Car dealers struggling to provide test drives.

Car buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to test drive the exact model of car they wish to buy simply because the car dealership doesn’t carry it in stock, according to a survey carried out by What Car? Magazine. The test drive is seen as one of the most important parts of buying a car. It allows the buyer to see if the car is good to drive and practical for their needs. When test driving, most buyers are assessing the model they want for space, practicality, performance, handling, safety and security. Without this vital part of purchasing a car, the buyer might not get a model with the features they were looking for.

Test drive survey results from What Car?

To achieve their results, What Car? Magazine contacted 48 dealers to find out if they could provide a test drive for a specific model of car.

The models asked for were; Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Nissan or Volkswagen.

63%, which equals 30 dealerships were unable to provide the test drive. Not even the best-performing manufacturer dealerships could be guaranteed to provide a test drive every time.

  • Ford came top, providing a test drive 75% of the time.

  • Volkswagen came second at 50% of the time.

  • The worst dealership was BMW since none contacted could provide the correct model.

Makes interesting reading for sure, and not what you may expect at all.

WhatCar have also provided tips on taking a test drive

Helpful tips for a test drive.


  • Ensure the model you are testing is as close to the type of engine and trim level as you intend to buy, and try to test drive on roads that you are familiar with so you can focus on the vehicle and its performance.
  • Take a friend with you for a second opinion and ensure you choose a model that suits your needs.
  • Try to find a good balance between control and comfort and check for noises invading the cabin space.
  • Be realistic about your expectations.

Comments on the test drive survey from WhatCar

Emma Butcher, What Car? Consumer Editor, commented, “Most car purchase transactions are still made in the car dealership,” she says. “The test drive is such a crucial element in the buying process and we were quite surprised and disappointed at the lack of model availability. With almost 4000 model derivatives to choose from, the industry is making life difficult for themselves and the consumer. We would like to see more standard-specification demonstration cars available for test drive and that the options fitted are kept to a minimum.”


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