Get the Finder app 🥳

Track your credit score


Manufacturer test drive comparison

A test drive is often your only chance to see how a car will fit with your life. Here's how to make the most of the opportunity.


We’re committed to our readers and editorial independence. We don’t compare all products in the market and may receive compensation when we refer you to our partners, but this does not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn more about Finder .

You wouldn't buy a house without properly seeing inside, and you wouldn't agree to marry someone after a five-minute date. Why, then, is it considered normal to decide whether to buy a new car based on a sales pitch and a five-minute test drive around the block?

Car dealers often insist on joining you for a running sales pitch during the ride. Other dealers understand the importance of a test drive when preparing to make such a large financial investment and allow for a longer, more comprehensive experience.

Find out how different car manufacturers tackle test drives and everything you should ask or do during the experience.

How do car manufacturer's test drives compare?

Conduct your own manufacturer test drive comparison with this handy table.

ManufacturerLength of test driveSpecial featuresHow to book a test drive
AudiNormal test drives are as negotiated with the dealer. Audi Driving Experience is a full-day course in various locations.Audi Driving Experience is a set of specialised courses including advanced driving, sports driving, ice driving and driving courses solely for women. Located around the world, including Australia, Austria and Sweden, prices start at $500 for the women's course and up to $6,500 for the ice driving experience in Austria.You can request normal test drives by completing an online form. You can book and pay for Audi Driving Experiences online.
BMWNormal test drives are as negotiated with the dealer. BMW Driving Experience is a day-long course.BMW Driving Experience is an extended test drive and an all-day driving course. It costs more than $1,000 with prices varying between states.You can book a normal test drive or the BMW driving experience online or by phone.
FordAs negotiated with each dealership.Australian residents can request a test drive online. Non-Australian residents must phone for an appointment.
HoldenAll Holden models can be test driven for 24 hours or for a shorter period.Receive a $500 Visa card if you test drive a Holden and then purchase a similar car in the same price range within 30 days.You can book a test drive online or by phone.
HondaAs negotiated with your local dealer.You can select up to three Honda models when requesting a test drive online.After you fill in an online form, your closest dealer will contact you.
HyundaiAs negotiated with each dealership.Hyundai previously ran a promotion whereby you could earn 5,000 Velocity points by test driving a Tucson or Santa Fe. That promotion has expired, but similar promotions could occur in the future.The online form allows you to specify your preferred date and time of the test drive. A representative from Hyundai will then contact you to make firm arrangements.
IsuzuAs negotiated with your local dealer, depending on the Isuzu model you wish to test drive.Choose whether you wish to test drive a D-Max ute or MU-X when booking the test drive.You can book test drives with an online form.
JeepAs negotiated with each dealership.You can only select one Jeep model when booking a test drive.You can request contact with an online form.
KiaAs negotiated after making contact with your local dealership.You can select up to three Kia models when requesting a test drive.After choosing the model(s) you wish to test drive, a map will be displayed showing your closest dealerships that stock those models. Phone numbers and opening hours are displayed for each dealership.
MazdaAs negotiated with each dealership.You can request a test drive online.
Mercedes-BenzTest drive bookings made online fall within a one-hour slot. You could negotiate a longer test drive directly with your local dealer.After selecting your preferred Mercedes-Benz model, fuel type and transmission, you will be shown a map of all dealerships in Australia that offer that model. Select a dealer, then you can book the date and time of your test drive.
MitsubishiAs negotiated with each dealership.You can select one Mitsubishi model for a test drive.The online form allows you to indicate your preferred date and time, but a final booking will be made when a representative phones you after you submit the form.
NissanNissan Pathfinders can be test driven for up to 24 hours. Other Nissan cars are as negotiated with the dealership.You can negotiate test drive length and extent over the phone before the appointment.You can request an extended test drive for a Nissan Pathfinder online. You can request regular test drives online or request a call-back.
SubaruAs discussed with your local dealership.Subaru offers the "test drive at yours" service on VX and Impreza models in some areas, where a representative will bring the model to your home or workplace for you to test drive.You can request normal test drives with an online form. A separate online form for the "test drive at yours" service will advise you if the service is available in your area.
SuzukiAs negotiated with each dealership.You can select up to two models to test drive.The online form will prompt you to select your preferred dealer. A representative will then contact you to make a test drive booking.
ToyotaAs negotiated with each dealership.The manufacturer encourages extensive test drives and recommends test driving during the week.You can request a test drive by phone or online. The dealership will accept walk-ins depending on availability.
VolkswagenAs negotiated after making initial contact via an online form.Complete an online form and a representative will contact you.

How to book a test drive

Dealerships have different requirements when it comes to booking a test drive. Some dealerships will allow walk-ins to organise a test drive there and then, while other dealerships will only allow test drives that have been scheduled in advance. Dealerships are increasingly allowing online bookings to keep up-to-date with modern consumer practices. See the table below to compare manufacturer test drive requirements and find out how each manufacturer schedules test drive bookings.

Do I have to pay to take a test drive?

Generally, you will not have to pay in order to test drive a vehicle. However some manufacturers may charge a fee or offer specialised experiences that you will have to pay for. These are detailed in the table below. If possible, it is always a good idea to contact the manufacturer or dealer directly to see if there will be any costs associated with the test drive.

What to do on your test drive

Taking a new car for a test drive can be a daunting experience. The excitement of potentially purchasing a new car combined with the pressure of the time-sensitive situation is usually worsened by being under the salesperson's watchful eye. When taking a car on a test drive, it is important to not panic and to not feel rushed or under pressure.

Consider the following tips when taking a car for a test drive:

  • Taking a car for a five-minute trip around the block does not constitute a sufficient test drive. However, this is what many car dealers will encourage you to do. A minimum of a 30-minute drive is a more realistic expectation for a test drive.
  • Remember that you are the one spending the money, and you are the one who will be spending a significant proportion of your life driving the car. Try not to let the salesperson control the transaction or the test drive.
  • Aim to test drive several cars in one day, even models that you are not keen on purchasing. Comparing the test drive experience of one car to another will give you much better idea of the real car experience than evaluating one car on its own.
  • If you will regularly be carrying other people in the car with you, such as your partner or children, bring them along during the test drive. Load your family into the car just as you would on any other day and gauge their reactions to the comfort of the car and the ease of getting in and out. It can be difficult to assess backseat comfort from the driver's seat, so have other people sit in the back seat and give you their opinion on comfort, airflow and legroom.
  • If you will be carrying elderly people, people with disabilities or anyone who has problems moving around, either bring them to the test drive with you or take the time to assess the car from their point of view, particularly regarding the ease of getting in and out of the car.
  • If you'll be installing a baby seat or booster seat, bring the seat with you. Take the time to fit the seat into the car to see how easily they can be installed and how well they fit. Assess the height of the seat once it's installed and imagine lifting a baby or toddler in and out several times. Is this a good height for you?
  • Think about how much storage you'll need. If you regularly carry large items like bulky sports equipment, bring it with you to make sure everything will fit. If purchasing a small car, think about your weekly shopping needs and ensure you'll have plenty of storage room in the boot.
  • When it comes to the test drive itself, don't allow yourself to be limited to a quick trip around the block. Drive to a nearby shopping centre or parking facility and try your hand at parking. Choose a relatively tight spot and ease your way in. Can you see all four corners of the car when parking? Notice how much visibility you have when backing out of the same parking spot.
  • Safety is of the utmost importance when choosing a car, and one of the most important elements of safety is the brakes. The dealer may not like this, but it's vitally important to test the brakes before committing to purchasing the vehicle. Navigate to a quiet street or the back area of a parking facility, drive at regular speed, then imagine a cyclist or child has just appeared in front of your car and quickly apply the brakes. Did the car stop swiftly and securely, making you feel safe?
  • Finally, experience how the car handles at freeway speed. Drive to your nearest freeway or motorway on-ramp and enter the roadway. Notice how quickly the car can get up to the speed limit. Did the car feel like it was struggling or was the acceleration process effortless?

A test drive can be a high-pressure experience, run by experienced salespeople who know how to make buyers feel a certain way. It may not be easy, but it is important to take back control of the situation and insist on performing a full inspection and road test of the car before committing to purchasing it.

Frequently asked questions

How can I test how the car handles at night?

Most dealerships are only open during daytime working hours, but you'll likely spend a significant amount of time in your car at night. You have the right to ask to revisit the dealership at night to see how the car handles in the dark and to experience the interior and lights. If the dealer won't allow this, choose another dealership that will.

Do I need to use the dealership's finance provider?

No, you do not. The car salesperson may whisk you into their finance office as part of the sales process, but you are under no obligation to use their preferred finance provider. Take the time to compare car loans to make sure you get the best deal.

Compare car finance

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
IMB New Car Loan
4.99% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
$275.12 ($250 Application fee + $25.12 PPS registration fee)
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old. - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
From 4.67% (fixed)
3 to 5 years
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Note: Settle the loan before 30 November 2020 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel voucher. Terms & conditions apply.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From 4.05% (fixed)
3 to 7 years
You'll receive a fixed or variable rate depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From 4.45% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.45% p.a. with a comparison rate of 5.29% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

CUA Secured Fixed Car Loan
6.79% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
$265 ($175 Establishment Fee + $90 Security Administration Fee)
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
Plenti Car Loan
From 4.89% (fixed)
3 to 7 years
from $249 to $799
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
Driva Car Loan
From 4.34% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
$295 (Varies by lender, starting from $295)
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.34% p.a.
Borrow up to $250,000 with loan terms from 1 to 7 years. Get access to a range of lenders.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
From 9.99% (fixed)
1 to 7 years
You'll receive a fixed rate between 9.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 10.88% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% (13.56% comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
Symple Loans Personal Loan
From 5.75% (variable)
1 to 7 years
from 0% to 5% of the loan amount
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.

Compare up to 4 providers

Picture: Shutterstock

More guides on Finder

Car Loan Offers

Important Information*
Logo for IMB New Car Loan
IMB New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one up to two years old.

Logo for Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"
Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.89% p.a.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.

Logo for RACV New Car Loans
RACV New Car Loans

You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.

Logo for NRMA New Car Loan
NRMA New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site