HOW TO TEST-DRIVE VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
New vehicles are brimming with technology that can enhance convenience, connectivity and driver safety. But the tech can also be unfamiliar to car shoppers, especially those who haven’t purchased a vehicle in the past five years or more. This poses a problem when it comes to the traditional test drive.
It’s one thing to evaluate familiar vehicle attributes such as acceleration or seat comfort. But how can you evaluate these new gadgets in the typical 15- to 20-minute test drive if you don’t quite know what they do or what to look for?
With this in mind, experts share some of their car technology evaluation techniques and show you how to safely learn and test these features during your test drive.
ASK FOR MORE TIME
During a dealership test drive, you’re usually ushered along to get things done quickly. A typical drive might be 20 minutes or a drive around a few blocks, so the pressure is on. But here is where you can deviate from the normal procedure. Let the salesperson know you need additional time to get familiarized with the car before heading out on the road.
It’s best to come prepared for your test drive so bring two types of USB cable in order to connect your smartphone: a standard USB and a USB-C since some newer vehicles only have a USB-C connector.
EVALUATE THE COCKPIT
When you first get inside the vehicle you’re interested in, familiarize yourself with your surroundings and controls. You may have to turn on the car to activate all the screens and controls. Where are the audio controls? Where are the climate controls? Can you reach them easily or are they hidden in a menu? Poke around the menu system and play with the various non-driving controls.
Use the USB cable you brought to test the connection for Android Auto or Apple Carplay. These systems integrate your phone and display and operate many of your phone’s apps in the vehicle. Some vehicles may also have wireless connectivity for these two systems.