and junk with the salesman. I drive up to 24 hours straight, just stopping for fuel and whatever, and arrive feeling fresh as a daisy. I’ve slept in the driver’s seat, no problem on several occasions.

  • avatar
    craiger

    I think my dumbest car purchase was the E85 Z4. I was originally going to get the 986 Boxster, but I couldn’t get past the crap interior and the (for me) bad ergonomics.

    I had driven a Z3 and liked it, so I (stupidly) assumed that the Z4 just had to be better in every way, right? Bear in mind that at the time I was driving an E39 530 with the sport package (loved those three piece wheels), so I was full of love for the blue and white.

    So, I flipped the 530 for the Z4. What a disappointment. The first thing I had done was to drill out the clutch damper (dampener?). But the early EPS was awful. Talk about disconnected. The run flats…don’t get me started. I probably had bent wheels repaired maybe 5 or 6 times. And it rode like crap. 19″ wheels.

    It was my first and last time buying a car without driving it first.

    I got rid of the Z4 and got into a Cayman S. Never bent a wheel. Rode very nice. Also 19″ wheels.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I would have to test drive before buying anything, with the one exception being my ’08 M6. Flew to Florida to buy it and drive it back to Texas; one of just 376 manual V10 convertibles ever made and with just 19k miles on it. I knew it was the car I was going to buy and I had never driven one before.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Not sure it was a great idea for Tesla to get rid of commissioned salespeople. “You can keep your job but now you just answer questions and look over the customer’s shoulder while they use the computer. Also we cut your pay by a third. Remember to keep being nice to customers!”

    I was just invited by email to a ride and drive event by Tesla. It seems like they’re trying to encourage group test drives by appointment. Interesting approach.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • HotPotato: Not sure it was a great idea for Tesla to get rid of commissioned salespeople. “You can keep your...
  • stuki: Vinyl grows on you. Especially in a car or truck you take to the beach, to the mud etc… Not to mention...
  • stuki: You’re showing your age…. Korea and Korean is cool now…. Samsung vs Zenith and Motorola and...
  • Steve203: Then again, it might end up being a version of the newer Panda platform. I expect the rumored “mini...
  • HotPotato: Presumably the savings comes from selling themselves parts at cost, not having brick-and-mortar locations,...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States